Patience with a coworker (again)


This issue has come up before for me, and I’ve posted about it before, so sorry for bothering everyone with it again!

I posted several months back about how my coworker (who used to be my best friend of 15 years) disapproves of my boyfriend and refuses to acknowledge him. Since then, we’ve been getting along fine, if you call elephants in the room fine. I don’t mention him to her, and I leave the room if she’s there when he phones me. I am happy, and she seethes. See? All is well. :shrug:

Well, on New Year’s Eve, my boyfriend borrowed my cell to call a few friends and wish them a happy new year - his phone battery had died. While he was doing that, he called my coworker and told her he was sorry that they got off to a bad start, and that he wouldn’t mind putting the past behind them if she was willing. Whether or not she wanted to be friendly to him, he wished her and her husband a happy and prosperous new year.

Forty minutes later I received an SMS message from her: “You are so out of line. I demand an apology.” My boyfriend convinced me not to respond with something rude:thumbsup: , so I sent back “Happy new year.” (It was the most polite thing I could manage!) Her response? “You don’t have the right to wish me a happy new year after the **** you just pulled!”

And there has been blissful silence ever since! :smiley: But seriously, I’m going to have to work with her and share an office with her after my vacation, about ten days from now. So should I leave things be, or try to patch things up?

I won’t apologize for his behavior - I’m really impressed at what he did. It takes a lot of courage and humility to wish somebody well when they go out of their way to be rude to you. I’m considering sending her an e-mail telling her why I think he is the right man for me, and therefore why I won’t leave him just because she disapproves of him. (For those of you who missed the beginning of the story, she thinks that he’s not really divorced and that I’m committing adultery. He is. I’m not.)

The e-mail (I’ve written it already) describes what a charitable, kind, honest, generous, and understanding man he is. It describes how supportive and loving he is toward me and others. I did not highlight the contrast between his actions and hers. I did not stoop to accusations. I did explain how I know that he is really divorced. I also stated that neither he nor I feels that it’s necessary for me to choose between her friendship and my boyfriend unless she forces the issue.

I figure if I send the e-mail this weekend (after letting my BF see it) that gives her a week to figure out her reaction before I see her again. So, if you were me, would you send the e-mail? Would you do nothing and enjoy the ten days of silence? Would you respond in some other way? (If it makes any difference, my resolution this year is to be more charitable, understanding, and patient with people who bother me. She’s way up there on the list!:rolleyes: )


Why is this even an issue? Certainly you are not sleeping with him regardless whether or not he is married. Incidently, if he is divorced civilly, has the marriage been annulled?

So, you say this person was a friend? I mean no disrespect here, but you seem almost to be enjoying this whole thing. Perhaps, I don’t understand the situation. Perhaps, I am simply too old to relate to these type of situations. However, it seems to me that if you would like to attempt to save this friendship (IE - you value the friendship) then you TALK to your friend. NOT email, NOT txt message, etc. Email and text messages are good when you don’t care enough to send the very best. However, to communicate effectively, both parties should be able to see body language, facial expressions, etc. Invite her to lunch (without the “B/F”) and speak openly and honestly with her. Be prepared to hear things that you may not wish to hear. If you really intend to be “more charitable, understanding, and patient” this year, what better way to demonstrate it.


Hi JW!:wave:

Sorry you’re still dealing with this…my advice? To not share personal details of your life with anyone you work with…or people who are not your REALLY close friends. This person does not sound like a friend, for sure, and people always try to give advice, even if you were not seeking it, simply because they feel that you wouldn’t have shared your story if you didn’t want advice…right? lol;) So…the lesson here, is to not share personal details with people at work, or anyone who is not close that you can trust. I have learned that the hard way way back when, when I first started out in the business world…but, I never forgot it.:wink:

Since she is behaving this way–I would probably just let it go. If she confronts you at work, when you begin sharing an office…I would calmly tell her that your bf meant his apology, that it was not meant to offend. Perhaps, apologize to her, but that’s it. If she continues to go off, I would say…ok, it’s clear that you are going to keep this going–I don’t want to keep this going, and let’s just agree to keep this a working relationship. After a while, if someone wants to be immature and carry on like a second grader, you just have to walk away knowing you did everything you could to salvage the relationship. (although, I don’t consider this person a friend, really)

I wish you luck with it…hope everything else is going well with you and your bf!


Hey lady,

I wouldn’t send her the email. Besides, I think we pretty much deduced WHY she hates him so much, so if you go on about how wonderful he is, it’ll only get worse from her. Your FH did a nice thing, a charitable, good, honest try, and it was met with the typical
hostility in which you have grown accustomed from her.

Just let this one slide.

Enjoy ten days of silence. She put the ball in your court, so now she can’t even act up at work if she doesn’t get her way, or doesn’t like you talking to him. Keep the ball in your court. Don’t give her an inch, for your own sanity’s sake.

Enjoy your new year at work!


When dealing with a workplace situation, you need to understand the workplace rules for harassment. And in a workplace environment, what does it matter if your coworker does not acknowledge him?

If the coworker makes snide comments out of the blue, that can be considered harassment and you might have recourse to human resources.

Now, here’s the bad news for you from a human resources perspective: what your boyfriend did - calling her cell, and I assume this is off hours - might also be considered harassment. And since it was done from your cell, you now might be the one who is “called on the carpet” for this, no matter how well-intentioned he may have been.


