What type of friendship would this be called or am I making a fool of myself?

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This topic contains 28 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  anita 3 months, 3 weeks ago.

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    Hi Everyone,

    Back to my support backbone at tinybuddha; so I have this friend at work, our friendship began through an office event and were participating in the same group, she is about 10-12 years older to me but we speak the same native language which kicked it off, earlier initiative was from her end most of the times until maybe she made new friends in her team, hanging out etc.,began imitating their clothing styles and kinda changed to somewhat rude somewhat selfish. Not that I only wanted her to be only my friend not that feeling at all but noticeable behavioral change. There were times when I had asked her for a break and she replied that she is busy with something but just 5 min later I see her in the break room with someone else,  sounds like I am being possessive haha but it feels like ignorance or can I say betrayal?

    And then the same friend gave me an expensive gift on the occasion of my wedding, referred me willingly for a position in her team, invited me maybe a few times to her home (I did make it once)

    The times I noticed things were affecting me I tried to bring it up to her asking if something is wrong but her responses were “cold” like “I don’t know what you are saying”, “naah when did that happen” and the most recent ” am I having mood swings”when all I wanted to know was if she is okay as she had just got back from a long trip and seemed a little off.

    I do understand she may have other things going on with her life and most of the times I have kept away so that I don’t have to face cold responses again.

    But am I like a last option friend to her? As in if she needs company for a walk or for coffee then she reaches out, if I do the same maybe at a completely different time either her legs are sore from exercise or she is busy that time.

    I really need help handling this friendship, when I confront I look really stupid, if I stay away there is normal initiative from her side, there is no way I could get an answer from her as most is nothing like that and why do I think this way etc responses.

    Could you please suggest?



    Dear Neha,

    How long has this friendship been? What are your expectations from this friendship?

    Maybe a healthy balance is what you need when it comes to handling the friendship. I mean a healthy balance in expectations and how much you are investing in this friendship.

    The only thing that you can be reasonably certain is what is going on in your mind. With respect to your interactions with her, you will need to do what feels right to you. Given the variable response that you have received so far from this person, it is likely that this person may continue to respond in the same manner.

    Confronting her further does not seem a good option as her responses to that have hardly been helpful to you. Staying away to make the other person come to you may not be healthy but staying away for your emotional health is.

    Take care



    Dear Neha:

    Maybe the common native language was a draw on her part in the beginning but a bigger draw is her motivation to be like the others, not of her native country, and so she imitates their clothing styles and looking for their company, preferring their company. If the other co workers are closer to her age, that may be another draw, for her.

    Did I understand correctly: she is the one who gave you an expensive gift for your wedding, referred you to a position in her team and invited you to her home? If so, how did you react to the gift (did she attend your wedding?), and to the position in her team?

    What did you tell her when you declined the invitation to her home (and why did you decline?)

    One more question: did you invite her to your home?



    @ Prash: This friendship has been about 5 years, my expectations are exactly as you mentioned just a healthy balance. I am willing to invest for that balance but I feel the effort and feeling are not mutual. What feels right to me is to keep a bit more distance for my own emotional health, these things affect me and now I am starting to feel foolish for my approach in keeping up the friendship. There are days when we chat on a daily basis, meet frequently, go for a walk, talk about our families inquire about their well being etc. and there are days when my questions are questioned or I am being smirked at my thoughts when expressed.

    Being in the same professional environment I do not want things to go sour and even not that I don’t care about the friendship but I am unable to set my limits and expectations about her.


    @anita: What you described is exactly her, very accurate.

    Yes she is the one, we had decided no gifts for our wedding but she gave the me gift 2 months in advance as a surprise and said “You are a good person and a good friend that is why I wanted to gift you and wedding is a special occasion so please do accept the gift”, yes she attended my wedding as it was around the same time she was visiting her home too, my reaction I was overwhelmed, felt a little obligated and I could say a little burdened too, in times when I felt bad due to her behavior I used to feel has she bought me to maintain a relation due to a gift.

    For the referral I knew I did not have the exact skill sets their team was looking for but since this was an internal position wanted to try my luck, post interview and discussion with her team she provided me all the feedback the good, the areas of improvement to qualify and that there maybe be another position again next year. I reacted with a deep thank you for the opportunity.

    She invited me for a sleepover when my husband was on a business trip for couple of weeks, I declined because firstly I had some of those episodic experiences and did not know what I would do if I had to face the same when visiting her home and secondly made plans to keep myself busy and catch up with some other friends during that time.

    Yes I did invite her once and she was ready to visit too but unfortunately we had to push out the event we had decided for another few weeks and she was going to visit home the following week for her brother’s wedding.



    Dear Neha:

    Reads to me that it would be better for you if you exit this friendship limbo (is she a friend or is she not? limbo) and establish a clear professional relationship with her, that is one with a co worker. This way you will be clear, and hopefully, no longer troubled.

    When she made this comment to you:  “I don’t know what you are saying”, if she didn’t follow this comment with asking you what it is that you did say, then she withdrew from communication with you. “I don’t know what you are saying”, and if silence follows, that means: I don’t care or I don’t want to know what you just said.

    When she said: “naah when did that happen”, if she didn’t wait for your answer or didn’t follow your answer with further communication, once again, she was not interested in a dialogue.

    I suppose better, after five years, much of it in a friendship limbo situation, better place the relationship in a different category and be clear.





