Isn’t friendship an odd thing? We pick someone we like, if they like us back, we become friends. We connect on something we mutually like and that’s it…friends. We start hanging out and ‘doing stuff’ together.
I’m someone who takes Friendship very seriously. When I like someone, I am 100% your biggest fan and I’ll think the absolute world of you. I will defend you and look out for you and absolutely adore you. Done.
But I’m also gullible and stupid so I befriend people who are not nice to me. People who are not good for me and hurt me. I’m 43 and still having to learn that not everyone is a friend, JD. Some people will pretend to be your friend just to get something from you. They don’t care about you, they’re just good actors.
We met in her office when I was applying for the Admin Assistant job. I liked her right away. Over the next few days, weeks and months, we connected on so many levels. We have the same off-beat sense of humour, we like the same movies – not only that, we like the same parts in the same movies and recite the same lines. How rare is that, please? We had the same taste in guys (dark hair and dark eyes – YES!), in makeup, jewelry and in food.
Michelle basically chased me – pushing hard to be my friend – talking to me non-stop at work and wanting to talk after work (she’d call for an hour every day after work), pressing me to hang out after work on most days, too “Can we go for drinks?” “I can take you home if you like?” “Do you want to go for dinner?”
…and like a complete d*ckhead, I agreed.
I like being friends with people and was enjoying being friends with Michelle. We are the same age so we were going through similar things in our 40’s and liked a lot the same things. It was perfect.
Maybe that’s the 1st red flag? The perfection.
We almost got along too well – you know?
At the time, I was happily ensconced in our friendship so I ignored A LOT of red flags. Now that we’re not friends anymore – here’s a list of them. God bless hindsight.
Michelle loved blocking people and would do so at the drop of a hat. She was easily insulted (often by nothing at all), not one to discuss what it was or work with a person on it, she’d just block them. Boom. Dead to her.
That was actually one of her favourite sayings, actually “Dead to me”. RED FLAG.
She was incredibly selfish. There was a girl who worked on the floor above us who would come in every day to compliment Michelle and offer to buy her lunch. For all intents and purposes, “Emma” was a really nice person and couldn’t do enough to bless Michelle and look after her. Michelle just took whatever Emma was offering, never said “thank you” and would roll her eyes the moment Emma left, complaining about what an idiot Emma was. Another girl…let’s call her “Natalie” really likes Michelle and at first, Michelle spoke well of Natalie and even referred to her as “like a sister to me”…but the moment Natalie did something that displeased Michelle, she was blocked. Instantly. Then spoken about in disparaging terms “What an idiot” “she’s obsessed with me” “Dead to me” “Can’t stand her”. RED FLAG.
Michelle hadn’t slept in a few nights and commented on this so I guess in many ways, she ‘warned’ me about her state of mind and her being grumpy shouldn’t have been a surprise to me. Something we laughed heartily about the day before happened again so I made eye contact with Michelle, winked and laughed – expecting her to join in again. She frowned at me and gave me a telling off “OMG Janet, you’re so immature. It’s not funny, why don’t you get on with your work”
“But Michelle, yesterday you said…”
She cut me off “Do you have any idea how annoying you are?”
I was shocked by this.
Michelle went on “Your voice is so annoying. You are such a needy, irritating person Janet. I can’t stand having to listen to you” and with that, she put her earphones in.
Oh my word. What was happening? I was really hurt by her behavior. It seemed too harsh a response. Too much. Definitely undeserved, too.
Michelle didn’t appear to have any friends or any positive relationships with her family. When her house was in a fire zone, she asked to move in with Alun and I and she and I had only met the day before. I know if I was in danger, I’d want to be with the people I love. Not some rando from work I only just met. RED FLAG.
Why didn’t you have a friend you could stay with, Michelle?
Why did you move in with someone you barely knew?
Why – during the week (!!!) you lived with me did NO ONE call to see how you were? No worried calls from family or friends “Are you ok?”
So many red flags there, right? Hundreds of them.
I was away from work all week with the flu. That flu felt like I was dying, legit. Michelle rang me every day “I really miss you at work”. I was really touched by her care. When I got back to work, our boss called me into a meeting. Their department had employed “31 more temps than we’re allowed to” so he sadly told me that my 3 month assignment would be ending after only 2. “Ron” was nice about it and I appreciated him letting me know what to expect. I contacted my temping agencies and let them know I was available for work again, sad to leave a job that I was enjoying very much.
(I’m a pretty kick-ass administrator, just saying)
I spoke to Michelle about it and she said she was leaving, too. She actually sent out an email to our boss quitting. Haha. God bless her. She’s an emotional girl (RED FLAG, JD!!!). The boss came out to console her/calm her down/pander to her and they went off and had a long chat. When Michelle came back, she looked a lot happier. Great. Good for you, girl. I asked and Michelle confirmed she was still leaving, though.
I got a new job offer for 2 week’s time and let Ron know. I told Michelle who said “oh me too!” (on the same day? Really? RED FLAG) and we commiserated with each other on how sad we were to leave. Michelle especially went on and on about how we wouldn’t be “work besties” any more. Aww.
It was Thursday of our last week and Michelle called in sick. She really loved the job so this was unusual. I got on with my work; primarily with writing up a ‘how to’ booklet for the person who was going to take my role on permanently (lucky them!) and was working hard to ‘close off’ any open contracts I had and leave on a good note, making my boss proud. With Michelle away, I had to take on her ‘Executive Assistant’ duties, so I took some paperwork into Ron to get him to sign it. He jokingly mentioned how I was ‘abandoning ship’ and that he’d miss working with me.
