Annie's Mailbox: Upset at Work
Dear Annie: I work in an office with 35 women, and it seems as though someone is always hating someone else. Right now, I am the target of two women.
One of these women used to be my friend, and I have no idea why she isn't any longer. I once asked her about it, but her reply surprised me. She said I took advantage of her by switching shifts so I could leave early while she worked late. I double-checked and discovered that, of the many times we switched, I ended up working late shifts more often than she did. She also said I spoke poorly about her ex-husband, who cheated on her for years while she cried on my shoulder. She claims she never once spoke against my ex, but the truth is, her constant negative comments were instrumental in my final decision to leave him.
I don't understand why she is angry enough to end a decades-long friendship, although she has done this with other people in her life. She now works with a woman who used to be friendly but no longer speaks to me except to insult me.
I have done nothing to deserve this treatment. I still am friendly toward them because I don't want to lower myself to their childish level. But it bothers me, especially because it is so obvious. Is there any way to make this better, or do I simply have to live with it? -- Upset at Work
Dear Upset: Your ex-friend and her co-worker enjoy the negative vibes because it makes them feel powerful and in control. Because they feed off of each other, it prevents either one from listening to others' opinions or working out their issues.
It's not uncommon for co-workers to behave as though they never left high school. Stop trying to befriend either of these women, and ignore their negativity. Do your job, act professionally and neutrally toward them, and try to make friends with others. These sad women aren't worth one second of your time.
Dear Annie: I am a communication skills consultant. I disagree with your response to "Beaucoup Baffled," who received an invitation to an overseas wedding and wanted to know whether she could bring a friend.
You suggested a rather cryptic response ("I'm not sure I'm up to making such a long journey by myself") in the hope that the future bride would understand the hidden meaning. Why not just ask a simple question, such as "Would it be OK if I brought my boyfriend?" -- Blainville, Quebec
Dear Quebec: We understand your objection, but it is wrong to put the bride in a position where she could feel obligated to invite an extra person. She may not have the room or the budget to do so. She even may have intended to introduce her traveling friend to a nice French guy. By saying that one is not up to making the trip alone, it gives the bride the option of including the extra person without backing her into a corner or forcing her to be unkind.
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of This Classic Annie's Mailbox column was originally published in 2015. To find out more about Classic Annie's Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit Creators Syndicate at www.creators.com.