DAME’s Friendkeeper helps a pink-slipped woman deal with her stress-causing friend, and tells another how to defuse her pal’s annoying “omniscience.”
I was recently laid off from my job. I know, it sounds bad, but it really isn’t. It was a job I no longer liked and I got a decent amount of severance so I’m looking at the bright side and viewing this as a way for me to take some time to find the position that’s right for me. But I have a friend who seems unable to let me go about this in peace. We were out to dinner with a group of friends the other night and when I ordered a rather expensive cocktail she said, in front of everyone, “Are you sure you want to get that? It’s not like you have an income right now.” She’s offered to loan me money, which felt more patronizing than altruistic (especially because I don’t actually need it and told her so). And every time I see her she says, “How’s the job search? Aren’t you getting stressed out?” To be honest, now I am! But mainly because she won’t stop talking about how I should be. I know she’s only trying to help, but geez. What can I do?
Pink Slipped Problems
Congratulations on successfully extricating yourself from a position that no longer suited you—and severance. As Al Pacino says, Hoo-hah! You have a great attitude and that is exactly what you need when you’re looking for a job. And your dear friend must be told this. But first the comment about whether or not you should be ordering the expensive drink—that is no less insulting than saying to a friend who struggles with weight, “Do you really think you should eat that?” And it would be bad enough if she said it to you alone, but in front of other people?? Unforgivable! And also? None of her b.i. business. She has to be told. You haven’t asked for her help, you’ve got it under control, and her negativity not only isn’t helping you, but it’s also hurting you. You should not be panicked and stressed, because people don’t want to hire someone who is panicked and stressed, they want to hire someone who is FABULOUS and emits strength and confidence. They don’t want Desperado. Job searching is very difficult, and your friends should be buoying you, not tearing you down.
I have a friend who says, “I knew it!” every time I have a piece of news. She’s always excited for good news and sympathetic with bad news, but her initial reaction is always this presumptuous, “I knew it!” It drives me bonkers—it’s like she makes it about her. And frankly, no she didn’t “know it.” I’m pretty sure she wasn’t at the doctor’s office when my husband and I found out our first baby was actually two babies. I don’t remember her being in the room when we decided to try and have a third kid. And I’m positive she wasn’t at the office when my husband’s boss decided that his job was being eliminated. I need a way to either let this go, or some words to let her know that this makes me crazy.
No Miss Know-It-All
First of all, tremendous kudos to you for not strangling your friend. Next time you see her, you should wear one of those red-white-and-blue-ribbon fake-medal things and when she asks you why tell her Dear Julie gave it to you for not strangling her and see if she says she knew that! These people are all around; I used to work in an office with this woman who was constantly taking credit for predicting the most obvious things. Like when it was announced that Condoleezza Rice was writing a memoir, she said, “See? Didn’t I say she would?” Like ooh, put on your jeweled turban, you are psychic! Who would’ve ever thought the first African-American female secretary of state would WRITE A BOOK ABOUT IT? But I couldn’t stand this woman. She wasn’t my friend so I made no effort to do anything but steer clear of her. In your case, you are friends and you want to remain such. I really think this personality quirk comes from insecurity—about being smart or in the know—and it makes the person feel better about herself to claim she saw this coming. What you need to do though, when she does this, is to use humor. Say, “Really? Did you watch the zygotes split? How could you have known this?” If you kind of make it into a joke when she does it, it might make you feel less irritated that she’s pulling the spotlight off you. And if it happens repeatedly she’s going to see the pattern and hopefully stop, or she’s a lunkhead and she doesn’t deserve your news.
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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