friend drama may collide with job hunt

A reader writes:

I have a friend, Jane, who I used to be close to, but in the past few years she’s been very hot and cold, going through periods of being almost clingy and then turning on a dime to become unresponsive or even kind of annoyed that I’m talking to her. This has been emotionally difficult and I’ve decided I need to dial back the friendship.

I’ve also been trying to get out of a job that’s become untenable, but the job hunt has been rough because my industry is small and competitive. Another friend, Carol, works in the same industry and has been highly enthusiastic about getting me a job at her company, where I would really love to work. I have an application in with them now that she helped me a lot with, and I know she’s mentioned me to the hiring manager as well. I’m immensely grateful to her for this and definitely owe her one whether it works out or not.

Here’s the rub: Carol and Jane are BFFs. (Like, Carol was maid of honor at Jane’s wedding.) And while I’m hoping to transition quietly to a more distant friendship with Jane, she (for understandable reasons that are not mine to share) is very sensitive to perceived rejection or people being mad at her, so there’s a solid chance that she will notice I’m not as engaged. She may confront me or she may just silently be hurt, but either way I’m sure Carol will hear about it, and who knows what that will do to her opinion of me.

I know I’m borrowing trouble a little, but what do I do if my relationship with Jane blows up in the middle of a hiring process where I’ve been relying heavily on Jane’s best friend’s goodwill? At this point things are mostly in the hiring manager’s hands and I don’t technically need more help from Carol, but what if the manager comes back to ask her more questions about me after her original recommendation and she now hates me? Or what if she’s no longer comfortable working with me? Is there anything I should say to Carol about the Jane situation beforehand? Should I pull out of the application process if things go south with Jane and Carol seems upset? Or should I just treat these two things like they’re unrelated and let whatever happens, happen?

I do think you’re borrowing trouble. You’re not plotting a confrontation with Jane where you list off all her faults, tell her she’s a horrible person, and then kick her in the shins. You’re just … less engaged with the friendship.

If Jane tells Carol that you’ve been more distant, that’s not the type of thing that’s likely to make it into Carol’s comments to the hiring manager. (And if it did, the hiring manager would be confused by why.)

If your concern is that Jane will confront you about it and you’ll be forced to have a full reckoning of your problems with the friendship, which could lead to a blow-up that Carol holds against you or just wants nothing to do with … then yeah, ideally you’d avoid that conversation while you’re still in the hiring process for the other job. And really, is that conversation even necessary? Maybe it is, but maybe you can also just do the “I’ve been really busy” slow fade. (I do think that if you and Jane were very close once, you’d owe her more of a conversation, unless you’ve already tried raising the issues to no avail, but you also don’t need to have that conversation RIGHT NOW. You can wait until things aren’t as entangled, and it’s reasonable to want some distance while you’re deciding exactly how you’re going to handle it.)

Of course, if you get the job, you’re going to be more entangled with Carol, not less. And if things go south with Jane, Carol may feel she’s in the middle of drama between her best friend and a coworker. In that case, the best thing to do would be to just be a warm, pleasant, and professional colleague. Unless Carol is problematic herself (which in this case could mean some combination of petty, gossipy, vengeful, and unprofessional) she’s unlikely to insist on bringing someone else’s work drama into your office when you demonstrate that there’s no need for it.

{ 72 comments… read them below }

    1. Ask a Manager* Post author

      No — I do think she’s borrowing trouble! (Meaning, worrying more than she needs to about the situation, parts of which haven’t come to pass yet and may not.)

      1. Hills to Die on*

        ^ This makes more sense. I thought it was a typo too, but with the understanding that ‘borrowing trouble’ means ‘you’re thinking more of it than it is’, then I get it now.

      2. I Count the Llamas*

        That’s interesting, I’ve never heard that phrase used that way. It’s always been used to mean “asking for trouble.”

        Maybe it’s a regional thing?

        1. bmorepm*

          that has also been my understanding of the phrase, but I googled and both come up. I had no idea!

          1. I went to school with only 1 Jennifer*

            And this is language change in action. Whee! It’s not-infrequent that words change to mean their own opposite, thru a variety of linguistic mechanisms. (As an example, look at usage for “nonplussed”. It’s mid-swing and I have stopped using it in writing or speech except with people I know, to avoid the ambiguity.)

            Alison usually uses “overthinking it”; I suspect that she used “borrowing trouble” this time because the LW did.

