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Monday, March 4, 2013

I Got Caught Saying Something Bad About Someone - And I Feel Terrible!

I have a coworker that I have an odd relationship with. I wouldn't call her a "frenemy", really - mainly because I don't believe in that term - how can someone be your friend if they treat you like an enemy? Stupid. I call those people at best "acquaintances" and at worst, I don't call them at all.

But back to my coworker. Who is someone I would honestly call more of a friend than anything else, I suppose. She's got a great sense of humor, and she's shown herself to be a caring person, in general. She just has a bad habit that I'm not even sure she realizes she has.

She's nosey.

It's more than your usual curiosity about things, it really is. Even she will admit that she's a bit of a control freak that has to know all the details about everything to the nth degree, but she also doesn't know when to leave well enough alone. There's a big meeting going on with some of the higher ups? She has to know what it's about. She's reading every meeting notice she has proxy to on their calendars, she's asking people on their management team, and she's grilling me about what I think it's all about. Someone leaves the company abruptly? She has to walk cubicle to cubicle getting as many juicy details as she can, while I'm the one saying "Nope. Not my business." Is someone having an issue with their personal life? She wants to know details, details, details. It's not that she's a terribly gossipy sort - she just needs, I mean really needs to know.

And last week, she was on my nerves a bit. She was asking me question after question about things I had done that day (Did you do this? How did you decide to handle that? What are you going to do about that?) I want to stress here that she's not in any way in a supervisory position over me. She just wants to know the details of every little thing. It's a control thing and I recognized it as such long ago. I just smile and reassure her that I've got everything under control and go on about my day.


We have an IM program we use at work, and a coworked IM'd me with "Are you free to talk?" This coworker is definitely a friend, so I responded with "Sure, as long as you don't mind Noseyface hearing." Just in case she wanted to discuss something personal, you understand. She replied that no, this was work-related. She had a spreadsheet with a big problem and needed to brainstorm the best way to reconfigure it.

This is when I suffered a serious attack of stupid. My nosey coworker is an absolute whiz with spreadsheets. She works on them constantly due to her job (and I don't, as much), so I called her over. And too late, I realized that I had the IM conversation still up.

And she definitely saw that I called her something unkind. She even pointed to it and told me she saw it already, even as I frantically tried to hide it.


I finished my conversation with the other coworker, and I sat there a moment, wondering what I should do. I felt awful. I mean, really, really awful. Even if I felt like it was true a bit that day, she's honestly a good person, and it was just plain rotten for her to feel like I probably had just made her feel.

There was nothing for it. I had to apologize. I told her quite sincerely that I felt terrible, that I shouldn't have said it, and that it was unkind and beyond that, it was rude. Just plain rude. I was embarrassed, and I was ashamed, and I told her so. And then I went back to my desk and felt awful for the rest of the day. And just about every day since.

She's been fine about it. I don't doubt for one minute that she's remembering it, and maybe even smarting over it. I know I would be. Maybe she's being so nice about it because she knows I'm feeling like I deserve a payback.

'Cause I do.

I sit here before you, a horrible human being. A horrible, horrible human being.

Have you ever said something unkind about someone, and had it get back to them - directly or indirectly? How did you manage the fallout?

1 comment:

  1. It happens that you made a mistake, but you also did something very rare. You did the right thing about it. I imagine your co-worker realizes that too, even if she's unhappy about the comment. You did good!