How To Unfriend Someone In Real Life

FEB 23, 2017

I’ve decided to “unfriend” someone at work. Not in a mean way, but in a friendly, professional way. I’m cordial, I’m attentive and friendly, but in no means overtly so. I won’t open up or share my extra-curricular activities or send weekend texts letting him know what I am doing and I don’t expect any in return.  We were close and it was fun while it lasted. He told me all the office insider gossip and what was going on and we’d have fun talking about everyone else. Part of the fun of going to work was because of him, but not anymore.

The loss of my friend feels pretty bad but not as bad as dealing with his horrible mood swings which he takes out on me. I figure if I’m not as close to him, it won’t affect me. He’s done it three times in the past two years and they were all bad, but this last one, the fourth, was particularly nasty. All I could say is, what did I do wrong? In my head, of course, because no matter how I’d try to cheer him up or ask him what was wrong or treat him kindly, he’d just return all of my efforts with a shrug, a look of derision and just give me a lame excuse or totally avoid me altogether. It’s an emotional roller coaster and a total drag.

The hard part is the transition from ‘friend’ to just a co-worker. It’s going to take some time but I’m hoping it will work out. I don’t really want to be a target for his moods when he’s having a bad day with his girlfriend, or a bad day at home, or feeling insecure because the world is moving on without him. I secretly suspect that he has some jealousy issues.

I go back and forth about wanting to talk to him about what’s been happening but that will open up more doors to closeness and I don’t want that at all. Once bitten twice shy. I’m afraid of his moods and I don’t want to deal with them anymore. Its like getting yelled at really bad by someone – you are forever wary and walking on egg shells. That’s how I feel with him.  It’s only a matter of when it will happen again and I don’t want to be there.

He’s realized his error but never formally apologized. He just jumped back to his old spunky self and asked me if I wanted to have breakfast or lunch with him and I didn’t say no but I said he could join me when I went out for my daily walks at lunch time. That way I can keep him at bay but not totally shut him out.  I still need him at work because he plays a vital role and function to my job but he can still be my co-worker, just not my friend.

Friends are people that treat you like you want to be treated, not like rubbish. Co-workers can get away with that because they are just that, co-workers. You leave them at work and don’t bring them home with you…with friends, they are more than that, and you often have deeper bonds with them, so naturally, you are more sensitive. An enemy is an enemy that you’ve identified and its more predictable than an unpredictable friend who treats you like an enemy and you have no idea why?

 

So here’s my plan to stay resilient:

  1. Build a wall – a nice one. Allow for peep-holes but not wide-open gates.
  2. Shield with white healing power – meditate each day and imagine a white, clean, protective sheet of white positive light around yourself. Tell yourself this shield will help you deflect negative emotions.
  3. Stop negativity – think before you speak. Think of what you say and how it affects others. Strive only for positive thoughts and behaviors. Like attracts like.
  4. Be open but don’t open the flood gates.
  5. Be friendly but don’t be a bestie.
  6. Be honest but don’t share your heart.

I’m going to try this each and every day to see how it all pans out. I’ll keep you updated.

 

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I slap my head..that’s IT!!

2-10-17

I just finished writing a whole entry (dated today) on Moodiness. All this time I thought someone with whom I work with was just moody  has turned out to be mostly PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE. The more research I do, the more red flags have popped up and now this makes total sense!

Being on the receiving end, here are the emotions that I’ve been feeling when my close co-worker starts treating me icy cold without warning:

  • confused
  • feels like I’ve done something wrong
  • feel crazy
  • feel resentment toward person doing this
  • feels like I spend too much time analyzing his mood
  • uncomfortable
  • self doubt
  • off kilter
  • insecure, to a degree

And the bad thing, it’s becoming a pattern. It’s happened before and it will happen again. Totally weird shit at work.

How this person operates:

  • cold shoulder
  • forgets things or takes a long time getting them
  • not doing what is asked
  • abrupt and curt “I’m tired”
  • treats others warmly but cold to target person (me)
  • avoids eye contact
  • avoids close proximity and abruptly leaves
  • acts angry at times but blames it on something else “I gotta go”
  • withholding information or lying
  • is always the victim (subtle)

Weird thing is, this person is the closest “friend” I have in the work place. The bad thing is, this is not a friend in a truest sense. I’d much rather respect the person I don’t like at work because at least they are upfront with me and it’s just mutual avoidance but on a professional level. With this relationship, I never know where I stand. One day a friend, the next day a hated enemy…and I have no idea why!

It took me over a year to figure out why and here I am, a year later, on a full-moon night, figuring this shit out! At first I thought it was Bipolar disorder. Then I thought it was his recreational drug use (which he has professed to me). Then I was lead to believe it was problems between him and his girlfriend (now his fiance) as it was a rocky start. Then I attributed it to moodiness (which it is not, because if it was true moodiness, he’d treat everyone equally with indifference).

Now that I have a name to the face of this behavior, I’ve decided I have a weapon/tool in my arsenal to protect myself, my emotional well-being and my physical space. It’s odd to me that as long as I’ve lived, and the 25+ years I’ve had dealing with people on a professional level, that only now I’m figuring this out. Why did it take so long?  The refreshing news is that, no, it’s not me…well, maybe a part of it, because obviously I’ve done something wrong to piss him off, but whatever the perceived insult, it’s totally blown out of proportion and I have to remember these mantras:

  • it’s mainly him
  • it is not healthy
  • he needs help, but not mine
  • he may not ever change
  • this will probably happen again (as it has in the past)
  • he has a problem, don’t second-guess yourself
  • do not trust him

I treat him kindly, I treat him to food and lunch, I am totally open and friendly to him. I don’t give him any advice that he doesn’t ask for and I’m not opinionated on any subject. I thank him daily for the work he’s done…so…??

