my coworker framed me to try to get me in trouble and now wants to meet for coffee

A reader writes:

I recently moved departments within my company and am now happy and settled.

The team I left frequently hired chauffeurs for our clients, and we got monthly invoices. Last month, I was mistakenly sent an invoice from July and I noticed that there had been a booking made for me, shortly after midnight on a Saturday night. I was 100% certain that this was nothing to do with me, and, worried about the prospect of an investigation being carried out, I contacted the company and they sent me the recording of the phone call. The recording was of an ex-colleague ordering the car and stating that the passenger would be me – totally untrue and I have evidence that I was elsewhere that night. The only reason she would have done this would have been to try and frame me for using the service on a weekend, and for something so clearly unrelated to work – thinking I’d never find out as I had left the team by then.

Background story cut short – the reason I moved departments was because the ex-colleague in question bullied me up until the point where I did not want to come to work, at all. I loved the job itself and it was a horrible decision to make. (FYI, I did attempt to speak to my manager on multiple occasions but he didn’t see the issue as anything other than a simple personality clash when in reality I was dreading work every single morning simply because of her – very unlike me to get so bothered about one person.)

I emailed the recording to my ex-boss (the said colleague’s current boss) and explained the situation regarding the invoice. I also explained that I did not want to be accused of using the company’s chauffeur service fraudulently and that I would be happy to provide evidence that I was elsewhere that night. He met with me later that day and thanked me for bringing it to his attention and assured me that he would deal with the issue. Since then I’d had nothing else to do with it and didn’t want to be involved as there was no reason for me to be.

It is a month later, and I had not, until last night, seen the colleague in question. I was having some drinks with my old team and she turned up. I would normally have been friendly and courteous to her, but last night I just blanked her apart from a “hi” when she arrived. Otherwise, I would have ended up telling her exactly what I thought of her, much to the detriment of my professional demeanour and ruining my reputation in the process.

This morning, I received an email from her stating that it was great to see me last night and wondered if she could meet up with me for a coffee as she “owes me an apology.” I still haven’t replied. I don’t know what to do. I do not want to meet up with her.

Shall I just ignore the email? I am almost certain that she is only emailing me because she got found out. As I work at a bank, this would have been investigated almost immediately after the issue was raised a month ago in an attempt to check she was not being fraudulent elsewhere. She saw me last night, realised I wasn’t having any of her BS, and is, for some reason, now trying to make amends. Why??? She put me through hell for almost a year.

What the …? Your coworker sounds seriously troubled.

I don’t think you’re under any obligation to meet with her. And certainly if this were all happening in a social situation, it would be fine to just ignore the email and move on with your life. But since it’s happening in the context of work, where you might need to deal with her in the future, there’s an argument for not entirely blowing her off … although there’s also an argument for deciding that she’s gone so far over the line that ignoring her is entirely reasonable.

But I think you should consider all your options. You can agree to talk to her without agreeing to meet  for coffee — coffee is more of a time investment than I’d want to make in your shoes, and nor would I particularly want to meet up with her outside the office. So an alternative would be to respond with something like, “It’s hard for me to get away for coffee, but feel free to stop by my office if you’d like to talk to me.” (It doesn’t matter if “it hard for me to get away for coffee” is an obvious lie — in this case, it’s functioning a more polite “no thanks” to her original suggestion.)

And if you do meet her, I’d stay very on guard — even if she’s kind to you, don’t assume she means it. (You’re probably the last one who needs to be told that, of course.)

Read updates to this letter here and here.

{ 188 comments… read them below }

    1. Mike C.*

      Depending on the state, you’re asking for a whole lot of legal trouble here.

      Besides, it’s creepy as all hell. The OP isn’t a federal witness after all.

      1. KellyK*

        Yep, creepy and potentially illegal. However, the desire not to have a conversation with her that she can later misinterpret or lie about makes good sense. Lyda Rose’s idea of having a witness present might be a better one than recording.

      2. Ann Furthermore*

        Yes, probably illegal in many states.

        BUT…I would love to see the bully’s face if the OP agreed to a meeting, in her office or at her desk, and then before the conversation started, pull out a tape recorder and say with a big smile, “I just want to be sure there are no misunderstandings later. Is it OK with you if I record our conversation?”

        Hee hee hee.

        1. majigail*

          I’m confused about what’s being called illegal… meeting her or recording the meeting? It’s almost 2 and I need more coffee…

          1. Brett*

            Secretly recording the meeting. Some states require all parties to be aware that they are being recorded.

          2. Anon Accountant*

            It can be considered illegal wire-tapping if the person recorded doesn’t give permission to have the conversation recorded.

            1. Jim*

              I always thought wire tapping laws were for was recording phone conversations not in person conversations. And in some states only one person need to be aware of the recording for it to be legal.

              1. Anon Accountant*

                It may be. I’m not 100% sure if I used the correct wording but I’d caution anyone against using any recording devices without the other person’s permission or checking their state and local laws first.

                1. Ann Furthermore*

                  Yes, it’s always a good idea to get permission. And it might be worth asking for it in this case because it would throw the bully completely off her game.

            2. Limon*

              You must check the legality of recording conversations in your state. If you are in a one party state you may record in person conversations as long as one person (you) is aware. Otherwise, the remaining states are ‘two party’ and both people must know. Telephone conversations are a whole ‘nother ball of wax.

              Just google the question and you will find out. I recorded a conversation with someone once and it made the difference all across the board financially and ethically and it protected me and my reputation and the other party couldn’t defend their actions. It’s not nice to do and you must decide carefully. But know the laws in your state.

        2. Frieda*

          Actually in the US, federal law is “on-party consent” which includes the person recording–so if you are a party to the conversation and you consent to recording, the other parties do not need to be informed. (As opposed to recording a phone call between two other parties, for example.)

          Different states may have additional laws/restrictions, though.

          Which is not to say that I am encouraging taping the conversation–it just seems like more trouble than it is worth. Just say you can’t make it and tell her she can email you anything she has to say to you.

          1. Frieda*

            and of course I mean “ONE-party consent”, i.e. only one person participating in the conversation needs to be informed and consent to the recording.

            1. fposte*

              Two party consent states apparently are: California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Washington.

              (Note that this covers audio, not video.)

              Of course, none of this applies if you tell the person you’re taping the conversation and they continue–that’s functionally consenting. (And I would concur in this case you don’t want to do any of this anyway.)

          1. Aunt Vixen*

            Veering off topic, but you’re right. Usages like “as” for “since” are creeping into a lot of Americans’ habits, but (scouring the letter again) I see “demeanour” with a ‘u’; and the biggest tell to me was that I know hardly any Americans – I might go so far as to say hardly any North Americans – who count coffee. (That is: on this side, at least for sure in the US, we meet for coffee. In Britain, they meet for *a* coffee. Probably also in the southern-hemisphere English-speaking countries, but I am less familiar with those dialects.)

