Hello Kally,

I have a problem which has vexed me for a long time. I have a best friend, Devi and she and I have been best friends since college. We have lost touch with each other ever since we entered the workforce. Just end of last year, she joined my company and was placed under my care.

I am in the Human Resources department and in charge of recruiting and she is reporting under one of my manager as a recruiter. At first, I was delighted that she and I could carry on our friendship from where we left off but as times goes by, she became a nuisance instead of a help. She’ll overrides her manager and approach me when she has a problem regarding her work. If I turned her away and refer her back to her own superior, she’ll be angry and refused to speak to me for days. I tried many times to talk to her about this, trying to draw a clear line between our friendship and work but she will refuse to listen and instead always change the subject.

It got worse this year when she’ll use our friendship to gain popularity among her peers. Last week, her manager gave her a poor appraisal listing out her many mistakes including her carelessness and her bad quality of work. The manager suggested to me that Devi should be let go in order not to pull the department’s performance down.

Yesterday, Devi stormed into my office and demanded that I do something about her poor appraisal and tried to dangle our friendship, implying that I care more about making money than our many years of friendship. I had enough and shouted at her, a stormy screaming match ensued. Now she is threatening to go to my boss to complain about me and how I lost my temper. I did apologized but she wants me to change the appraisal so she can get a pay raise next year.

What do I do? I don’t want to lose my job because of her.

Please help.

Sincere Regards,
Penny P.

Dear Penny,

Oh dear, your so-called friend is using emotional blackmail against you and bullying you to submit to her request. You should have nipped the problem in the bud when she showed her temper whenever you tried to discuss about drawing boundaries with regards to work.

I don’t think your job is on the line here since you have been in the company for years and your good performance and results speaks for itself but you do need to sit down with your boss and let him or her know what is happening. As this is pretty sensitive, I suggest letting your boss step in and have a serious talk with her, with you in the same room. If need be, have her transfer out of your team or your department. It wouldn’t be fair to override your manager’s decision to let her go especially if there are enough evidence that Devi is not performing. If the final decision is to let her stay on, she needs a warning letter at the very least.

Meanwhile, you need to think hard and long whether to keep up this manipulating friendship. People do change with time and the Devi you used to know and love, might not be the same person anymore. Please don’t let her bully you anymore. It is not fair to you and not fair to the rest of your team.

Last but not least, you need to learn to control your temper and I hoped this is just a one off incident because she misuse her friendship and pressed your buttons. Shouting matches in a workplace, no matter under what circumstances should never happen and never tolerate. If things got too much for you, walk away and come back to her when you feel better and ready to talk.

I hope the above advises helped. Best of luck!


64 replies on “A Word of Advice: Friendship wedge in at Work

  1. True that. Shouting at work place is never good. You can’t escape that saying that he or she shouted at me first. Even in a situation like this, one should never loose his temper. It’s considered bad professional manners.

    Liked by 7 people

    1. Very true! Penny was seriously very upset in her email to me and I had to edit out some of things she wrote in the email in order not to give away where she works and her identity. Two wrongs doesn’t make a right.

      Liked by 6 people

  2. Friends, it’s like the flowers. Some fade very quickly. Other illuminate our eyes. We all know: to keep the flowers should be watered them, caress them, talk to them, because they are living beings … Knowledge, relatives and friends, it is also grown …
    Kally tu es mon amie, bon weekend Γ  toi.

    Liked by 6 people

  3. Note all discourses, calls, and prepare a folder on her. When you are approached by your superiors you have a detailed journal. Detach yourself by advising her that work and business can’t mix with friendship…. Good luck! ER

    Liked by 5 people

  4. To maintain a friendship and co-worker (especially when an aspect of seniority over another is involved) the relationship will change. To think it won’t is setting both parties up for disappointment. It’s too bad this didn’t get established sooner. It’s evident in their recent interaction (that turned to anger, mistrust, and accusations) that the expectation of the ‘friendship’ is outweighing the expectation of a ‘professional relationship’ on the friends end. Penny should maintain a professional composure next time (I’m sure she has learned a lot from the most recent incident) and realize the friendship may be unsalvageable at this time.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m sure Penny would find your advice very useful. I agree this is a lesson learnt for her but it’s painful indeed. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Do visit often!


  5. You know I’m certainly out of my league here, but first to quote: Just end of last year, she joined my company and was placed under my care. I am in the Human Resources department and in charge of recruiting and she is reporting under one of my manager as a recruiter.” Would it not have been prudent to have notified someone in the company right from the start that Devi had been a close friend? That there might possibly be a conflict of interest? I don’t know … but from my own personal observations, friends working for friends does not usually work out very well. Sometimes (oftentimes?) there is very obvious favoritism shown; other times, situations like the one described above; still other times, the friend in charge “nips problem(s) in the bud,” but in doing so forever loses a friend. Messy situation for sure!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. You are never out of my league here πŸ˜‰
      I do agree that all this could have been avoided if it was disclose there are a conflict of interest with them working so close and in the same department but often companies only requests for spouses or partners to disclose and not good friends. Still Penny could have taken precaution beforehand, I guess she trusted her friend too much.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I agree! I know in most work places family members can’t be supervised by their own family. It happened to me at the call center and I hated it because my cousin would have all morning schedule and I had to pick night schedules or mid schedules. I understand now that it is a conflict of interest. The rule should also apply to close friends or people who knew each other before working together.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Definitely not their actual name. All those who wrote to me have full confidence that all matters will be treated with privacy and confidentiality because I valued my privacy dearly as well. πŸ™‚ All references to their location, company and personal details have been edit out to allow them to remain anonymous.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Fire her ass. If by now she doesn’t realise she her attitude issues, fire her ass and still be her friend, she will probably turn you down, but don’t give up, perhaps one day she will get it. What kind of friend wouldn’t tell the other the hard truth when needed? You doing the right thing. Fire her ass now.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Excellent advice Kally. I think I do not like a friend who behaves like Devi. If I were in her place I would be the best support for my friend in her higher position so that she may succeed more. After all, the success of a good friend is your success also. What is friendship for if we cannot support our friends? It is unfair for her to try to push her friend to bend the rules to favor her. In short, she is trying to spoil her work. She definitely is secretly jealous of her friend and would like to pull her down without appearing to do so. This friend cannot be trusted; and this friendship to me has outlived its usefulness.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks a lot, Ngobesing!! With your advice and the rest of the advices here, I believe she will know what her next step is and how she should talk to Devi.


  8. You are welcome. My blessing. Remember I am open for your unbiased opinion. I’ll be Thankful & glad to correct anything to improve.
    Actually though that Amazon call it a gift, I have to admit is that it is not quite a gift, rather is an exchange of blessings. I was blessed to write it & you will be blessed to read it.
    And in the boot, you’ll give me the extra blessing of your opinion. All for the honor of our Father in the heavens that has invested the power of love from on high to both of us! Ha Ha HalleluYan! πŸ™‚
    His love in my heart for you!

    Liked by 1 person

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