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Jealousy, Awkwardness, Work Friends


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I started a new job almost 5 years ago. Everyone was friendly and kind, so I have grown to be friends with a few of the ladies in the office. 

One lady is around my mothers age and she and I have very similar family's. Lets call her Betsy. She reminds me of my mother, and we chat for hours. I'm 31 and she's in her 60s. She loves to talk and we get along well. I even introduced her to my mother and they get along so well. We like the same music, agree on politics, live similar healthy lifestyles, have similar families. She even introduced me to her son and he and I have become friends. We text and chat a lot. Betsy wants me to date him, but it's complicated on his end. 

My family lives a distance away and it's nice to have her around. She even helped me house hunt and find my dream home. I'm 28 and that meant a lot to me. She's been at our work place for over 20 years. I consider us good friends. 

I got friendly with another lady. Let's call her Pam.  She's 38, so we have stuff in common both being younger single ladies. She is friends with Betsy too. 

Pam and I chat all the time about dating, life, young women issues. I consider her a good friend. Pam has known Betsy for 10 years and they are very friendly. 

Pam is in a tough spot in life. She's 38, never met a man to settle with, no kids, says she wants that, but puts no effort into it. She's getting older. She lives with her mother still and takes care of her and will never leave her. Their living situation is not great. Pam's mother doesn't ever want her to leave her, so Pam won't forge her own way. They have tons and tons of animals as pets. She only got her drivers license 5 years ago. Pam doesn't try to date, she always looks sort of drab, wearing the same outfits day after day, and she's heavy. She doesn't eat well or exercise. She doesn't take care of her health. She works constantly by her own choice 8 am to 8 pm. And doesn't try to meet anyone. I'm not perfect, but I'll say "hey Pam let's go for a lunch walk." She won't go. 

She makes excuses and barely gets up. She talks about the days when she ran in 3k and 5k races like it was yesterday. But that was over 10 years ago. Pam is a big talker. Like she's huge into fitness, but she isn't. Like any day she's going to move out and buy a house, but she doesn't. That she's tough and is going to ask for a raise, but she doesn't. That she is going to give people a piece of her mind, but she doesn't. That she's going to have children by herself. I don't buy it. One day, I even convinced her to come to an open house with me. I saw a beautiful home for sale near me and convinced her to go. She acted strange. She was quiet and stressed. She claimed she knows everything there is to know about buying a home, but when put on the spot with one, she crumbled. The people at the showing asked her what her approval was money wise- how much she could afford. She said "oh I can more than afford this"

She didn't know one thing and was hastily asking me about mortgages, money things, processes, etc after we left. She hadn't even called a mortgage lender and had no idea what she was approved for.  Then she made all excuses and bailed on buying the house. But still talks like any day she'll go get one. 

I've been noticing recently that Pam seems almost jealous of my friendship with Betsy. She's very awkward and quiet when we all hangout. She seems very jealous that I try to date and I have my own home. She clings to Betsy and throws out how they've known each other for 10 years and she knows her son and husband. 

She kisses Betsy's butt and tries to convince Betsy that they are the exact sane person, so Betsy thinks they are. I don't think they have anything in common. They don't have the same lifestyle, goals, health, family etc. I'm more similar to Betsy. I am not jealous at all that they are friends. I want to be friends with everyone. I just think Pam acts strange and clings to Betsy. It was even funny. We ran into Betsy's husband and son. They barely knew who Pam was and said that they hadn't seem her in over 10 years. Pam acts like she regularly sees them. They barely recognized her. 

I talk to her son every week. We text and have gotten to be friends. Pam acted jealous when she found that out too. 

I don't know why Pam acts this way. I am not jealous at all that she's known Betsy for 10 years. I just want to be friends with everyone. I'm proud that I own my own home and have forged my own life. Not my fault that Pam hasn't. Betsy and I will order healthy food out for lunch, Pam doesn't. That's her choice. I think she's scared that I am closer with Betsy now, but Betsy and I have a lot in common. Betsy even mentioned how we could maybe go visit her son at his house 5 hours away. She didn't invite Pam. She knows her son and I are friends. 

I hate jealousy and fakeness. Don't talk the talk, but never walk the walk. If you want to buy a house, take the steps to buy one. If you want to meet someone, get married, and have kids, get out there and date. Its making me not like Pam as much as a friend. I don't know what to do. 

 

 

 

 

 

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56 minutes ago, Alex39 said:

I don't know what to do. 

