How do I advise a close friend if she considers me part of her problem?
February 8, 2017 12:37 PM   Subscribe

I have a friend of ~8 years who is also a coworker and a recent work change has raised tensions between us and I'm afraid she thinks I was given an unearned promotion. As her friend, I am worried that she is succumbing to stressful situations that are piling up and I don't want to be part of the problem. I want her to experience happiness. More inside ..

I have been close friends with a woman in my friend group for around 8 years now and we've had lots of adventures (with and without the rest of the group) and we've worked at two companies together (we're currently at the same company).

We're both very open with our therapy topics and are used to offering each other advice on our current issues.

She has been through a lot of life events in the last year including a major breakup, both parents having been in the hospital, buying a house and finding a roommate, trying to date another coworker, etc.
I just mean to offer that as a bit of context for her current state of mind and not a judgement.

She has said many times that she doesn't have time for herself and feels very stressed (including stress about her current work situation after a major reorganization .. more on that in a bit ..).
From what I've learned about myself in therapy in the last year, I tend to offer advice that I have learned from my own therapist that seems to fit in a general way.

One of those things is the concept of the "human being rather than the human doing" which I take to generally mean "slow the hell down and don't try and do so much to fill the void that we all, as humans, feel".
I have generally offered (unprofessional, obviously) advice that she should drop anything that isn't essential to her immediate well-being so she can recover and heal from the last year before she continues to approach new life changes.

Cut to current issue .. after the recent company reorganization I received a promotion to a position on a different team that I had been working behind the scenes with my manager on for the last 3+ months. In that time, my team participation there had been quite lacking and I didn't do much if anything to hide the fact that I was annoyed and ready for change. The manager for my old team and new team are the same person so to him there was nothing of consequence about my downtime and he's quite happy with this move. However, this friend happened to be on my old team and given the nature that there wasn't discussion of this promotion from my manager with my team, to her and the rest of the team it seemed as if I "did nothing and, yet, got a promotion". She wanted to make it clear that others on the team confided in her with their frustration about this but I have obviously not heard from these people (although the initial reaction to my promotion from the team in a meeting was rather unenthusiastic). In hindsight, we could have handled that communication better.

As part of the reorganization, she was put in a very ambiguous position and she says that she is now unsure of how she wants to approach her career. She has made comments that it is a reoccurrence of how she was treated at a previous company. I am of the opinion that the companies are completely different in hierarchy and pursuit and that anyone who wants to affect change for themselves at this company has encouragement and support to do so. Nothing is set in stone. Given these changes, she has taken out some of her frustration at me for, what seems to her, an unwarranted promotion. (To be honest, the position is a 1000% better fit for me as well as the company and this reaction has actually taken some of the wind out of my sails, being that it has come from such a close friend).

We were talking about the current team situation and how she was really frustrated with the manager of the team for his treatment of the reorg and how it affected her and how it affected other teammates that she was being empathetic with. As we had historically done, I attempted to put myself in an objective position and offer that she might want to be in "emergency wellness mode" given her recent life events and try and focus on the things that would make her happy going forward with work and life instead of scapegoating the manager for his seemingly poor actions during this transition. I told her that I only care about her well-being and her happiness. I wanted to try to get across that she was in full control of her perception and reaction to anything outside of her actual control. I also frustratingly tried to defend my promotion but it still seemed like she thought I didn't earn it.

Tensions are a little high right now and I assume she thinks I am essentially gaslighting her and trying to say that it's all her problem and nothing was wrong. Her last words to me were (paraphrased): "I don't like that you tried to make this a problem about me. It’s not. I will not let you do that again.". Which .. I guess feels more like a threat rather than a healthy boundary. (Boundaries have been on my mind lately because of therapy!)

I don't think I am gaslighting and I don't think I need to apologize for my new position at the company but I am afraid I don't have any further way to defend my point of view.

Is there any maintenance I can do to keep things on the level or do I just avoid the topic and let things settle for the week (or longer, if need be?).

It really sucks because I essentially have a big wall between me and someone I confide in on a nearly daily basis.

(Footnote: There is no romantic aspect of this relationship.)
posted by modernman to Human Relations (25 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
I wanted to try to get across that she was in full control of her perception and reaction to anything outside of her actual control.

Don't do that to a friend. That's - maybe - a therapist's job. It's clumsy and presumptuous from a friend. A friend says "I know you work really hard too. You're awesome and I hope that recognition comes your way soon too. I wish you hadn't had to deal with this horrible year and a bunch of stuff that wasn't your fault."

