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Resonantscythe's avatar

How do I apologize when I don't know what I did?

Asked by Resonantscythe (2383 points ) October 26th, 2010

I recently lost a friend. The thing is, I’m not too sure why. She’s a co-worker and we were friendly and had chats on random subjects on occasion and would sit and talk at lunch. But starting on Monday she seemed to start to avoid me, and today I tried talking with her and she ignored me. She seemed very mad at me specifically while remaining amicable towards others. She even removed me as a friend from facebook.

I have some theories as to what may be the problem but am very unsure of each.
First She has a boyfriend in the army, and although I have bluntly stated I in no way intend to challenge or upset that, I have also noted I thought of her as attractive. I doubt it because she seemed to take it as a simple compliment(my intent) brush it off comfortably and move on to the next subject.
Second I have a tendency to rush out when work is over because traffic is pretty bad in the afternoon around my area; a ten minute drive in the morning becomes thirty to forty-five minutes around the time we get out. I think that maybe she felt I cut off a conversation with her in favor of rushing out. If I did it was completely unintentional. I doubt this one because I’ve been careful to finish conversations before leaving, and doing my best to remember to say “bye” or wave as I go.
Lastly I fear I may have bugged her too many times and she grew tired of me. I sometimes have difficulty knowing if a person is in the mood to talk. this one I actually don’t have much of a reason to doubt beyond she seemed consistently friendly till now.

I don’t necessarily want to be friends again (nice as it would be) Instead I’d be content with knowing what I did and properly apologizing for it.

Any suggestions?

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24 Answers

faye's avatar

Ask her. Just ask if you accidently insulted her. Simple is usually best.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Ask her, show you think enough of the “friendship” that was to want confirmation of what’s done it in.

iamthemob's avatar

Generally, we have to wonder if we’re overreacting in these situations, but in your case, it’s not paranoia if she removed you from facebook. So ask her what you did. You’ll be able to determine then whether or not it’s something that you actually should apologize for – even if you’re not focused on being friends again by necessity. ;-)

kenmc's avatar

“I’m sorry I did that.”

marinelife's avatar

I think ending the friendship is a good idea. Especially if she has a boyfriend.

I agree with the others: ask her. Start by telling her that you want to apologize for whatever you did to offend her. That you will respect her decision if she wants to end the friendship, but that you just want to know so that you can apologize.

seazen's avatar

Move on.

Only fluther is eternal.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

Ask her.If she can’t or won’t tell you,then give it up.

Jeruba's avatar

“I have a feeling I’ve done something to offend you. I’d just like to know what it was and what I can do to make it right because I had no intention of upsetting you and I’d like to still be friends. Even if that’s not possible, please allow me to apologize so we don’t leave hard feelings between us.”

That’s what I’d say.

If she brushes you off and doesn’t let you speak or won’t answer you, then you know you’ve done all you can. But because you have to work together, it’s best to at least achieve a state of neutrality rather than enmity.

cak's avatar

Jeruba always has the respectful and polite way of handling a situation

iamthemob's avatar

@cak – I know, right?

Jeruba's avatar

You’d do the same for me, right? It’s many times easier to sit here calmly and think of a good approach to someone else’s problem than to stay cool and say the right things when I’m the one under pressure.

cak's avatar

@Jeruba, absolutely.

Resonantscythe's avatar

Thanks Very much! Wish me luck!

cak's avatar

@Resonantscythe – good luck!

Resonantscythe's avatar

Ok, in case anyone wanted to know, she replied and let me know someone told her that I had said inappropriate things about her and That I was Obsessed with her. Now I have to worry if this lie gets to the bosses and I lose my job over it.

Jeruba's avatar

Have you persuaded her that you didn’t and you aren’t? Sustaining a normal casual friendship with her seems like the best way to allay suspicion. In contrast, having her conspicuously avoid you makes you look bad.

faye's avatar

Now that you’ve cleared it up with her, she would vouch for you. Are you’re bosses that into employees’ lives? At the hospital, we were told to deal with interpersonal problems like the professionals we were. Did you make sexual remarks to her or touch her arms,shoulders, etc?

Cruiser's avatar

You know what you did….it’s all laid out there in your OP. Plus you finish with

“Lastly I fear I may have bugged her too many times and she grew tired of me.”

“I don’t necessarily want to be friends again”

Stop using her for your ego trip and get on with your life.

YARNLADY's avatar

Start with the statement “If I have offended you, I apologize. Just let me know what it was and I will never do it again.”

Garebo's avatar

I think you may worry too much about her response to you, then respond to her reaction to you in a predictable manner that may annoy her. I suggest you don’t give a shit, enjoy yourself and be your self.

Resonantscythe's avatar

@Jeruba Well i replied but it was kinda late I don’t know if she’s seen the message yet.

@Cruiser You misunderstand. I fear I may have bugged her too many times because after moving to pa a few years ago and losing pretty much all my friends and making very few here who I barely contact, I just worry about becoming a shut-in. And I don’t necessarily want to be friends again because I wouldn’t want it to be forced and awkward. Ego trip? I barely have self esteem much less ego with the lack of social interaction I have

@Garebo Normally I would just brush it off, but my workplace is a pretty bad rumor mill and a big number of the workers really feed off stuff like that. Up till this I’ve managed to stay away from it.

iamthemob's avatar

@Resonantscythe – thanks for the update. First, I think it’s fine for you to sign off on the friendship. Anyone who would take that statement at face value either (1) was thinking it and looking for confirmation, or (2) is willing to believe the worst without talking to the other person first. Neither bode well for a continued friendship.

However, I do think you have a right to know who said that about you. How you can explore this subtly without appearing like you’re on a witch hunt is up for debate.

cak's avatar

Having worked in the Hell that is HR, @Jeruba has a point. If she completely ignores you, it can raise suspicion; however, I wouldn’t hold my breath on getting a source. There could be more to the story, on her side. Meaning someone she knows might have made her question this friendship. At this point, be yourself, see if she replies and casually back off.

You are in a tough place and office gossip mills can be awful.

Resonantscythe's avatar

Well I’ve been looking for a new job anyway. Maybe I’ll get lucky and can just leave it all behind me and let it go completely.

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