Two of my coworker (different department than mine) are getting engaged. I was excited and told my manager the situation. However, my manager was not happy and told me that they can’t work together. It is against the office law. Therefore, she asked our directors on the subject. The directors called their supervisor and asked regarding the situation. They had discussed and state that when the engagement did take place, they will discuss again whether to fire or change the department of one of them. I didn’t intend this to occur.

The problem is they kept blame their supervisor for the problem. I know I should confess but they are the type that are nice but someone with guilt against them, they will blame that individual eternity. I still want them to be on friendly terms with them.

How should I apologize to them without causing huge damage in our relationship?

  • 2
    First you should tell them the truth. It might go against you, but it's unfair for their supervisor to be blame for it. Then, I'm not sure whether those things are legal. You might want to add the country where you are, as it might make significan difference. – clem steredenn Aug 25 '16 at 13:10
  • 5
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's is about interpersonal relationships that aren't specific to the workplace. – Lilienthal Aug 25 '16 at 13:11
  • @Lilienthal Hang on to that "close" for a second. It seems the coworkers' supervisor may be the culprit here. See below. – Xavier J Aug 25 '16 at 13:35
  • 1
    @codenoir Your interpretation may be right but it's still speculation and the main issue here is that the OP is talking about "apologising to friends" who may or may not currently be friends and the impact on the relationship when there is apparently no real work relationship. All that drama is outside the bounds of this site as far as I'm concerned. The more I read this question the more confused I get so perhaps I should have VTC as unclear instead. If OP clarifies the situation and his goal maybe this can be salvaged. – Lilienthal Aug 25 '16 at 13:41
  • 5
    @Lilienthal I disagree on the off topic. I'd say the root issue is how to recover a work relationship after accidentally tattling to management. Edited. – Myles Aug 25 '16 at 14:10

First, to answer your question, just be honest. Apologize and say you didn't realize it was a secret and you mentioned it to your manager.

Second, do not feel guilty. If they are to the point of getting engaged, then the relationship is serious enough that they should have reported it already, particularly if there is an office policy regarding relationships. They cannot expect their marriage to remain a secret; if the managers didn't find out from you, they would have found out from someone else. This is your coworkers' fault, not yours.


This would have been found out eventually anyhow. I'll also add that it is highly unlikely that the supervisor in their department didn't know of their relationship. The other supervisor just didn't go running to the director with it, so maybe it wasn't a problem. These situations are discouraged within a department because people sometimes bring their "home" issues to work with them, and it's hard for two people to cooperate at work if they're arguing at home.

So if their supervisor knew of this rule, knew of the relationship, and didn't enforce the rule, you're not really responsible. I think your action was innocent, and your supervisor's action was out of concern. If your friends didn't ask you to keep it a secret, there's nothing to apologize about. You can't really fix what happens now anyway.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.