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There are reasons to say that Dinesh and Gilfoyle are friends in Silicon Valley:

  • They are always chatting, they seem to enjoy each others company, they have intimacy to speak about delicate matters such as when they thought of not leaving the company when Richard did want them to [end of S02], and they even developed something imporant for the company because of the rising of a seemingly trivial discussion [S01E08].

On the other hand, some attitudes are not as friendly:

  • Gilfoyle rarely smiles, maybe he has his bullying level a little higher than average (from the beginning [S01] challenging Dinesh's sexual appeal, and later on making fun of his golden chain [S03]), and in ultimate situation he sometimes just goes his own way [end of S02].

Of course all friendships have some element of challenge in play, and fighting/bullying may even mark lines on how not to do things that certain people don't do, such as when a rugby team is always pushing who's more of a pussy or a tough motherfucker. But maybe they're just good co-workers.

Perhaps none of the elements mentioned are enough to make a decision. But,

What helps to understand Gilfoyle's relationship and attitude?


edit. I like and accept zim's answer. It gets a good broad view and marks some lines to clarify:

"Real" friends see each other outside of work. That's the bottom line.

I think that on top of that the question/answers enables to think what friendship means in general and in the show (and for this specific character). Because aren't friends, by definition, good friends?

Is Gilfoyle a good friend?

On one hand, when speaking of Richard in a certain ocassion he was kind enough, with Dinesh, to prep a short consideration-acronym. On the other hand, there's a certain dark feeling that Gilfoyle'd be ok to crush someone's head if given the chance, including perhaps walking away from former friends.

  • This was thought provoking about something I hadn't even considered. +1 from me! Thanks for the great question. – BigTallJosh May 23 '16 at 13:00
  • When the fridge company moves onto a lawsuit [s05e03] against Gilfoyle (and Pied Piped) Richard doesn't seem to agree that he should leave Gilfoyle alone, and even states that he considers Gilfoyle his friend. Nice! And as always Jared comes to help some more, and plenty. – nilon Apr 14 '18 at 16:31
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"Real" friends see each other outside of work. That's the bottom line. But "work friends" can also be rewarding.

Friendly challenges not only make for staving off boredom while at work, but serve to 1) improve everyone's skills, and 2) clarify who is better at what.

Gilfoyle, for whatever childhood-inspired reasons, clearly thinks he's better/smarter than his coworkers. He seems to like reminding others of that, but also welcomes technical challenges to reinforce that. He likes winning those challenges, but like any sportsman, winning by a lot and winning a hard-fought competition have different rewards.

IIRC, he welcomed Carla when she joined the team, because he respected her abilities and she could challenge him (and clearly for other reasons, too), though he still considers himself more talented.

I think he does like his situation and those around him, and is protective of them in his own way. I reckon Gilfoyle's work friendships are somewhat like my own: work is a self-contained world with its own rules and relationships. Those relationships can be very rewarding, but often end when the employment ends for one or both parties. while the interaction can be easy and defined while at work, outside of work it's often stilted and weird.

I am not recalling an episode where Gilfoyle and Dinesh hang out socially. If they did so, and it wasn't stilted and weird, and they were able to interact in a way that didn't involve discussing work, then I'd say they were real friends. but absent such a scene, I would say not.

On an additional note, I've always liked Martin Starr's work and am really enjoying him in this role.

  • Good! Hadn´t thought of difference real/work friends. First scene ever at party with Kid Rock seemed a social situation [S01E01]. So maybe they´re more on the side of real friends. Even if that occasion meant something else for Erlich: potentially as work connections. On another note, I too enjoy the work/character and even if I agree on the depiction he´s not above of himself: when he thought he did wrong (on the security breach) he admitted fault. – nilon May 22 '16 at 16:57
  • In a later development, s03e07, Dinesh is shown as not having friends at all. But on Gilfoyle's side, he has other reasons. He points out that he trusts no one and has too high standards to consider someone a friend. In the same episode, Jared appears in between of them both and says something along the lines of: don't you guys realize it? you're best friends! – nilon Jun 9 '16 at 13:01
  • In the following chapter, s0308, they go out together, Dinesh and Glifoyle to get a coffee. What seems a bit of a social out-of-work friends situation turns to be more bullying from Gilfoyle's side who wears a Pied-Piper Jacket (from Jared) to embarass Dinesh: I'm like a suicide bomber of humiliation. I'm happy to go out as long as I take you with me. Your shame is my paradise. Then he goes on and even rejects Dinesh as someone he doesn't even know. That's pushing playfullness to high levels. – nilon Jun 14 '16 at 14:20

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