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Help with coworker situation


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We joined the company at the same time, along with a bunch of other people. Initially we were friends, as everyone was - we were all new and trying to find our ground. We were fairly close, sharing our experiences at work, mostly frustrations.... After a while, I realized I didn't enjoy her friendship anymore because she began to exhibit a very offensive personality and give off a very shady vibe. For example, she would try to one-up me in front of our bosses and make me look bad...or try to anyway. Afterwards she would talk to me as if nothing had happened. After this happened a few times, I decided I had had enough and dropped the friendship, keeping her at arms length. I don't know if she was consciously aware of what she was doing..and I guess if I cared enough about our friendship I would've talked to her about it. But by that point I was angry and didn't care. So we just drifted apart and we're no longer friends.

 

My problem now is that whenever we attend the same staff meetings, she continues to make these quips to make me look bad. Sometimes they're valid points that I just didn't mention because I didn't think was necessary, and sometimes they're points that are self evident and I feel like she talks just for the sake of talking and put attention on herself? I just don't understand. It's very annoying and makes me want to slap her in the face. I wish she would just stop.

 

I've thought about why this makes me feel so bad. Part of it is I don't want to look bad in front of my bosses, which I don't think she succeeds in doing anyway...but there's always the fear. Also, I know it sounds bad to say this but, she's someone who has less credentials for this company than I have. To put it in perspective, I cried and became depressed when I got into this lower tier company, while she was exhilarated. I guess one can say she's trying hard to impress the higher ups, and I'm just like, whatever man... Don't get me wrong, I still respect my bosses and work hard but I just don't have the desire to kiss butt...not just because I'm in a lower tier company than I'm capable of, but because that's just not how I operate.

 

I'd really appreciate some advice on how to handle this situation. I know I can't make her stop...but how do I make myself feel less bad when this happens? Sometimes when she makes these quips, I will dish it back to make her look bad, but I don't enjoy doing that. And I hate that she makes me act in a way that's against who I naturally want to be.

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I would pull her aside and tell her that she often comes off as abrasive to you and you don't appreciate "XYZ" comment. Apologize if you've done something to offend her and tell her it's in the companies (and both of yours) best interest of everyone is on the same team. See how she reacts and proceed accordingly:

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Unfortunately, with these types, they will always have to one-up people and make others look bad to try and look good themselves. They will steal credit for your work and put you down as quickly as they can.

 

I have a "friend" like this. We worked together years ago, in the exact same position. We did a lot of business travel, and we were so close, we roomed together. It took me a while to see what she was doing: always putting me down at the exact moment a higher-up was around, or making sure a mistake I made was known. Eventually, I left the company and so did she, and we became FB friends. I defriended her because I didn't even want to be associated with her, and she sent me a new friend request, which I eventually accepted. So, here's the thing: she continues to do this to others, via her postings. I can see her nonsense hasn't stopped, all these many years later.

 

My point is, this person is the way she is and it has little to do with you, but almost all to do with her own insecurities, her own sense of inadequacy, or her own fear that you will do better than she. The best course of action is for you to treat it like water off a duck's back: let it roll off of you, and let her implode as she makes herself look like an idiot. This is what happened in the case with my "friend". When she left the company, the president of the company was heard muttering "Good riddance". Seemed I was not the only one happy to see her go.

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She doesn't make you act in a way you don't want to be. You're choosing to do that. I'm not trying to be harsh. The sooner you realize you have a choice, the more empowered you'll be/feel.

 

It's hard to grit your teeth and keep taking the high road, but that's what you'll need to do. If you engage at her level, it will make you look bad.

 

If you have concerns that management shares her views, ask for a quick "check in" meeting to see what they think of your performance. I wouldn't mention a thing about your frenemy. Just a friendly, "Hello, wanted to see how I'm doing, and if there is anything you'd like to see me improve on."

 

I agree with LHGirl's post. Some people can't get ahead or earn respect through their work, so they use anything they can. It usually backfires, but it's a slow process. It's frustrating for those who become the targets. Remember that you are better than this.

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