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Coworker not speaking to me



I have a colleague - I'll call her Sue - who is currently not speaking to me due to something I said to another teacher (I know, sounds like junior high, doesn't it?) I won't go into all the nitty-gritty details but basically what happened was Sue said something negative (and untrue) in a grade level meeting about a good friend of mine's teaching abilities, and I told my friend what she said - not in a gossipy way, but because I'd want to know if someone was saying something like that about me. My friend confronted Sue and told her the remark she made was unprofessional and hurtful. Since then Sue hasn't spoken to me and when she passes me in the hall she is stone-faced and won't even say hello. She can't know for sure that I'm the one who told my friend about her remark, as there were four other people in the room, but obviously she assumes (correctly!) it was me. We've always had a good relationship before now and were friendly. I've been ignoring this situation so far but I'm wondering if I should apologize or just let it play itself out. I don't work directly with this person, but I tend to be a people-pleaser and hate to have anyone mad at me. She also tends to hold grudges a long time. Opinions??? Thanks in advance.


coworker issues

Well, I am not sure why you would tell your friend what was said. If people were talking me I am not sure I would want to be told if there was not really anything I could do about it. Perhaps you should have defended your friend in the meeting instead and said something like, "I know so and so well and while that may appear to be how she teaches that is not the full story." Anyways at this point I do think you were in the wrong for spreading gossip. Thats just my opinion and I am guilty of doing it myself. You could always approach your coworker and say that in retrospect you don't think you handled the situation in the best way and maybe tell her it just bothered you for her to critize your friend. But if you don't think you were in the wrong then don't apologize because then that is fake.


Senior Member
Sounds Gossipy

It sounds gossipy to me. I don't want to know if anyone said anything about me. I have heard rumors, but I don't confront that person. If they're not brave enough to tell me to my face, why would I bother confronting them.
I wouldn't blame Sue. I would probably be mad, too. She probably wasn't expecting what she said to leave the classroom.


Thanks for the honest opinions

You guys are probably right. It was one of those cases where I honestly didn't think before I spoke when I told my friend what "Sue" said. I shouldn't have stuck my nose in! I guess I do need to apologize.


Senior Member
Wait a minute OP!!

I guess I am a bit confused...why would you apologize? Sue made an offensive and hurtful comment about another co worker, to several other co workers! I think adults have talked enough smack in their history on Earth, that when we say something about another person, we need to be prepared to defend it when confronted. Of course you told your friend...thats why you are friends! ;) You just let Sue hold her grudge and walk around like some sort of victim. She should be the one preparing an apology. For your own comfort, I would say hello and keep acting the way you always have and give her opportunities to drop the tude'. If it is too difficult to work under the conditions, you could confront Sue and explain to her how you feel. OP, you did nothing wrong, and I agree with your intentions too, I would want to know who I could trust and who was being unprofessional about me. Unless it is a pinky swear among two best friends, there is no secrets!


Senior Member

I would kill her with kindness. By that I would just be real nice when I see her and then she will have to get over it. I have tried to just ignore people like that and it doesn't work, so I just act even nicer to them. They can't stand it and soon enough they get over their grumpy attitude.

I don't think you really did anything wrong. I would probably have defended my friend in the meeting, but letting her know was not wrong. She is feeling guilty for being negative and taking it out on you. She is the one who should be making nice, but since she can't you can one up her and be the professional!!


Senior Member
It happens

It happens. She'll get over it. I would do the same for my best friends. Maybe it's better to keep our mouths shut....but.....ugh. I would have done the same...She'll get over it. Just keep being kind like the others mentioned.


Senior Member
You do not need to apologize to Sue. She is the one who made a negative comment (whether it be true or not) about another teacher in a meeting. Shame on her!

She is probably ignoring you because she feels embarrassed-which she should. Maybe she will have learned a lesson and watch what she says about other people at school.

I would let it go. She'll get over it and come around. Be the adult in the situation-say "hi" and smile. Eventually when she comes around, maybe you could mention something to her. Otherwise she'll get over it.


Senior Member

Did you handle the situation properly? Probably not. I would probably have defended my friend at the time the remarks were made but I don't think I would have told her. However, I don't think you need to apologize to Sue. She made personal remarks in a public place and she needs to understand that kind of thing can get back to the person. I too think that she's mad because she's embarrassed.

As a pp said, just act natural and friendly and don't give her any reason to think that you are bothered by her attitude.


Senior Member
I agree that you should kill her with kindness.

It is unfortunate that it turned out this way, I think both of you did something a little immature. If she was talking smack and it was not true, I think the best thing to do would have been (like a PP said) to defend your friend and share the truth right there in the meeting. After that, no need to tell anyone. It was pretty stupid of Sue to have said something nasty about your good friend with you in the room- what was she expecting you to do??

