My Friends Turned Against Me

Question:

My best friends at work and I all share the same “geez, who are they kidding?” reaction to the crap that comes down from above in our company. We get together at least two nights a week, have a beer or two and shoot the breeze or play darts.

I recently decided to go back to school, taking two classes on Monday nights. I told the gang and thought they’d cheer me on. Instead, one guy said, “Way to go, bro,” but everyone else just kept discussing who was going to win the Super Bowl.

When school started, I didn’t have as much time for them, because I had to study. That’s when things really began to sour. We were having a darts game, with our supervisor in effigy, and one guy said they should put a cutout of me up there. When I said, “Yeah, right,” he told me I was getting a big head, acting stuck-up and brown-nosing our supervisor. I said, “What do you mean?” and realized a couple of them agreed with him. I threw some money down on the table and left.

I swear I’ve not changed, but things aren’t the same. My kid sister wrote this for me saying you’d answer me.

Answer:

You did change and your friends didn’t. They’re still playing darts and you’re studying. You didn’t intend leaving them behind, but they see you as moving forward in ways they’re not. Non-friend friends can’t stand that.

Initially, they didn’t cheer you on because the Super Bowl mattered more. Now, your example reminds them that they’re not ambitious in the ways you are. Either they don’t like it or you’re acting like you’re “above them” in some way.

You can win your friends back if you want. Head back to the bar, buy them a round, make a couple comments about the nonsense coming down at you all from above, and if you’ve been acting stuck-up, cut it out. But do you want to?

© Dr. Lynne Curry is author of ”Beating the Workplace Bully” and ”Solutions” as well as owner of the management/HR consulting/training firm The Growth Company Inc. Follow her on Twitter @lynnecury10 or at www.bullywhisperer.com.

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