Dear Annie: “Rachel” is one of my closest friends. She’s always been there for me and helped me through rough times. The problem is that in her own life, she is very dramatic and sensitive, and she plays the victim constantly.
For instance, earlier this year, Rachel and two of her friends from college were planning a trip to New York. As the planning progressed, Rachel realized she didn’t have enough money. When she told her friends she was having second thoughts because of finances, they told her they really wanted her to come but understood if she couldn’t. She was angry that they didn’t offer to plan a whole new trip that would have been cheaper. She didn’t tell them she was upset, but she kept saying indirect things, for example, “I’d really like to go.” They eventually offered to spot her money for the airfare and hotel, saying she could just pay them back in chunks over the course of the year.
It’s been six months, and Rachel hasn’t paid any of the money back. One of the friends recently brought it up. Rachel got defensive and said they told her she could pay them back whenever.
Now I’ve been hearing about this nonstop. I finally told her I thought she wasn’t being fair.
She said I was attacking her.
Am I wrong to call her out when I think she’s being unreasonable? – Best Friend Blues
Dear Best Friend: Rachel is playing the role of victim because it’s worked for her so far. You were right to call her out and hold her accountable. You’ll need to keep gently challenging her version of events like that in the future. Brace yourself; she isn’t going to like it, and she’s expert at guilt trips. But if you care about her, it’s actually the kindest thing you can do. Her “poor me” attitude is probably holding her back in a lot of areas in her life.
If she shows no improvement, you might need to distance yourself from Rachel and her toxic patterns. You can’t continue to be an accomplice in this self-victimization.
Dear Annie: I work in the IT department of a large company. I hate our department’s supervisors and leads. They are incompetent and unable to help anyone. I was recently promoted to a management position, and I feel that I am the only one who is able to help out on the floor whenever anyone has a question. I don’t understand how they got their jobs without knowing how to do anything.
With that being said, our management team loves to do management dinners and go out to eat. More recently, the managers decided to push it a step further, and they want to spend a day together over a three-day weekend. I hate going on outings with them because I just feel that everyone is so fake. I could barely manage the dinners, but now they want me to spend a day off with them, too? I don’t want it to seem as if I’m not a team player, but I feel that they are asking too much. Would it be rude to just let them know I don’t want to go? What do I do? – Off the Clock
Dear Off: There’s nothing wrong with not wanting to go out to dinner and hang out on weekends with co-workers. Socializing after hours is not part of the job, and in fact there’s a lot to be said for keeping work life and personal life separate.
The bigger question here is why you stay at this job if you feel the way you do about management. I don’t think you could seem like a team player even if you tried. Perhaps you should use the time you’re saving skipping those company dinners to polish up your resume and find another job.