          2. Rosacolleti*

            It’s like “I could care less” meaning the same as “I couldn’t care less” in the US

        2. TootsNYC*

          no, you’re just hearing people misuse it.
          Borrowing means it doesn’t belong to you.
          Asking means you want to own it.

          1. GythaOgden*

            Yup. This is where I sit. Borrowing trouble is worrying about it but not acting, just going through the ‘what ifs’ and entering a negative spiral of doubt which can hurt your mental landscape. It’s an internalised thing.

            Asking for trouble is acting provocatively and pushing people’s buttons in a way that you think is cathartic or justified but actually exacerbating the potential for others to react to what you’re doing. It’s an externalised thing.

        3. ecnaseener*

          I’ve only ever heard it used this way — I think it’s short for “borrowing trouble from the future.”

        4. kalli*

          “don’t borrow trouble” and similar phrasings come from the Bible – Matthew 6:34 to be exact. The full verse is “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” The idea is that one has enough to deal with now without also overthinking all the different possible consequences and whatever else may happen later, so just focus on what you can do/control now and deal with the next bit when it happens – similar principle to tackling a large task in small chunks so you don’t get overwhelmed by ‘how tf do I do all this’.

          But it would be highly regional and very rare for it to be inverted anywhere that is sufficiently exposed to Christianity.

          As such, the phrase as used is fine, LW should just focus on the job hunt and the friend drama as two separate things insofar as whatever they can do about them now, and if in future they collide then deal with that then – the benefit of *that* is that they can decide what to do with far more information than they have now, and make a better decision with less stressing overall than if they set a whole course now based on what if this that then this then that then maybe that and what if. Living in multiple Batman Gambits is downright exhausting, even if one is a shogi superstar.

        5. Tio*

          Asking for trouble and borrowing trouble are two different phrases that are similar.

          Asking for trouble means you’re almost certain to get into trouble with your current course/plan of action.
          Borrowing trouble means that you don’t really have a problem yet but you’re worrying about it when it hasn’t happened and has a good possibility it never will.

          OP is imagining a bunch of scenarios of things that haven’t happened and may not turn out the way they think they will, so they’re creating problem scenarios and expending worry on them when they don’t have to. They’re borrowing that trouble. Asking for trouble would be if OP had said they intended to, for example, call Carol and tell her all the reasons she hates Jane, and then at the end of the call ask if Carol could refer her for a job in the company.

        6. Jill Swinburne*

          I learned it from one of the Anne of Green Gables books, with the excellent addition that we shouldn’t borrow trouble because “the rate of interest is too high”.

        7. Happy*

          If you don’t mind – where are you from? I’m curious where it’s used as “asking for trouble”.

  1. Sharon*

    If Carol is the sort of person to start saying bad things about you in a professional context solely because you dial back a friendship with *somebody else*, she’s may not be the best person to help get you a job.

    1. MsM*

      And if that kind of person’s opinion is valued at this company, you probably don’t want a job there.

      1. bamcheeks*

        Yes, I was thinking this too.

        What do you know about Carol? Is she a pretty levelheaded person, and is this a professional role? If so, then she probably won’t have any difficulty separating our friendship-drama (especially if you’re clearly trying to minimise the drama) from work. If you think she’s the person who might NOT separate them out, then to be honest I think pursuing the job may not the best plan. Working with people who don’t have good boundaries between working life and personal life is a bad idea even when friendships are going well.

    2. LW*

      To be clear, Carol is a lovely person whose professionalism I have no reason to doubt! My concern is primarily about making her uncomfortable, since we are, as Alison puts it, entangled via the job stuff and she wouldn’t have a graceful way out if she decided she needed some space from me.

      1. BubbleTea*

        Why would she need space from you because her friend perceived some kind of slight? I assume you’re not in your early teens, when it was normal to view friendship as an all or nothing pick-a-side battleground. She surely will form her opinions of and relationship with you based on your interactions, not her friend’s views.

      2. anon_sighing*

        That’s Carol issue to worry about. Trying to anticipate her discomfort isn’t worth the brain space. Carol knows Jane well enough — even friends I adore I know have issues and those issues may not be tolerated by many people, so Carol may know that “Aw geez, Jane’s alienated another one…”

        Work is work and personal life is personal life — if Carol is a professional, she should be able to engage with you about work and set a boundary on other stuff outside of it

      3. allathian*

        If Carol is as professional as you say, I seriously doubt it’ll be a problem. It certainly won’t be in her professional interests to allow it to affect your professional relationship in any way. It’s not as if you need to be work friends.

