Dear Sasha, I just started my first “big girl” job in a new city after finishing my degree and travelling around for a while. I’m really excited about the experience and opportunities that come with this job, but there is just one hitch. One of my co-workers is a girl from university that I couldn’t stand. Oh, but how the feeling was mutual! Her and her friends would snicker and roll their eyes when my girlfriend and I (admittedly, we were turbo-keeners) would present or ask questions in class, at the time I felt like they were being nasty to cement their status as the “cool kids”. My defense at the time was to freeze the meangirling group out by ignoring them, once I semi-intentionally set out to embarrass her and the others by demolishing them in a class debate. Silliness, right? It’s actually embarrassing to remember.
So my question is this: now that we are both adults, how can I show her that I’m more than willing to move past our grievances for the sake of having a positive working relationship? Should I acknowledge our past or just try to make like nothing happened? I can already feel weirdness at work and I would really just prefer to be able to talk like normal human beings. Help!
If Duana is reading this right now I know that she’s obsessed with the fact that your version of mean-girling was beating these girls in a class debate. I don’t even need to ask Du if she’s ever done that before because the answer is most definitely YES. Congratulations to you both for some next level geekdom – I love it! Okay but let’s get back to your present day problem…
A big girl job calls for big girl action and sometimes that means getting serene, sucking your sh-t up, and ultimately doing nothing. The hope here is that the both of you have grown up, acknowledged and moved beyond all the immature sh-t. I think if you bring up your past beef it will just make things more awkward, so I say wipe the slate clean. And the way you show her that you’ve moved beyond all the lame drama is by doing just that, moving on. So when you see her be pleasant, inviting and kind. Don’t over think it; treat her as you would a new colleague without a past.