“I’m not abandoning you” I reminded him “You told me you had to let temps go”
This is where it all starts to get wobbly.
“We did, but things in Government change all the time, Janet – you should know that after 2 months of being here” Ron laughed.
Yeah, he was right…but what exactly did he mean by “things change?”
At the time, I left and went back to my desk, there was a lot to do.
An hour later, it was bugging me so I emailed Ron directly, saying something like “I just want it made plain to you that I am not leaving because I want to, I’m leaving because you spoke to me about having to let me go, Ron…if things have changed as you said earlier and you are able to keep me on board, I’d very much like to stay”
Ron appeared at my desk a few minutes later and motioned me into his office “Come with me, lass”
We sat down and he beamed a happy grin at me “We would love to keep you on board, Janet! I thought you wanted to go!”
I beamed one back. I could stay? BRILLIANT.
“No, I would definitely like to stay – what happens from here?”
Please offer me a permanent contract, Ron – it would make my bloody day.
“What I want to do is extend your temp contract another 4 weeks…and keep extending you until we have the budget to offer you a contract. Would you be up for that?”
OH HELL YES.
(At this point, I was imagining ‘adding to cart’ the things I love to buy, already mentally spending the money I would be earning like a stupid Filipino. God bless me).
“So…you’ll stay?” Ron asked, peering at me closely.
“I’d love to!” I squealed in delight.
“That’s brilliant. Because I offered Michelle a contact a few weeks ago and she accepted, so now you two can keep working together – you guys make a great team”
My mind flashed back over the last few weeks when it was Michelle who talked – almost obsessively – about leaving and how we wouldn’t see each other at work. Even yesterday, she had spoken to me about interviewing for other jobs and wishing me well on my upcoming new temp assignment.
“Michelle…has a contract?” I had to ask again, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.
She’d lied to me this entire time?
“Yes, she accepted a few weeks back”
Tears pricked my eyes, the betrayal was sinking in.
“But she said she was leaving tomorrow – the same as me” I mumbled. Tears were falling now. I felt so hurt. Now, so embarrassed.
Ron frowned and looked concerned “No…she’s definitely staying…what’s upset you?”
The fact that I’ve been continually lied to, Ron. By someone I trusted.
I rang Michelle and pretended I hadn’t spoken to Ron.
“Hey, because tomorrow is our last day” I began “I was thinking of getting some cakes and putting them in the kitchen as a sort of ‘farwell’ to the office – do you want me to get extra and say they’re from both of us?”
This is your chance to tell me the truth, Michelle. Apparently, we’re the best of friends. You can come clean now, it’s okay.
“Leave me out of it” her voice was cold, as if she was speaking to an annoying salesperson.
“But since we’re both leaving…”
“Did you hear me? You don’t listen, do you? Idiot. I said leave me out of it. Don’t add my name to anything. Don’t mention to anyone I’m leaving. I swear to God, if you tell anyone I’m going, I won’t ever speak to you again“
Wait…why this nasty reaction?
“But you’ve made friends here in the office, you don’t want to give them a chance to say goodbye to you? At all?”
“FFS Janet. LISTEN TO ME” Michelle was bordering on hysterical “I said leave me out of it. Do what you want tomorrow, just don’t mention I had anything to do with it”
Hmm. She wasn’t budging and was actually getting angry about this. Her lie was catching her out and instead of just coming clean, she was resorting to being really rude.
“It would be okay if you suddenly got offered a contract, you know” I said quietly.
The line was silent for ages.
“Hello?” I prompted
“What?” aggression from Michelle
“I said…” I took a deep, calming breath “It would be great if you got a contract to stay at the last minute, I’d be so happy for you. If you got to stay, that would be wonderful”
Take the bait, Michelle. I’m opening the door wide open for you to just tell the truth. Walk through the door. I’ve made it as easy as possible for you to tell me about your contract.
“Why would I stay in such a sh*thole? I’m away from work sick today, remember? Don’t call me again”
…and with that, she hung up.
Taking her lead, I blocked her from my phone and from all social media.
I know she would have continued lying to me. As suspected, Michelle was away “sick” on “our” last day that Friday, too. She didn’t come in so she didn’t have to see me and explain why she wasn’t saying goodbye, too.
I’m really hurt by it and I don’t understand why she would do that.
I think I’ve dodged a bullet with a batsh*t crazy woman, though. I have a wonderful circle of caring, trustworthy, reliable, wonderful friends…I don’t need this lunatic in my life, I’m good.
Michelle did go back to work once I’d left, you know. I believe that was her plan all along. Was she just going to keep lying to me and hope I never found out? Diabolical.
Weeks later, I heard that Michelle got fired for allegedly sending inappropriate messages to staff. Hmm.
Definitely dodged a bullet there.
But what gets me is that I miss her. I miss talking on the phone and laughing about the things I thought were only funny to me. Michelle turned out to be as mad as a box of frogs, yes…but she had a great laugh. I miss that. I hear her voice in my head a lot because I got so used to hearing it in person.
I don’t like this. I don’t want to miss someone that was going to just lie to me – about something they didn’t even have to lie about to begin with. I don’t want to miss someone that insulted me and threatened me instead of just telling the truth. I don’t need that in my life.