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Uncomfortable 'friendship'

(24 Posts)
carolina71 Mon 03-Oct-11 13:23:34

Ok so I started a new job about a year ago. I was sharing an office with a really nice woman called Julia - we got on like a house on fire I suppose you would say. She was married, no kids. Her husband works nights so she doesn't see much of him I guess. She was really keen to be friends, said it was like we were 'separated at birth' which was taking it a bit far perhaps but yes we had lots in common, or so I thought.

She came to my house one weekend and met my kids. Immediately she dubbed herself 'Aunty Jules' and complimented me on the kids saying they were lovely, well mannered etc. Kids liked her. I noticed she was really 'full on' wanting to be friends. My husband came on our works xmas do and she monopolised him at the bar - not in a way that was threat to me but in a way of 'I'm caroline's best friend' sort of thing. She also lives near a big branch of Marks and Spencer and she was affronted that I'd been to Marks and Spencer without visiting her house (I didn't have her home address and would never presume to drop in unannounced). She really seemed to want to be my best frined, and quickly.

We tried to go out in the evenings a few times but it's difficult for me with the kids and husband works shifts, whereas her husband is hardly ever home so she's free every evening. We did go to the cinema and shopping a couple of times but when we stopped to eat I found she just wanted to bitch about people from our office and started sort of picking at me a bit as well (for example, talking about what I was wearing, critisizing some jewellery I had on).

Anyway, we had a few good chats in the office. Turns out she and her husband had been trying for a baby for about a year, nothign happening. She was really quite unhappy about it. I explained I'd had similar issues trying to concieve and it had taken me two years to fall pregnant the first time - no explanation, just the way it was. I was supportive and told her to hang on in etc. At the time she said she thought I had the perfect life - she even said 'I want to be you' which I thought was a bit strange but took as a compliment. I don't have the perfect life by any means but I think some people look upon me as this woman who has a nice husband and nice kids and a nice house and a good job and on the surface, yes, that's pretty damned good but everyone has difficulties in their life, and I'm no exception.

Anyway after a while I realised she was actually quite bitchy - whenever somebody would come into the room, she would rip them to bits the minute they left and I realised she probably did this about me too. I began to find this quite wearing, though she had enough other good qualities t make me want to be friends. And then a new woman (Michelle) started working with us.

This new woman is single and younger than us. She's really nice (unassuming, not bitchy at all) and from the word go I noticed that Julia had 'pounced on her' and deemed her to be her sort of new best friend. After a few weeks I heard them talking about how they were 'separated at birth' and it really took me aback because the conversation was almost identical to the one we'd had a few months earlier.

She and Julia started going out after work without inviting me, which is probably because most of the time I wouldn't be free to go anyway but I did notice that I wasn't invited at all and that Julia seemed to enjoy talking about what they had done afterwards so I'd overhear - which reminded me of being about 14. They now seem to go out several times a week, often straight from work which suits them both I suppose.

Julia and I remained friends. We would occasionally sit together for lunch. I bought a new house and she asked to come and see it, so we went. However, the friendship seemed to tail off and now I just find it uncomfortable.

I no longer share an office with Julia because we had a reshuffle of roles at work. I rarely see her now except in the staff room (which is very small). She and Michelle have lunch together in the staff room and when I go in there with my lunch she makes it clear I'm not welcome by excluding me from the conversation or talking about places they have been. Michelle treats me as normal but she's not very talkative and Julia sort of dominates the conversation.

I guess I feel I was dumped and I'm wondering why - was I no use to Julia as a friend becuase I'm restricted by having kids whereas Michelle isn't? I have also wondered whether she just prefers to hang out with other people who are childless because her fertility issues are then less in her face? Would she be knocking on my door if she became pregannt and could no longer live this 'single life ' after work? if she wanted to go to soft play with our kids? - I'm clutching at straws I guess.

I just find it all confusing, a bit hurtful and also quite awkward. Has anyone else experienced this who can give me some insight into their perception of what happened and advice on how to handle it. I'm currently eating lunch at my desk every day because I feel unwelcome in the staffroom, which isn't a long term solution.

I work 4 days a week so it's fairly problematic.

HairyGrotter Mon 03-Oct-11 13:27:14

I'd take it as a blessing tbh. She sounds a nightmare. Be thankful you're no longer Michelle in the scenario

kblu Mon 03-Oct-11 13:28:21

To be honest i'd be thinking i'd had a lucky escape. I would find that kind of friendship completely suffocating and it seems to me that she maybe got that feeling from you hence the reason she's now clinging like a limpet to someone else.