Exit plans include the following:

  • keep professional distance
  • stay friendly without going past office-level
  • treat others as you want to be treated, but again, with a healthy distance
  • don’t open yourself up to sob stories; don’t ask for specifics
  • don’t get ingrained in his personal life, even if he offers details
  • remember he’s still a great guy but probably unaware of his hidden communication pattern, which is PA.
  • keep your healthy-shield up!

Even if I’ve “wasted” hours and hours delving into this problem, I’ve got to congratulate myself on being productive tonight. The thing that could not be pin-pointed has finally come to head. Now I know what I am dealing with and I’m armed. I need to protect my emotional health as well as my well-being. My job deals with sick people and it’s already stressful enough; I don’t need anymore drama in my life.

Moody People

2-10-17

OK here is my problem, or rather, here’s his problem, which I make my problem…which I shouldn’t make my problem but I do. Here’s the situation: I work with a rather young man in our office that confides in me, a much older woman, about a lot of his life’s challenges, his upcoming wedding, his fears, his happy moments, stuff he’s done that he has never told anyone, what he did this past weekend or what he’s planning to do for the wedding…so far so good. I usually get a smile and a nod of acknowledgement across the room, a sincere “how was your weekend?” and sometimes we sneak off to lunch together just so we can be away from the rest of the office.

It’s all fine and dandy for a few days, maybe a few weeks….then BAM! A complete 360. Suddenly there’s no eye contact, no smile. I ask him how’s he feeling and he says “I’m tired” and no further explanation. His body language is closed. His face looks bored when he talks. He exits the room as soon as I get in and cannot stand to be near me. All along I am thinking, what did I do? I am taking it personally. Wouldn’t you?

As most modern people do nowadays, we go to Google for advice. Long gone are the days of the Fortune-telling 8 Ball that you turned upside down to get advice. So I type in the following words:

HOW TO DEAL WITH MOODY PEOPLE or PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE PEOPLE

and get a bunch of good advice. Most of the information out there makes me feel good. It says, don’t take it personally, it’s probably not you, it’s them…but I mean, how can you NOT? Can any human not take this personally? How can you go from being warm and friendly to icy and indifferent and not wonder if you did or said something wrong?

The funny thing is, he’s done this in the past about 3 other times, but given enough time, he usually comes around to his normal self and sometimes even knows he’s being stand-offish and will apologize, or blame his rocky relationship with his then-girlfriend, now-fiance as the source of his withdrawal, and at other times, won’t even give an explanation.

I’m usually one of those ripple-type people: throw a rock into the water and it will just accommodate the rock and ripple softly until it’s flat and smooth on top. I don’t like to dig deep into people if they are not willing to share; I just go with the flow. I know he’ll come along but at the same time I’m very annoyed that he treats people he’s close to with this amount of indifference and sometimes, intentionally mean. It would be one thing for someone to like or dislike someone or keep a professional distance but it’s mixed messages all along when he calls me his good, true friend he can confide in and that I’m a rare gem among rocks. He says he doesn’t trust anyone at work except me. Then proceeds to totally ignore me, or worse, talk to others sincerely and interact with them warmly and does the total opposite to my face.

I thought maybe he’s has a bipolar disorder but doesn’t seem to show the traits of someone with bipolar disorder (I have a best friend with this issue and I’ve seen both her manic and depressed side). I truly believe this is a pattern of being passive-aggressive. He once said to our group “I wish sometimes people would ask me if something is wrong” but when you ask him if he’s ok, it’s always “I’m tired” or “fine”.  Say one thing, do another. So weird I don’t understand it.

I am not sure I know how to protect myself from this person’s negative energy. I know I should just ignore it and trust me, I do. I carry on with him as if nothing has changed. I still greet him warmly each day. I ask him how his weekend went (“I’m tired”), I still try to engage in small chat knowing I’ll just meet with a flat affect with a monotone voice reporting one sentence replies. Sometimes I try to joke and tell him he needs more sleep so he doesn’t turn into a zombie, but I’m secretly off-put inside.

It drives me insane. This is what I want to say to him.

“I really like you but your up and down moods are wearing on me”

“You are purposefully nice to everyone around me yet treat me differently when you are in one of your moods – what kind of game are you playing?”

“It’s OK to be upset at something or some situation, but it’s not OK to treat your friends like crap”

“I will not let your passive aggressiveness ruin my day.”

“Please leave your bitchy moods at home and don’t bring it to work”

“Why don’t you come clean and tell me if I’ve done anything to make you mad?”

Me asking him if I’ve done anything wrong makes me look like I’m taking it very personally, which I am. I don’t want him to think I am, because I could be wrong and it may just as well be girlfriend problems, which he has had a lot of prior to asking her to marry him, but why the cold shoulder? It really must be me, and he wants me to know it in no uncertain terms by his treatment of me. But here’s the catch. I AM NOT SURE WHAT I DID WRONG!

Once a friend, you can’t really “unfriend” in real life. I suppose I could make my distance larger by being more aloof and perhaps keeping a buffer of professionalism between us to prevent any more closeness between us. I really, really like the guy and when he’s a good friend, he’s as loyal and thoughtful and amazing as can be, but the payback is a total bitch, and in my opinion, not worth keeping up the friendship.

I have had experiences with a fair number of passive aggressive women, but hardly ever men. It’s a weird feeling.

Has anyone experienced this kind of behavior before? What did you do about it?