February 3, 2016

Trouble With Co-Workers and Exes

Hey, Bonita…

In the new year at work, my shifts went from mostly evenings to mostly mornings, which means I'm working with some coworkers I previously didn't know well. It's been fun getting to know these folks better. Where I work, our morning shifts are usually pretty busy, and it's easy to get a little stressed. Everyone handles stress differently, and part of working with new people is learning how to ebb and flow well with everyone else.

One girl in particular seems to get pretty stressed out during rushes and will snap (mildly) at other co-workers. She seems to get upset if I do not respond to her stress by also acting stressed. I have noticed over the last month that I am now being left out of things she once included me in. I'll catch her rolling her eyes when I make small talk with customers or other co-workers.

I would like to confront her about this, but from what I've come to understand, other co-workers know she is like this and have simply come to expect it from her. I do not know if I should confront the issue or just let it be and swallow it as her being immature.

Take this issue to management if it's making your work environment uncomfortable or unbearable. It sounds like you just have a nightmare coworker, though. You don't seem particularly bothered by her not liking you, and I don't think coworkers are required to be friends. I gotta draw the line at unprofessional behavior in front of customers and coworker—a line she's toeing with her eye-rolling in the workplace.

Honestly, what she's doing doesn't sound unprofessional across the board, but it’s definitely annoying and immature. She's not a manager or anyone with the power to affect your hours or pay rate, is she? I'm sure she already experiences a degree of alienation among coworkers if everyone knows and hates her behavior pattern, but that's not your problem. Life will teach her how to treat people. Meanwhile, ignore her. Bond with the coworkers whom you like and who truly like you.

My longtime girlfriend recently told me that she just wants to be friends, and it wasn’t too long after that that I saw her at Go Bar with somebody who, whoever he or she was, was definitely not me. My question, and I know you have addressed this one before, is, is it possible in any way to just be friends with somebody you have been more than that with for over two years?

It's possible, but it's difficult. Personally, I find I am great friends with my exes from high school and undergrad, but I can barely look in the face of anyone I dated in the past decade or so. I pretty much lost touch with my super-old exes after I graduated and started dating a bevy of new blood, and then one day my girlfriend from high school found me on Facebook. We were still fooling around for a while after we broke up—not in a lighthearted, no-strings way, but in ways that would leave me sobbing and plotting to beat up her new boyfriend afterwards.

When I was a teenager, I wanted to marry her. But nowadays she's got kids, short hair, a wife that's not me, and she lives in a region of the country you couldn't pay me to visit. I like seeing photos of her homemade yogurt and crafting projects, and that's about it. Our ship has sailed. Romantic feelings must die, and I mean completely die, if two old lovers are gonna be real friends with each other.

You, in particular, cannot be friends with your ex just yet. You didn't even notice the gender of whom she was with, pal, only that it wasn’t you. Not only that, but her desire to be friends with you obviously gave you a romantic expectation, which it shouldn't have. She's trying to move on while still being a friend to you, but it's too soon for that. Y'all need real space from each other—like, years—and then you can think about being actual friends. You need to fall out of love with this chick.

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