So I got to work this morning and things were manic. I’ve been covering our coordinator for the last week as I always do when she is on holiday or unwell and that means I am the person that allocates cover for staff that are unwell or on holiday and means I am the go to person for the support staff and sort out capacity and answer any queries etc. I was rushing around helping one of our lawyers with some urgent work and I saw work friend in my peripheral vision. As I said yesterday I am trying to just stay out of her way at the moment as I have no intention of trying to be the one to fix this latest spat again. So I kept my head down and looked at the piece of paper I was holding.
She then (very loudly) tutted, sighed and made a comment along the lines of “Oh for Christ’s sake” and I just ignored it and carried on with my work.
An hour later she “Replied To All” to an email I had sent to the entire department. This included lawyers and support staff. She replied to all to ask something which she thought I had not dealt with and in my eyes, tried to make me look bad again. She could have emailed only me (or phoned me, or asked me face to face). I was furious and so I replied only to her and told her nothing was needed because it had been dealt with. I wanted to tell her never to do that to me again, but thought better of it. Trying to keep our spat separate from work – unlike her.
I then went to lunch an hour ago with two of my other friends and we were sitting at a table eating our lunch when she appeared in the canteen. Obviously this made me feel very awkward and tense (nervous if truth be told!) because I didn’t want to ask her to join me because we are not talking and I am keen to actually resolve our issues and not just do the usual sweep it under the rug thing… she then proceeded to slam her food tray down on the table right next to us and pull out her chair loudly to make a point. She then sat there on her own and began to eat her lunch.
I felt SO uncomfortable because not only was she sitting on her own which made me feel guilty, she was so close she could hear everything I was saying which is just awkward and made me feel as though I couldn’t relax even at lunch. Like it isn’t bad enough getting things shouted out at me when I am walking to the bathroom at work! Anyway I decided to try and ignore my feelings and so just carried on eating and talking to the others.
A few minutes later she jumped up from her chair, causing the chair to shriek across the floor, slammed her food on a tray and stormed over to my table where he stared at me in a way only your mother could – a total look of disapproval and anger and shouted (literally shouted) “REALLY??? REALLY?????????” then stormed off.
The “Really?” was clearly her way of voicing her disapproval and anger at me not inviting her to join our table. She is now back in victim mentality and knowing her as well as I do, she will probably now cry and tell anyone at work that I am ignoring her for no reason and excluding her, forcing her to sit alone at lunch time. I will be made to look like the bad guy as always.
I am so sick of this. I try so hard to fight against my feelings of just smoothing things over for the sake of keeping the peace, but I don’t want to be emotionally blackmailed like this anymore and so I am trying to stay true to myself and stick to my feelings that if she wants to join me for lunch, we clearly need to resolve our differences first and have an adult discussion – not at work and not in front of other people.
She needs to stop making me feel obligated and guilty if I don’t see her and playing on the fear that she knows I feel not knowing when she will ignore me or huff and puff or verbally shout at me.
She needs to separate our friendship from work and stop with the emails and she needs to respect the role I am in when I am covering this coordinator and respect that as everyone else does (i.e. when she decided she was unwell the other day and couldn’t come into the office, she should have told me, but she didn’t because she feels she is older and therefore has no obligation to tell me – despite the fact that she DOES tell the actual coordinator when she is here and she is younger anyway!!).
It isn’t much to ask is it?
So now what do I do? I am now feeling even more tense and nervous and awkward – the atmosphere is awful as you can imagine. All of this is intolerable, I do not want to be in this position and I do not want to feel I have to sort things out just to avoid feeing bullied at work. She is 53 for goodness sake.