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Gratitude Discomfort (Title stolen from MrsConn)

OliveOilsMomOliveOilsMom South Jersey member
Eighth Anniversary 5000 Comments 500 Love Its 5 Answers

Dear Prudence,

I’m a relatively high-level manager at work and I’ve started to become friends with the woman who does payroll. We text, have lunch together, and generally spend a few minutes chatting every day. I’d like to become “real” friends outside of work, but I’m nervous because she knows I make about $100K a year more than she does. We’re both single moms with kids around the same age and have a lot in common, but I worry that she’ll judge me for making more money than she does.

Last month she helped me out on a huge project. I’m not in a position to secure a raise for her, so I bought her child a new summer wardrobe. I didn’t tell anyone at work, as I didn’t want to embarrass her, but she helped me so much I wanted to return the favor. If I ask her and her child to accompany me to the zoo or to a movie, is it OK to offer to pick up the tab for all of us? Is that being insulting?

—Unequal Reimbursement

Re: Gratitude Discomfort (Title stolen from MrsConn)

  • CharmedPamCharmedPam Chicagoburbs member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary First Answer
    agreed with @DrillSergeantCat.... was helping her out with a project her job?  If it was outside of her job description a company paid lunch would have been nice, if allowed per the company? 

  • DrillSergeantCatDrillSergeantCat Oklahoma City, OK member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Fourth Anniversary First Answer
    Exactly @CharmedPam! Or you also go to her boss and say, "I want you to put it in her record that she went above and beyond to help me with this project and I would like that reflected when it comes time for her annual review."
  • apollymiapollymi Toronto member
    100 Love Its 10 Comments First Anniversary Name Dropper
    I would find it extremely insulting if somebody who knew how much I made tried to give me charity. Just because I don't make as much as you does not make me any less capable of caring for my child. I think it's kind of rude that the poster would assume I need help. Money has no place in friendship, unless she's specifically asking you for help - focus on the friendship and leave money out of it.
    DrillSergeantCatcharlotte989875OliveOilsMom[Deleted User]
  • agreed with @DrillSergeantCat.... was helping her out with a project her job?  If it was outside of her job description a company paid lunch would have been nice, if allowed per the company? 
    or if company wouldn't comp the lunch, LW could have said "hey thanks for helping me, can I take you for a nice lunch as gratitude?"
    <a href="https://babysizer.com/geeky"><img src="https://babysizer.com/geeky-2018-06-08.jpg" alt="Babysizer Geeky Pregnancy Tracker"></a>
  • LW is way out of line; on the wardrobe purchasing and assuming that the other woman can't or won't be friends given disparaities in income. This is elitism at its worst. She's clearly not bothered by the income discrepancy and it's LW that's making it awkward. 
  • I nearly choked on the "buying a summer wardrobe for coworker's child".  I hope it was a least a gift card and not the actual clothes.  Actual clothes just seems even more "way too personal".

    Depending on the work environment, lunch out to a nice restaurant and/or a nominal gift card (ie $25-$50), and/or some flowers would all have been more appropriate gestures.  I'm a support person myself and have received gifts like that in the past for going "above and beyond" on a project.  I've also socialized outside of work with "higher ups" that make a lot more than me.  Sometimes they'd "pick up a round", but I always expected to pay my own way.

    The LW is just making this too hard.  If she wants to establish more of a friendship outside of work, than treat this coworker like she'd treat any other friend.  I doubt she picks up the check all the time for friends who make less money than her.  That would just be weird and sad.  

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  • kimmiinthemittenkimmiinthemitten Detroit, MI member
    2500 Comments 500 Love Its Third Anniversary 5 Answers
    If payroll friends gets sick of this or leaves her job, H is available all summer. Just saying. 
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