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Philippa Courtney

AskPhilippa

 

Why Has She Turned Cold?

 

Dear Philippa,

This isn't exactly a dating question but I have an office mate that I used to have a great relationship with. We worked together and got on so well. In fact I had a hard time not falling for her. Then she went on vacation. While she was away I handled part of her job, even though that wasn't required of me. But since she got back everything has switched 180 degrees. She spends lunch talking to everyone but me and her body language is tense and wary around me. I have taken her aside and asked her what was wrong in a non-threatening way and she says there is no problem. Why is she acting this way and how am I supposed to deal with her and enjoy my work place?

�Tom, London, UK

 

Dear Tom,

I don't know what's going on in your office mate's head anymore than you do. But her behavior changed after she returned from vacation. So let's examine a couple of scenarios:

While you covered some of her duties did you inadvertently make a remark to someone in the office about her, the way she does her job, or her files? What if she heard your comment out of context or someone twisted or expanded your remark to get a reaction?

Did you do such a good job of covering her duties that it didn't go unnoticed? Maybe you inadvertently let other people, including her boss, know all that you did while she was away and it made her look less important.

Did you confess to someone in the office about the feelings you have for her?

There is some reason this woman is tense and wary around you. The bottom line is something damaged the trust you two shared. You did or said something that seems inappropriate to her, was taken out of context, was misconstrued or felt threatening. What can you do to repair the damage? Unfortunately there is no way you can fix the problem unless you can uncover the truth.

You do have a few options. You can ask to work in a different office space or department. You can choose to ignore her behavior and go on being as professional as possible. Don't go out of your way to be friendly or unfriendly. Just be neutral, ignore her behavior and try not to react to it. This might seem unfair, but if you can't deal with the tension between the two of you, you may need to consider getting a transfer or finding a new job.

�Philippa

 

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