I am sorry to say I have been in each of those positions before (yours, Sue's and your friend's). None of those positions feels good. I try so hard to keep my opinions to myself, and keep the gossip rolling off me, but we are all human, and sometimes we do things based on gut.

So I agree, kill her with kindness and it will eventually roll off everyone's back. Hopefully sooner rather than later!


Senior Member
Let me get this straight - she badmouthed a colleague in a grade level meeting and then was upset that the colleague found out about it? Sounds like someone who can't accept the consequences of her own actions. Maybe a previous poster is right - she is embarrassed about being caught. If she isn't, she should be.

If I were the person whose teaching reputation were being badmouthed in the meeting, I would definitely want to know about it. Being personal friends with the person has nothing to do with it.

OP Again

I apologized

I did apologize yesterday and she was nice about it - said she appreciated my honesty and that we should consider this whole thing water under bridge. So I guess all's well that ends well. I really didn't feel that I needed to apologize either but I viewed it sort of as "taking the high road" and just putting an end to the problem. I think that she and I will both be more careful in the future about what we say and who we say it to!


Junior Member

do you feel you did anything wrong? I'm sure she knows that y'all are friends and SHE made the bad choice to say something that she needed to keep to herself. I wouldn't kill her with kindness, I would just go about with my business and ignore her. You don't need someone negative affecting your life negatively!


Senior Member
I agree with the later posters. Why would you feel like you need to apologize? She was the one that was bad mouthing someone. If anyone needs to apologize it is her. If someone had a problem with me I would want to know. Maybe it's just me but I wouldn't have apologized. I guess you are just a nicer person than I am...haha


Senior Member
you did not need to apologize

but I understand how you feel. My question is, did she apologize as well???? She certainly should have. Now you know her true colors.



No, she didn't apologize - at least not to me. I know she did apologize when my friend confronted her about what she said, so that's something. She didn't even say anything to me about how maybe she could have chosen her words better or not made the comment about my friend in front of other teachers - just acted like I was the only one in the wrong and that she was "graciously" accepting my apology. You are right, I do now see her true colors (which I had glimpsed through her interactions with others, but not with me until now) and I'll be extremely careful around her in the future.


Senior Member
This all could have been avoided ...

Since you asked for an opinion, I am going to give you mine. I don't think you needed to tell your friend what was said about her. Why did you do that? What purpose were you serving when you told her? What did you hope for an outcome? I try and think of what I do in motivational contexts ... what am I hoping for when I do this?

I don't think I would avoid you if I was Sue ... I would probably tell you I didn't appreciate your repeating what I said in a confidential team meeting and that perhaps you could consider next time keeping things to yourself.

Time to "eat crow." I would apologize to both Sue and my friend. You were wrong.


Senior Member
You were wrong...

all of us do this at some point, esp. in a school environment, but you were right to give in and apologize. I know that in a team meeting, things are meant to be said in confidence of the "team." My teams have made comments in the past such as, "Well, the 3rd grade teachers really aren't teaching cursive" or "Mrs. So-and-So's students from last year said that she never taught them the fraction unit." I certainly wouldn't expect one of my "TEAM" members to run off and tell the 3rd grade team what was said. It's being disloyal.

What you SHOULD have done what excused yourself from the meeting in the first place, citing that Mrs. X is your old friend, so you really don't want to hear negative comments about her.


Senior Member

I know it's a little late in the game here, but I wanted to respond. I don't think you did a thing wrong. For me, whether or not I would tell the other person would just depend on who Sue was badmouthing. If it was just a colleague that I don't know all that well I might keep it to myself because I would feel it was really not my business. However, I have one friend at school who I am very close to. We're like sisters. There's NO WAY I'd listen to someone badmouth her and not say anything. I just kind of feel like anything that is said about her is automatically my business. LOLActually, I probably would have told Sue off and then went to tell my friend. I know that she would have done the same for me. Others have said you were being disloyal to your team members to run off and tell this other person. I think you would have been disloyal to your friend if you hadn't told her. Anyway, I'm glad you got it sorted out and I think I'd avoid Sue like she has the plague from here on out. Happy Turkey Day!


You did nothing wrong!

I agree with the people who said you did nothing wrong. I certainly would want to know if someone were making hurtful comments about me. She might end up making them to the principal or someone else if no one is willing to nip it in the bud. My principal just thrives on that kind of stuff. I think you are a true friend, and I wouldn't care if that other teacher never spoke to me again. I sure hope you haven't apologized to her because I think you did absolutely nothing wrong. In fact, I would have sent my friend an e-mail and also sent the gossiper a copy. It's always a good idea to document that stuff. If she keeps on talking, you have a documented motive. I know it sounds silly, but you don't know all the stuff that I have seen in my school. I document everything for my own protection.