Brain-Storming 4

Situation: Sarah and Ann have been friends for a long time and they work at the same place. They met very often and were close enough to consider each other a good friend. Ann, however, started behaving a bit strange recently. She started not wanting to meet Sarah as often, and she started coming to work less often. They were on the same project, so that meant that she started not doing her part, which Sarah had to cover up. Sarah also heard that she said a few bad things about her to other colleagues. She did not use to speak about anyone before, so this came as a surprise.

Question: How should Sarah behave? Should she finish her friendship with Ann? Should she stay unresponsive on the assumption that this is temporary? If you think this is a situation that can be solved, how should Sarah help with it?

52 thoughts on “Brain-Storming 4

  1. I think communication is important here. Sarah should not cover for Ann, nor act unresponsive because this would create more friction between them and could possibly dissolve their friendship,mall for what, hearsay?

    Sarah deserves to know the truth and where she stands, Ann needs to be honest and upfront about how she feels.

      1. Not at all, if Ann isn’t willing to talk then Sarah needs to cut ties. Life is too short to be treated this way for no apparent reason,

      2. If I was Sarah, I would probably think that I need to stick by her and try to help her. But maybe as you said, if Ann is not willing, it is better not to spend time. But it just feels like abandoning her when she needs it.

      3. Sara shouldn’t had to have covered up at all. The management already know who they assigned to work on a project. They also know if one of them isn’t there. The person not present isn’t working unless they are being allowed to work from home remotely.

        However, I was working in an office not too long ago where someone would leave their desk during work and disappear for hours or spend a lot of time talking to their friends and not working and I did have to cover with customers because of it. Management’s policy was to not let the customers know when their accounts were messed up because of an employee’s laziness/lack of getting stuff done. I spent almost a year getting screamed at by customers over the phone and in person because workers who were more popular with management were not doing their jobs and management wasn’t making them. All the time I spent “covering” for my coworkers under the direction of my supervisors took a big chunk out of my work time. I was literally reassigned to that position (covering for other workers with customers) while being expected to keep up my own full workload. Though I’ve always been pretty intolerant of people who slack off at work. So, Sara and Ann need to get their shit together and quit their high school behavior.

      4. What you experienced sounds really tough and it is also annoying that the management was so lax about this. How did you exactly solve the issue?

      5. I left that job (for different reasons) and became an author full time. Management did not have any intention of correcting the issue. The office was grant funded and under staffed so they needed to stay behind on the work load to justify all the overtime everyone worked to keep the full annual grant award coming every year (If the office had been paying salary rates that they were supposed to and haired up to full staff using up the grant would not have been an issue.) . It was actually the first thing I was taught when I started there, “Do not do all the work so that there is stuff to do on over time.” There were specific things which I was specifically told had to be done on overtime and not to do them during regular work hours.

      6. I would have preferred to have a regular job where I could promote and help people and like I thought I was doing when I started that job. What I have right now isn’t what’s right for me. Maybe I can make it what I need it to be eventually though.

      7. Oh I see. I am sure there are places like you dream of, but it is not the right time for you to find it then. I hope that you will find it one day! You can maybe even continue writing if you have such a nice job.

  2. “Hey Ann, Sarah here. I don’t know what’s going on in your life right now because we haven’t had a chance to communicate with each other about it. May we have a coffee and just talk? I miss you my friend and I hope you missed me too. Our usual place at 5 feels good, unless you have a better venue in mind. Can’t wait to spend some time with you. Bye!”

      1. Okay Ann …. maybe u need more time to iron out things in your mind before you can tell me what has gone amiss between us. It’s not convenient for me, and I’m curious, but I respect the space you clearly need.
        However, our professional area is feeling ur falling back and that needs to be addressed without delay
        I can think of 3 choices right now
        1) We put our personal energy out of our work place and get the job done. I can guarantee to u right now that I will be a mindful colleague and we’ll meet the deadline and maybe that’s all we’ll ever be –
        colleagues – and that’s one outcome
        2) We both go to Manager/HR on Monday and sort it out, in a manner that ensures the company doesn’t suffer because of personnel politics
        3) I can call Manager/HR from right here and tell her/him about our meeting and keep her/him updated ….. that way, u will know everything I’m saying “behind your back right in front of you” and Manager/HR can step in now and sort the issue out before things get too out of control

        Which choice would you like to take Ann?

        (I would start recording this conversation the minute I think Ann is being shifty or shady or belligerent …. Ann’s not paying my bills 🤷🏽‍♀️)

      2. That is a good one! Professional! If there are things to be done, they need to be done in some way and it better be a way that will not harm Sarah.

  3. If Ann does not want to talk about her issues,Sarah should give her some time and cover up for her in the meanwhile.Best friends means they should understand each others silence and need of space to open up too.When she will be comfortable she will definitely turn to her best friend to share her problems

    1. I think this would also require Ann to not make this longer than needed. Because then, it would be a problem for Sarah. After all, she would be doing what is not ‘right’, namely the covering up.

