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Four dirty secrets for making friends on Wall Street

Work can be a tricky place to make friends. There are office politics to consider. On Wall Street, there are so many politics, even Frank Underwood from "House of Cards" would be uncomfortable. Here are four dirty secrets for making friends on Wall Street.

And remember, this is Wall Street, not Sunday school — so buckle up.


Businessman toasting
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1. Stay within your caste.

Ancient India has a caste system where you can only marry someone within your caste. On Wall Street, the only co-workers that can be your close friends are ones within your tax bracket.

If you are a first-year analyst, your best friend never will be a managing director making a million-dollar bonus. The managing director can be a mentor to you. (If he is mentoring you, it's probably because his boss told him to do so for a promotion. Or he had a DUI and the judge asked him to do 100 hours of community service to expunge the felony from his record.)

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That mentor can be an asset to you, but not your BFF. Don't mistake your mentor as someone to share your Hamptons house with, be a groomsman in your third marriage, or ask to help you carry up your new California King Bed to your five-story walk-up.

2. Become the Queen Bee.

In the movie "Mean Girls," Rachel McAdams plays Regina George who is the Queen Bee of the Plastics, the most powerful clique in school. They only allow a select few into their high school version of the Illuminati. On Wall Street, you want to be Regina George. You want your group of friends to run the trading floor. The ones everyone looks up to but can only dream of joining.

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Also, since you are Queen Bee you have your loyal servants/followers to do your dirty work.

If you want a colleague's client, have your worker bee record a conversation where they are both bad-mouthing the client. That will ensure the client gets reassigned – and you can swoop in.

If you are at the Four Seasons bar, and there is a pretty girl sitting at the bar alone, send in your worker bee to ask her, "Pro or civilian?" Either way you reap the benefits. Especially the latter after she slaps him and you swoop in and say, "The nerve of that jerk!"

3. Be friends with people you are jealous of.

Here is a philosophy that I live by: If I am not jealous of at least one thing about someone, I have no interest in being their friend. That is true in life and even more so on Wall Street. Whether it be your friend's bonus, sexy girlfriend, or his Colombian connection at the airport, if you aren't envious of something about your friend, then he has no use to you.

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If you make more money, are better looking, and have a better VIP host in Vegas, why are you wasting time with this loser? Time is money. Drop this dead weight and find someone that can help your career rather than this guy leeching off your scraps.

4. Limit the number of friends.

Facebook allows you to be friends with a maximum of 5,000 people. I think on Wall Street, the maximum number of close friends you can have is five.

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What I mean by close friends is friends that you actually care what's going on in their lives outside of work. (Friends that invite you out for a free meal and inside information — feel free to have as many of those as possible.)

Having more than five close friends becomes a distraction and you need to focus on work. This is Wall Street not Walmart. You just don't have time for more than that. It's like in baseball: If you want to add a new friend to the rotation, you are going to have to send someone to the bullpen.


Commentary by Raj Malhotra (Raj Mahal is his stage name), a former Wall Street trader-turned-stand-up-comedian. He has worked at Wall Street firms covering three continents, including at Bank of America, BNP Paribas and Nomura. He draws from his unique ethnic background and Wall Street career to entertain audiences nightly, highlighting the struggles of the 1 percent. He can be seen at Gotham Comedy Club, Broadway Comedy Club, NY Comedy Club, Greenwich Village Comedy Club, and the Tribeca Comedy Lounge. Follow him on Twitter @RajMahalTweets.