DAME’s Friendkeeper helps a woman disengage from the office shrew, and another who hooked up with her pal’s former hubby. Her answer just might surprise you.
I did something awful and now I need to figure out if there’s a way to come clean and salvage my friendship: I slept with my friend’s ex-husband. They’ve been broken up for two years, and their separation wasn’t particularly acrimonious. Not that that matters. A few nights ago, I ran into him at an art opening. My date never showed up. He came alone. I hadn’t seen him in a long time, so we grabbed a bite to eat after. And then some drinks. And then…yeah. His place. I don’t have feelings for him. But I do have feelings—of guilt and deep, deep regret. I’ve never been in this situation before! This just sucks so majorly. I don’t want to lose my friendship, but I can’t imagine she’ll be like, “Oh, it’s ok. Have at him!” He doesn’t live nearby, and we talked about not telling her, but that seems like an even worse betrayal. He said he’d follow my lead on this one. I tell her, right?
Hmm. Hmm. Hmm. That’s me wondering… I think when you decide to come clean with someone on something you did, you really need to figure out why. What would be the point of telling her? Is she such a close friend that you couldn’t possibly keep this a secret? I’m guessing not, because I don’t think you would have done it. So I would just close the chapter and lock it. Here’s why: If you tell her, then what you’ve done has to do with her and you know, maybe it just doesn’t. Unless you slept with him because you’re working out some issue with her, it doesn’t need to become part of her story. And no matter how innocent it may have been, and they are broken up and all, it doesn’t sound like a nice thing to tell her. At this point, she isn’t hurt by it, so I would just let the sleeping dog lie. That’s really the kind thing to do.
A year ago I started working at a new job and became fast friends with my office mate, Nancy. She helped me learn the ropes and was very kind to me. We also started getting lunch together and a drink after work and you know how it goes. The thing is, after the shock of the new job and the relief that I was okay there I realized I really don’t like Nancy. Despite the fact that she has a nice husband and a terrific kid, she’s petty and angry and thinks the world is out to get her. Everyone is an “idiot” or a “fucking asshole.” In short, she’s Negative Nancy. I have to stay at my job, but I really don’t want to be miserable from 9 to 5.
Yes! I know her! She is constantly the direct target of giant multi-billion-dollar airlines. And restaurants! And dry cleaners! I see your problem because you work together—you’re stuck and you feel trapped which makes you feel worse. It’s harder to manage in an office. One of the reasons I work alone is because I have co-worker phobia. Also I don’t break the law because I have cellmate-a-phobia. Anywho, you can create boundaries within the confines of your office. I’m not sure it’s worth trying to get into her psyche, you can certainly combat her “Our boss is a fucking asshole” with “Gee, I find him reasonable and pleasant to work with.” As far as the lunches, just tell her you are meeting someone else or working or need to clear your head or run errands. (I have a huge excuse generator, if you ever need.) If you start making some breaks with her, it will get easier. It is your workplace and your right to not feel victimized by negativity.
Got a platonic problem of your own that could use the Friendkeeper’s advice? Fire away: [email protected]. No situation is too uncomfortable or too small and all details are kept confidential.
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