    Dear Neha,

    Keeping the distance to preserve your emotional health sounds a good choice to me. You can stick to social niceties but stay true to what you feel is right. Look for other friends who are likely to give you that balanced friendship that you are looking for.

    Take care


    @anita: true that its a limbo state and its better for me to maintain professional relations only, thank you for the insight!!

    @Prash: Yes its the best choice in this situation just that its a little difficult to implement but will keep trying!!



    Neha, I am myself going through a “should we really be friend phase” with someone.  I also happen to listen to the Baggage Reclaim podcast on occasion.  By coincidence, the author (Natalie) happens to make a post about friendship this week:

    I listened to it attentively during my evening walk (I just came back and saw your post) and it was really helpful.  Hope it can help you figure it out as well. (oh and anita always has great advice and insights too 🙂 )


    Thank you Lauren, the podcast was a good start to understand life, people and friendships better, I look forward to doing some more from that list, hope you are holding up well with the similar situation and glad to hear from you!!



    I’m glad it brought some help.  I know it gave me a lot to think about.  I think the biggest take-away was: a friend should never give you a feeling of anxiety, nor should it constantly make you wonder where the relationship/friendship stand.  If you are always questioning if that person is a friend, then maybe they’re not.


    I am going back to the same topic and question because of something that happened today:

    It has been 3 weeks since I got back from a trip and had casually asked her if I could join her for lunch at work as my usual lunch group was working remotely, after the if’s and the but’s we agreed on a time but when I reached for lunch she was enjoying her meal with a completely different colleague, I was hurt because after the if’s and but’s I did not expect this and did not join but had lunch at my desk. Later on she pinged me asking why I didn’t join and I said “because you don’t have time for me… i don’t think I asked much from you but still”, “been 3 weeks since i came back but doesnt look like you even want to catch up… all of us are busy but not like critical i suppose”, “i have been noticing this about your time since quite some time and have also asked you but never got clear answers…”

    On all these statements her response was “ok, have to work on something” I was very raged out and stood by her desk demanding an explanation to which she asked me to calm down in a stern tone and said let me tell my manager i cannot complete this work because of you lets go to the breakroom.

    The breakroom a very busy place at that time when many of the employees sit for lunch and following are her statements:

    “You have been doing this drama for quite some time now and have decided last time to not go ahead as this continues, I am not avoiding you on purpose but you have these dramas every now and then so I have already distant myself, if you think I am avoiding you lets stop here”

    Last time is the time when I wrote this post about her cold responses, a person giving cold responses would get affected ever?

    I have seen her spend time with many of her other friend’s colleagues but when its my turn she has work and what not, I asked her it maybe because I am off not much use to you but all she kept saying is she has work and needs to go.

    On thinking about all this and following the advice here I had kept myself away from getting affected, maintained only professional relationship but I dont think I deserved to be insulted in the breakroom for the “drama”



    Dear thirst_of_validation:

    Welcome back!

    I see a parallel between your relationship with your female, older co worker and your relationship with your mother. Your “thirst of validation” was born in the context of your relationship with your mother and it extends to your relationship with this co worker.

    This is what you wrote regarding your mother in a previous thread: “the post is about my relationship with my mom; the current status is her selfish nature… I deeply love her, want to do things for her out of love but they are taken for granted…  I give her everything she puts her finger on… I call it resentment because conversations with her often end in snapping, she only speaks about herself and I get mad at her picking on anything good or bad I do resulting in my love never being reciprocated“.

    Regarding your co worker, you wrote: “she is about 10-12 years older to me but we speak the same native language which kicked it off… (she) changed to somewhat rude somewhat selfish… I had asked her… she replied that she is busy with something but just 5 min later I see her.. with someone else, sounds like I am being possessive haha but it feels like ignorance or can I say betrayal?.. most of the times I have kept away so that I don’t have to face cold responses again”, and most recently: “(I) asked her if I could join her for lunch.. we agreed on a time but when I reached for lunch she was enjoying her meal with a completely different colleague, I was hurt.. Later on she pinged me .. I said: ‘because you don’t have time for me… I don’t think I asked much from you… I was very raged out and stood by her desk demanding an explanation”.

    I italicized a few of your words for a reason.

    Do you see the parallel that I am seeing?


    • This reply was modified 3 months, 3 weeks ago by  anita.

    Hi Anita,

    Thanks so much for responding, yes I see the parallel you are seeing; few years ago I had realized that I am seeking validation from outside because of my relationship with my mother and worked on it so as to ease my social relationships without bringing that validation in play.

    Could you help me with the reason you found in both those posts?  Am I the one who needs improvement because I am having similar issues with relationships?



    Dear thirst_of_validation:

    I will be glad to continue to communicate with you on the matter. For our communication to possibly be helpful to you, it will have to continue tomorrow and maybe longer than that. I am willing if you are.

    “Am I the one who needs improvement because I am having similar issues with relationships?”-

    – everyone needs improvement. I have no doubt your co worker needs to improve herself. But here, it is you and I talking about.. you, so it makes sense to focus on your improvement. The parallel I see indicates to me that you are drawn to this woman, for validation,.. love really, the same draw you have toward your mother. This means that your emotions toward your co worker are intense, way more intense than they would be if she was only a co worker to you, in your own mind. I think that it is the intensity of your emotions that she referred to as your “drama”.


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