Wedding Woes

Tell her point-blank that you think she's being inappropriate and risking her job.

Dear Prudence,

I am a woman in my mid-20s, and I have an older female friend named Alice. We have been good friends for the past few years and have really gotten along. She has been an incredibly great support system for me, especially as I have gone through some very intense hardships over the past few years. I love her like a sister and we always have an amazing time together.

Recently, Alice has developed a crush on her coworker at a law firm. At first, I didn’t think too much about it, but I started to see that it was brought up quite a bit. She began to pursue him. Things began by just going to a park or meeting for lunch. Then she admitted her feelings. Initially, he seemed interested, but soon said he was unavailable and did not want to date. I was there to console Alice through the disappointment and thankfully they were never physically intimate nor did they really flirt. She has continued to work at the same place, but I am becoming concerned. Alice began asking if they could date or what kind of relationship they have and he repeatedly has said some sort of variation of how he is unavailable. He will say he is not wanting to date, or that he is unavailable to even hang out as friends for a while. I see all these as a variation of no, but Alice thinks otherwise. When she speaks about it she says, “we’re not dating yet,” or “it’s just a matter of time.”

Having been on the dating market for a while, I have learned that non-committal communication is a no and to move on, especially if they have already stated that they are not interested in dating. Alice, however, will continue to talk about her coworker as if there is still a chance. She will try to invite him to activities that we have planned together, only to be disheartened and angry when he is unavailable. Recently, we had had plans to go to dinner and Alice invited her coworker to go at the last minute. I was a bit shocked by this and stated I would rather not go if this coworker was coming because I would like to stay out of what was going on between the two of them. Her response was to then say that this opportunity would be a perfect date for her and her coworker. I am becoming concerned that Alice’s behavior is tipping into harassment and I am becoming more uncomfortable as I have been in the same position her coworker is in many times, but with other men. Am I overblowing this? I feel as if I need to say something, but I am not sure what. I have been supportive and will usually say “Oh he sounds unavailable” or “That sounds like a no to me,” but it doesn’t seem to connect.

—Harassing Friend

Re: Tell her point-blank that you think she's being inappropriate and risking her job.

  • Be more direct that she is being inappropriate and needs to move on from this, because she's putting her job and potentially her professional reputation in jeopardy. I think you should also mention that she is making you personally uncomfortable and that this is negatively affecting your friendship with her, which you don't want because you really value this friendship.
  • I know it can be hard to be blunt with friends, but it's time.

    She's sexually harassing this guy and needs to be told that.  Perhaps a way to ease into it is use a hypothetical.  Like, "Friend, how would you feel if a coworker repeatedly asked you out, even though you kept saying no?  If it continued to happen would you go to HR?"  Because that is what you are doing to this guy and you could get into a lot of trouble if he brings it up with management or HR.

    If she still insists on "but maybe someday", go with it.  "Sure.  Maybe.  But he already knows you're interested.  So the ball is in his court now.  Stop bothering him until he's ready.  Because pestering him about it could turn it from a maybe someday to a never."
    Wedding Countdown Ticker
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