            1. KarenT*

              She could be Canadian, based on the U in demeanour.

              However, I do think lots of Americans would use the phrase ‘meet for a coffee’ in the same way that you would ‘meet for a drink.’

  1. Lyda Rose*

    Talk in your office, with a witness present. Don’t meet her alone. She could be genuinely trying to make amends, but she’s proven untrustworthy and you already know she’s a bully.

    1. AMG*

      And make sure your current manager knows the situation in case she tries to pull something else later.

      I also wonder if it’s too late to forward the info to HR? Doesn’t sound like her manager wants to deal with her appropriately. I have soo been there. She will unravel herself and may take her boss down too if Boss doesn’t step up.

      1. Jessa*

        And let the manager know (the one you gave the tape to) that she’s trying to contact you. They may tell you what they want you to do.

        1. Ethyl*

          I vote for that as well. There may be disciplinary actions that were taken and she may even have been asked NOT to contact the OP. I’d let management know and ask how to proceed.

        2. myswtghst*

          This was my thought – it might be beneficial to let the untrustworthy coworker’s boss know what she’s up to, in case they have any insight on why it’s happening.

  2. Sascha*

    Adding a vote for talking to her at the office, where other coworkers are present. Let her come to you. You have no obligation to meet her for coffee.

  3. Ann Furthermore*

    I’d go a step further than recording the conversation, I’d have a web cam set up to document the entire exchange.

    Or even better, tell her that anything she wants to say to you she can say via email. That way, you’ve got everything documented. Print off a hard copy of anything she sends you (including this) and also forward it to your own personal email account, just to make sure you have your bases covered.

    1. TL*

      Web cam is creepy and probably very illegal in many states. I think just having a friend/coworker and controlling the situation would be enough.

      Or asking for an email instead of a meeting, I guess.

      1. Ann Furthermore*

        Yes, I suppose you’re right…having to deal with someone so sneaky and underhanded puts me right into sneaky and underhanded mode myself.

        But I would still not have any undocumented contact with this person…she admitted via email that she owed the OP an apology. Let her provide that via email as well.

    2. Limon*

      Agree, email is best. It is legal documentation and it will make her put her comments down on paper – something most unkind/unpleasant people are not willing to do. Behind your back, yes. Man up and say it to your face? not these types.

      I wouldn’t meet, just let it go and say/do whatever resolution by email. Don’t engage.

  4. Colette*

    I wouldn’t meet with her, although as Alison suggests, I’d leave the door open for work-related questions. Be polite, but vague – don’t give her anything she could try to use against you.

    And yes, stay alert, because she’s proven that she’s not the kind of person you want to be friends (or friendly) with.

    1. M-C*

      This is someone who has bullied you into quitting, and who has just tried to involve you in something potentially illegal, or that would definitely get you in trouble with your company. Should you go out for coffee with her? Not on your life! Be vague and non-confrontational so you may avoid bearing the brunt of an outright attack, but you certainly don’t have to pretend to be friendly. Polite is way enough.

      And then there’s the legal thing. Or at least the company policy thing. Do not under any circumstances delete that voice mail evidence. Your previous manager has already proven that he can’t/won’t deal with her misbehavior, so you should not insist on anything further with him. But presumably your current manager is an improvement, and needs to be warned of what’s going on. I would also go to HR, tell them what you told us (and possibly also that you moved departments because of her bullying/manager’s inaction, but as a confidential aside and not as a formal complaint) and present the evidence to them. Both make them listen to the voicemail (prepare a transcript?), and get a written statement from your witnesses of your other activities at the time in question. Insist that both items of evidence be entered into your personel file.

      You found out about this incident, you have no idea what bully has been up to using your identity otherwise. Cover yourself, now, and formally. Also, dealing with bullying implies keeping good records. If you haven’t done that so far, you need to start, because clearly she isn’t done with you.

  5. Tiffany In Houston*

    I would respond to the email that I am not going to be able to meet her for coffee and leave it at that.

    The older I get the more inclined I’m not inclined to be gracious to folks who have clearly wronged me. You don’t have to be rude but hell would freeze over before I met her for coffee.

      1. Construction HR*

        She wants to find out how much the OP knows and what the OP sent to the boss so she can tailor her lies.

        1. Lyda Rose*

          I think this could well be right. If there is an ongoing investigation (and I doubt this was the one and only time she pulled something shady) she needs to what you said so she can spin it in her favor.

        2. Jo*

          This sounds right. I would simply say no; I am not going to help the fraudster come up with a nice story. I like the suggestions for going to HR and I hope HR would question the mismanaging boss as well!

    1. alfie*

      I definitely would not meet up with her. Like others have said, just say you don’t have time. I would try to have all my interactions with her through email, i.e. in writing. And I would save all the emails from her. For that matter, she can apologize to you in writing as well.

  6. SB*

    There was a person in our office who was a bully and constantly tried to frame me for his lack of work. It wasn’t nearly as serious as this. He was not a co-worker, but a superior. If my boss (the head of the organization) asked me to give him some papers, he would say I never gave them to him. If the boss asked him why something wasn’t done, he would tell the boss that he told me to do something with it. (Either he wouldn’t have said anything or he would have, and I would have done it and was waiting on something from him). It was a complete nightmare. However, my boss eventually saw through the BS because he’d never known me to be so unreliable. The problem person eventually decided to move on to another company. He wanted to meet up with me later to “do lunch”. Somehow, I always seemed to have something going on. I would suggest the same “busy calendar”.

  7. A Bug!*

    OP, you’re obviously in possession of more facts than I am, but I wonder if her phone call was actually meant in a specifically malicious way. I take it that she was the passenger involved in the fraudulent invoice, so I wonder if it was more a ‘crime of opportunity’ – she needed a ride, she didn’t feel like paying for a cab, she didn’t want to get dinged for inappropriate use of the car service, and you were a convenient name to use. Bonus points to her if you got in trouble for it later if she’s a bully.

    The reason I mention this is not that it would her behavior more forgivable if it were true. In fact, I might argue the opposite. If a person has a specific targeted vendetta against another person, it might actually be possible to have a change of heart and be genuine in making amends (granted, unlikely, but possible). But a person who is just a general jerk, who’ll casually take advantage of other people whenever the opportunity arises, that’s a personality flaw that generally runs deep.

    So if or when you meet with her, be on your toes. Is there any way she’d stand to benefit from making amends with you? If so, that’s probably your answer right there.

    (Honestly though, I’m very surprised she still has a job with your company, assuming she still does. Inappropriate use of a company service is one thing, but fraudulent inappropriate use of a company service? Yikes.)

