friendship

Rethinking a Friendship

Dear T,

I have this colleague that I’ve worked with for about a year now.  Well for the past 8 months or so, we’ve started hanging out outside of work as friends.  It was cool hanging out with her at first, but now I’m starting to notice some things I don’t really like.  For example, when she drinks too much she has a bad habit of removing the filter from her mouth.  No lie, at a club one time she told this fine man “I bet you have really good meat, and I’m a little hungry.”  What made the line worse, is that the guy’s girlfriend was standing right next to him.  Coworker almost got me involved in a club fight.  And this is just one incident.  This girl also says things to my real friends sometimes that have them looking at her crazy, and me crazy for bringing her around.  I think I should pull back on my friendship with her, but not sure how to go about it. That’s where you come in.  Please help.

Thanks,

The Real Olivia Pope

Dear The Real Olivia Pope,

Thanks for writing to me.  Speaking of Olivia Pope, let’s hope the people at ShondaLand make season 5 it’s best season yet.   In regards to your dilemma, it sounds like you bit off more than you can chew when you attempted to make your coworker your friend.  Unfortunately, you found out that she is a different person outside the realms of an office and under the influence of the bottle.  So it’s understandable that you would want to put some distance between you and her, and reenter back into a work colleague association only.  And the tricky part to this, is doing it in a way that things don’t become too weird for you with her in the workplace.

I’m actually going to recommend two approaches to handling this, but it’s your job to determine which one will work best for you with this “friend.” The first approach is rather indirect.  It’s really about you dropping hints you are no longer interested in hanging out with her.  For starters, limit your conversations at work to work.  Try not to make your usual side chatter as frequent.  Also, if you two usually go out to eat lunch together, start bringing your lunch from home and eating at your desk.  When she starts inquiring about your new lunch plans, just explain you’re trying to save money and get more work done (in most instances bringing your lunch from home is in fact cheaper).  But that means you need to be a little more diligent at work.  In addition, when your work associate ask you about your weekend plans, always have plans that are exclusive rather than inclusive.  After a while, this woman should get the hint.

Approach number 2 is direct and straight to the point.  Call this lady and schedule a time for you two to meet outside of work.  When you and her do meet up, in as nice a way possible, explain to her that you are not a fan of the person she becomes when she drinks.  Cite examples of her inappropriate behavior, and state why that’s not cool for you.  Fair warning, this may be when she feels you are judging her and becomes agitated.  That’s when you reply, you don’t mean to come off judgmental, and think it’s probably best you two just don’t chill outside of work anymore.  While she may feel some type of way initially, in the long run she could appreciate you being upfront with her instead of throwing her a little shade here and there.

Suggestions going forward.

  1. You have to be careful with the friends you make and the company you keep. After the first time this woman got drunk and started acting out, you should have had more than a raised eye brow.
  1. Remember you have to choose your approach based on your coworker’s personality. If you don’t think she will get the message via subtle hints, try the direct approach.

As always nothing but love,

T.

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