The Abrupt End of a Work Friendship
A woman misses a friendship with a co-worker that ended after she left her job.
Dear Friendship Rules,
I used to have many friends, most of whom I met at work. One of my closest friends and I would take our kids places, go out to dinner and enjoy shopping together. Our friendship also helped make work more fun.
After an argument with a co-worker, I lost my job. Then I got sick and wasn’t able to work for seven months.
I made the mistake of putting something on social media about feeling hurt because I had no friends. My former co-worker read it and got hurt and angry. Our relationship hasn’t been the same since.
I was feeling lonely and depressed, and it was only after I posted it that I realized it wasn’t even about her, but more about me and the way I was feeling.
She blocked me on Facebook and deleted my contact on her phone. She will not reach out. I miss her terribly. When I see her with my other friends it makes me so upset.
How do I move on from this? What can I do?
It sounds like the last seven months have been difficult for you. You lost your job, fell ill, and became depressed. Those would be challenging circumstances for anyone, especially for a parent with childcare responsibilities.
What you posted on social media wasn’t a mistake; many people reach out for support and understanding when they’re feeling upset. It sounds like your former co-worker’s response was a gross overreaction.
There are several possibilities to consider:
She may not feel comfortable socializing with you because it could jeopardize her own position in the workplace.
Even though you got together outside of work, your primary bond was as “work friends” rather than social intimates.
Something in her life may be going on that has nothing to do with you.
Whatever the reasons, given your friend’s extreme and very definitive reaction, you have no choice but to move on from this friendship.
We have written previously about how work friendships can be a double-edged sword. When they are good, they can be very good. But when they sour, they can be quite destructive. It’s a blessing that you don’t have to face this former friend in the workplace each day, which would only make it even tougher on you emotionally.
We’re confident in saying that you will heal over time as you begin to cultivate new friendships. However, this may be difficult if you are still struggling with depression. If so, we suggest reaching out to a counselor or therapist who can support you as you adjust to all the challenges and changes you are facing.
Hope this is a bit helpful,
Irene & Sheryl
When a friendship ends abruptly, we may be at a loss to understand the reasons.