Over time I became friends with a colleague who is the assistant of my manager. We are not in the same team but we have to communicate at work. I have noticed that when we are outside of work (ex: eating dinner together etc.) or we are alone, she is nice to me. But when we need to talk at work or in a group, she contradicts me, tries to prove me wrong, and makes personal comments (about weight or age, for example). I think this affects my manager's personal opinions about me.

I tried to talk to her about it, but she denied it. I don't want to be friends with this person anymore because of her behavior, and I don't want to bring this situation up at the workplace because it is personal.

What steps can a person take to shift an unhealthy friendly relationship at work back to a professional relationship?

closed as primarily opinion-based by Joe Strazzere, jcmeloni, gnat, Jim G., IDrinkandIKnowThings May 18 '14 at 14:43

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    This question appears to be off-topic because it is not about navigating the workplace. – Jim G. May 18 '14 at 2:00
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    You say she affects your manager's opinion about you. Since it affects you professionally, the situation is most decidedly not just personal. – rath May 18 '14 at 8:13
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    It's definitely about navigating the workplace for the same reason that seafaring includes navigating around the rocks that could wreck your ship :) – Vietnhi Phuvan May 18 '14 at 12:28
  • How are you having dinner alone with your managers assistant? – user9158 May 21 '14 at 0:49

Your co-worker is crossing your personal boundaries with her behaviors, so you need to work to re-establish those boundaries. Some things to try:

  • Stop spending time with her outside of work. She is behaving in an overly personal way, so you need your relationship to shift to something strictly professional.
  • When she says personal things in a professional environment, be prepared to speak up. Keep it short and to the point: "I would prefer it if you did not make personal comments about me at work."
  • Avoid her as much as possible. She sounds toxic.
  • Don't let her be the determinant of the quality of your relationship with your own manager. Following a negative comment from your co-worker, find a few minutes to speak to your manager about it: "I am concerned Jane's comments might affect the way you view my work. Is there anything I should be concerned about regarding my performance here?"

If I were you I'd make friends with someone who likes me for however I am, and whose thoughts resonates with mine. Just leave this person and talk, work etc with her like you are just doing your job (i.e. be a professional).

These kind of people are like extra baggage that one can definitely do without. And like i said treat her like you are just doing your work (politely and assertively). Hope this helps.

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