Awkard situation at work


If you choose to listen to another person make it without conditions.
You will not feel used/taken advantage of if you make it your personal choice for your character to be this way.
Feeling taken advantage of (eg:when someone doesn’t listen back) only comes about if a person feels that they are not in control but when you yourself choose to “give without conditions” then you don’t feel this way as you are in control of your feelings/character/decisions.
I hope that made sense.:thinking:

If she’s the sort of person who isn’t receptive of other people’s opinions and only “likes the sound of her own voice” then I would just remain coworkers on a pleasant basis but not become friends friends.
People who are this way anyway usually only prefer friends who are likeminded anyway don’t they?
Eg:some people who are strongly pro gay marriage don’t want to be friends with people who are against gay marriage,it’s almost like a bigotry of their own form.
So if that’s what she’s like,can you just allow her to make the decision for you?
Iow-does she really want to be friends with someone who’s values are totally different from hers?
If she wants a friend who isn’t allowed to have their own opinions…that’s a pretty distorted view on friendship imo.


Not sure you can to be honest with you


So I guess it really didn’t matter how I stepped back then


I have heard of the theory ‘Don’t have expectations and you won’t be disappointed’ and honestly, I think it is silly. If the movie theater announces a certain show will be playing at 8 O’clock, I would expect them to play that movie (as long as there were no unforseen circumstances like a fire). When a person gets married, I think it is normal they expect their spouse to be faithfull. You even mention ‘Only share your problems with people who’s character has shown repeatedly they are trusthworthy’. Doesn’t that imply I can expect these people to be trustworthy???

Also, how do I know if someone is trust worthy without ever confiding in them. That is the risk one must take to find good people. I tried to open up and I learnt she is not the person to open up to. My concern is to continue in the most harmoniously way possible.

One last thing : If I said ‘It’s OK I will figure it out’ would be like saying ‘yes there is a problem’ that would invite more questions from her. I wanted to make a ‘hard stop’ as to what was wrong.


although I realize things will never be 50/50, I still need them to be 40% in my favour. I don’t care giving the other person 60%. And actually, she does listen to my ‘fluffy’ stories. But she talks mainly more about her problems than her ‘fluff’.

I do think she has issues. After all, she is well over 50 at at least every second day she mentions she grew up in an alcoholic home. What shocked me is the way she told so non-chalantly when I first met her. I can’t help but think if she came to peace with it she wouldn’t constantly bring it up at work


Give her the ugly souvenir with the comment, it made think of you.
Not to sure how to communicate the way to inform your friend that you two are not compatible with each other for a true friendship. Yet maintain an office friendship.
But i do think you should have a discussion about your work relationship outside of work.


Forgive me, cmscms, if I came across as heartless there…I did not mean to sound uncaring to your situation…We ALL need someone to listen to us when we need a friend…I try to listen to as many as I can, but even I fall short, sometimes terribly short…I have to work on that in my own life and continue to strive for better, so whatever “advice” I might give I have to be willing to take that “advice” as well…If I were your co-worker, even I would listen to you, since it is in my nature to be understanding of others, just as you’ve listened to her…I’m only speaking from my own experience now…Maybe I’ve had friends who have let me speak as much as I’ve listened to them…Nowadays, I guess that’s rare? They are, sadly, few and far between…Despite that, I do know that Jesus hears me when no one else does and for that I am thankful…He has helped me more times than I can count…Galatians 6:2 also tells us to “bear ye one another’s burdens”, but I can see it going both ways, as well…I am only saying that ALL of us should be more attentive to each other in general as humans showing love and compassion…It doesn’t always work out that way, though…What’s great is that there are forums like this where people can ask questions like this and get answers in a non-threatening way, so forgive me again if I came across as a cold, rude person…It was not my intention to do so…Your concerns, cmscms, are also valid and worthy of dignity and respect…


You mention her saying she grew up in an alcoholic home, too…Maybe she has been looking for someone to confide this in and you just happened to be there at the beginning…Maybe she still isn’t at peace with it…We could all cite things in our past that we wish could have gone differently or things we wished we could have changed…Even if you’ve never experienced a similar situation, maybe you know someone who did, so while you might not be able to give sympathy, you can give empathy…With that said, a true friend doesn’t feel that they have to speak all the time and lets the other friend have a chance to speak…When I say I try to listen, I am also allowed to speak and interject, at least with the friends I trust…Remember, I’m only speaking from PERSONAL EXPERIENCE here…It must be reciprocal BOTH ways or else one feels like he or she isn’t being heard and that’s not a good way to live for either of them…The 50/50 rule is ideal, the 60/40 rule (as you mentioned) is good…When things become 80/20 or even 90/10, that’s when problems can arise…