With regard to your promotion - since she's telling you that she thinks you don't deserve it - you can also, fairly, say "that's not nice, and not true. I've worked with that team for a whole quarter and that's why they put me in the role. Please don't shit on my hard work."

But don't be sanctimonious and don't pretend to be her therapist. And when someone's down, recognize that the idea you preached to her - that somehow if you're only zen enough, you can avoid being hurt or harmed by stuff that happens to you - is neither true nor helpful.
posted by fingersandtoes at 12:49 PM on February 8, 2017 [71 favorites]


How do I advise a close friend if she considers me part of her problem?

You don't.

You have an inherent conflict of interest here. You cannot be objective with someone who is attacking you in this way. Saying "I only care about your well-being and your happiness" is disingenuous when you also want her to quit attacking you for getting promoted. It is not possible to, metaphorically, only want what would make the shark happy when it wants you for its lunch (unless you are willing to be martyred for it, which you don't sound ready to be -- please note that I am not a fan of martyrdom, so that is not criticism, just pedantry).

This is where the only sane thing to do is try to give both of you some time and space.

Also, given that she apparently feels blindsided by a promotion that you actively worked to get for 3+ months, you need to reevaluate your opinion that this is someone you confide in daily. If you were both such close confidantes, this should not have been a surprise to her.

You don't owe her that information. You did nothing wrong. But you need to put more emphasis on this as a work relationship right now, not a personal one. You need to handle this interpersonal friction as a professional problem because your friendship is not on the best footing or you wouldn't be having this kind of friction to begin with.

As for boundaries, healthy boundaries start with you learning when to quit more than with you learning to tell everyone to else to quit. Be the example to follow. You can't control her anyway. Your choices are the thing you have the most control over in life, limited though that is, what with life being what it is.
posted by Michele in California at 12:56 PM on February 8, 2017 [12 favorites]


There are reasons that therapists are one thing and friends are another, and just because you're currently winning at therapy doesn't mean you're qualified or invited to lord it over her.

She doesn't think you deserved the promotion. That's what she thinks, that's how she feels, and she's allowed to do so. Instead of telling her she should just try harder to not feel how she feels, you get to say, "oh, okay, so that's what you think of me, cool" and decide what kind of relationship you are willing to have on your part going forward. That's it. You don't get to tell her she'd understand if she'd only do more self-care or whatever.

If this was my friend - an actual friend - I'd be hurt and I'd say so, but I'd focus on supporting her as a friend-not-therapist for a while since she's going through a tough time. I would also assume that we had a more distant friendship than I'd hoped and draw lines accordingly, assuming that a slow-fade is coming.
posted by Lyn Never at 12:57 PM on February 8, 2017 [2 favorites]


Also, given that she apparently feels blindsided by a promotion that you actively worked to get for 3+ months, you need to reevaluate your opinion that this is someone you confide in daily. If you were both such close confidantes, this should not have been a surprise to her.

I should clarify that she was aware of it the whole time but the rest of the team was not. For some reason, when the day came, her reaction was unexpected.

I do realize some of our shared interest in friendship is offering advice back and forth so I don't think it should sound like I was lording my own therapy over her, given that things have been going well for me in that regard. I think of it more like that we share free advice we receive from our independent therapists. It's never the case of "my therapy is better than yours" or anything like that.
posted by modernman at 1:07 PM on February 8, 2017 [1 favorite]


I share your friend's interpretation of events. You are ascribing her negative reaction to personal reasons, when you yourself concede that the promotion was handled poorly and several other people are not that happy about how it all went.

I would mention to her that you know things were not handled well, and step back while she cools off.
posted by delight at 1:08 PM on February 8, 2017 [17 favorites]


Like fingersandtoes said, no more therapy talk. You are not (I assume) a licensed therapist, and you are not her therapist. Stop it.

Your advice to go into "emergency wellness mode," may have been given as kindly as possible (I wasn't there), but it does come off as pretty patronizing. Did she ask you for your advice on what to do? I don't see that part in your description of what happened.

Have you apologized for A. poor communication about this shift in your worklife and B. neglecting your former team? See: my team participation there had been quite lacking and I didn't do much if anything to hide the fact that I was annoyed. I'm happy for you that you're in a better position at work now, but jeez, in the mean time it sounds like you were leaving people high and dry and they didn't know why. That's kind of on your manager but it's on you, too, especially in regard to your relationship with this friend. Own it.

