Behind every great woman is a horde of even greater women who are smart, supportive, honest, and badass. There is at least one really special friend who pushes her to be better, who challenges her, and who screams her name from the bleachers when her team wins.

“Now that you’re starting to have a sense of who you are, you know better what kind of friend you want and need. My peers are crushing it right now and it’s totally amazing and energizing to watch.” - Amy Poehler, Yes Please

Masha’s my best friend. She’s smarter than I am, more motivated than I am, and much more of a badass than I am. She does Jiu Jitsu, she’s earning her doctorate, she’s doing fieldwork in Nepal, and she’s fighting the patriarchy. Without Masha in my life, I would not be pushing as hard as I am to do better.

“YOU ARE A BEYONCÉ DRAGON!! YOU GOT THIS,” she cheers via iMessage as I brace myself for giving the biggest presentation of my life.

“Right now it sounds a lot to me like you are selling yourself short. You are Lara Fucking Hogan,” she worms into my brain on gChat when I share with her some serious doubts about my ability to do a good job at work.

“BUT as your bff I am totally going to slap your hand about something,” Masha admonishes after I tell her about a difficult conversation with my boyfriend.

Masha’s got a place in my life as a cheerleader and a coach, but also as a devil’s advocate and straight-talker. She freely disagrees with me and lends solid advice when I need it. She’s also constantly bettering herself, which makes her incredibly easy to talk to and trust. Both humility and bravery abound in Masha.

I know so many women who have relationships like this one. Our best friends are advocates for us; they’re shoulders to lean on as a solid foundation. They call us out on our shit. They make us better people, better friends, better partners, better coworkers.

I often wonder how we can use the strength of these relationships as a model to improve our relationships at work. Do these friendships, the kind constantly-GIFed from shows like Broad City and Parks and Recreation, have an opportunity to thrive in the workplace? Where are these kinds of relationships modeled for men, too?

Imagine if after you left a meeting, you were greeted by your buddy who said, “I am so impressed by how you handled that!” or “Listen, I’ve got an idea for how you could do better next time.” Imagine if you were someone’s biggest champion at work and they were yours, continually pushing each other to improve and celebrating each other’s wins. Do you have a coworker who you can support, and who could equally support you? Is there a person who you can trust to give you sound advice that motivates you to get better, who cheers you on and helps you get through?

I don’t work with Masha. We don’t even live on the same coast. We’ve only known each other for a handful of years. But I am thankful every day for her as she pushes me hard, champions my success, and models bravery and humility and an instinct to continuously improve herself. Even though we aren't in the same industry, my relationship with Masha has helped my career progress at every major turning point. I aim to work towards this level of cheering, support and admiration for my coworkers, too.

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