She's gone
October 30, 2008 9:16 PM   Subscribe

We were daily buddies at work for two years - she has a boyfriend and I'm married - but we cracked each other up and "fought the man" together. There were rules, and if I pushed them she reminded me, sometimes harshly but still there was genuine mutual platonic affection. About a month after me getting laid off she won't talk to me anymore. It's really bothering me because I don't know why... advice??

I was the boss, I provided tons of career advice and support. About a year in I got a little crushy but that was quickly nipped in the bud and I was glad just to have our goofy chemistry and friendship. One rule pretty much said "there shalt be not contact outside of work hours" - I attribute to a jealous married boyfriend (!!) but that was ok with me. I figured that had kinda gone away when I stopped working there and one time just before the communication blackout I texted her basically "Hi!" at about 6pm - no response and then, like I say - gone. I'm sad about it, mad about it, and trying to ignore it long enough to forget her but I wish I didn't have to... what do you think happened?
posted by Barrows to Human Relations (26 answers total)
 
You have the stench of death on you. That happens when you get laid off, you remind people that it could happen to them.
posted by dirty lies at 9:23 PM on October 30, 2008


You were fun while you worked there, but without work to provide a formal structure for the friendship the situation is too risky for her. She has decided there's no way for the two of you to have a relationship now that you're not part of the workplace.
posted by jayder at 9:23 PM on October 30, 2008 [2 favorites]


It was a really good working relationship.

You stopped working there and it seems the relation deteriorated.

If she talks to you now, it's not because it's work related. If the boyfriend is jealous, then that's a good enough reason for her not to talk to you.
posted by abdulf at 9:24 PM on October 30, 2008


Rules... pushed... harsh reminders... crushy... nipped in the bud....
You were her boss, no? It sounds like you were coming on pretty strong and she was forced to tell you to back off. Maybe now that you're no longer co-workers she feels more vulnerable, because there's fewer boundaries between you.
posted by PercussivePaul at 9:34 PM on October 30, 2008 [5 favorites]


I was the boss, I provided tons of career advice and support.

And now you're not. So maybe she just doesn't need you any more?

Just sayin'...
posted by spilon at 10:01 PM on October 30, 2008


Rules... pushed... harsh reminders... crushy... nipped in the bud....
You were her boss, no? It sounds like you were coming on pretty strong and she was forced to tell you to back off. Maybe now that you're no longer co-workers she feels more vulnerable, because there's fewer boundaries between you.


Yikes, I was thinking the opposite. Maybe now that you're no longer her boss she feels LESS vulnerable and no longer needs to pretend to like you.
posted by moxiedoll at 10:01 PM on October 30, 2008 [5 favorites]


Maybe it wasn't as much fun for her.
posted by roger ackroyd at 10:05 PM on October 30, 2008 [5 favorites]


I started to write what moxiedoll said but, yeah, exactly.

Even if you are certain that couldn't possibly be the case, that you feel you really did have a genuine friendship, there were rules laid down. She's sticking to them. Respect that.

(For the sake of your self-awareness, having to be told more than once to back off when you've got the balance of power should have been giant-ass clue bat to the side of your head and hopefully, something you'll pay attention to at your next job before HR starts paying attention to you.)
posted by jamaro at 10:11 PM on October 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


how about directly asking her instead of wondering? sometimes, it's better to ask for clarification...just dont word it in a way where she feels attacked (i.e. it's her fault you two stopped communicating).
posted by girlthursday at 10:27 PM on October 30, 2008


Sorry man - you said it yourself - she's gone. I feel for you, but move on.
posted by noahv at 10:29 PM on October 30, 2008


One rule pretty much said "there shalt be not contact outside of work hours"

She's following the rule. You should too.
posted by Neiltupper at 10:45 PM on October 30, 2008 [2 favorites]


Seconding Jayder. You were the work boyfriend. There was less cause for concern from her boyfriend or your wife, because your friendship was confined to working hours. Now that you don't work there, any friendship would be in the real world; maybe she is just uncomfortable about that, and it's easier for her to just end it.
posted by lemonwheel at 10:52 PM on October 30, 2008


One rule pretty much said "there shalt be not contact outside of work hours" - I attribute to a jealous married boyfriend (!!) but that was ok with me.

Or, you were her boss and she wasn't that into you but didn't feel like she could say so. Take a hint and let it go.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 11:56 PM on October 30, 2008


"there shalt be not contact outside of work hours" - I attribute to a jealous married boyfriend

How about respecting her enough to attribute her own boundaries to her. And also honor them, which is what she is doing.
posted by headnsouth at 1:59 AM on October 31, 2008


Seems like she's been very clear. I don't know why you're confused, she said no contact outside of work hours, and you broke that rule.
posted by missmagenta at 3:41 AM on October 31, 2008


Response by poster: Thanks - those are all helpful answers. Regarding the "after work hours", I meant when we were working together - she probably didn't since nothing's changed vis a vis her work.