    1. AMG*

      Assuming the boss didn’t sweep it under the rug because Boss likes Bully or simply didn’t want to deal with it.

    2. Helen*

      I thought the same thing. From the story, it seems like she might have just wanted a free ride, not necessarily that she was trying to frame the OP.

    3. Tax Nerd*

      I got the same impression – that she used the car service herself, and thought to cover her tracks by putting your name on it. But my accountant mind goes to embezzlement/employee theft before it goes to trying to frame someone. After all, it could be easy for you to disprove that it was you, and in fact, you do have such proof.

      At any rate, I’d just reply with “I’m really busy lately. Maybe some other time.” (Such as when hell freezes over.) I would definitely not meet with her.

      She may sincerely want to give you an apology, either for her general past treatment of you, or for putting your name on the car service invoice fraudulently, and possibly getting you in a heat of trouble. However, you have no reason to listen to it. (Also, you know that it’s unlikely that’s she’s actually sincere because she bullied you for over a year, and showed her true colors then. ) It’s not your job as the victim of her crap to give her “closure”. She’ll just have to live with herself.

      1. FiveNine*

        She works at a bank. She … stole your identity. (Ding ding ding ding.) Don’t meet. There might be far more going on here than what you have perceived as Mean Girl-type bullying — there already is flat-out financial fraud with just this one example (and done so casually too, it suggests utter comfort at doing it, perhaps because this time it was so small scale). There is also the remote possibility that your former manager is in on some bigger identity theft/financial fraud with your former coworker, which goes toward explaining the initial disinterest and why your former coworker is even still employed by the bank (it seems almost impossible to believe that this matter has gone beyond your former manager and been investigated by the bank at a higher level, no way).

        Good luck, and I’d be most interested in a follow-up one day.

        1. FiveNine*

          (Oops, sorry Tax Nerd. Your comments led me in this direction; of course I was addressing the OP in this post.)

    4. Rich*

      I agree with other posters that said this wasn’t an intentional framing. She just wanted a ride and didn’t want to get in trouble. Regardless, she still threw OP under the bus.

      If she does speak to her, I’d be curious to see a follow up. I can see the apology being something like “I’m really sorry. I’d been drinking and wasn’t thinking straight. I was so embarrassed by what I did that I didn’t know how to approach you about it until now.”

      1. Bea W*

        Even if she just wanted a ride didn’t want to get in trouble, she still had to think about whose identity she could use in place of her own, and she chose the OP. Whether she thought to herself “I will manufacture this pick-up to frame the OP” or “I need a ride, but it’s against company policy. Who can I pin it on instead.” – it amounts to the same thing – she knew someone would get into trouble, and she chose the OP to take the fall. Even if she were drunk it doesn’t excuse it, especially since she didn’t follow-up on her own to make it right. Plenty of drunk people manage to get home without committing fraud or thinking of committing fraud.

    5. Dulcinea*

      Seriously!! I was wondering the same thing. If I were the boss I can’t imagine how annoyed I would have to be at this. *Perhaps* this would be understandable if, say, she had some sympathetic and urgent reason to take a cab and, in a moment of poor judgment brought on by said compelling and urgent reason, used OP’s name for the cab….But it would have to be an amazing story.

      As for OP, I agree that you should not go out and meet with her, but maybe suggest a time for her to drop by your office when you know you’ll be leaving & locking up soon, to keep the meeting brief.

  8. Tony in PA*

    Nothing good can come from meeting with her. There is absolutely no upside for you. Stay away. Tell her no thank you. Ignore her. Your motto is “distance from danger”.

    1. rlm*

      I second this. Forget the meeting in the office or with witnesses or anything else…given her past behavior, she is up to something and my guess would be that she’s going to try her bullying tactics on you in some way again. Stay away.

      1. Anonymous*

        Agreed. And I would say don’t meet with her in your new office. Other people, seeing you in her company, are liable to assume you are friends or at least amiable colleagues. You don’t want to have to try to explain that actually, she’s poison. Even if she doesn’t try and exploit your relationship again. (She may be looking for a job …)

        1. coconutwater*

          I agree with all of the above. If she truly wanted to apologize she would have done it already. She bullied you out a job you enjoyed and made your life h*ll for a year. You owe her nothing. Keep yourself save and your new job free from her toxicity.

          1. Limon*

            People do what they want. Agree – if she had simply wanted to apologize, that would have happened long ago. She hasn’t and she doesn’t want to. She wants something else. We are judged by our behavior.

  9. Treece*

    I suggest you don’t talk to her alone. Happened to me once and the person ruined my reputation at work. It was a she said/she said.

  10. Mike C.*

    Whoa, this is nuts!

    Look, you need to make sure that your boss and your ex-boss know these emails are happening. CC them both in your response, and let this person know that if she has any questions she can respond via email.

    Don’t meet with this person, and DON’T MEET THEM ALONE.

    1. The IT Manager*

      Yes. Inform your current boss about what is going on – just in case – because you are getting emails from her now.

    1. Jamie*

      “His trip’s a trap!” And I will personally mail a jar of Trader Joe’s cookie butter to anyone who can give me the name of the movie that quote is from and who said it.

        1. Katie the Fed*

          Speculoos spread. There are other brands. It’s Dutch and it’s amazing. AMAZING. I know someone who once sat down with a spoon and ate almost an entire jar of it. Hehe. Someone. Heh. Not me obviously. Heh…

        2. Jamie*

          Texture of peanut butter, but made from butter cookies…delicious when spread on stuff or eaten with a spoon directly out of the jar. Alison mentioned it here once and I believe started a cookie butter run at Trader Joe’s everywhere.

          (Not that I would personally know it was delicious eaten right out of the jar because I’m not that uncouth…I’m just assuming it would be. That’s it…assuming.)

          1. Pussyfooter*

            I don’t recognize Jamie’s quote, but had immediate flashbacks of Princess Leia screaming “It’s a Trap!”–Empire Strikes Back

            1. ExceptionToTheRule*

              Admiral Akbar from Return of the Jedi when the fleet discovers the Death Star 2 is fully operational.

              1. Aunt Vixen*

                @ExceptionToTheRule is more correct – Ackbar was an admiral. But @Pussyfooter gets in on a technicality, because what Leia screams as they’re pulling her around the corner in Cloud City is “Luke, don’t, it’s a trap! [oof] It’s a trap!” Not her fault Ackbar’s exclamation is way more iconic.

                “Luke, Don’t, It’s A Trap” is, incidentally, the name of the very worst drink I have ever had.

          2. Another Anonymous*

            FYI, I found another type of cookie butter at Target in along side the peanut butter. It’s made from Biscoff cookies, those little cookies you can get as a snack on Delta Air. We just found it and I remembered earlier conversations and so picked up a jar. My husband has almost finished it…says it’s amazing!

