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Thread: Friends with a male coworker

  1. #1

    Friends with a male coworker

    I have been friends with a male coworker for about a year. We are about the same age and we are both married. We have a great friendship, or so I thought until recently. He is in an unhappy marriage and we talk about that a lot. I have encouraged him to work it out because this is his third marriage. He says his wife is constantly accusing him of cheating. He is tired of it and wants out. He said he was going to try and stick it out for a few more weeks. About three weeks ago, he just quit talking to me. He speaks, but never stops by my office for our daily visits. I finally confronted him and he wouldn't tell me what was wrong. After me asking him to please tell me why he had stopped coming by to visit, he blurted out that he didn't want to talk any more about his wife. Then he held up his left hand to show me he had taken his wedding ring off and they were separated. Then he just said he didn't want to talk about it and left my office. OK, I get that. He is going through some difficult times. My question is what does any of that have to do with us being friends and him stopping by to visit with me? We can talk about other things! I thought we were good friends, but now he doesn't stop by at all! Any input or advice would be appreciated! Thanks!

  2. #2
    Platinum Member maew's Avatar
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    Give the man some space OP.... he may not want to talk about his stuff at all and is just keeping his head down so he can power through his day, or maybe he feels uncomfortable talking to you.

    I am sort of curious as to why this matters so much to you? Do you have a bit of a crush on him?

  3. #3
    No. We are just good friends. It matters to me because he is my friend. He has always been able to talk to me. It would bother me if anyone that was a close friend just stopped talking to me, male or female. It makes me think I have said something to upset him and I would never do that. I put a lot of time and effort in to all of my friendships, not just this one.

  4. #4
    Platinum Member Rose Mosse's Avatar
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    Sometimes being a good friend means knowing when to make yourself scarce and when not to push. Don't push him. What you're doing is responding to your own anxious thoughts about how good you are as a friend or not. Try not to take it personally. Now isn't the time to think about what you want. If you are a friend at all, don't fixate on this and overanalyze. Leave him alone and hang out with your other friends outside of work. This person's problems are not your problems. Do you find that you take on other people's issues?

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  6. #5
    Yes you are right. Everything makes a little more sense to me now. I will give him space. I just wanted to make sure that it was not something I said to him. He has always been open with me about everything. And then to just abruptly cut off talking to me was strange. Thank you for your help!

  7. #6
    Silver Member MirrorKnight's Avatar
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    To be frank, I think you lack boundaries and your coworker feels you have over-stepped on them.

    You might regard him a "great friend", but to him, you are just a colleague he has known for only one year. Any "friendship" between you is necessarily complicated by the fact that you are coworkers and people of the opposite sex.

    Generally speaking, unless you have known somebody for a very long time, office friendships are always coloured by office politics and professional interests. Most office "friendships" are also a form of professional networking, rather than a strictly social relationship.

    The fact that you are the opposite sex also complicates the limits of a strictly innocent platonic friendship. (I'm not entirely convinced that you do not fancy him, but I will give you benefit of doubt).

    For example, in my office, I am friendly with everybody, we go out for lunches and dinners sometimes, very occasionally we even go out at night as a group for drinks and karaoke. But with the majority of them, that "friendship" does not go beyond mundane banter and small talk. No serious discussion of anything important. I also maintain a healthy distance with all the girls who have partners. Why? Professional boundaries, respecting their partners etc...

    Even the one guy that I do consider a friend, the one I do discuss some personal things with, I do not give him daily updates about my life. For example, he knows that I am seeing somebody, but I wouldn't feel the urge to tell him if we had a fight or something, and if he gossiped about me, or pushed for details about my relationship, I would immediately dial back what little I did share with him.

    The fact that you ended up discussing his marital problems with him within a year of meeting him, crosses all sorts of boundaries, and I think he recognized it. Do you discuss personal issues with other colleagues too? Do you keep everything discussed in confidence or have you ever gossiped things with other coworkers?

  8. #7
    Platinum Member boltnrun's Avatar
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    Be a true friend and don't make what he's going through about you.

    His third marriage is ending. I doubt he feels great about that. Respect his feelings.

  9. #8
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    Stop making this all about you.

    Back off. As a friend, you should be respecting his space, not focusing on how this impacts you.

    Do you have other friends?

  10. #9
    Platinum Member melancholy123's Avatar
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    I think you should back off and give this guy some space. I suspect he feels really awful that his 3rd marriage has fallen apart. He knows where to find you when he's ready.

  11. #10
    Thanks everyone!

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