I didn't conciously "break a rule" but you're probably right.
posted by Barrows at 7:59 AM on October 31, 2008


You were a work buddy. You don't work there any more.

What's the source of your confusion? It seems crystal clear to me.
posted by ook at 8:17 AM on October 31, 2008


My boyfriend once had a similar thing happen after he was fired. However, in his case, the co-worker was told by management, in no uncertain terms, not to speak to a terminated employee or she would be fired herself. I don't know if your former management is as completely dickish as his was, but I'm just throwing the possibility out there that something similar might have happened.
posted by heffalump at 8:21 AM on October 31, 2008


Response by poster: @ook a fair point but a small group of folks in my group who worked together over a relatively long period of time (5 yrs for most, 2 in this person's case) went through quite alot together (sudden death of a dear colleague, abandonment by senior management which we struggled back through, lots of stuff) -- our small clique of about 5 people are a mix of men and women and all except this one still social with me. Not arguing - just saying it's not like we were working at McDonalds
posted by Barrows at 9:10 AM on October 31, 2008


The fact that you're still trying to push your agenda here indicates to me pretty clearly why she's not responding.

One rule pretty much said "there shalt be not contact outside of work hours" - I attribute to a jealous married boyfriend

um, how about attributing to "i already spend 8-10 hours a DAY with you, why do I want/need to talk to you when I leave"?

you don't have boundaries. she didn't feel like she could assert herself because SHE WORKED FOR YOU. you admitted to pushing your romantic agenda onto SOMEONE YOU SUPERVISED.

am i the only one here who thinks you're a borderline stalker? she doesn't work with you any more! maybe the reason the other folks are still friendly is because you didn't try to push an unwanted romantic agenda on them?

you're not mad about it, you're just pissed you no longer have control. drop it now and learn from this. hopefully.

word: it doesn't matter if she's got six boyfriends, is a lesbian, is married, is engaged, is dating. if you're her manager don't be a dick and get a crush on her. get yourself into a position where you're NOT her boss then you can admit your feelings. i'm not militant about no workplace romances but when the guy being weird is the boss, you can either quit, go to HR (might as well quit) or just find a way to put up with it.
posted by micawber at 9:32 AM on October 31, 2008 [1 favorite]


Best answer: Yeah, it's fairly obvious that she doesn't really want to be your friend. I'm sorry.
posted by PFL at 10:04 AM on October 31, 2008


I had something very similar happen to me, and asked about it on Ask Metafilter. People's responses to my question might be of use to you. People can indeed deeply, deeply just suck. I'm sorry.
posted by WCityMike at 10:11 AM on October 31, 2008


micawber: am i the only one here who thinks you're a borderline stalker?

I wouldn't say stalker (I think that term is waaaay overused) but he's married, he was her boss, and he was "laid off"/"abandoned by senior management." All valid reasons to not want to continue a relationship that she'd already made clear she didn't want mixing with her personal life (which is pretty much the definition of we were never friends to begin with).
posted by headnsouth at 11:48 AM on October 31, 2008


Did any of the other members of this clique have to make hard and fast rules about never ever contacting them outside of work hours? Did you hit on any of the other members of this clique? Or just her?

You and she didn't "fight the man" together. You, her boss, were the man. The married boss, whose romantic advances she kept having to "nip in the bud." Repeatedly. And sometimes "harshly". Are you really, honestly surprised that she might not want to see you anymore?

You have nothing to be confused about and I suspect deep down you already know this; the only reason you're asking is because the answer isn't the one you want.
posted by ook at 2:50 PM on October 31, 2008 [1 favorite]


I had a married boss, with whom I had an otherwise good working relationship, who wouldn't leave me alone. I asked for him to keep our interaction entirely professional and not to talk about subjects that weren't work related.

He didn't listen, the jerk.


Don't be that jerk.


(By the way, I'm the one that left that situation, and I've never been more relieved than the day I finally was free. If you actually respect this person, consider that may be her thought, and let it go. If by chance I'm wrong, then she'll contact you if and when she pleases. I'm not wrong, though.)
posted by nat at 3:47 PM on October 31, 2008


Having once had a jealous (unmarried, at least) boyfriend, I can tell you, it's not fun. So, it could be that having any outside-of-work friendships with males creates tension in her relationship. Even if that's all it is, I'd let her be -- you don't want to create a bunch of stress for her. If she gets out of that situation and does want to be friends, she can look you up then.
posted by salvia at 11:52 AM on November 2, 2008


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