If it were me i'd just ignore them. Have you not got any other nice colleagues you can talk to at lunchtime. I'm quite thick skinned though and it would be water off a duck's back to me.

kblu Mon 03-Oct-11 13:29:07

BTW it wouldn't surprise me in the least if in a few months you find that she and Michelle aren't so pally pally.

PeppermintPasty Mon 03-Oct-11 13:30:24

She sounds rather toxic. Can't you just let it go over your head? Lots of offices I've worked in have had "characters" like this-they are generally so insecure that they go round and round everyone seeking validation(generalisation I know).

It's not you, it's them

pictish Mon 03-Oct-11 13:31:44

Lucky escape mate! Big smile - cheery small talk, take a magazine.
Phew!

aliceliddell Mon 03-Oct-11 13:31:58

I've had this and concluded the person was very insecure and needed some kind of validation from another person that I (or anyone) couldn't give; she's gone round quite a few different 'best friends' like this.

clam Mon 03-Oct-11 13:35:03

Halfway through your post and I was anticipating you asking us how you could disentangle yourself from a stifling friendship.

Then, Hallelujah! Along comes Michelle. I'd count yourself as very lucky.

Cheeseandharps Mon 03-Oct-11 13:40:33

I had a 'friend' like this and was drawn in, but within a few months, she'd got another new friend and I was sidelined. She also used the 'separated at birth' phrase. The posters above have mentioned insecurity and I think that's a major factor in the behaviour of people like this.

2tired2bewitty Mon 03-Oct-11 13:42:11

I work with someone a bit like this, has to be best friends with every new person. Those of us who have been through the process now just watch with interest for the moment the latest victim realises she's not as lovely as she seems.

SinicalSal Mon 03-Oct-11 13:45:21

Thank your lucky stars - no problem here. Poor Michelle

kblu Mon 03-Oct-11 13:45:23

Clam - I was the same!

ChaoticAngelofSamhain Mon 03-Oct-11 14:22:45

You've had a lucky escape. There'll come a time when Michelle will also be dumped and she'll move onto the next one.

HotBurrito1 Mon 03-Oct-11 14:40:35

I understand you feeling hurt, as everything she said now seems completely fake. I also hate it when people try to seem really close, but don't mean it. Agree with the others, she has probably done you a favour. You found her bitching wearing, some people are really hard work.

When the next female joins she'll probably dump Michelle and she and you can join forces as Julia's ex best friends.

HowAboutAHotCupOfShutTheHellUp Mon 03-Oct-11 14:41:53

Lucky escape. She sounds unhinged. Not the type of person I would want to be associated with. My office is full of insecure bitchy types, they are always falling out with one another, I keep well out of it, life it too short.

I would totally disregard this 'friend' and just get on with your working day, relieved that she is some other poor soul's problem now.

Chandon Mon 03-Oct-11 14:47:07

agree lucky escape, just go and sit in the staff room, with them or alone, or with someone else, or a book! Or have your lunch out!

Enjoy!

Badtasteflump Mon 03-Oct-11 14:47:12

Breathe a big sigh of relief that you didn't have to try to distance yourself from this loon because she did it for you. Result!

JustinBoobie Mon 03-Oct-11 14:47:37

I do feel for you OP, it's not nice is it...

But, then again, are you really that bothered? Other than wondering why Julia would behave like that? I reckon she's just 'one of them'.

She's a bit mental. If she's found Michelle to tack onto, think yourself lucky I'd say...

ENormaSnob Mon 03-Oct-11 16:01:37

Well rid of the weirdo IMO

heleninahandcart Mon 03-Oct-11 16:48:03

To adapt that well worn phrase, its not you its her. Thank goodness you are not still in the same office smile

sloggies Mon 03-Oct-11 18:29:29

Quite. Tis her, not you, and you are well rid. I recently had this. I got 'love-bombed' by someone who volunteers at the same place. Very full on, wanted to be FB friends straight away, etc. I should have said my FB was deactivated or some such, but no....A couple of months down the line she was messing about with plans we had made, and 'annexed' a couple of my FB friends, one who was single, same as her, and they now have nights out etc, that as a non-drinking dullsville parent I would probably not be up for. Weirdly, she now greets me like her long lost sister when she sees me, and I am reluctant to de-friend her on FB as I still have to see her, but I have limited what she can see.
When she has gone off the new woman, as others have said, you probably have a lunch-mate right there. Only a matter of time really.

buzzskeleton Mon 03-Oct-11 19:43:07

She's quite unpleasant by the sounds of it. Talk to someone else, take a book in or play with your phone at lunchtimes. Don't be driven out of the staffroom by it.

AnyFucker Tue 04-Oct-11 11:12:27

Think of this as a bullet dodged and move on

Conundrumish Tue 04-Oct-11 12:40:40

Two words ... lucky escape!

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