Beyond shoot-from-the-hip honesty about why you got the promotion and contrition for your poor handling of it, there's nothing more you can do. If she is committed to your friendship, she will process this and you will get back on track eventually. But you can't push her. What she does from here on out is her choice, and information you now have about your relationship and the kind of person she is. But one last thing: from your description of her year, and the ambiguity she feels in her current position, she may be thinking about making big changes and weighing her options. Leave her alone for awhile.
posted by Pearl928 at 1:13 PM on February 8, 2017 [6 favorites]


I should clarify that she was aware of it the whole time but the rest of the team was not. For some reason, when the day came, her reaction was unexpected.

Then the friendship problem is perhaps even deeper. She shouldn't be reacting like someone blindsided, but seems to be.

I do realize some of our shared interest in friendship is offering advice back and forth so I don't think it should sound like I was lording my own therapy over her, given that things have been going well for me in that regard. I think of it more like that we share free advice we receive from our independent therapists. It's never the case of "my therapy is better than yours" or anything like that.

And that isn't working currently. The most powerful thing you can do right now to try to set healthy boundaries is "recuse" yourself.
posted by Michele in California at 1:15 PM on February 8, 2017 [3 favorites]


I agree with delight and could not have said it better. Apologize and let her cool off. It's also OK to tell her in the moment if it happens again that saying you didn't earn your promotion is hurtful.
posted by jbenben at 1:17 PM on February 8, 2017 [4 favorites]


she has taken out some of her frustration at me for, what seems to her, an unwarranted promotion.

Regardless of whether you've handled it well (I share some of the concerns of other posters), this can't go on. A friend can't be resentful of your successes and certainly can't feel comfortable openly criticizing you for them. It sounds to me like this friendship has reached its sell-by date.
posted by praemunire at 1:18 PM on February 8, 2017 [2 favorites]


In her position, I'd be very frustrated to have a male friend get a promotion that was mishandled in such a way that whether or not it was deserved, seemed undeserved from my perspective. To then further be in a position of unsure job stability and to have my friend try to be an objective therapist instead of a listening friend would put me in exactly the defensive state she seems to be in with you. A manager who poorly manages a transition isn't a scapegoat for frustration, they are an actual point of frustration. I don't know if your friendship can survive this, but I would take a huge step back, and if she does talk to you about this again, try to approach it as a friend who cares and listens and not as someone trying to tell her that it's her perception of the situation that's wrong.
posted by Nimmie Amee at 2:10 PM on February 8, 2017 [43 favorites]


For some reason, when the day came, her reaction was unexpected.

Figure out that reason, it may be at the crux of this.

I mean it's hard to tell from this situation whether your friend is just in a bad place because of a ton of outside-of-her-control things that are stressors, or if your friend is just someone for whom life is stressful generally and isn't coping so well and is taking some of that out on you. Or a little of both. And, from my personal perspective only, I wonder if there is a gendered aspect to any of this (you don't have to answer that, just mull over it a little). Since you said your manager didn't really handle communication on this issue particularly well, that is something that you can acknowledge and be supportive about, not be defensive about your promotion.
posted by jessamyn at 2:11 PM on February 8, 2017 [3 favorites]


Do you have the skills to have a conversation where you practice only empathy, validation and mirroring and absolutely no advice? Because that's what should be applied here.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:36 PM on February 8, 2017 [8 favorites]


So, prior to the reorg and promotion, you were working on project X, along with your manager, and another team which was not your usual team. The rest of your usual team, aside from your friend, did not know about your work on project X. Because you were working on project X, you weren't devoting much effort to your usual project work. The rest of your team, not knowing about your work on project X, thought you were just slacking off, which made them annoyed with you. Then the reorg comes and you, the apparent slacker, get a promotion out of it, leaving the rest of your old team that much more annoyed.

Ultimately the blame for these feelings might well lie with your manager, for not setting expectations for the rest of the team regarding the reduced time you'd be spending on usual team work. But, human nature being what it is, they're not going to suddenly stop being annoyed at you and transfer all their ire to the manager just because they now know you were working on project X.

