DAME’s Friendkeeper helps a woman handle a two-faced colleague and tells another to take the high road when dealing with a perpetually kvetching mom-to-be pal.
I worked with this woman who used to be my office BFF. She would confide in me and had told me on many occasions how she felt our office was the unfriendliest she’d ever worked at, and dish and name names. She wasn’t wrong, but I had been at the place longer, so I’d gotten more accustomed to everyone’s quirks. She left on a rather sour note, but we stayed in close touch. For awhile. Then I started running into her out on the town, hanging out with every single person she’d dissed when we worked together. Part of me thinks, well, good for her, she’s made peace or moved past whatever business she had with them. But the other part of me feels mistrustful of her. Especially since I left my job and started freelancing, and she’s in a position to give me work, and has, instead, given her former nemeses that work. So, I’m feeling a bit rankled. Am I wrong to feel suspicious? I feel like confronting her is pointless, I’m only going to get an earload of BS. My gut tells me to just slowly back away from her, my work here is done. Am I just being paranoid?
I don’t think you are wrong at all to feel mistrustful, but my guess is this is not the only workplace she’s been unhappy in and it may not be uncommon for her to dis and move on and think nothing of it. It sounds like friendship-wise, you aren’t considering asking her to be your maid of honor or anything, she’s just sort of out there. And really what can you confront her with? Saying, “You said you hated Susie and now you’re assigning her projects” is only going to make her defensive. If you don’t need the work, and you want to avoid her mishegas then slowly backing away is fine. If you do, I would say, “It’s great that you have projects to assign, I’d love to work with you again if you think you have something up my alley.” Or, “Hey can I pitch you something?” Because heck, why shouldn’t you? And we definitely don’t need to hold up our work colleagues to the standards of our friends.
I have a problem I feel incredibly guilty about. My friend is five months pregnant and ever since she conceived—and OMG, she practically called us the second sperm met egg—she’s been complaining. First it was fatigue and nausea. Now it’s weight gain and stretch marks. Who knows what atrocities the next four months will bring? But I’m sure I will hear about each and every one, endlessly. I get it: Harboring a life in your body is probably uncomfortable (I’ve never done it, though I can imagine), but I’ve had plenty of other friends go through it without excruciatingly cataloguing every ache and annoyance. I want to be there for her through this life-changing experience, but I’m honestly not sure how much more I can take. How can I curb this onslaught of complaint without offending her hormonally heightened sensitivities? I want us to still be friends when that bump becomes a baby.
What to Expect When Your Friend’s Obnoxiously Expecting
Gah! Don’t you HATE THAT? The non-stop kvetching like they’re the only one who’s ever been pregnant? It’s the worst, shut UP! And you know what I think? That you’re going to have to cut her some slack, because although she could be the most annoying person on the planet, she may also be terrified about what’s coming (and she should be because these babies, they are rough and you’re responsible for them for … oh? EVER.). And a lot of times people obsess about the things that sound like petty annoyances to us (their upcoming weddings, etc.) because it’s too scary to think about the bigger thing—like being married. You can earn several gold stars if you just put up with it, or make jokes (my favorite thing to say to a pregnant woman is “betta’ you than me” while swigging a vodka tonic). But really, her complaining has a cure: it’s delivery and it will happen and you’ll be proud of how lovely you were to her when you wanted her to shut her pickle hole.
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