          3. Julie*

            This is one of those times that I’m really bummed to be allergic to wheat. There is not likely to be a wheat-free version of this, and it wouldn’t taste the same anyway. :(

        1. Jamie*

          Ding Ding Ding we have a winner!! If you’re on the linked in group message me an address…I’m stopping by Trader Joe’s tonight!

          And there is no shame here…best movie EVER!

    2. Jen M.*


      Seriously, though, OP, I’m going to throw my voice in behind “stay away from this person.” She sounds pathological.

  11. Jenny S.*

    +1 on saying “no” to coffee. You don’t want to do it and saying “yes” gives this person more power in that she just got you to do what she wants.

    If you offer “stop by my office” and she does so, I’d recommend keeping the door of your office open (as opposed to taping the conversation, which I think just comes off as paranoid or creepy) so what she says is accountable to co-workers and passers-by.

  12. SJ*

    I bet you one aspect of this is that the bully can’t stand to have anyone looking down on her, especially after she got caught doing what she did. She sounds egotistical and unbalanced – the perfect combination for quick reversals in an attempt to continue manipulating you. First it was by making you feel terrible, now it’s by trying to get back into your good graces and make you trust her again, assuring her a position of power. Then the control is back in her crazy hands and you’re vulnerable again. But, obviously, you’re too insightful to fall prey to her manipulations. Honestly, she sounds like she might be a sociopath. I’d probably be like, ‘Sorry, I’m too busy, feel free to address anything to me via email.”

      1. Marie*

        A thousand times “yes” to everything SJ said! Been there with an egotistical bully coworker….the best way to keep them from manipulating you and having power over you is to ignore them. Another vote here for, “Don’t have time; address it via email.”

  13. Jill Pinnella Corso*

    Wow, she sounds like a sociopath. The only reason she would want to talk to you would be to manipulate you further.

    I agree with Alison’s advice. At most I would respond with a more polite version (or the exact version of “No thanks, but you know where I sit.” I might just ignore it, too.

    1. Diane*

      I agree that she probably wants to meet so she can manipulate you. Do not respond. Do not meet her. No good will come of it, and there’s potential for a big, hairy mess if you do meet. If she wants to apologize, she can do it in email.

  14. AnonEMoose*

    I wonder if Bully was told by her boss or HR that she needs to apologize to the OP for using OP’s name with the car service. That would fit the known facts, too…and if/when OP declines the coffee invitation, Bully can then pull the “injured innocence” act, saying “well, I tried, but she wouldn’t even meet with me. See how mean/unreasonable she is?”

    1. Ann Furthermore*

      Oh, very good point! I still don’t think meeting with her is a good idea though. My suggestion above to tell her that anything she has to say can be said via email would work. Plus it spares the OP from having to spend any time in the bully’s presence.

    2. Michele*

      I was thinking the same thing. She is more than likely not doing it because she wants to but because she was told too.

    3. Nikki T*

      Yeah, that’s one reason why I’m not sure the email should be ignored..

      “Can’t get away for coffee, thanks for writing”

      Or something…

    4. Elaine*

      I can’t imagine any decent HR would demand someone aplogize to another employee without being present. I am shocked that she’s still employed, though, so what do I know.

      1. Liz*

        I’d like to think HR would never demand an unsupervised apology, but I once transcribed a sexual harassment case where the HR department in question sent the accused harasser to apologise to the complainant, effectively giving him the go-ahead for further harassment.

        Suffice to say, that complainant got a lot of money in the end.

    5. M-C*

      This is not a social situation, this is fraud at work.. Apologies are not on the scale of what’s needed. Not doing it again, and leaving her alone, are what’s needed.

      1. AnonEMoose*

        I agree. But the bully’s current (and OP’s former) boss has already demonstrated that he’s capable of very bad decisions where the bully is concerned.

        For what it’s worth, I agree that OP shouldn’t meet with Bully, at least not alone. For the coffee invitation, “I’m afraid that won’t be possible” should be sufficient and not give Bully much to argue with.

        1. Editor*

          Yes, add my name to the don’t-meet-with-her group. Because she can always apologize via email if she’s been told to apologize, and then you have all her equivocation or manipulation or whatever on the record. Just tell her you’re very busy, but she could email you if she needs to.

          If she demands, begs, bothers you for another meeting, repeat as needed. Third or fourth time she requests a meeting (should she be so obtuse as to do so), reply to her and copy old boss, plus perhaps a forward to HR with an explanatory note.

          I am baffled she’s still employed. Banks are usually not tolerant of any fraud, but maybe they’re waiting for her next vacation to go through her records with a fine-toothed comb. When one of my family members worked for a large bank, workers were required to take either one or two week vacations so they could be audited and any irregularities could be found.

    6. Unsan*

      If this were true then HR or the ex-boss should be setting up this meeting. The ex-coworker is simply trying to manipulate the OP further.

      1. AnonEMoose*

        Should be, yes…but “should be” and “is” are sometimes radically different things in the workplace. And given that the boss has already shown his tendency to sweep things under the rug when it comes to the bully….

  15. Yup*

    Whoa. Your former coworker sounds majorly off out bounds. I wouldn’t trust her any further than I could throw her.

    If you decide to meet in some fashion, tell your boss beforehand. “Susan invited me to coffee, she said she wants to apologize to me. I’m planning to meet her this Thursday. I wanted to you let you know, in case this has any bearing on the car service issue that I brought to your attention.” You’re covering your back proactively, and Boss may want to be aware of her communications with you. Especially if she’s under any disciplinary conditions.

  16. WFBP*

    I absolutely would NOT meet her for coffee, as a one-on-one could generate more problems or give her an opportunity tell lies or play victim. Or, she could just clear her conscience, making her feel great but making you even more mad.

    I would tell her your door is always open for documented (key word! Do everything by email so there’s a trail and no ambiguity – this also tells her she will not get away with anything) work-related issues and that you hope to maintain a good working relationship with her or some other kind of good sounding bs if you feel you can stomach being nice. If she starts to pester you or spread that you’re unkind, just tell people you offered to answer any work question she might ever have, but are a very busy person and don’t have much time for personal interaction.

    If this were a true emergency, which sounds like she’s might try to spin that way, she should have absolutely given you a heads up. Coupled with the fact that she has been severely bullying you and impacting your quality of life, you don’t really owe her anything.

    I hope you never cross paths with this malicious person again. If you do, just treat her politely but at arms length. And I fully agree – if you DO meet with her, at coffee or in your office, ABSOLUTELY bring another person with you as a witness. If she tries to make it just the two of you, just tell her you’re happy to meet with her while X is there, otherwise, you’d prefer to correspond by email.

    And really – why is she still working for this company? Do you have an HR department? If so, I’d run this by them as well.