But: your friend knew you were working on project X, and still thinks your promotion was undeserved. Why? I'd invite you to consider the possibility that even knowing about project X, she still thinks you weren't doing as much as you should have been on your regular work. Maybe she underestimates just how much time you were devoting to project X. The fact that you "didn't do much if anything to hide the fact that [you were] annoyed and ready for change" doesn't do much to dispel the perception that you were slacking.

It's also possible that her perception is colored by the feelings of the rest of the team, even though she knew you were working on project X and they didn't.

Perhaps, like the others, some of her frustration would be more appropriately placed on the manager (did he just dump the work that you weren't doing on the rest of the team, and expect them to just do more?) but is spilling over to you, fairly or not. But also, by your own account, some of her frustration is directed at the manager:

We were talking about the current team situation and how she was really frustrated with the manager of the team for his treatment of the reorg ... focus on the things that would make her happy going forward with work and life instead of scapegoating the manager for his seemingly poor actions during this transition.

"Scapegoating" the manager for his "seemingly" poor actions? Even given the most favorable interpretation of events towards you, it seems the manager acted pretty poorly, and her frustration at the manager is entirely justified. I get that you may feel warmly towards the manager because it worked out well for you: you got out of a role you were growing bored with anyway, and got a promotion and got to take on a new, more interesting role. But recognize that the rest of your old team, including your friend, doesn't feel this way, and justifiably so. Don't try to defend the manager to your friend. Something like "yeah, the manager was pretty shitty to the team there, and that must have sucked for you" might be helpful.

She has made comments that it is a reoccurrence of how she was treated at a previous company. I am of the opinion that the companies are completely different in hierarchy and pursuit and that anyone who wants to affect change for themselves at this company has encouragement and support to do so.

You just got a great promotion; of course it seems to you that the company is full of opportunities for advancement and growth for anyone who cares to take them. You may not be unbiased here. I'm not saying this in a "she is totally right and you are totally wrong" way, but try to acknowledge that each of you is seeing a part of the whole, and based on the different parts you each see, it's entirely possible that the part she sees is very much like the poor treatment at her old company, even while the part you see is very different from that.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 2:57 PM on February 8, 2017 [11 favorites]


I don't think you can pin all the blame on the manager for handling this badly: you get a heaping helping, yourself.

Your friend is on the team you abandoned. The one where you didn't participate effectively and let your team see that you were annoyed and ready for change. Your friend, presumably, did not phone in her participation or display annoyance and readiness for change; your friend, presumably, behaved as people behave at work when they want to advance or at least not get canned. Nevertheless, you're promoted, she's not. Why were you rewarded for your display of annoyance and your quite-lacking participation with an offer from the boss to work "behind the scenes" on the un-annoying, new, fun, great-fit-for-you team? Having been so rewarded, why did you not, when you were getting fun, exciting work that ultimately led to a promotion, have the decency to muster up some contributions to and enthusiasm for the old team you were still a part of?

You had best advance quickly and get a safe distance away from this old team because based on your report, both of your behavior and their reactions to it, they probably have it in for you.
posted by Don Pepino at 3:18 PM on February 8, 2017 [15 favorites]


I attempted to put myself in an objective position and offer that she might want to be in "emergency wellness mode" given her recent life events and try and focus on the things that would make her happy going forward with work and life

Here is how this reads to me, if I put myself in the position of someone who is already annoyed with you. This might come off as harsh but I bet you $100 it is exactly what she heard when you said this to her:

"I, unlike you, am mentally healthy enough and have my life together enough to succeed and move up at work. You should accept your inferior position here until you fix all the other things that are wrong with your life, of which there are many."

Her last words to me were (paraphrased): "I don't like that you tried to make this a problem about me. It’s not. I will not let you do that again.". Which .. I guess feels more like a threat rather than a healthy boundary.

You absolutely did take a situation which was not related to her personal life problems - which is to say, a restructuring which has put her in a scary, uncertain position through no fault of her own, plus the fact that apparently she was not considered for any kind of promotion during this restructuring despite very possibly being qualified enough to get one - and you essentially told her that her anxiety about the restructuring and frustration at being kept in a junior role was really just something she was projecting onto the situation because of her crumbling ruin of a life.

I'd be pissed, too, and I would absolutely set a boundary telling you to stop explaining why every problem in my work life isn't really worth being concerned about because I have bigger problems to fix, namely problems which are entirely internal to myself.
posted by showbiz_liz at 3:24 PM on February 8, 2017 [33 favorites]


How do I advise

are used to offering each other advice

I tend to offer advice

I have generally offered (unprofessional, obviously) advice

Boundaries have been on my mind lately because of therapy!


