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You Asked: Is It Something I Said?

I started a new job last May and really enjoy what I am doing. Around the same time, there was a girl who was hired in my same position for another team. At first we seemed to get along great. We were having lunch together everyday, talking about personal lives and joking about "the boss." Our teams were combined and while we don't really have to work with each other, it seems she now hates me. She also had a friend from her previous job hired, and at first we could all hang out, but now she avoids me like the plague. This also puts strain on the relationship I have with her friend!

I know that you can't have everyone like you, but it seemed to come out of nowhere. I have done a lot of soul searching to figure out if I said something to offend her, put her off from being my friend, but I can't find anything. It seems everyone else in the office is still ok with me?!? I am afraid I am being overly sensitive!

She is now quite short with me, contradicts me at any time she can and avoids contact with me (including sneaking out to lunch with co-workers and not inviting me). She actually huffed out of another co-workers cube when I tried to join a conversation!

Am I being dramatic? Should I just let it roll off me? My feelings are hurt and I am not sure what I did. It makes my work environment very tense. I am not sure if I should ask her about it, and if so how? I don't want her to share and email or letter with anyone else in the office! I would be terribly embarrassed. ~Baffled Brenda

To see DEARSUGAR's answer

Dear Baffled Brenda --

Let the soul searching end, my dear. It's your co-worker's professional responsibility to manage her own feelings or to discuss with you the issue at hand. I want to encourage you to disengage from her behavior and from worrying about 'what you did'. Clearly you're caring and concerned, but her behavior is not about you. How do I know this? When we have a difficult but clean interaction with someone, or an interpersonal problem, the anger is appropriate in scale to the situation. If something old, personal or deep is triggered, the anger is usually very, very charged and lasts longer than the current circumstances would warrant.

If this dynamic interferes with your professional responsibilities, not only your comfort levels, then I would suggest asking her if she's available to talk with you. Be prepared for the fact that she may be rude, sarcastic, blaming or otherwise unable to engage in a healthy dialogue. Set boundaries during the conversation; in other words, let her know you'd like to partner with her to rebuild a professional, respectful relationship and express how important that is to you. If she's too aggressive or full of blame, or behaves in a way that doesn't seem constructive or safe to you, continue to repeat that you'd like to partner with her to rebuild a professional, respectful relationship.

I do hope your co-worker can see her way through the issues she's having, whether they're personal or professional. In the meanwhile, I encourage you to stay focused on your daily tasks, your career goals, and those relationships at work that remain professional and respectful. And good luck.


Join The Conversation
tamberly tamberly 10 years
It seems as though she as jealous of you for some reason. I had a similar problem once with a girl i worked with, she was nice some days and other days she would just walk right by me, or talk to me and pretend to nice and say something rude in a "funny" way. I basically just came to the conclusion that she is the one with the issues and i just went on my merry way, and tell myself that i am at work to work, not to try and be best friends with someone. Well good luck! you seem great and Im sorry that this person at work can't see that.
ilove2ski ilove2ski 10 years
Just be nice. Maybe ask her about it? But, don't be rude to her, you have to see her every day at work.
andaman andaman 10 years
Don't ever stop talking to her at work. Don't give in to her nasty way! Carry on being nice and slowly she'll be nice back. She has to be nice back because if she doesn't everyone at work will then start telling she's so very wrong. I'm sure her friend is already feeling very bad about it. Just feel sorry for her darling. She's very insecure and extremly childish.
andaman andaman 10 years
I think you should confront her. I think it will make her very very embarassed about what she's been doing. I'm more than sure she's jealous about something. Ask her what have you done to upset her? If she said no, then tell her you feel very uncomfortable because you feel like she doesn't like you. That will maker her feel very bad (though she might not show it to you). If she said yes, you've done things to hurt her, ask her what it is and have a civil discussion about it. If you disaggree with her, be polite and try to end the talk nicely. The next day say hi to her in front of everyone. She has to say hi back. If she doesn't then she looks bad in front of people, Not you. Trust me I've been through this before!
Marci Marci 10 years
Very often the person or people you start off work friendships with don't last; and very often they take a rather nasty turn, like this one apparently did. My own take is that when people are new at a job, the comfort of another new person to help them get through the unfamiliar days with is very welcome. But now that this girl feels comfortable and on solid ground, it could be that she regrets having gotten too close too fast, or that she shared some things with you that now she wishes she hadn't. Instead of discussing this with you, she's giving you the brush. I would just go about my business, do my job, remain professional and don't try to get into any conversations she's in, even if it's with people you know and get along with. Why bother?
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 10 years
Brenda I can relate to what you are feeling. If someone is rude to me or I feel they don't like me, I tend to assume that I did something wrong. But chances are, this girl is just immature and rude! I am sure that's not fun for you to deal with, but at least you should give yourself a break about worrying that you did something wrong or that there is something wrong with you. I would just try to rise above the pettiness, and I wouldn't try to be her friend or join her conversation. As hard as it might be to just ignore her, I would try that approach. And in the off chance that you did do something to tick her off, any mature person would have just confronted you about it instead of being a jerk and not telling you why.
controlledspin controlledspin 10 years
Baffled Brenda - I can sympathize with you. Sometimes this work conflict like this comes out of nowhere, and you truly don't know what you did. In the past, I have found that it's THEIR problem, not yours.
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