I do have a little problem that’s niggling me. So at the start of the year, I very happily got a new job, I had left a workplace that was mentally damaging me every day, it was extremely toxic and I hated it.
So I was overjoyed to have landed an albeit simple job, but with a fantastic, lovely and friendly workforce! At first I was only talking to one girl, she was quite a few years younger than me and she had been working there a couple of years.
Instantly I had a bad feeling about her, but she was being nice, helpful and used to compliment me a lot. I tried to forget the bad feeling I had about her. She loved to bitch and gossip, all the time. About our work colleagues, management, anyone. I was sucked in by her as she was the only friend I’d made at the time. I went along with what she said, even though I felt terrible for it.
There was one girl that she really didn’t like, she called her fat, lazy, said she lived like a tramp and all sorts. It was awful to hear. When she spoke to this girl she would always talk to her in a really condescending and patronising way. She would also complain and moan all the time, about the job, other people, stuff that was happening outside of work.
It was draining me, mentally and emotionally draining me. I had promised myself that this year I was all about being happy and positive. This girl was the opposite of that. It was driving me mad and I had to get away from her.
So I did, I started talking to the rest of the team, they were great and they were not all the horrible nasty things the girl said they were. She also has a knack of being nice to peoples faces that she recently insulted, which is pretty low in my opinion.
I drifted away from her and each day spoke to her less and less. I tried not to scream everytime I saw her being fake and passing off as a nice girl.
But the workplace is only so big, I can’t avoid her all the time. I need to though, it was people like her at my old place that made me very sick and ill with stress and anxiety.
I have a feeling that she talks about me to the few people that she’s friends with there. She has obviously noticed that I’m not talking to her and I won’t have her on any social media. She is obviously going to bitch and gossip about me, it’s what she does and it’s who she sadly is, but I haven’t said a bad word about her to anyone.
I guess what my question boils down to, is have I done anything wrong here? She has a weird knack of making me feel like I have done something wrong, I think she’s trying to change peoples opinions of me, which I’m sure will be difficult as I’m friends with everyone.
What’s the best way of dealing with toxic people, how do I keep her at arms length whilst also working in the same place as her?
Also, it really hurts me to see new staff falling for her fake facade, I want to scream and tell them not to be friends with her. I’m trying not to let it bother me too much but she is one part of this great now job that’s spoiling it.”
First of all, you haven’t done anything wrong; you started a new job and gave someone the benefit of the doubt and made friends with them. There’s no harm in that.
It’s not your fault she has turned out to be not a very nice person; we’ve all been burned by people before and been made to realise that someone isn’t all what they seem.
Your colleagues aren’t blind or stupid, and I’m sure they’re all aware of exactly what she’s like, and it seems like she preys on new members of staff to get them to join her almost toxic-like cult.
You’ve done exactly the right thing by slowly fazing her out and making friends with the nicer, good hearted people at your workplace. I would continue to just be civil with her at work, say good morning, say goodbye, talk to her about any work related things you need to, but decline social invitations, if she asks to go for lunch, say you’re busy; you can be polite and friendly, but make it obvious that you don’t want to instigate a friendship, least of all the toxic one that she is offering.
Don’t worry about the new staff falling for her facade; they will soon realise, just like you did and everyone else did too. You don’t need to concern yourself with what other people get up to; they’re big enough and will be able to look out for themselves. If they want to be friends with her and bitch about all their colleagues, that’s their problem, not yours. You stay friends with the people who treat you well and don’t cause you stress and anxiety.
Don’t let her ruin a job you’re happy and comfortable in; they’re hard to come by, as you know, and you should stick this one out.
If she is making your working life difficult or uncomfortable, talk to your line manager and explain the situation, I’m sure they’re aware of it already, but it would be good to have them in the know, and they can pull her up on anything that goes too far.
If she is outright causing problems for you, make sure to note down the date and time and exactly what happens, just in case you ever need to present proof, as she actually sounds like a bit of a bully.
Try and enjoy your work, and don’t let someone as pathetic as her ruin it for you! You deserve this job, remember that.
All my love BGP xx