I am a 25-year-old woman working in a reputed IT company for over a year now and am quite happy with my job. I had made good friends with a colleague, a year younger to me, in my team. He is quite juvenile, but I thought he is a sweet person. I kept ignoring his immature behaviour, even though it irked me at times. I confided in him about my personal life, but he spoke about my personal relations with another guy loudly and the entire team heard. I was furious, given that everybody in the team knows this guy and I didn’t want to make things public. I took it up with him later but he didn’t even accept that he was wrong in being so loud about it. We have ever since stopped speaking to each other, but it gets pretty awkward since we work together. He tried apologising once or twice but that I thought was quite fake. How should I deal with this?
‘It is better to have an intelligent enemy than a stupid friend’.
The old adage is true as most people realise, at some point or other in their lives. Usually after the damage has been done! It sounds a bit ruthless, but it actually applies to all areas of our lives…personal, professional and social. It is imperative to understand your role in the entire episode and it all started with your ‘sweetperson’ thought about this juvenile delinquent. After your ‘awww…so cute’ moment had passed and you had experienced his immaturity at close quarters, it should have been a signal for you to withdraw or to draw the line in your ‘friendship’. And you actually went ahead and confided in him about your romantic escapades!
Well, you have suffered and this will ensure that you are careful in future. Colleagues are colleagues. You can be friendly with them but avoid getting into friendships. In fact, most professionals even avoid having colleagues as their Facebook friends, unless you are really desperate to up the numbers.
Now that you have experienced a lot of unnecessary embarrassment, it is time to look ahead. Not communicating with each other will also make you seem unprofessional. Accept his apology and ensure that the relationship is on an even keel. Treat him as your other colleagues to ensure that there is positivity in the team. But do not overtly be cold or rude with him, as you have shared some moments of warmth and humour in the past. Your body language will be an indication to him about the changed nature of your friendship.
(The writer is an image consultant and corporate trainer. If you have queries for him, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org)