A confrere is not quite the same as a buddy. It's a fellow worker, a member of your professional group or an esteemed peer.
Think of the noun confrere as a very French sounding way to say "colleague." In fact, frere means "brother" in French, so a confrere is like someone who's a part of your professional brotherhood. Except these days that brotherhood has been expanded to include all of the working women of the world.