  17. LisaLyn*

    I am just adding my voice to the others: I would not meet face to face with this person, except possibly at work, with someone else present. If I were in this position, I think I would just send an email saying that you have some idea what it’s about and would just like to move forward.

  18. My 2 Cents*

    Two things about bullies:

    1) They LOVE to meet in person because it’s much easier to bully someone in person. So, of course she wants to meet for coffee, it gives her the upper hand.

    2) They HATE to be ignored. The fact that you barely acknowledged her in public and now will turn her down to meet for coffee will make her FURIOUS, but it gives all the power to you, so kudos! You now have something she wants, your attention, so don’t let her have it.

  19. Mallorie, the recruiter*

    Um, did I miss something? How is this chick not fired? You work for a bank and she ordered a company paid car service and tried to make it look like you – for spite? That seems…. not good? She would have been gone lickety-split at the bank I work for! And then you wouldn’t have to deal with this :-)

    1. rlm*

      My guess is that she came up with some elaborate lie to cover the whole incident. Sociopaths are very good at this type of thing.

      I suspect this might also be why she wants to meet with the OP — to get her caught up her her BS lies about why she needed a chauffeur in the middle of the night/weekend.

      1. AB*

        To me, there could be lies about why she needed a chauffeur during the weekend but nothing would explain giving the coworker’s name instead of hers (unless the OP was authorized to request transportation and she wasn’t, in which case she’d still be required to notify the OP first thing Monday morning).

        I agree that it’s most likely that the manager did not bring the issue to HR, because there’s no way the bully would be able to explain away her behavior.

    2. AMG*

      I’m telling you, the boss swept it under the rug. Didn’t want HR to know that he let the situation get so out of control with the bully.

  20. EngineerGirl*

    Ooh, been there. E-mail her back and cc both bosses. Simply say “I’m sorry, but I think under the circumstances it would be inappropriate to meet outside of work. I am available for any work-related discussions at work.”

    You’ve alerted both supervisors
    Your response is within a discoverable evidence system
    You’ve constrained contact to work only

    Do NOT meet with her. Ever.

    1. EngineerGirl*

      Oh also in your email clarify to her statement about meeting up at night, lest it seem like it was a planned meeting.
      So as a precursor state
      Hi evil one,
      I didn’t expect to see you at Charlie’s last night. I’m so sorry, but I’m not available to talk to you outside of work. Of course, if you have work related questions while here at work I’m always willing to provide help
      Nice person

    2. Pussyfooter*

      I really like this. (hmmm, too angry?)

      This woman bullied you for over a year, then framed you, and is now pursuing your time/attention. Her imaginary war with you may not be over. Does your *current* boss know all these things? I would bring NewBoss up to speed on the situation (and if they are helpful, HR, too).

      Just in case, gather any evidence of prior bullying and document all interaction with her going forward.

      If you never figured out a safe way to interact with this woman, then I don’t see how you can have a healthy, fair discussion with her. Plus, if someone stabbed you and went to prison, no one would think you unfair for refusing their offer of a meeting to apologize. (Why the H*** didn’t she apologize in her email, if that’s so important to her, now?)

  21. Janes*

    Don’t meet her for coffee. Once in a blue moon, I see my crazy excoworker and she’ll get the polite hello and then I move on and ignore her. Mutual friends have often asked me why I take this position and I explain that she was an individual who caused me extreme stress to the point where I had to take time off work.

    1. Corrie*

      I too am a survivor of 5+ years of a co-worker bully and 2 levels of management that wouldn’t deal with it. We no longer work together. I am so relieved she is out of my life. My jaw dropped when I received a holiday card from her stating she missed me. She had no understanding of the anxiety and stress I went through. When mutual friends mention talking with her, I just nod and listen. I am not interested.
      Do your best to distance yourself from this person who drains rather than energizes.

      1. dustycrown*

        I got a facebook friend request from a mean girl/office bully I worked with for eight years. This was a woman who would say the most terrible things, but never own them–it was always the recipient of her nastiness that “misunderstood.” She once offered to explain to me “why nobody here likes you” and was completely offended that I didn’t care to hear it. I can’t imagine why she thought I would invite her onto my facebook page, nor can I imagine any context in which she thought the word “friend” was a word I would ever use to describe her. I didn’t even bother to decline her request–I just clicked “IGNORE” and left her in facebook limbo.

  22. AnonAdmin*

    Dear Colleague,

    Sorry, I’m not available to meet with you.


    and done. Whatever her motives were at the time of booking the car service, the net result is that she could have seriously damaged your professional reputation by her actions. And whatever her motives are now are immaterial. You don’t want to be friends with her, and the only person who will gain from the two of you meeting up is her. Wash your hands of this woman.

    1. Nikki T*

      Yes, very short and to the point. I wouldn’t even mention being open to discussing work, that gives a reason to show up around your workspace all the time….

    2. Andrea*

      And if she replies, no matter what she says, do not reply. Just ignore. Believe me, it will drive her crazy.

      1. Rayner*

        I like this. I do second the notion of letting bosses know just in case – you never know with things like these – just as a heads up, but this is perfect.

        It’s cool, collected, and lets the co-worker know that nothing is going to get to the OP anymore.

    3. Not So NewReader*


      OP, please put me in as another NO vote. As in NO, do not go to coffee. NO, do not think twice about not going for coffee. Do not even offer a reason for not going to coffee.

      She has spent a year showing you the type of person that she is.
      IF she had actually changed she would have sent you a note with no expectation of a reply. See, part of her taking ownership of the situation, would make her realize she has to leave you alone.
      She is not “there” yet.
      And any communication you receive from her should be forwarded to your bosses or HR.

  23. Lanya*

    OP, you have no obligation to meet this woman for coffee. If she wants to apologize to you so badly, she can do it over e-mail and she should be understanding of why you wouldn’t want to meet her.

    Don’t give this person any more of your precious time or allow her to take up any more space in your brain.

  24. Ruffingit*

    Why bother meeting her? There’s nothing she can say to you that is going to be at all constructive. I’d ignore the e-mail and the meeting request. She already knows she stepped in it big time. Why invite more of her nonsense. Move on.

    1. fposte*

      I like EG’s idea of cc:ing the response to the bosses, but I’m otherwise with you–she doesn’t need to answer this at all.

  25. Amy S*

    Stay the hell away from her and don’t respond. Pretend like you didn’t get the email if your paths ever cross again.

  26. Liz*

    Yeah, she seems manipulative and like drama city. The last thing you want to give one of those people is more attention. I’d just say you’re sorry but you’re too busy. If she really wants to apologize she can find a way to do it in an email. Enforce those boundaries.

  27. Lily*

    Am I the only one who would not want to meet in my office? I would want to be able to just walk away if she started trying to bully me again.

