Ask Ellie: Good Listener

Jul 20, 2021 at 08:00 am by Ask Ellie

Dear Ellie: 

I have a dear friend of 10 years who is imploding. The drama in her life is somewhat self-made, problems with her children in their late 20s, her man who does not want to make a commitment, and her job where she does very well for herself. She is ready to quit and throw everything away at work because she feels disrespected. She has so many personal issues, the work she does for her employer has seriously suffered. Rather than see the issues this is making at her job, she is blaming and crying all the time. I want to tell her this is really her fault, but when I try to be a good listener, she throws adult tantrums about being disrespected in the work place. I have to get her to relax before she burns all her healthy bridges.

- Personal and Work drama do not mix

Dear Personal and Work drama do not mix:

You are a good friend to write and be a good listener, although it sounds like it has been tough. It sounds like your friend is bringing her personal drama to work and thereby making mistakes and her work is suffering. Many people experience difficulty with work and home life separation. Usually this does get better the older we get as we become more settled and mature. However, for many it does not get better. May I suggest that you meet with your friend after and out of the work place. Take her for coffee or meet her at her home. Explain to her that you value her friendship, that you love her, and this is why you are meeting with her. Explain to her that you feel she is making errors at work because of personal issues. Try to get across to her that she needs to find balance between work and home, so she does not get canned or burn bridges. If she is truly good at her job and can find this balance, she is an asset to her employer. However, if she cannot, then she is a liability and may need to move on. Moreover, if she does not recognize the issue, she will only continue to struggle in her current or future employment.

Lastly, we all talk about our lives in the workplace, some a little, some too much. We want people to like us and become closer. However, the ones who overshare only hurt themselves in the long run. No one needs to have a play by play of your personal life, no one is truly that interested, and too chatties are often narcissists, not friends. Be good to your friend and listen to her, she may divulge more than you feel you already know. She may need counseling or other professional help, and she may need additional courage to face those issues. Be her friend, be her rock and confidant, you obvious care for her greatly. Keep the lines of communication open, just out of the workplace.


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