      4. Despachito*

        If Carol is a professional, I honestly do not see any reason why the fading of your relationship with another person should affect her so much that she would need “some space” from you.

        First, you will be just working at the same company, not doing everything together. There will be enough space between you as is.

        Second, even if your relationship with Jane was put a bit on a backburner, this is neither crime nor sin. It is not like you killed Jane’s pet snake, kicked her grandmother in the shin and seduced her husband in her own bedroom. You are not creating drama and saying all the time you hate Jane. Maybe if you undoubtedly and atrociously slighted Jane it may affect her friend (if you are capable to do horrible things to friends you would be capable to do them at work as well) but all you did was distance yourself. This is absolutely not resentment material for Carol unless she is really unreasonable, which you say she isn’t.

        I frankly think you can stop worrying :)

  2. HonorBox*

    OP, I think the slow fade is the best way to handle this, whether you start now or wait til you’re further along in the hiring process. Heck, the hiring process might give you a good starting point. Not only are you doing your job, you’re involved in the hiring process, and then will be in the process of getting accustomed to a new role, which takes a lot of time and energy. If everything with the new opportunity goes as I hope it does for you, and IF Carol inquires about your relationship with Jane (which would be weird) you can just honestly tell her that you’ve had a lot on your plate with the new role, and you have had to set aside a lot of outside stuff.

    1. ferrina*

      I was thinking this too. “I’m so sorry- I didn’t mean to see you less, I’ve been so busy with everything that I guess I haven’t been socializing as much! It will be so much better once I get a new job and can stop spending all my time on the job search!”

      1. kiki*

        And then once LW gets the new job– “I’m so sorry, this new job has taken a lot out of me! I’ve been socializing a lot less.”

        1. Colette*

          Agreed. It’s fine to say you are busy and haven’t had time; it’s not OK to promise it will get better after you get a new job if you are in fact intending to stay distant.

        2. GammaGirl1908*

          Agree. LW needs to say less, not give an expected date for the resumption of contact. Been busy / hard job / crazy job search, and then stop talking.

    2. Butterfly Counter*


      A job search is stressful and people know that. Saying, “I’m concentrating on my job search right now. Lots of things in my life aren’t getting the attention they used to,” is being perfectly honest. You don’t need to mention that you won’t be giving the previous amount of attention to Jane as you were after you find the job and things get back to normal.

  3. learnedthehardway*

    I wouldn’t worry about it – the slow fade approach is the way to go here. If Jane asks why you’re not as engaged, just tell her that you have had a lot of things going on and that you have really had to dial back your social life because your work/life balance is out of control. You’re job hunting now and hope things will settle out soon.

  4. ThursdaysGeek*

    I had a friend who was clingy and then pushing me away too. The book “Stop Walking on Eggshells” was very helpful to me. If I’d read it sooner, a more distant friendship might have worked. It is emotionally difficult when a friend is like that, for whatever reason.

    1. Zona the Great*

      Thanks for this. It will also help me find peace with my choice to leave a former friend and now a parent behind.

  5. Sloanicota*

    One reason I agree you’re “borrowing trouble” is that if Carol is Jane’s best friend, she may in fact be aware of the ways Jane can be a tough hang or prone to drama. She may have experienced the same hot-and-cold-cycle or she may have noticed that Jane burns through friends and is always in a dramatic feud with someone. She may know to take some of Jane’s comments with a grain of salt. I certainly have some friends I love to pieces but also wouldn’t use as a trustworthy reference for a new colleague.

    1. Saturday*

      I was thinking the same thing. If Carol is close with Jane, she probably knows she’s not the easiest person to have a friendship with.

    2. Hot and cold*

      Yep. I was best friends with someone like that. I noticed I was the only long term friend. Even before the fireworks I was aware something was off. Eventually I was next on the chopping block.

  6. Alan*

    If Carol and Jane are that close, Carol probably has already heard about whatever problems Jane has with you and clearly doesn’t care. Fading away seems unlikely to me to be a problem.

    1. Uranus Wars*

      Bingo! My thoughts as well. I had a friend similar to Jane, who was clingy and then overly confrontational (borderline hostile)) if you didn’t call/text for a day. I know she had issues in her past that caused it, but the emotional labor doesn’t seem worth it. And Jane certainly talks about you behind your back, particularly to her *best* friend.