There's nothing to do. Be more respectful of Pam's choices. If she wants to think a certain way let her. 

I think your desire to be "friends" with everyone may be getting in the way. Don't be a fake friend either. Just go about your own way if you don't think well of her.

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Posted (edited)

Well I understand that you're just venting and writing your feelings about Pam and that's fine. Of course you're allowed to have thoughts and feelings about this situation and you were just expressing them. This is an anonymous forum so you're being honest.

However I just sense a very condescending tone when you're talking about Pam and like you think you're better than her. I know it's frustrating when people say they want something, but they don't do anything about it. But in all fairness that's actually not your concern if she doesn't do those things.

I do get a sense that you actually think you're better than Pam because you have your own house, you're healthy, you're dating and you're closer to Betsy and her son. In reality a person who dates actually isn't better than a person who doesn't date. A person who's slim isn't "better" than an overweight person. Sure, maybe many men are more likely to be attracted to a slim woman than overweight, but it doesn't mean she's actually better as a person. 

You said that it seems Pam is jealous of you, and maybe she is, that's possible. But it also seems like you're trying to be in competition with her too. You're saying: :"I have more in common with Betsy, I know her son more, etc." Why is it a competition who knows Betsy better or has more in common? You're all adults there so I don't think those things should really matter.

It also almost came across as if you were trying to trip Pam up or something and "prove" that she won't really buy a house. She probably actually does have money to buy a house because you said she works every day from 8:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. So her income probably is good. It doesn't really make sense that you said she bailed on buying THAT house, that somehow it proves that she won't buy a house. She didn't have to buy that particular house just because you showed it to her. She's allowed to decide not to buy it. Maybe she did it because she's too scared to buy a house, or maybe she just didn't want that house. Who knows. But she doesn't have to just start doing things because you want her to.

I get the sense that you would prefer if Betsy and Pam weren't friends. They have actually known each other for ten years so they were friends a number of years before you started at the job. For some reason Betsy actually wants to be friends with Pam and doesn't have an issue with things that you have issues with. E.g. Such as that Pam doesn't date, doesn't live alone, isn't fit, etc. 

Friendship is a choice so if you don't respect Pam and don't want to be friends with her, you actually don't have to be friends with her. If you want to start distancing yourself from her then by all means you can do that.

But in regards to Betsy and Pam being friends and how Pam lives her life, you actually can't do anything about that. That's not actually your place to take Pam with you to buy a house or to make sure she gets fit or anything like that. It's true, it doesn't sound like you and Pam have much in common, but that's just who Pam is. People don't change and they don't have to change to suit you either. We don't have to be friends with people we don't like but just because they don't live like us or do things we do doesn't mean we're better than them.

Edited by Tinydance
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I would accept that you don't respect Pam or have much in common with her as a result.  It's time to keep your distance because this can go south mighty fast. You will show your irritation with your view of her "she doesn't walk the walk" and she will interpret all your accomplishments as you listed them as you trying to act superior to her -even if you are not.  

 

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Work acquaintances are sometimes just that. Just some people we work with. We maybe interact with them because we have to for job, or just to pass time. But most of those people are not your friends. Friends are people who care for you and are there for you. 99,9% of people at work dont care for you. Heck lot of them just wants to see your back. Some of them even want to stab a knife to your back. You will rarely find a place where you wont encounter: fakeness, jealousy, backstabbing, willingness to do anything to remain in position including affairs etc. Seen it all and will probably see some more soon. Heck, even Betsy is in it because she wants to hook you up with her son. Turn off her son and see the attitude change. 

I am not telling you this to discourage you. Just telling you that what you encountered is like a Tuesday in any corporate structure company. Do your job and excell in that. The rest you wing it. Dont fraternize with somebody who is clearly bitter and jealous. Be cordial, heck even talk at work if you must. But dont think of most of those people as your friends. Because as you can see, they are not. 

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Posted (edited)

I just also wanted to add that it's natural to be more drawn to people that we have things in common with and the same values in life. In my opinion it's still possible to be friends with people who are different to us as long as we actually accept and respect that people are different and are not "us". 

I have a lot of friends and I'm actually in a few different separate friendship groups. For example, in one friendship group we have a 39-year-old woman who doesn't really date, only works ten hours a week and doesn't want kids. We also have a guy who’s 38 and has always lived with his Mum and said he always will. We've got me who moved out of home at 23 (I'm 37) and I always dated a lot and always wanted kids.

