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One of my colleagues seems to have an issue with me. We were friends before I joined the company, he even referred me to the position I’m now in. He actually tried to get me on his team when I had difficulties on my previous team. Something changed and I’m not sure what.

This colleague is in the same 5-man scrum team as I. He’s avoiding talking to me and seems to have influenced his group of work friends to exclude me. I’m no longer being invited to the monthly dinners we were going on with most of the developers anymore. He recently moved to a different room so he doesn’t share one with me anymore (we have 2-6 developers in a room).

I asked him what’s wrong. He refuses to tell me. I’ve asked one of his friends whether they’ve been avoiding me. His answer was: “I’m not going to get involved in this.” I take that as a yes. I’ve got no idea what I’ve done.

I’m trying not to be bothered by these actions on a personal level (which isn’t really working, but that’s not the topic of this question). I am worried about the professional aspect of this. The team is suffering from him avoiding me. Communications are poor and he’s not reviewing any of my code.

The goal of my question is to get the team communicating again. I’ve considered asking our team lead for advice, but that seems like such a petty thing to do. What do I have to consider when handling this?

I’m Dutch. Colleague in question is Asian. This is in Netherlands.

  • Has he ignored your emails before? Regarding work? and do you have proof of him not reviewing your code after you've asked – Twyxz May 22 at 13:27
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    @Twyxz We don’t use email a lot at work. But he has ignored my Slack messages. – Cyonis May 22 at 13:31
  • @Twyxz about reviews: we put them on a “ready for review” state, where anyone on the team can pick them up. His name is noticeably missing from work with my name on lately. But this could be brushed off as a coincidence by a bystander. – Cyonis May 22 at 13:35
  • I’ve considered asking our team lead for advice, but that seems like such a petty thing to do. Why? You'd be asking about how it's affecting the work, why is this petty? – BSMP May 23 at 16:45
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Although the last thing you want to do is contact your team lead. It may be that it is exactly what you have to do. You've tried talking to him about it professionally, you've tried asking your team mates and you've tried carrying on as "normal". None of these methods have worked for you as it's effecting your work.

A scrum team needs to communicate. That's the whole point of it is to work together to develop things quicker than using a standard waterfall method. If your team cannot communicate due to this person and you've tried everything in your means to sort it like an adult, then you have to escalate.

Go to your team lead with the evidence this person is ignoring you and reasons as to why you need him to communicate with you. As for the relationship with your colleague, this one you'll have to let go and just hope you can get along on a professional level and just drop the friendship and personal relationship if this person clearly does not want to pursue it.

  • This is exactly right-- the teammate's ability to be upset without engaging on the topic ends as soon as it starts to influence the work. The coworker has a problem and, at this point in time, is the only obstacle to addressing it. – Upper_Case-Stop Harming Monica May 22 at 18:59
  • If you have an agile coach or scrum master, they might serve as a resource to advise you how to try to sort this out. – O. Jones May 25 at 1:24
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I think what you're experiencing is the same thing that happens to a person when they become roommates with a good friend. The friend you thought you got along with so well, you find you just don't relate to as well as you thought.

I've had the same thing happen to me -- I got referred to a company by a friend. I thought we'd enjoy working together, and I realized that at work he's just a different person than I knew outside of work, or when we worked together in a different job.

What it sounds to me is that for whatever reason he's being influenced by his coworkers, who apparently have some kind of issue with you. Maybe he doesn't want to get involved in their dislike or issue with you.

What can you do? You've tried to ask him. I think at this point just drop it with him. For whatever reason, you're not "one of the guys" with the other developers. Maybe it's for professional reasons...maybe it's personal because you don't share common interests with them. Perhaps someone in that group of guys just has a personal issue with you for some stupid reason. Maybe it's just a personality conflict, and your friend values the coworkers he's close to and has worked with over you. What you can do is just do your job. Realize that things will be different between you. If he wishes to pursue a friendship, he will.

  • The OP can't do their job if it is effecting productivity due to this issue. It's also not an excuse to be not reviewing work and ignoring professional messages – Twyxz May 22 at 13:43
  • This answer seems inconsistent with the facts as presented by the OP. – Ernest Friedman-Hill May 22 at 19:43
  • How so? it's a personal relationship causing problems. – Keith May 22 at 19:45
  • @Ramhound "The team is suffering from him avoiding me" – Twyxz May 23 at 6:28

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