    1. TL*

      It’s also a power thing – you probably feel more in control of yourself in your office; you definitely have more control of the setting (offering her a seat, remaining seated while she stands, being able to glance at your computer/officework)

  28. NJB*

    It seems I may be in the minority here, but I would just ignore the email.
    No response at all.

    I would treat her the same way you do a stalker; give them no attention. Period. Of course she may show up at your office door, but you are in the proverbial drivers seat if Ms. Evil Heart comes knocking. Send her away, simply state you don’t have time to talk with her right now and shut the door.

    1. Jessa*

      Exactly. I don’t think I would respond either. I would keep the email. Possibly forward it to the manager, I’d also keep notes on the meeting etc. (Having a trail of information might help,) but answering someone like this just spurs them on. (Am I the first to mention deBecker here?)

      1. NJB*

        Agreed Jessa! Can’t believe nobody mentioned him! Jessa is talking about the wonderful book–the Gift of Fear!

        1. Jessa*

          Yes, but I was kind of thinking of him more in his advice to people being stalked and his security business than his “how to figure out if you’re being gaslighted/stalked.” IE this person already knows that the co-worker is bad news. He has a lot of good advice about what to DO when you know that. IE do not respond. Ever. Because even one response makes them continue. But yeh the Gift of Fear totally. Skip the parts about how to tell if the people are bad, go straight to the “what do you DO about it? And do everything he says.

    2. Ruffingit*

      I’m with you. I see nothing good that can result from this. Wanting to apologize (which I sincerely doubt is the reason this woman wants to meet, but we’ll go with it) does not mean the other person must accept. The OP owes this woman less than nothing and I’d do everything I could to stay away from her.

  29. John*

    I had a situation a bit like this. Someone tried to hang the blame for something on me. Long story short, it was easy to prove I had nothing to do with it and my boss at the time was a big kahuna.

    The big kahuna made a call to the liar’s boss and the liar got called on the carpet and was ordered to apologize to me. So she summoned me to her office…and behind closed doors proceeded to excoriate me for getting her in trouble. !!! Nice apology! (And dumb…I told the big kahuna what happened after.)

    Something similar may be going on here. First of all, what she did would be a firable offense at any financial institution so her boss has apparently decided to look the other way. The boss may have instructed her to make nice with you so you don’t stir this up any further.

    My story had a happy ending. The liar, who had a 30-yr career at the company in a high-paying position, was soon reassigned to “special projects” on her way out the door.

  30. Rayner*

    Four words.

    Don’t meet with her.

    At all. Not for coffee, not for anything. If she comes to your office, ask her if it’s work related, and if it isn’t, tell her you’re busy. Do not engage.

    True, she could be offering an apology. If she wants to give one that desperately, she can send one via email, and there’s no reason she has to give it face to face.

    Especially after deliberately lying and trying to get you in trouble for breaching policy. What could she tell you that would explain that?

    More likely, either she’s looking to continue bullying you in your new role or looking to mitigate the ramifications of her actions or something similar.

    Your boss may wonder you’re meeting her in your office when she tried to frame you for taking the car home. If your departments have nothing to do with each other, even more so. Other people may be curious or think that you’re associating with her – not good.

    Let your bosses handle it. You raised it with them, got the response that they were looking into it, and nothing else you can do will change what they do. It’s all on her, and by the sounds it, she’ll be no great loss if she is let go.

    1. Hooptie*

      Yes Yes Yes
      “More likely, either she’s looking to continue bullying you in your new role or looking to mitigate the ramifications of her actions or something similar. ”

      Honestly, if she further pursues a conversation, I would let my boss know I’m going to HR. This woman needs to leave you alone!

  31. WWWONKA*

    I would avoid and ignore this person at all costs. You do not know what the ulterior motive is and I would not trust her. Don’t sully your reputation by being seen with this person.

  32. Wilton Businessman*

    You co-worker is a nut-job. Be careful with that one.

    The approach I’d take with her is that it was a clerical mistake you thought you should bring up to your old manager and that’s that.

    And maybe start carrying a tazer.

  33. MR*

    Why bother with a response? There is absolutely zero upside to responding at all. She wants your attention and even a response fills that need.

    Just leave her be and move on with your life and profession.

    1. SevenSixOne*

      I’ve worked for more than one bureaucratic, fakey-polite company where not responding promptly to an email from someone within the company was Simply Not Done. If OP works for a company like that, then she can respond with a one-sentence “I am not able to meet you for coffee” email.

      Otherwise, best response is no response!

  34. Anonymous*

    And even “It’s hard for me to get away for coffee” could be twisted around, eg, “Oh, poor thing, she’s having such a hard time, she’s so swamped in her new position, she just can’t cope …” I’ve seen it done. The less you say, the better.

    1. V*

      This is an excellent point. I would respond:

      Dear Evil One,

      I am not interested in meeting you for coffee. If you wish to appologize you can do so via email.


      I agree that you should cc your old boss and your new boss on this for two reasons: 1. It alerts them that she is contacting you, in case she was advised NOT to contact you. 2. It alerts them that you are responding to your email. If she was told that she has to appologize to you and you do not respond to her attempt to do so, she can go back to her boss and claim that you are “non-responsive to email.” Unfortunately, I think there could be an expectation by higher-ups that you respond to email sent by your coworkers (even if she is in a different devision). You don’t have to give her the answer she wants, but I would err on the side of protecting your professional reputation by sending her some response.

      1. Rayner*

        I would think that your second point would only be relevant if this was, say, a personality conflict that got out of control. The co-worker deliberately lied and tried to frame her colleague for a serious breach of policy, which could have resulted in big trouble. If they want to get hold of the OP regarding the incident – for an apology or not, it would come from the old manager, or her own manager, or even HR.

        As long as the OP continues to remain co-operative with everybody else, responding to emails etc, and doing her job, nobody will think anything odd about someone not respond to a person who tried to stitch them up out of spite.

  35. Anon Accountant*

    If the OP’s job will require them communicating at all, I’d definitely recommend emailing as much as possible so there’s a written trail. My friend had a bully in her office that would take an email she sent to the bully and change the wording of what she’d written then forward it to their mutual boss. If the bully was to order 3″ chocolate teapot handles and accidentally ordered 1″ handles, she’d change the email sent to her to make it look like “I was just following what Jane wrote here” and therefore I’m not at fault although the original email stated 3″.

    Finally, the bully got managed out of the company. Not to make the OP worry more but please be aware this is a possibility. Although no sane, rational individual would do this but the bully has shown she’s willing to toss the OP under the bus.

  36. khilde*

    This sounds like my crazy ass sister in law that I whined about in the May Open Thread. The one that snooped through my cell phone at Christmas, tattled on me to her mother (my mother-in-law) about something she read in my texts, and then MIL confronts me on Christmas morning as we’re leaving for home. It was a doozy for any of the regular that commented on that (and thanks again for all your helpful thoughts with that).

