DEAR AMY: I used to be very good friends with a colleague. We regularly socialized outside of work and I was a frequent guest in her home. This all changed, however, when (in my supervisory role) I followed work protocol and notified our HR department that she was pregnant. Even as other colleagues knew she was pregnant, my friend was furious that I informed HR. I don’t think I did anything wrong, but to keep the peace, I apologized to her repeatedly and sincerely. On the surface, she appeared to accept my apology, but her attitude toward our friendship changed overnight. All interactions outside of work came to an abrupt halt. I thought that she needed time to get over what she regarded as a betrayal, but after several months, this is the new norm. She recently gave birth and invited me over to meet her new baby. My husband thinks that this is an opportunity to mend fences and has encouraged me to visit her. Amy, I can’t imagine doing this. I have been persona non grata at her house, and in her life, for several months now. The loss of our friendship has been incredibly painful, but I am slowly coming to terms with it. If I could wave a magic wand and resume our friendship, I would. But because I no longer trust this person with my emotions, keeping my distance seems like the right course of action. Yet I worry that perhaps my husband is right. What do you think I should do?
DEAR UPSET: I don’t know the specific rules of your company, but it seems strange for you to go to HR with the news of a colleague’s pregnancy. HR should be notified, of course, but (because you are her supervisor), you should have directed the co-worker to go to HR herself, promptly, once her pregnancy became common knowledge in the department. If she questioned HR’s need to know, you could have reviewed with her the relevant rules. You did not do any of these things.
You violated your co-worker’s privacy, as well as removing from her the important choice of exercising her own right to handle this according to her own judgment.
You apologized and she accepted your apology. Her baby is now born and she has invited you to her home. Yes, this invitation is her way of trying to normalize what has been a challenge to your friendship. You say that if you could wave a magic wand, you would resume your friendship. Well, she is handing you the wand.
DEAR AMY: My husband and I have been together for 21 years and have successfully blended our four children into a family. Recently we were sent a “Save the Date” for my husband’s niece’s wedding. His children were invited, but mine were not. While we understand the issues of numbers and expenses connected to a wedding, it is still hurtful. We will attend the wedding regardless, but should we say something to my husband’s brother about this? We don’t want to cause problems, but we would like to convey our feelings.
Blended Family in Central NY
DEAR BLENDED FAMILY: You don’t say the ages of these children, or how close “your” children are to the niece who is getting married. If your children don’t really know this niece, that would be a factor.
Depending on these variables, you and/or your husband could tell his brother, “We understand that weddings are expensive, but we have four children. We consider all of our children to be all of our children. We think it would probably be best not to invite any of them, rather than to leave two behind. We completely understand if you can’t stretch the budget to include all of our children. If that is the case, we’re going to come to the wedding on our own.”
Assume that your brother-in-law simply doesn’t understand the awkwardness and hurtfulness of this sort of exclusion for your family.
DEAR AMY: Responding to the letter from “Angry in Sausalito,” whose 92-year-old father insisted on using a ladder, my dad did the same thing — until we took the stepladder away. We simply put it in our car and told him to call us when he needed a light bulb changed or lights put up on the roof. Worked beautifully. Yes, he did pass away, but it was from all his years of smoking, not a head wound.
DEAR LIANE: Great solution. Thank you.