How to deal/treat someone

Hi there, if it’s possible, I’d need a little advice on how to better deal with people. Please pardon my spelling/grammar and my awkward expression. ^^"

Recently, my friend and I joined the same company. Before joining the company, we were good friends. Not that close, but not bad. While working together, we got closer. We stick together majority of the times. However, I noticed that she was sticking too closely to me, and even if she is okay with the other colleagues, she feels a little awkward when I am close with them and would try too hard to fit in. I can tell that she feels lost, helpless(?) and of course I tried to help her by being there for her, giving her a push she needs, and including her in conversations, but it feels a little forced.

For work related matter, our job and task are similar as well. She feels that she is not as good as the rest of the colleagues, including me. She keeps thinking that she is ‘dumb’ or ‘not as good as us’ because she cannot do it faster/better than the rest of us. When work is assigned to me, she would want to help me out with it - which I don’t feel I need it as I can handle it. Initially, I was okay accepting her help. However, she would want to be as involved as possible in my work which makes me feel that her kindness came from wanting to prove herself to our boss (since our boss works quite closely to and is ‘evaluating’ us). As her first time working, the current situation might have makes her feel on edge and at the same time, make me feel awkward and loss on how to deal with the situation. There were times that I want to politely ‘reject’ her help, but she really want to help - sometimes it seems desperate - and I don’t have the heart to reject her. In turn, I feel a little at times 委屈(unfairly treated) and lost. Moreover, every once in a while, she will ask me if I’m doing work and what work I’m doing. She is comparing between herself and I, and I don’t like it at all as it makes her feel ‘worthless’ (she mentioned in her IG story - I coincidentally saw while strolling). From what I observed (even though I’m no professional), she feels insecure of herself and will feel anxious at times during specific situations (work and people related, but mostly work related). She also admit to have anxiety (self-diagnose). I believe that her being insecure of her work performance and her feeling that she is with people who are ‘better’ makes her doubt her own abilities.

At times, she will ask me for help and I’d guide her. During these times, she might gets defensive and feels uncomfortable when I point out her mistakes, etc. There are times when I get frustrated too because the things she asked can be found somewhere (e.g., online or in our company resource) and sometimes she ask about something that was taught before.

At times, she will praise me for being ‘smart’ while I feel that the things that she say ‘smart’ is normal for me. Of course, I politely brush it off because I know that is not the case. The feeling she has is close to jealousy but I feel that she know she shouldn’t feel this way.

Originally, we were just acquaintance. She wants to be friends (e.g., having matching items - which I don’t really like - this is recent). The more I get to know her, I feel that we are too different in times of values and attitude towards life/matters and that we cannot be good/close friends. She is not a best friend to me, just a normal friend/acquaintance.

I’d want to help her as much as possible since I treat her as my friend. But, I not sure how to approach this matter. So, I’d like to request for some advice on how to approach this matter.

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Hi @Cole !

Thank you for sharing with us how you feel, it takes a lot of courage to be so authentic with us on this platform and I commend you for that!

I really appreciate you reaching out and sharing your concerns with us. It sounds like you’re managing a complex dynamic with your friend in the workplace, and I can see that you care about her well-being and feelings too. It’s understandable that you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed and are unsure of how to approach the situation - many people would feel the same way too.

In situations like these, open and honest communication can be key. It might be helpful for you to have a candid conversation with your friend, and express your observations and feelings in a gentle and non-judgmental way. You could share that you’ve noticed she seems to be feeling uneasy at work and that you genuinely want to support her. You can also emphasize that your intention is to help create a positive and comfortable environment for both of you.

One of the ways you can have open communication with her is to also discuss your boundaries when it comes to work collaboration. Let her know that while you appreciate her assistance, you want to ensure that the partnership feels balanced and comfortable for both of you.
Also, you might consider setting boundaries regarding work collaboration. You can also encourage her to explore her strengths and capabilities, highlighting the unique skills she brings to the team.

You can also try this conversation tool that can be helpful for you when preparing to speak to your friend.

Another thing is if she’s expressing self-doubt and anxiety, you can recommend seeking professional resources within the company, such as mentorship programs, training sessions, or HR support. This can provide her with additional tools to manage the challenges.

Lastly if the situation persists or becomes more difficult or sensitive to handle, you can consider involving a supervisor or HR professional to mediate the discussion and provide additional support and guidance.

Remember that you are not responsible for her self-esteem, but your empathy and willingness to communicate can contribute positively to the work atmosphere. If you find the situation challenging to navigate on your own, don’t hesitate to involve a senior in your company for extra help.

Let us know what you’ve decided to do and how you’re coping, we’ll hear from you soon!

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