Norseman - Thank you very much for the helpful human resources guide. We don’t have a human resources department, which means we’d have to take anything directly to the boss, but knowing where each of us stands is important.

I know I probably won’t take this to the boss - I’m just praying for the patience to leave when my contract is up in August.

KCtheMommy - I like the idea of just keeping the ball in my court. That way I don’t have to worry as much about what’s coming next.

Whatevergirl (hello again!) - I have stopped sharing details of my life with her, but I’ve talked about him in casual conversation with others, within her hearing. When a colleague wanders by and asks whether I spent Christmas with my boyfriend, a simple “yes” from me is enough to set her off. I don’t want to bring this situation to the attention of the whole department by asking them not to ask me personal questions anymore.

Here in Korea, it’s really common to ask about someone’s personal life, especially dating. “How are things with your boyfriend?” “Have you been on any dates recently?” “When do you two plan to get married?” “When is he going to propose?” - these are all reasonable questions that are not too personal to ask a colleague. It would be rude of me to refuse to answer, and I’d rather offend her by answering in her presence than offend an innocent colleague by refusing to answer.

And we also live in the same apartment building in neighboring apartments, so she can hear his voice in the hallway when he visits me two or three times a month.

Tietjen - Yes, his marriage is annulled, and no, I’m not sleeping with him. I guess I’ve given up on this friendship, since she’s insisting on believing the worst of me. I just can’t believe that after we’ve been friends for 15 years, she’d imagine that I’m sleeping with a married man! I thought she knew me better than that. I thought she thought better of me than that. I knew she had issues with marriage and divorce, but this goes beyond anything I expected, and I’m hurt.

It’s been six months since she started using silent treatment and shouting matches to try to make me rethink dating this man, and she still hasn’t given me a decent reason besides “he’s probably still married” and “you’re being selfish”. I guess my goal is peaceful coexistence until my contract expires in August, and then I’m leaving. So what if she drove me away from my work? Happiness is worth more than pride.

I know I should just forget about the friendship we had for years, but it’s really hard when we used to be so close. Even six months ago, we used to talk every day on the phone, before I moved here.


JW–Yes, I understand…I mean, I ask these things of some of my coworkers…but, not in judgement. Perhaps, that is the problem with this coworker…she is judging you, and it’s wrong. She is very hostile over it, too. I mean…let’s say you were taking up with a man who was not yet divorced…it would sadden me, if I knew a coworker of mine was going to travel down that path–but I wouldn’t go ape crazy over it. lol I mean…that is so not your case, so why is she acting like this? Very odd indeed.

I will say that sharing details can lead to people asking…where did you meet bla bla…there is nothing wrong with sharing your personal life if you feel comfortable with that. But, I like KCthemommy’s advice…It is hard when we have to leave friendships that are not working anymore. But, you have been a good friend…I wonder if this person is jealous of you in some way? It just seems like the only rational (jealousy isn’t rational behavior though lol) explanation.:shrug:


I wonder about the jealousy thing. I have lots of things that she doesn’t - first and foremost for me, a loving relationship with my family, when she won’t speak to hers. I paid off my student loan, she spent her salary on clothing, expensive restaurants, and vacations and still has a huge debt. She planned to start a master’s degree four years ago, but never got around to applying. I just started mine this fall. She doesn’t see the sacrifices I’ve made for the sake of those things - my boyfriend and I haven’t been to the movies or gone out to dinner at a restaurant ever. My furniture is old stuff I’ve scrounged. My clothes don’t look nearly as nice as hers.

I wonder whether she’s unhappy in her marriage, though, and that’s why she doesn’t want me to be in this relationship. I know she’s had a few arguments with her husband recently. She wanted him to quit his job - he’s an army officer - so they could have the freedom to travel. He didn’t. She told him they could only have kids if he quit his job, but she told me that even if he does quit she won’t have children.

When she’s yelled at me about my BF, she’s told me that I don’t want a man who wants or has kids, which I find strange because I’ve always said I wanted four. :rolleyes: She’s also told me that I am wasting my money on a master’s degree because I don’t want or need one. :shrug: Again, I’ve always said I’d like to get a master’s degree. I think she’s projecting what she wants onto me.


Yes, the more details I see here, the more that seems to be the case. Jealousy is a sad thing. I think at various times in our lives…we have all been envious of another. I have been envious of people in my life–and hated feeling like that! It causes anger, actually…which is what she is displaying. I know it might be hard…but maybe try to talk with her again…maybe go to lunch. I initially said that you should just let it lie, but I read further and see that you had a good friendship with her. (or have) I think that it can be salvaged, but you might need to hold her hand (literally) and show her that you don’t want to compete…you just want to be her friend. If she continues to spew negativities, then I suppose moving on would be in your best interest. But, knowing this now…she is hurting over something…we don’t know what, and is displaying it in this way. You sound like a very smart lady, Ms JW…I think it’s awesome that you are going for your masters, by the way. I was too tired of studying to go past my BA.:blush: So kudos to you for doing that! :thumbsup:

My advice would be (knowing this now) to go to lunch with her…see if this helps. Be compassionate. But, if it leads nowhere, then I would be polite, and as KCthemommy says…leave it in her court.


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