    In hindsight, and with 8 months of time to reflect, I have realized that my SIL is a Grade A bully. She pulls this crap where she is passive agressive, sneaky, manipulative, but then when she’s been caught or outed or her tactic didn’t work the way she thought, she gets syrupy sweet and tries to buddy with you. I feel for that trap for 10 years (because as I like to say, “I don’t speak passive aggressive.” I had no idea this was her MO – I am a very forgiving and not at all cynical about people. Though I am now where this family is concerned). I was nice and believed her when she started acting decently again.

    Anyway, that whole deal at Christmas was the straw that broke the camel, man. She tried to call my husband’s phone a few weeks later and left a suck-up message saying she didn’t know what happened, that they’re still brother and sister, and let’s please talk about it. I nearly had a stroke then and there, so thank God I just let my husband take the lead. And he never returned her call. She has called a few times since Christmas trying to fish but we are so incredibly wary of her and her intentions. So we just cut our losses and ignore her.

    And I’m finally crystal clear on seeing these shenanigans for what they are simply because I can’t think of a scenario where I would be able to out-bitch her. Bullies are experts at manipulating and playing head games. You, OP, actually have the upper hand and the high road now. Don’t go back into the pit with her. You’ve essentially had the last word with your honest communication with your boss and your ability to produce an alibi for that evening. She sees that and wants to get together now so that she can be the one with the last word and power. Don’t give it to her. I’d ignore it.

    And someone upthread had a good point about maybe the boss forcing the bully to make an apology and that’s why she’s in contact. That’s a valid point (though I think silly management) – however – I’d let the boss come to OP and say “why haven’t you accepted her apology?” before you establish contact with bully coworker.

    In short – ignore her and protect yourself from here on out with her.

      1. khilde*

        Ha, yeah. I didn’t mean that my whole entire thought was short! I know I have humongous comments. :) But try to sum it up at the end. :)

        1. Ruffingit*

          Sucks about your SIL, but good for you for recognizing her crap for what it is and ignoring it. It’s just not worth trying to deal with psychos like that. She’s childish, manipulative, and bitchy and those people zone on in on people like you who they know do not do the passive-aggressive thing. It’s like liars who choose to lie to those they know are more likely to accept those lies (family members usually). The SIL will continue to play the “but we’re FAMMMMIILLLY” card for awhile and then she’ll turn it into “Well, I’ve tried to patch things up, but khilde just won’t cooperate…” No matter what, it will always somehow be your fault. Ignore it all, it’s not worth the fight.

          1. khilde*

            Ruffingit – you are so right. And it’s taken me a long while to finally get to that place in my head where I accept it. I am a person of action and when something’s wrong I naturally assume there has to be a fix (some may call me controlling?). But it was a hard lesson for me to learn that there really is no fix for a situation where the other party is unwilling and incapable of doing their part to fix the situation, too. It’s been insanely freeing once I realized that concept. Your take on it hit the nail on the head. Thanks for the comment.

            1. Ruffingit*

              Glad my comment helped in some way. As you may or may not be able to tell, I’ve totally been there with family members who pull crap like this. Cutting them off and moving on was the best feeling ever.

  37. A Teacher*

    I watched a former low level manager do this to multiple employees at the company I worked at. She only tried it once with me, but I’m one of those people that drives everyone crazy because I document everything–it actually paid off with this one. However, she was so passive aggressive in her actions it was hard to see what she was doing to people until it was too late. Many co-workers got caught in her web and she took them down. I’m going to say don’t meet with her, document everything–as in print off emails if she sends them to you and keep a hard copy at home. People like her cannot be trusted.

    1. Anonymous*

      I’m confused by what the manager gained from this situation. Was it just getting rid of people that she didn’t like?

      1. Cassie*

        I had a manager who wasn’t quite this conniving, but did try to get rid of the people she didn’t like and bring in her own people, many of whom she started to dislike after awhile (and then she would get rid of those people to bring in yet new loyal folk).

        It’s quite a cycle.

      2. LadyTL*

        My current manager is like this. She hires people she is friends with or thinks they are fun, is passive aggresive to everyone else until the people she hired get fired over the big red flags she ignored in the first place. (They have gotten fired repeatedly for stealing from the tills though their behavior beforehand would have been a bunch of red flags before that) The passive aggresive behavior only stops when enough of her “friends” get fired that she can’t get the people she doesn’t like fired first.

        She has never had anything said to her about this so I guess it is just going to continue until she has enough “friends” who don’t steal.

        1. Ruffingit*

          Wow, that’s a real shame that she’s allowed to bring people in who do those things. Amazing that she still has a job.

  38. Sophia*

    I would go to your new manager, explain the whole situation if she doesn’t know the background, and tell her your dilemma.

  39. Unsan*

    I have to tell you. Not only would I NOT meet with this person I would forward the email you sent to your ex-boss along with your proof of being elsewhere to HR. In my opinion she should be told that if she continues to contact you that a restraining order will be filed with the court.

  40. Nelly*

    I really hope we get an update to this at some point in the future – OP, please let us know if you have any news on this woman. This is a fascinating case!

  41. Anon - I'm the OP*

    Thank you for all the responses, I’m overwhelmed at the amount of interest and support.

    To clarify a few things:
    – I am based in England; should have probably made that clear in the original email to Alison!

    I recieved this email from the colleague on Tuesday 3rd Sept. I still haven’t replied and have decided I won’t be.

    My only issue now is what to do if I see her around in the building. It’s quite likely as I’ve noticed her before. What do I do if she tries to talk to me? I just do not want ANYTHING(!!!) to do with her – at all!!

    1. Amy T*

      I would just be polite, smile and say “hello” and nothing more. You don’t want to be accused of being the mean one. But you also don’t have to go out of your way to be nice. Just a smile and a hello is all you need to do to show that you are a team player.

      As everyone else here said definitely do not meet her for coffee. There may even come a time when she consistently seems nice and you may want to give her a second chance, but don’t. People like her would love the chance to try to hurt you again.

      It’s sad that this happens at work. I ended up quitting a job over a bully. The rest of my coworkers were wonderful but there was nothing that could be done. I talked to my manager and he couldn’t do anything. It escalated to the point where she was trying to get me in trouble. She would go to my boss and say that my work was sloppy and incorrect. She would change my documents and show him. However, I always kept a copy of my work on my external drive at work and she couldn’t change that document!

      It just seems like bullying in the workplace is common. It really needs to stop. It truly is sad that this seems to happen all over the world.

    2. Mena*

      I would ignore the email. If you receive a second email, I would respond ‘Thanks but I really don’t have the time.” And if you run into her face-to-face, smile and say hello and keep walking. If she somehow stops you, look at your watch, shake your head, smile, and say ‘I have a commitment. Have a good day.’ Repeat as necessary.

