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Avoid Angry Confrontation

Q.3. I HAVE FELT TENSION TOWARD ME from several people in this office, but I have kept my head down, done my work well and felt my job was "safe."  Through it all this year the woman who sits next to me has remained a steadfast friend, always on my side, texting encouragement when one of the others is making my life difficult. But in the last few days I notice one of those others has started to develop a closer relationship with my friend. They are chatting about personal things, going out to lunch and, I feel, she is not defending me as she did before. How do I handle this? I feel very angry at her disloyalty but don't want to make trouble with the one person I have relied on here.

A.YOU PROBABLY ARE MORE HURT THAN ANGRY. It usually begins that way. Instead of thinking about confronting her in anger, consider the opposite. Ask her to join you for a coffee break. Tell her you have always considered her a good friend and still do, but lately you feel she "doesn't have your back" as she did, and she seems to be joining the others in excluding you. Stress that you may be wrong in your assessment, and you hope you are because her friendship is very important to you. If she begins to defend herself with some discussion or argument, put up your hand and say, "We don't have to discuss this. We are friends, and we can just watch each other's behavior more closely."  Then do that. Arguments increase tension. You catch more flies with honey.

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