      1. Well,if they are good friends m sure Ann will see what it is doing to Sarah and will come to her rescue.Sometimes when we r depressed or feel the need to cut off from every one,seeing what people are doing for us coz they care helps to break the ice.
        And I agree with u too but I also feel
        in years of close friendship even Ann must have done caring things for her as I feel being there for each other during troubled times helps to strengthen the bond and make strangers or casual friends good friends

      2. Yeah, I think this situation requires that Sarah and Ann know each other and that they are good friends. If they are sure about that, then they will be able to give each other the time they need because they will trust each other.

  4. Sarah should politely confront Ann. Ann will probably be unresponsive but Sarah needs to at least give he a chance. After that, Sarah needs to wrote Ann off and not cover for her anymore

      1. Loyalty is important and I value it dearly. But I’ve learned when we spend time on people who don’t care for us, or are even pushing us away, we spend less time on the people that really care about us… and they need our time too

  5. Relationships last longer when we have forgiveness and compassion for the other. Ann is making a mistake shutting her friend out. Sarah is making a mistake assuming she did something wrong. Both need to work on their friendship. Sarah should keep trying to communicate but if Ann continues this behavior on and on, eventually Sarah should let go. It’s not about pride. It’s more about protecting herself.

      1. I think she should try at least once, maybe more. She’ll know when the time is right. And if Ann doesn’t respond, then she might want to move on. She could still leave the door open for the friendship but she shouldn’t waste her time waiting for Ann to turn around. Focus on hobbies and other relationships, etc. Life is too short to wait around for another person to finally pay some attention to you.

  6. Were they friends before they were colleagues? What is the management’s role? Are they absent as well and are not aware of their employees’ performance? That would make for interesting evaluation… Do they work for the same manager? Are there any other colleagues involved in the project? Are their roles in the project interchangeable so that covering is possible?

    1. Let’s say that since they are in the same project, they work for the same manager and there are two other people on the project. The managers gave some time for the project and they do not do intermediate evaluations. They care only about it that the project finishes in time, however it finishes. As for their roles, they are not entirely interchangable, so Sarah has to do some extra learning to cover for Ann.
      Also, they were not friends but let’s say that they have been working together for ten years and have been friends since the beginning.

  7. Why would Sara need to cover up the fact that Ann wasn’t at work? If someone isn’t at work, then the rest of the people working together pick up the slack. That’s how work, works. At least that’s what has always been expected of me. Maybe Ann doesn’t like Sara implying that missing work is something which needs to be “covered up”? That would make me have some not nice things to say about someone.

    Like: “I’ve been out with horrible back pain from a work related injury (or maybe it a pregnancy or just the flue/cold, I don’t know) but my best work friend is acting like I’m shirking off the job.” I could see why Ann would not be happy.

    1. That is an interesting perspective and I like it! If there is this kind of an understanding, that probably means that Sarah and Ann are not that much of good friends, right? If they were, they would understand each other’s feelings better.

      1. If they were good friends, Sara would know why Ann was missing work. Ann would have told her. I mean heck. I’ve never been close friends with anyone at work and I usually know why someone is missing lots of work. It just gets around the office. Unless Ann is missing work because she’s been suspended and it is Sara’s fault? All I know is that the people telling Sara that Ann said stuff about her are gossiping and that’s never cool.

  8. Sarah should reach out to Ann over email and ask her to stop spreading false stories about Sarah. Regarding friendship – I usually don’t go after people who are not interested in being friends with me. So in a nutshell – friendship drop it, rumors – stop it 🙂

      1. Nothing discounts spreading false rumors. I think she should have the maturity to have a meeting with Sarah and explain the behavior. Passive Aggressive I don’t get.

      2. Ok, I think that makes sense. I think if it is a one-time thing, I would not mind it too much, since we can all do things that we don’t want or intend to when we don’t feel good. If it is continuous, I would probably behave like you too.

  9. Confrontation with her own insights could help Sarah to reach Ann. why she acts like that should be the focus! Does she feel uncomfortable? She should tell her directly that she is not able to cover up the other part- because it’s a project for two not a one woman show. If Sarah opens up her heart and tells her insights— then Ann is perhaps able to do it too. Perhaps the collugues want just to create a gap between those girls… you never know until you put the elephant in front of the person who has an issue with you! In my opinion covering up and staying quiet is not a good idea, because Sarah will not feel comfy with it at all!

  10. 1) Communicate. Discuss with Ann.
    2) Not all in a friend can be likeable.
    3) Why would any behaviour be temporary ? Behaviours occur by thoughts and recurrent thoughts grow into beliefs and beliefs are not always temporary.

    Lastly, but not the least – friendship and official work must be held separate. Even without friendship, the project should not be hampered.

    1. So we should beware of any behavior because they might be an indication of an underlying belief or one yet to be formed.
      I think I would find it hard to keep work separate in this case if my friend is a close one. But your suggestion is the ideal.

  11. If they truly are friends, Sarah should reach out to Ann and ask if she’s OK. Ann could be acting this way not because she’s upset with Sarah. Perhaps Ann is bothered by something else going on in her life and this is affecting her in all sorts of ways, including in how she interacts with others.

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