      And I”m thinking she used the car for herself and just used you as a shield. Let’s hope that she’s not a vindictive psycho too.

    3. Interviewer*

      I’ve had a bullying co-worker, but she didn’t start off that way. We spent a great deal of time with outside of work socializing with a large group of friends. We planned parties together, we went to bars together, we ate lunch together, all kinds of stuff. One day, she met a friend of my best friend, and they went on a date, but after their first date he decided he didn’t want to see her again, and suddenly she turned into Bride of Frankenstein. It was my fault he didn’t want to go out with her, and everything I did was keeping them apart. It was stunning how much of that she brought into the workplace, and her attempts to “talk it out” ended with me crying and asking her to leave my office. So she’d show up on my doorstep at home instead! I’m about the least confrontational person you can imagine in my personal life, so it was very difficult for me to have her in my face. All she wanted was for me to stop lying about how I got this guy to hate her, and all I wanted was for her to disappear in a puff of smoke. Fortunately, my whole gang was appalled by her behavior, supported me fully, and pushed her out of our lives in short order. It worked, too. She ended up finding a new job and leaving the company, and finding a new group of friends.

      But I can fully recall how it was to be deep in the fear every day, trying to anticipate the horror of whether or not she would find me, and try to speak to me. I just wanted to avoid, avoid, avoid.

      So I really, really feel your pain, but the best you can do right now is just smile & nod if you see her. Responding to her email opens the floodgates, even just a crack. I would absolutely ignore it. If she asks about it, “Oh that! I just forgot to respond, I got so busy that day. Bu tI really won’t be able to meet with you. Take care.” Please practice that at home until it just flows naturally, and that way you won’t be caught off guard and unprepared.

      1. Grace*

        I concur with your remarks: The OP shouldn’t respond to the bully’s emails for coffee. I’d like to add on a Gavin de Becker warning, from his book The Gift of Fear. That if some creepy person calls you (or I would add emails you) and you don’t respond for the first 30 calls (or whatever the number), but respond to number 31, then de Becker warns that you’ve just taught that person that getting you to respond will take you 31 times. De Becker says DON’T ever respond, because eventually that person will have to move on to another target.

    4. SJ*

      I agree with the brief hello. You could give her the obligatory, perfunctory stranger smile, it doesn’t have to be real. Or dispense with it all together and just give her a nod and say hello.

      If she approaches you one of those times, I also agree to beg off citing being busy/no time/deadlines/meetings. Or hell, you could just say, “I have to go.” It doesn’t matter that the reason you have to go is that she’s nuts and you don’t want to see her.

      If she decides to take it upon herself to come into your office or cubicle, determined to “apologize,” don’t be surprised if she caps off her apology by saying something like, ‘So, are we okay now?’ or other things that pressure you to agree that everything is hunky-dory. It’s another manipulation/bully tactic, forcing you by social conventions/courtesy to say things you don’t mean. I’d probably just say something deflective like, “everything is fine,” or, “thanks for the apology, that was thoughtful,” or, “I’m sure we can continue working together.” And if she STILL presses on – “but do you forgive me?” “I hope we can be friends!”, tell her you really have to get back to your work. Then go back to your work. If she continues to demand your attention verbally, she’ll look like the bully she is. If she just stands there silently, let her. She will get the message that you’re not going to be pushed around or intimidated by her. And if she (god forbid) says “do you want to go to happy hour after work?” in a faux-attempt at reconciliation, just cite being too busy. Actually, don’t even do that. Just say, “No, thank you.” You don’t have to give her any explanation. You don’t have to be too busy to do it, or have a previous engagement. It’s not her business why you won’t go to HH with her (you’ll both know why, of course).

      Bottom line: don’t let her use societal norms and the expectation of courtesy to manipulate your responses.

      1. SJ*

        Oh, and, pleeeeeeeeease update us on the situation now and then! I’d love to hear about the next interaction.

  42. candy*

    Don’t bother. Ignore the email and move on. People that rude only want to “apologize” to make themselves feel better or to get on your good side so hopefully you’ll cover for them later or feel some sympathy. Don’t waste even a second of your time — you’re not in her department anymore, you don’t even have to look her in the eye when you pass her in the hallway.

  43. Joey*

    Personally, I don’t like being cc’d on this kind of stuff. If it turns into or you expect it to turn a problem and will need me to intervene that’s different. But cc’ing me when you’ve got it under control is an email I don’t really need to read.

    Be an adult and handle it yourself. If you need some guidance or some help by all means I’m here. But don’t tell me just to tell me unless for some reason you are planning on meeting her and expect it to explode.

  44. Bea W*

    If you meet with her, I agree, be on your guard. This a person who bullied you and then went through the trouble of trying to frame you to get you in trouble. I wouldn’t trust her further than I could throw her. There’s no way to know if she’s had a sudden change of heart and character or she’s scheming up some way to get back at you for reporting the incident which surely started some investigation. Proceed with caution!

  45. Anonymous*

    Oh I just can’t be quiet about this.

    Just some thoughts …

    I’m another no reply and no to meeting. It’s bait, don’t bite it. She is toxic.

    This EVIL woman has to have serious self-confidence issues. I think they do it to make themselves feel superior.

    All the energy the EVIL woman used to make your life miserable. It could have been used to be a productive employee.

    If you see her in passing act as if you’ve never seen her before, a stranger. A hello, and continue walking. She deserves no attention from you.

    It took her a month to decide she needed to apologize? Something wrong there. That should have happened directly after the manager talked to her about it. So I doubt that it’s a manager telling her that she should make amends now. She’s not sorry, she wants more. She misses the game.

    She also has had a whole month to calculate what she would do next …. this is the beginning … keep the door shut

    Have faith, what goes around comes around. It truly does!

    I had a boss that was abusive that I put up with for far too long. Only trouble was she was it, no manager, no HR to go to. She ended up making up a lie and fired me. My interpretation was … I was freed! Please use those people inform them, keep them in the loop!

    I read this once in my time of need and repeated it over and over in my head …. How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.

  46. Anon - I'm the OP*

    Thank you once again for your feedback; I’ve read the replies to my last comment and they make sense.


    I saw her on Friday night after work in the pub nearby. I always pop in there on Fridays and she does too, sometimes. Anyway, she definitely noticed me from across the room after I’d noticed her but I just didn’t really pay her any attention, didn’t even acknowledge she was there.

    As she left she walked past me, gave me a friendly smile and said “hey” but didn’t stop. I just pretended not to hear her and carried on with the conversation I was having with my friend. I know that might be seen as “mean” but I don’t care. I think it’s pretty cheeky she’s even trying the fake friendliness to be honest. But oh well.

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