Just as a side note, too…You know you can trust a friend when you tell him or her something small or insignificant (maybe something you normally wouldn’t tell someone, but that wouldn’t bother you if it got out…) and tell them not to repeat it…If you can trust him or her in small matters like that and on a consistent basis, those are the people who will have your back…While this is not always a guarantee, I have found this personally to be the case more times than not…But again, sometimes, you must “test the waters” to find those “true confidants”…Again, they are rare…and when you find that person, definitely cherish him or her, because they don’t come along often…The ones that gossip behind your back, slander you, say malicious things, etc. are simply friends not worth having…We can love them and even pray for them, and sometimes, we may have to work with them, but that doesn’t automatically mean we have to reciprocate a friendship…And I can be “friendly” (or should I say civil) with my co-workers, even if I’m not necessarily good friends with them…Just a few thoughts, or my two cents, in any case…


Your right that it’s natural to want a friendship/relationship to be two way and people to care back,but realistically this won’t always be the case.
When we go to the movies we are making like a “contract” of sorts -ie:we pay the money and on their end they “promise” the movie will be delivered and on time etc.
Unfortunately dealing with humans are much more complex.
Sometimes there are some signs that someone is more trustworthy or less trustworthy.
Eg:you mentioned that she came from a family with alcoholism and that she mentions it often,this to me would give me an indication that she has unfinished emotional business with her past and probably isn’t in a clear place to be able to objectively offer support,sympathy and advice.
“Broken” people need to work on themselves before they are in a position to help others.

Have you considered being direct with her about what it is that’s bothering you?


If you don’t want the relationship to be anything but professional, distant but kind, don’t give her the item and just say There really wasn’t anything I found that you’d like. Then bring a book or take a walk for your break. Continue to be polite but distant. Such continual talkers and venters can really wear on you, and you have no moral obligation to continue it. I wouldn’t. Start to nose around and you will find not everyone is in the clicks you describe; there are always people longing for something else or feeling like outsiders. Think about how to form other friendships, or decide it is not going to happen and look for friendships outside of work.


Every day I thank God for my friends, friends of every religion, no religion, every political bent, I hope that I can bring a little bit of joy to their lives.


Jesus ate with tax collectors and prostitutes. It is very possible to be friendly to people of every political and religious/non-religious belief. There are so many other topics of conversation beyond contraceptives and homosexuality, talk about books or film, about gardening or knitting or philosophy or bird watching or cosmetics or anything else in the whole world.

We are commanded to be light in the world, we are not commanded to build walls to keep out people who are sinners.

I pray that you can reconcile with your neighbor and that this Holiday season is made warmer by stronger bonds of friendship.


Yes, I was direct with her and she got defensive. That is why I chose not to have break with her a few days after. Her behaviour clearly indicated if I try to be direct she will talk over me


I guess I am confused. You want her to listen to you talk about non-fluffy stuff, but you don’t want to be friends with her? Those seem to be contradictory desires.

If I meet someone I have no desire to be friends with, I could listen to them talk all day and not want to share with them anything personal about myself.

To answer your question about the gift, I don’t think it would make things worse if you gave it to her. If anything, maybe it would smooth over some of the awkwardness. But, yes, it might make her want to resume the relationship dynamic you previously had.

If it were me, I’d be okay with just listening to someone talk about themselves all the time. I’m more of a listener than a talker. So take that for what it’s worth.


yes you are confused. I don’t want people from work to be in my social circle outside of work since I have learnt from experience that is a recipe for disaster.

I was friends with her and listened to her problems and when I needed an ear she was not there for me. That is why I no longer wish to be friends with her


Do you not see anything weird in that? You don’t want to be friends with her outside of work, but you want her to be a good friend and listen to you while at work.


No I don’t because she knew I didn’t want to be friends outside of work, she used my listening ears for months and when the first time I needed something she made it clear she was not availablee


So you are annoyed that someone you dont want to know outside of work isn’t giving you enough ear time in work. How do you fail to see how odd that is?


Is there a chance that she didn’t understand at the time how much it was bothering you?
Ie:if you were to invite her out to lunch and candidly said to her (non pointedly) that the reason why things have been awkward and distant is because you feel friends should be equally supportive and that the friendship is not as mutually supportive as you’d like do you think she would be receptive or defensive?
At least if she knows the problem it might give her a chance to self reflect.

If she would get defensive theres probably little you can do.
People can only give what they have to give, and due to her upbringing, she may not be in a position to be sympathetic and supportive etc.
You might need to remain compassionate and cordial at work,but not necessarily form a friendship.

To me the souvenir situation is the minor part.If it was me I would just do what other posters suggested and just say to her you didn’t see anything on your trip that she would like/anything nice.

Generally,if she doesn’t act respectful of your beliefs,then I wouldn’t talk any those topics with her and just avoiding topics like gay marriage etc.

You mentioned that being friends outside of work has caused you some dramas in the past,but in a way you have quite a high expectancy for a work collegue to be like a close friend.
Due to this,doesn’t the ‘boundary’ you set about work vs outside life seems almost pointless?


As I stated before, I listened to her issues without judgement. I just wanted the same in return

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