How to resurrect a platonic friendship
I am writing to get your help to resurrect my friendship with a work colleague who works for me.
Basically we got to know each other since she had some problems at work and I helped her resolve it. She also had some issues with her present neighbour. Hence she decided to look for a new house. I gave some practical and first-hand advice based on my recent move. We were fine talking in person and over the phone/texting about a variety of topics in a purely platonic sense. I was sort of trying to help her with the above issues and I genuinely wanted her to be happy.
Then one day since it was getting busy at work, I called her after hours. I confirmed with her that it was OK to do so. I had done so several times in the past and she was fine with it. On that particular day her phone was going to answer phone which I found rather odd. Thinking that there was network problem , I tried her about 5 times. Then I sent her a text just to check that she was OK (I had sent texts several times before and she did not object). That day she took offence to the multiple calls and the text. That apparently caused her agony as her partner possibly took offence though I can#'t confrm. Since then she has been rather business like and abrupt in conversations. This despite profusely, humbly and unreservedly apologizing to her (on a few occasions) and making it clear that I had no intention of hurting her feelings or hounding her. Those multiple calls were merely out of concern and genuine care for her well being. But she claims that looking from outside, things appear different and she continues to cast doubts on my perfectly honourable intentions. I am amazed that she was fine until that day. Not sure what happened that she suddenly changed her attitude.
12 months down the line the year is drawing to a close on such a sour note while 12 months ago we were on great terms. SInce we work together abd because I genuinely care about people's feelings, I really want to get back to how things were before. I can't help but kick myself for unwittingly upsetting her. I pride myself in looking after my work colleagues male or female of any cadre but the above incident has left me deeply traumatised. I get on so well with all my colleagues becaue of my high sensitivity and emotional quotient as well as spiritualistic attitude.
My conscience is clear that my intentions were perfectly above board rather than harass or hound someone.
I would value your advice as I cannot think of anything else to do apart from perhaps hoping for divine intervention! I really want a second chance which I think is quite a fair thing. I really do not want this friendship (she had previously repeatedly told me how considerate and caring I was) this way if it can be helped.
A caring but concerned male.
I have some advice, but you're not going to like it.
Just let it go. She has repeatedly shown that she has no interest in maintaining the friendship. If you continue to push, she may complain at work and get you in trouble. The most you can hope for is a cordial work environment with each other.
Thank you for the practical advice. I guess it is time to move on.
Going by your post, you come across as a decent guy, but you've overstepped the line somewhere because her actions towards you now are doing the talking. You yourself know who you are and what your intentions were towards her, and in that itself, it's not worth beating yourself up about the situation. Treat her as you treat your other work colleagues and just go with that.
If, in one year, this person has not relaxed enough to start up a fresh new relationship with you, then it’s not going to happen.
Is there a reason why you need her approval or attention?
Most people would just move on if somebody didn’t want to resurrect or re-develop a friendship with them. But you seem stuck here.
What is it that hold you to this particular person?
Good morning. Thanks for your valuable comments. It helps me get a different perspective. However, what oerplexes me was that perhaps I made an error in my judgement. But just as I am trying to get this person's persepctive, why does she not reciprocate? She had previously approached me for different issues and I had given my advice only after she asked; not on my my own voilition. I know it is people's preorgative whether or not to let someone into therir personal space. But what rankles me is that for I genuinely did not intend hounding her. She could very well have clarified it and made her displeasure known. Was that such a cardinal mistake to call off a 12 month friendship? This person had repeatedly told me how important my advice was especially when she was trying to get a mortgage. She approached me and NOT the other way around. She was on the horns of dilemma and we even went through her expenses just to reassure that she was not overborrowing. As a friend I gave unbiased opinion just to make sure she did not end up in financial difficulty. At every stage of the process, she kept asking me for advice and based on my recent move and the challenges in the current pandemic era, I thought it appropriate to share my experience. Elsewhere, we had discussions about exercise/yoga/several other topics where she actively sought my opinion and NOT the other way around. I agree I need to be empathetic. But if the shoe was on the other foot can I not expect this? I made a mistake by making multiple calls and vowed never ever to repeat that. Yes, it was my naivety but it was not intentional. My take is this: If someone is indeed respectful, then one would forgive in this instance. I would do that if someone explained the reason for their actions. Yes, if someone repeatedly made mistakes then it would set alarm bells ringing.
If someone where to have stood by me for important decisions about my work situation and also my home move (two very important decisions in life), I would accept that person's apology for a mistake that was inadvertently committed and get back to the friendship. Mind you, I had made phone calls in the evenings to discuss these matters and there seemed to be no problem in the past. Agreed, I was wrong to try 5 times that evening. Was that such a cardinal mistake that things have to be called off merely from that incident?
One of you has asked as to why this person is so important? It is because we work closely as a team and I feel that it is good to be on friendly terms. I deliberately did not want the friendship to escalate beyond a point even in the years ahead as I felt it was not apporpriate for professional colleagues to be close/intimate and never ever did I hint to that either. I merely wanted to be good friends sharing banter and exchanging ideas and views on a variety of topics. In life I also believe that one must do all that is possible in one's hands to sort something out to fix a problem. Some people at work have caled me a "dog with a bone" because I accomplish things of course in a congenial manner and not riding roughshod on people to achieve goals. But I guess it is time to move on. At least I have the satisfaction that I did try my best.
I sincerely thank you for your advice. I will bear that for the future. Have a great day and happy new year in advance!