Also have my best friend in the group who also always wanted kids and worked full-time. My best friend is skinny and very fit, she jogs every day and does a lot of dancing. The only exercise I really did was walking and I've always been naturally bigger all my life. The reason why we're all really good friends in this friendship group is because we just accept and respect that that the other people in the group are not you and don't live like you or want everything you want. 

If you don't want to be friends with people you don't have common values with, it's fine. But if you do want to be friends with someone who's not like you then there needs to be an acceptance about that and to leave them to live as they want.

Edited by Tinydance
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Posted (edited)

I've made several close friends through work and met my husband at work. One of our friends through work was our best man, at the hospital when our son was born, his godfather and still very close with my husband and a good friend to me too. I don't think the issue here is work related other than since you have to see Pam daily it's harder to keep your distance but my advice is as above.

Edited by Batya33
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I do not think I'm better than Pam at all. I wasn't competing with her at all. I liked her as my friend so much. When Pam and I hangout alone, we laugh and have a great time.  Pam, Betsy, and I started spending more time together and I noticed Pam was clingy to Betsy, constantly reminding how close they've been for how long, and acting like Betsy is her sister. Trying to remind Betsy that they are alike, and being a bit fake. I was surprised by this. I don't act this way at all, so it shocked me.

I started noticing this more and more. She was constantly kidding her butt. I don't know why she acts this way. I like both of them as much friends. I don't like when she acts like this. It just wasn't attractive. I don't want to compete. I like Betsy too. Betsy does her own thing and is loyal to her family. Betsy plans on retiring and moving away in two years or so. 

I like Pam, but she kind of lies to Betsy like she's just like her. I just don't like fake people. Just be yourself. I'm myself with them both 100%

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Posted (edited)
38 minutes ago, Alex39 said:

I do not think I'm better than Pam at all. I wasn't competing with her at all. I liked her as my friend so much. When Pam and I hangout alone, we laugh and have a great time.  Pam, Betsy, and I started spending more time together and I noticed Pam was clingy to Betsy, constantly reminding how close they've been for how long, and acting like Betsy is her sister. Trying to remind Betsy that they are alike, and being a bit fake. I was surprised by this. I don't act this way at all, so it shocked me.

I started noticing this more and more. She was constantly kidding her butt. I don't know why she acts this way. I like both of them as much friends. I don't like when she acts like this. It just wasn't attractive. I don't want to compete. I like Betsy too. Betsy does her own thing and is loyal to her family. Betsy plans on retiring and moving away in two years or so. 

I like Pam, but she kind of lies to Betsy like she's just like her. I just don't like fake people. Just be yourself. I'm myself with them both 100%

Well it seems like the friendship is fine with you and Pam when you're by yourself but it's just with Betsy that it becomes more complicated. It's hard to know why Pam is sucking up to Betsy, maybe she's insecure or maybe she really likes Betsy and wants her to approve of her. It also might be that in Pam's eyes they are close, maybe she actually thinks that. 

Betsy sounds like a nice lady but I think it would be interesting to see what would happen once she actually does retire and is no longer at your workplace.  If your friendship will continue to be just as close.

I actually disagree that it's not possible to make long lasting friends from work, it is definitely possible. You can make good friends anywhere. But I think it's important to see how people act once they're not in the same sphere because they have to be.

For example, when I was in my early 20's I worked at an expensive department store for a few years. There were a lot of younger people who worked there and I got along and was friends with many of them. Some of them we'd go for lunch or coffee on our breaks, some I went out with outside of work.

Then I quit the job and as time went on basically all those people drifted away. BUT there was one girl who worked there only as a Christmas casual briefly and then left. That girl is my best friend of 19 years. So absolutely you can make friends from work but it's true that once some people aren't there anymore, it's out of sight, out of mind. 

I think in terms of what you could do about Pam. Well, you work with her so I imagine completely cutting her out would be pretty awkward? I guess you can't just completely ignore her at work. You may need to start slow fading and just creating some distance between you. So maybe not talking as much or hanging out outside of work. Apart from that I actually don't think you can do anything. People don't change and this is how she chooses to act. 

In a sense her behaviours don't really affect you so it's up to you if you choose to let them bother you or not. Like, her kissing up to Betsy, living with her Mum, not dating, etc.