      1. Laser99*

        Like someone else said, she seems unstable. Fading out of the friendship is the right move, but the LW might suffer for it

    2. LW*

      I’m sure Carol has heard all about whatever issues Jane has with me currently; it’s just that fading away is a change in my behavior that might provoke new and more dramatic issues, based on what I know of Jane.

      1. allathian*

        Probably, but people who run hot and cold like Jane burn through friendships because most people won’t tolerate that sort of behavior for very long. Carol has undoubtedly seen it happen before.

  7. Alanna*

    You’re absolutely borrowing trouble, OP. Many elements of this situation are anxiety-inducing (pulling back on a friendship, applying for a job) but I don’t think they need to overlap.

    There are so many contingencies/what ifs that have to happen for this to be a problem — you have to make it further along in the hiring process, there has to be enough drama with Jane to mention it to Carol, Carol has to be motivated enough to take revenge on Jane’s behalf that she talks to the hiring manager, and the hiring manager has to listen to her.

    You don’t mention how closely you work with Carol, but that might be something to keep in mind. But if it’s a reasonably professional workplace with reasonable people, I don’t think it will be an issue. I work with two of my husband’s close friends — one of them reports to me — and I honestly forget about the connection most of the time. It’s no longer “Husband’s friend Jim,” it’s “Jim in accounting who I see at a meeting once a week.”

  8. pally*

    Carol may act professionally throughout, despite any sort of drama that crops up between you and Jane. And, she may continue to offer up her highly positive professional opinion of you/your talents to all who inquire.

    Some people can do an excellent job of separating the personal from the professional.

    If the OP were in Carol’s place, would they allow personal drama to alter their professional opinion of a potential hire?

  9. EA*

    If your application is already in, I really wouldn’t worry at all, because more than likely Carol won’t be involved anymore. Whenever I’ve recommended someone for hiring, my involvement ends once the application has been received, and the hiring manager takes over.

    Also, being busy with job hunting is a good excuse for having less time to hang out with a friend!

    1. LW*

      Thank you, that is good to know! I’ve never been on that side of it, since I’ve mostly worked for companies I would not recommend to anyone, so I didn’t know how much involvement she would be expected to have past this point.

  10. mnts*

    I almost never comment but I feel compelled to, here. I ended a friendship with a difficult person. I tried to do the slow fade, but she confronted me, so I ended up having to write an email saying that our friendship had simply run its course and I wished her well (I left all her personality flaws, including questionable ethics, out of it). She couldn’t take this rejection and endeavored to destroy my life. People on social media started telling her to kill herself and she told everyone that it was me (I believe she likely made these accounts herself). If she had been involved in my career in any way, I know she would have done what she could to ruin it. I believe she still would, though this was years ago. If we ever end up at an event together in our large city, she often leaves in a huff, so I know she still has strong feelings about me.

    You can say that Carol won’t tell the hiring manager that LW has been more distant, and that could be true, but you don’t know what she WILL say. You don’t know what she will end up believing from Jane, particularly because she’s closer with Jane than LW. It’s also all well and good to say things like “If Carol is the sort of person to start saying bad things about you in a professional context solely because you dial back a friendship with *somebody else*, she’s may not be the best person to help get you a job,” and “if that kind of person’s opinion is valued at this company, you probably don’t want a job there,” but LW states it is a small, competitive industry.

    What I wish I would have done is use the gray rock technique (or yellow rock, if necessary) on my former friend until she got bored of me and decided to end the friendship herself. I think LW should consider this, especially until they get a new job. A lot of the advice people give for interacting with others is based on a presupposition that the person is a reasonable adult, but Jane sounds unstable.

    1. Laser99*

      If it’s a small, competitive industry, everybody knows everyone’s business. Even if Carol is not a gossip and behaves professionally.

    2. anon_sighing*

      TL;DR: As someone who’s gone through this before in a way that didn’t escalate, I also advocate gray rocking. Let Jane be the one who ghosts you and you won’t have any issues.

      I had a friend like Jane who I don’t think is like your friend, but pretty close and it makes me un-comfy not having contact/an eye on her. She saw me as a landing pad friend to starve boredom/seem like she has a social life until newer, more interesting people were in her life (clingy phase) or she saw newer, more interesting people she wanted to be like and reminded her how shabby her current friends were (the annoyed that I am talking to them phase).

