There are a lot of workplace situations that when handled improperly, could cause discomfort for involved parties. One of the most common ones is the fallout of a romantic relationship gone bad. Experts advise that workmates should avoid these as it creates a minefield of unwarranted bad blood. However, what if you have a best friend at work, with no romance involved and this relationship falls apart?
Unlike a romantic relationship, the lines around close friendship in the workplace are a bit more blurred and if anything, they create as much fodder for speculation. So how do you navigate a broken friendship in the workplace?
Reach out, not only to your past friend to mend fences but to new potential friends in the workplace. It is likely that if you have a close friend at work they also play the role of a sounding board, cheerleader and confidante especially around the pain points you experience at work.
To an extent, you might even have become dependent on them. Getting used to not having someone with who you can just pick the phone and reach out to for a supportive or contrarian view might be difficult, but it is not impossible. You just need to learn how to stand on your own two feet.
In future, as you develop friendships, ensure that you do not become close to one person while alienating everyone else. Develop a balanced group of acquaintances with whom you can work together on different projects or bounce ideas off. But recognize that these relationships take a while to form and your workmates might be a bit wary of trusting you at first especially if your former friendship ended poorly.
Take the high road
If it happens that your former friend has taken to gossiping, lashing out at you, putting you down in public, refuse to react, especially not in the heat of the moment. When in doubt, take the high road and practise maturity by refusing to engage in any behavior that could put you at loggerheads, even if you are in the right. Avoid communicating when angry and see if that allows tempers to flare down.
If it starts affecting your work and productivity, you might want to take it up with your supervisor. However, remember that this might end up backfiring in both your faces leading to you being viewed as a liability. Ignoring poor behavior will in most cases put a stop to it, as the person may be looking for someone to feed their angst.
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