Recently, one of my friends called me to get my advice on a peculiar situation she’s been experiencing. She’s in a relationship with a guy, but developed a strange friendship with another man, much older than her, and married of course. The friendship is a bit special, because she knows him through her job and he’s one of the external partners of her company. She met him a few months ago, when he arrived in his company. “We are often in contact with each other for work since then, and our conversations remain strictly professional all the time. Yet, I know that I can call him whenever I want if I have a problem and he’s never bothered if I call him in the middle of one of his meetings. I need him for my job, he’s a precious help and it’s mutual” she told me. “I really appreciate his company because he’s one of the few men that consider me for my professional skills and my intelligence, not for my body or my youth. I feel motivated in my job because of him, and he’s constantly congratulating me for my work. He boosts my confidence” she added.
This friendship has become a burden for my friend, though. “Because I spent a lot of time with him on the phone, my colleagues are now convinced we’re having an affair, and I hear whispers about he and I all the time. My boss uses me as an intermediary between him and my contact each time he needs something to be done by him. Everyone is constantly asking me questions about him. I can’t join any conversation with my colleagues without being questioned about him anymore. Some of my colleagues have even stopped talking to me, because they think I’m a homewrecker or a slut for flirting with a married man” she said.
I asked her if her professional contact acted the same way with her than with his collaborators in his company. And she said she noticed that everyone (with some exceptions) reckons the same thing about him: he’s motivating and dynamic.”I’ve know for years his secretary, who was an idiot with no opinion. But since he arrived in his company a few month ago, we started having interesting conversations and she seemed now aware of what’s going on in the company. It wasn’t the case before” she explained.
And I asked her if she has fallen in love with him, and she replied no. “I really like him, but I don’t love him. I love my man. It may be love, but it’s not the same kind of love I feel for my man. I love him as a friend” she said. “Yet, I feel happy because of him. He really came into my life when I was feeling down and useless in my job” she said.
Her friendship has however reached another level recently. “Last week, he called me late in the evening while he was in New York. He just forgot about the time zone when he called, that’s why, and he apologized for that. But he asked me to call him when he would get back from the Big Apple, for business of course. I called him, and our conversation remained strictly professional. Yet, just before I hang up, he had those words toward me: I’m delighted to see you tomorrow. We had a meeting the day after” she said. “The D Day, I didn’t know what to expect from him, and I was very nervous to see him again. Our meeting was very strange: he didn’t look at me at all during it, focusing his attention to his collaborator. He was cold, composed and selfless with me. I’ve known him much more outgoing, and I must say I was a little bit hurt by that” she said.
Personally, I think she and him are in the middle of a situation that’s getting a little bit out of their hands, and they try their possible not to fall in love with each other. I told my friend I really can’t tell how things will evolve between them, maybe in a few months, the tension between them would ease, maybe it will grow into something else. I told my friend to try focusing on something else, and to try remain selfless and composed with him. And that she should remain mum about him at work, replying simply to all questions about him by a mere “I don’t know”. People will stop quickly being too curious.
What do you think?