      She was prickly, didn’t take friends convos well (she was always the victim), and frankly, all the mutual friends we had eventually faded her out because it’s like walking on eggshells around her. We ended up in a club together for the first time where she just became really mean toward me & ended up saying a lot of hurtful things, wherein many things aren’t true — all when I was going through a very hard time in my personal life. I chose to leave the club (I think, in retrospect, she wanted it for herself since I found her putting on airs there — like affecting a higher speaking voice…the only reason I joined was because of her, too, so it didn’t matter but so strange in retrospect she needed me to join with her) and wrote out that I don’t think I want to be her friend anymore, in the most professional & neutral way possible

      She waited 4 months after that interaction to reach out as if nothing had happened, no apology or anything, and I ended the friendship then. With the distance from her, I realize how very bizarre, off-putting, and scary her behavior was. However, in my case, I took Captain Awkward’s advice and remember when times were good, they were good. If something happens, I will deal with it. She had very low self-esteem and needed to feel superior/pretty/like someone (she would complain-brag about receiving random messages from old men online) because it sounds like she had been belittled by her family a lot. I hope being the club keeps her busy & fulfilled and away from me. I do worry about running into her sometimes since we live in the same city and I am sometimes in the same neighborhood she lives in. I really hope she just ignores me!

      However, this was purely in a personal relationship — the club was as well — and not professional. I agree 100% in retrospect, outside the exhaustion and annoyance, I would have gray rocked as well and pretended to be busy.

  11. Friendships are hard*

    I think there’s a lot of assumptions and what ifs going on here, which I get is due to the anxiety of the whole situation. The main one being “what if Carol hates me if she knew what’s going on with Jane?” As others have mentioned, 1) Carol might act professionally and be able to separate the personal from the professional even if she finds out what’s happened to your friendship with Jane and 2) she might already be aware of Jane’s personality flaws and just think “Oh that’s Jane. I get why you decided to back off” even if she chooses to continue as her BFF.

    Carol might not be the type to hate someone just because her BFF does. We also don’t even know for sure if Jane will “hate” you. Unless someone did something EGREGIOUS to my BFF, I wouldn’t let trivialities get in the way of my relationship with others. Maybe Carol’s the same. All the best!

  12. anon_sighing*

    I also want to add that while Carol was a bridesmaid in Jane’s wedding…it could be that Carol said ‘yes’ out of some obligation, sympathy, or other factor not known to you (for instance, I was once asked to be a court wedding witness to someone who I was not really close to and I was so stunned & felt bad they couldn’t think of an actual, close friend for this). All the while, Carol and Jane’s relationship mirrors yours or Carol already has control on the distance.

    So you may be borrowing both trouble and stress.

  13. Yours sincerely, Raymond Holt*

    If Carol is a reasonable person she probably sympathises and maybe even wishes she could step back from Jane herself.

    1. Peanut Hamper*

      Seriously. Relationships change and it sounds like Jane is experiencing some stuff, and we have no idea what is going on in Carol’s head. Proceed as you would if none of this were in play.

  14. Jellyfish Catcher*

    Your friendship with Jane has already dwindled in the “past few years.” That is way different than dwindled in the past few weeks or months.
    In the now: Carol has remained supportive and your application is submitted. Now, relax, be yourself and prepare for a probable interview with the company.
    As for Jane, maintain whatever contact you have on the same level as you have been doing.
    Never, ever mention anything regarding Carol or the application or any other life plan, ever, to Jane. Grey rock it and bore her out of your “boring” life.
    Good Luck!

    1. LW*

      Jane is, as I said, fairly clingy when the friendship is “on”. The whole point of that first paragraph is that I don’t *want* to maintain the same (high) level of contact I currently have with Jane during the “on” periods, because then it hurts more when suddenly the friendship is “off”.

      1. allathian*

        That’s very understandable, and I’m sorry.

        This hiring process is not going to last forever. Can you maintain your current relationship with Jane until you know for sure one way or the other?

        I had a friend who was a bit like Jane, very clingy when she was single, and when she had a boyfriend she didn’t want to know me. She was conventionally attractive and had no trouble finding dates, but most of them dumped her in very short order because she was just as clingy with them. After being dumped she’d complain to me about it. The friendship was also completely one-sided, all she wanted was a shoulder to cry on, but she never reciprocated. When I realized that I’d rather be friendless than friends with her I always claimed to be too busy to talk when she called. It was true, too, I was in college and working two jobs in the early 1990s, before cellphones.

        I’m fairly introverted and happy to have just a few good friends.

        Good luck with Jane and the job search.

  15. Green Mug*

    You mentioned that it’s been a few years since you were close. Can you just be pleasant but busy if she contacts you?