I understand you find it off putting but really it has no effect on you, your life or your friendship with Betsy. It's fine if you don't really like Pam anymore but maybe you're also making too much of all these things. You can still enjoy your job and your friendship with Betsy. Who cares what Pam is doing in her free time? 

Edited by Tinydance
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There's a big difference between being friendly to everyone versus friends with everyone.

Part of maturity is learning how to make different kinds and degrees of friends to meet different needs, some of whom will only remain friendly acquaintances.

That's okay. Find areas of commonality to enjoy with people, and respect their limits. Pam is someone with a lot of limits, so enjoy lunching with her (or with both her and Betsy) whenever you wish, but beyond that, she's not your issue.

When we don't project our expectations onto people, we'll never be disappointed. Pam's relationship with Betsy is their own to manage, and should you be tempted to badmouth either to the other, you'll set yourself up with a rep for being unkind, untrustworthy and two faced--and for what purpose?

Skip that. Trust that if Pam ever wants your advice, she'll ask for it, and the fact that she overtalks her skills and interests isn't really any skin off your back. 

Often in the workplace it's wise to smile and nod. From there, you get to decide how many more lunches you'll WANT to plan with Pam going forward.

Head high, and keep your eyes on your own paper.

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3 hours ago, Alex39 said:

I do not think I'm better than Pam at all. I wasn't competing with her at all. I liked her as my friend so much. When Pam and I hangout alone, we laugh and have a great time.  Pam, Betsy, and I started spending more time together and I noticed Pam was clingy to Betsy, constantly reminding how close they've been for how long, and acting like Betsy is her sister. Trying to remind Betsy that they are alike, and being a bit fake. I was surprised by this. I don't act this way at all, so it shocked me.

I started noticing this more and more. She was constantly kidding her butt. I don't know why she acts this way. I like both of them as much friends. I don't like when she acts like this. It just wasn't attractive. I don't want to compete. I like Betsy too. Betsy does her own thing and is loyal to her family. Betsy plans on retiring and moving away in two years or so. 

I like Pam, but she kind of lies to Betsy like she's just like her. I just don't like fake people. Just be yourself. I'm myself with them both 100%

There are all kinds, OP. Focus on the ones who inspire you.

You're not yourself 100% with both of them if Pam has no idea about the things you're saying about her. Would you be yourself and share with her everything you wrote above? If you printed the page with everything you wrote and handed it to Pam and have her read it or read it outloud to her, then I'd say you were honest. Otherwise, don't kid yourself. 

I hope you see the irony in describing fake people and yet thinking the way you do about your friend, Pam.

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5 minutes ago, Rose Mosse said:

There are all kinds, OP. Focus on the ones who inspire you.

You're not yourself 100% with both of them if Pam has no idea about the things you're saying about her. Would you be yourself and share with her everything you wrote above? If you printed the page with everything you wrote and handed it to Pam and have her read it or read it outloud to her, then I'd say you were honest. Otherwise, don't kid yourself. 

I hope you see the irony in describing fake people and yet thinking the way you do about your friend, Pam.

Yes

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I think you are way too involved in Pam's life and you need to distance yourself from her.  You don't appear to actually like her or how she conducts her life.  What do you care if she buys a house or not?  You said she'll never leave her mother.

Back off from Pam and develop some other interests or friends and let Pam live her life as she sees fit.  Just because you dont agree with it, doesn't make it wrong.

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8 hours ago, Alex39 said:

 I don't know why she acts this way. I like both of them as much friends.

You don't need to know why she acts this way. She's there to get a paycheck, just like you. Try to be more professional at work and avoid cattiness.

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Posted (edited)

Reread how Tinydance approached this -on target and so helpful.  People at work often have to be "fake" to get their jobs done in the broad sense meaning hide personal issues in a way they wouldn't outside of work, even down to fake Zoom backgrounds right? We sometimes (often?) can't let it all hang out.  I lied about being pregnant till I was ready to announce -including to work friends, etc. (meaning why I wasn't drinking, why I was tired etc). 

I lied when I was looking for jobs even to good friends at work.  I expect they lied to me, too.  

I don't think you respect Pam's choices.  She knows that.  It makes the dynamic awkward especially at work.

Edited by Batya33
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11 hours ago, Alex39 said:

I like Pam, but she kind of lies to Betsy like she's just like her. I just don't like fake people. Just be yourself. I'm myself with them both 100%

So, distance yourself from her. 

Their friendship isn't your business. It isn't your place to call Pam to task on all her big talk. You seem to feel threatened by her. 