One way you can exhibit healthy boundaries is to understand that unsolicited advice is something that requires emotional safety and equality. It's highly inappropriate, and, yes, patronizing and gaslighting, for you to be offering your friend unsolicited professional or personal advice during the situation you've described-- you ditching your former team and letting them all have their jobs be made precarious as a result, and yourself being promoted. Not cool. Stop offering "if you'd only been more balanced as a human being" advice to someone who's going through a string of crises, including one that was partially due to your sabotaging her work group by mentally checking out to advance your career somewhere else. If you really are interested in boundaries, ask your therapist why this is something you need to do.
posted by moonlight on vermont at 3:32 PM on February 8, 2017 [21 favorites]


Your use of the word "objective" in your post is a great big red flag. You're not a therapist, but here's something you learn in therapist school: you are not objective, you ALWAYS bring your own perspective with you. The best you can do is try to be aware and mindful of exactly how your background and experiences are influencing your perceptions of the situation, and try to make allowances for them. Professional therapists don't always succeed in this.

I suspect that your conversation was arrogant and tone-deaf in all the ways others have outlined above. Please take a step back and take ownership of your opinions and beliefs about the situation, and then you can attempt to be an on-the-level friend to this woman, without pretending that you know what's going on better than she does.
posted by Cheese Monster at 3:42 PM on February 8, 2017 [18 favorites]


Oh god, I totally missed the possibility that you are a man. A man does not get to tell a woman how to feel about workplace politics or how to feel about a man's promotion or that she should just chill out about it.

Stop advising. You're not working with a full array of data.
posted by Lyn Never at 6:42 PM on February 8, 2017 [17 favorites]


Well -- you did underperform while on your old team, and you did get promoted, and you/your shared manager did make choices that compromised the trust and integrity of your old team. That's not just how it seems, it's how you actually described it. The fact that she was aware you were working towards this promotion doesn't mean it was a good approach or that she should only feel happiness for you... especially since her knowledge (and your friendship) puts her in an awkward position with regards to the rest of the team, and particularly when she is under a manager who she clearly doesn't trust or feel supported by.

Your end of the conversation sounds minimizing and rather "bootstraps/chin up" in a way that lacks in empathy and frankly awareness or interest in how these things impacted other people. You don't sound like a good friend, nor a good colleague, here.

I have Feelings about this because I have personally experienced it and the friendship was irrevocably damaged. But -- I really hope that you can recover from this tense period and even improve your friendship overall.

I think instead of looking for ways to advise her, defend your promotion, promote your point of view, you should seek guidance from your friend (or perhaps other friends in your shared group) about how you can actively be supportive of her. Even if that ultimately means backing off and putting some space between you.
posted by sm1tten at 9:42 PM on February 8, 2017 [5 favorites]


I told her that I only care about her well-being and her happiness.

why would you say this when it's not true and clearly can't realistically be true? You don't only care about these things. You didn't spend your time behind the scenes talking her up to your mutual manager; you didn't do anything (from what you say here, at least) to work for her interests, only your own.

mind you, I am not suggesting you should have. not if you think you're a better employee and not if you have doubts about her performance or reliability or anything else. and of course you put yourself first, everybody does. you can't always pull other people up with you, even if you want to, though the higher you climb the more weight people will put on your opinions of other workers. but that's why mouthing some sentiments about having her best interests at heart will get a predictable reaction from her: it's not true. you have your own best interests at heart, especially at work. and that's how you get, and got, promoted.

this is all ok, more or less, but you can't pretend it away out of discomfort because when she is in a bad mood due to lousy work stuff, she will not be inclined to pretend along with you for your sake.
posted by queenofbithynia at 10:02 PM on February 8, 2017 [5 favorites]


Her last words to me were (paraphrased): "I don't like that you tried to make this a problem about me. It’s not. I will not let you do that again.". Which .. I guess feels more like a threat rather than a healthy boundary. (Boundaries have been on my mind lately because of therapy!)

"I won't stand for being treated like that, and if you do it again, we can no longer be friends" seems like the very definition of a healthy boundary to me, as someone who has also had a lot of therapy lately.
posted by Pizzarina Sbarro at 10:14 PM on February 8, 2017 [7 favorites]


It does sound like your promotion/transfer could have been handled better and more transparently for both you and the rest of the team. Still, work is work, and it's normal for people to look out for their own interests. I doubt your friend or anyone else at your workplace would have turned down a similar opportunity to make a change that benefitted them. You don't have to apologize or minimize your own hard work just because somebody else thinks they should have gotten the same opportunity.

