My Colleague Complains to Me, But Is Cheerful to Everyone Else

The Japan News

Dear Troubleshooter:

I’m a part-time worker in my 50s. I’m writing to ask for advice about my colleague in her 60s.

She recently started working with me and we quickly became close. At first, I liked her cheerful and bright personality, but I soon started having misgivings about her.

When I taught her how to do a relatively simple job, she got angry, saying, “Why should I be learning from you if we’re in the same position?” And when she was assigned an easy task, she cried, saying, “They only let me do this kind of work.”

I became mentally exhausted and requested a transfer to a different department. However, she was transferred together with me for some reason and continues to complain.

I’ve been trying to ignore her to some extent lately. But I’m mentally drained and exhausted every day as I’m busy with work.

She is cheerful to everyone besides me, so people think she is a nice and lively person. How should I deal with her?

I, Miyagi Prefecture

Dear Ms. I:

When I read your letter, I had deep empathy with you, thinking, “Yes, I know someone just like that!”

At first, such people are friendly and behave in a commendable manner. But as they get used to the environment, they gradually reveal their true nature.

They also change their attitude depending on the personalities of people around them and choose those who would not put up much resistance even when revealing their bad side.

The best way to deal with such people is to not associate with them. They will only make you feel bad and will not be good for you.

However, as long as you work with her at the same office, it would be difficult to completely sever a relationship with her.

The next best measure I can recommend is to keep your distance from her.

This means greeting her, keeping conversations work-related and keeping your answers short if she talks to you about trivial matters. However, do not make further contact and avoid having coffee or tea with her as much as possible.

As you distance yourself from her in this way, she may lose interest in you and try to find someone else.

I don’t know the details of your company’s situation, but if they took your request for a transfer to a different department before, why don’t you explain the situation more specifically and ask for another transfer?

I believe you should change your department from the standpoint of your mental health.

Eiko Yamaguchi, writer