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10 hours ago, melancholy123 said:

I think you are way too involved in Pam's life and you need to distance yourself from her.  You don't appear to actually like her or how she conducts her life.  What do you care if she buys a house or not?  You said she'll never leave her mother.

Back off from Pam and develop some other interests or friends and let Pam live her life as she sees fit.  Just because you dont agree with it, doesn't make it wrong.

I think I'm not being understood. I do not care if she buys a house, or if she leaves her mother, or what she does. Why I mentioned that is, because she preaches to everyone how independent, ready to buy a house, ready to date, ready for kids she is. You would think she was doing all those things by her confident talk. That's why I brought her to that open house. I genuinely thought she wanted to buy a place,  by the way she spoke. She preaches to Betsy all this stuff and acts like she and Betsy are twins. She acts like she's thos confident bad ***. But that's not true. 

She told me she took home buyers classes and how she was an expert on knowing what's what. When I saw a nice home for sale, I suggested she come look. In front of the selling realtor she acted snooty and like she was ready to buy and had oodles of money. As soon as we were alone again at my house, she acted like a hot mess. She didn't know one thing about mortgages or what to do. She even freaked out about moving. She practically had a panic attack in front of me. 

I don't care what she does. If she moves or not. But don't talk like you are going to buy a house, you are an expert, and how much of a bad b**** you are, when that isn't true. I think its insecurity on her part. Now when I see her interact with others, I see it as fake. She is trying so hard to impress Betsy and continue to make Betsy think they are the same person. But I've gotten to know them both separately and she and Betsy are not alike at all. Why at 40 years old do you have to suck up to her? I'm 31 and I don't have to suck up to anyone like that. I'm just myself. 

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5 hours ago, MissCanuck said:

So, distance yourself from her. 

Their friendship isn't your business. It isn't your place to call Pam to task on all her big talk. You seem to feel threatened by her. 

I'm not threatened by her. I guess just annoyed that everyone at work is fooled by her. She doesn't only kiss Betsy's butt. Betsy more than anyone else, but she kisses a lot of people's butt at work. I used to think it was her personality, but it's her doing it on purpose. I work hard, I'm myself 100% at work. She acts like she loves drinking at bars with one co-worker who loves to drink. Pam hates drinking, she tells me all the time. But there she is going out for drinks after work with him. She house and pet sits for our big bosses at work, so they love her. I find that to be a conflict of interest. 

I was honestly fine with Pam. Recently, Betsy, Pam, and I hangout for a long time and I saw a bit of competitiveness and clingy-ness like she wanted to make it clear, she was Betsy's friend more than me. I just didn't like that. I don't think that way and it offended me that she felt she had to almost check me,making sure I knew my place. We're all adults. That's what got me feeling like maybe she was jealous or threatened. I am bothered that she is threatened by me. Me! I'm like what? 

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Posted (edited)
20 hours ago, Alex39 said:

Pam is in a tough spot in life. She's 38, never met a man to settle with, no kids, says she wants that, but puts no effort into it. She's getting older. She lives with her mother still and takes care of her and will never leave her. Their living situation is not great. Pam's mother doesn't ever want her to leave her, so Pam won't forge her own way. They have tons and tons of animals as pets. She only got her drivers license 5 years ago. Pam doesn't try to date, she always looks sort of drab, wearing the same outfits day after day, and she's heavy. She doesn't eat well or exercise. She doesn't take care of her health. She works constantly by her own choice 8 am to 8 pm. And doesn't try to meet anyone. I'm not perfect, but I'll say "hey Pam let's go for a lunch walk." She won't go. 

I was referring to your description from your original post.  Comes across as you not respecting her choices, judging how she dresses, her weight, what she chooses to eat, her decision not to exercise, that she overworks in your opinion and that she won't go for a walk with you -and on and on  -separately from what you wrote in your most recent post. (Oh and LOL I got my drivers license at age 49, five or so years ago and I still don't drive).  

Edited by Batya33
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51 minutes ago, Alex39 said:

I guess just annoyed that everyone at work is fooled by her.

Then why are you bothering to maintain the friendship?

Just let it go and keep your distance. You aren't really much of a friend to her, anyway. 

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I'm sure she's very irritating if not much of what she says is true. 

There's nothing you can do about it. Remain professional at work and try expanding your social circle. Think with your own wellbeing and mental health in mind, OP. 

 

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