    1. LW*

      No, the relationship is still pretty close when it’s “on” – it’s not that the intensity(?) has lessened, it’s just now only there part of the time.

      1. LW*

        Basically – stupid analogy alert – if our friendship is a lightbulb, it’s not that the lightbulb has dimmed, it’s that Jane is throwing herself a lightswitch rave. And I want to replace the bulb with a dimmer bulb so that the lightswitch rave won’t give me such a headache, because really it’s the light/dark contrast that’s the killer, but just because Jane keeps turning the light off doesn’t mean she won’t notice the difference when it’s on.

        1. anon_sighing*

          Would it be possible for you to let her be “on” but adopt some gray rocking techniques? Letting her talk “at” you and then if she calls you on it, say you’ve been tired/busy lately.

          Also in relationships like this, oftentimes you engage more than you should and that’s what keeps them clinging to you during this phase. Jane sees other people in the time she’s not clingy with you (for instance, she has managed to get close to Carol). Resetting boundaries (keeping your private life private, not asking follow-ups, not engaging in arguments) and expectations (increase time between responding to messages).

          If she gets super clingy to you like this, then I am not sure a slow fade will work. She sounds like she would call you on it or just show up at your place.

  16. Petty Betty*

    “I’m not avoiding Jane, I’ve just been really burnt out in general and pulled back from a lot of stuff to focus on my own well-being. While doing so, I realized that I needed a different job, which is why I asked for *your* help.”

    That’s it. That’s all that needs to be said if asked.

    1. Smaug*

      Agreed. Like, maybe I’m a bad friend, but I see no good reason (even without the job considerations here) to ever tell Jane you want to be friends less. What purpose does that serve for any of you? She tends to be hot and cold, you’re going to engage less when she’s in a hot phase. That is really simple to do and a very normal way to maintain a social relationship with someone you don’t feel like seeing more. Why on earth would you ever, even if asked, tell her to her face that you don’t like her enough to spend more time with her than that?

      1. LW*

        Of course I wouldn’t tell her I didn’t like her enough to spend more time with her! It wouldn’t be helpful, certainly, and it also wouldn’t be true. I’m frustrated by her behavior, but I care about her – if I didn’t, it wouldn’t be so rough when she seems to abruptly lose interest in me.

        But I would be tempted to explain what exactly was wrong, in the slim hope that it might fix things (while being aware that there is more than a slim chance that it would make things worse). And Alison’s advice does seem to suggest that that’s a conversation worth having – it’s just definitely not one I should have right now.

        1. allathian*

          Ah, there’s the rub. You care about Jane and wish she’d be a better friend to you.

          The problem here is that you can’t change Jane’s behavior, she has to want to change it. She can’t do that unless she knows how you feel. And even if she does know how you feel, she may not be invested enough in your friendship to want to change anything. But clearly the current situation is intolerable for you in the long term, so talk to Jane at some point in the future when you either know you didn’t get the job, or you’ve been working for a while at your new job. You also need to do it when Jane’s in her clingy phase, otherwise she’s unlikely to listen.

          How close friends are you with Carol? Do you know if she has similar issues with Jane?

          Friendships often wax and wane, even if Jane’s an extreme example.

        2. Despachito*

          I know this is tempting (if I tell her exactly what bothers me she will change), but to be honest – I do not think this will work in Jane’s case. And generally, in relationships of this kind.

          After what you said about Jane, she does not seem to be a person capable of self-reflection. She will not (try to) change, she will resent you for that. It is not worth the hassle.

  17. ThatOtherClare*

    The following is a joke suggestion for comedic purposes only:

    If she’s always swinging between clingy and cold, like a person with a fearful-avoidant attachment style, you could always try calling and texting her a bunch and inviting her to lots of coffee dates and catch-ups to make her go away ;) Go full Labrador and tread on her feet as you go in for a big hug.

    (For clarity, I don’t recommend any of the above actions.)

  18. Jellyfish Catcher*

    I’m going out on a limb here: the origin of this “work dilemma” is the LW having, and remaining in, a personal , toxic friendship with Jane. That was apparently more or less ok – until it overlapped with work,
    But the main issue here is not work, but why you remain in this relationship.

    I’m saying this with personal experience – some therapy would be very helpful.
    It’s time to understand why you remain a friend with Jane, why you tolerate her treatment of you and how to best move forward in a more healthy way.
    It will also help you in more ways, including in work. Good luck – have the courage to explore this.

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