But, that said, as others have pointed out, especially given the gender dynamic, you are just not the right person to give advice to your friend at the moment. The fact that she knows so much about your inner life and your issues might be making it all harder for her, since she could be thinking, "hey, he's no more together than I am, but yet he got this chance, it's not fair." I'd focus on the work dimensions here, on being a good colleague by working hard in your new role, and saying you hope that her own efforts and talents will soon be recognized and rewarded.

And don't let her undermine you by carrying tales of what others are saying behind your back. Tell her that anyone who has a problem should come to you directly, it's not her place to be the intermediary. What purpose does she think she's serving besides making you feel bad?
posted by rpfields at 10:16 PM on February 8, 2017 [1 favorite]


Are you more like the manager demographically than she is? As in, are you the same race/gender/class as the manager, while she differs in one or more categories?

If so then you should be aware of your privilege here. There are studies that show managers support and promote people who look like them, even if there are others more qualified. There is also plenty of implicit bias benefiting male/white/upper class candidates, which even women and minorities exhibit.

I know why she feels gaslit; you are so sure your promotion is due to your hard work that you are unwilling to see that somehow you got the opportunity to work "behind the scenes" on the new project-- she didn't get that option. The rest of the team didn't get that option. Why wasn't the opportunity to switch made open to everyone? Why was it given only to you and done "behind the scenes"?

From their perspective, it looks like the manager has you as a favorite, and not based on your work product. Your manager screwed up here, and you played along. If you have to keep working with your old team, you are now in a tight spot. You'll have to recognize that and work to make amends, even if you just want a good work relationship with them.

If you want to stay friends with your friend on the team, you will also need to listen. Maybe ask for some advice yourself, along the lines of what you can do to make it up to your old team, or how you yourself can avoid the poor behavior and possible bias your manager has shown here.

Last- never tell someone to calm down. You don't get to police her emotions. She is pissed, you're her friend, listen and validate. I bet she does this for you all the time, and if so it is extra infuriating that you aren't doing it back.
posted by nat at 1:49 AM on February 9, 2017 [10 favorites]


Your workplace sounds pretty toxic to me. There may be something about the type of work you do that makes what you describe seem more normal. But to me, the idea that you were coasting in that one role for three months-- and acting "annoyed" all the while-- is really pretty extreme. This is definitely the kind of thing that burns workplace friendships. I'm imagining this question re-written from your friend's point of view and I think a bunch of answers would probably be, "This is exactly why workplace friendships are not real friendships. Find your friends outside of work from now on and by the way, look for a new job because that place stinks."

I think the only way you can possibly save this friendship is to be a listening ear and totally cool it with the advice. But be prepared for the idea that your friendship isn't going to be the same.
posted by BibiRose at 5:53 AM on February 9, 2017 [3 favorites]


It really sucks because I essentially have a big wall between me and someone I confide in on a nearly daily basis.

This situation sucks even more for her. Per your own account she has had an incredibly difficult year outside of work and her coping ability is likely very stretched already. Now she's had the rug pulled out from her with her career. You say that she knew in advance about the change to your role but you don't make clear if she knew her role would be becoming more ambiguous at the same time which I think could be key - it's easy to be happy for a friend who is doing well, it's harder to be happy for a friend who is doing well when you are struggling in the same area. It may be the case that "anyone who wants to affect change for themselves at this company has encouragement and support to do so" but given that she was already stressed and stretched she probably doesn't have the emotional resources to start pushing forward and affecting change right now.

In addition to all of this her close friend (who has benefitted from this mess and been treated favourably despite appearing to slack off) is trying to tell her that her feelings about this aren't valid, that she hasn't been treated poorly and if she had the right approach she too would be able to thrive under these conditions. I think her response to you was remarkably restrained under the circumstances.

she should drop anything that isn't essential to her immediate well-being so she can recover and heal from the last year before she continues to approach new life changes.

I think you should think about accepting that currently you are not only not essential to her immediate well-being but actively harmful to her and leave her well alone while the dust settles. It may suck for you but if you sincerely "only care about her well-being and her happiness" you will respect her feelings.
posted by *becca* at 9:00 AM on February 9, 2017 [6 favorites]


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