I’m a guy, and for the past year I’ve had a friendship with a female colleague. This friendship has always been above-board and respectable, I’ve been open with my wife about it, and she’s never been bothered by it. Generally, it involved a lot of friendly chat at work and lots of instant messaging after work about music, TV, and co-worker gossip. I honestly felt more like one of her girlfriends than anything else. Recently, however, my friend was bothered by the attentions of a male friend of mine and blamed me for somehow encouraging him. I didn’t encourage him, but since she was so annoyed at what happened, I pulled out of a work event we’d planned on attending together on short notice. I thought this was a respectful way to handle things, but she then deleted me from all social media platforms and asked that I not contact her outside of work again. I was shocked, but I agreed.
Now at work she acts like her old self around me—always joking, occasionally flirtatious, clearly treating me with more trust and familiarity than the average co-worker. And to other colleagues, I bet it seems no different at all. Yet, whereas we used to chat up a storm after dinner, now I go home to radio silence. I’m finding it hard to understand what’s going on. Particularly as we are still our old selves at work, I can’t fathom how she can go home and not want to continue the fun we’ve had during the day like we used to. Is she the world’s best actress? Why remain so friendly at work if she doesn’t want to be pals outside of it? Any thoughts?