Crosing the line between professional and personal relationship is very tricky, as I have found out, AGAIN. I hear about it, I know about it, yet every time it happens to me, I am caught by surprise. I have a coworker who I am very friendly with, and at times we are having conversations that are a lot more personal than discussing the debit side of the balance sheet. At times I vent to her, at times she vents to me. I liked our relationship up until the point when she started feeling entitled to use that personal information when we deal with business. It doesn't help that we have very different attitude towards work - she is very career-oriented, and I am not. She considers it a crime against all female professionals that I actually don't value the opportunities now offered to women. (The whole subject of "opportunities now offered to women" and my appreciation of it deserves a separate post, I think.) On more than one occasion she told me, "Tell your husband that I need you to stay late tonight to finish this." How did my husband figure into this conversation? Because at one point I mentioned that hubby who was at that time on vacation wanted to spend more time with me. (She also somehow got into her head that I have to get his permission to stay late...I don't know how she deduced that one, but whatever, I am a subjugated wife, after all.) Today when she told me that she needs my help in figuring something out, I said that I am unavailable until the next week, since I have a project that needs to be finished by Friday. I said, "If I do both, I would have to sleep here, and I barely see the kids anyway." The reply, "Didn't you just take off four days in a row, and any way you are the breadwinner." And she leaves without giving me an opportunity to say anything back!!! If this isn't passive-aggressive, I don't know what is! (Not to mention that she doesn't get to pro-rate or assign weighted averages to the time I spend with kids.)
I don't appreciate personal information thrown back in my face like this. She is not my boss, and even if she were, she is not entitled to do this. Needless to say, personal conversations on topics other than diet and exercise are no longer happening.
I am sure she is just as annoyed with me right now as I am with her. Again, different work ethics. In her mind, I have to finish whatever she is asking me, and my "whatever" attitude towards that project is getting on her nerves. On the other hand, it's not my fault that she chooses to stay till 9 o'clock to finish this. We all make choices in our professional life. She chooses to be extra-professional, I choose to see my kids more than 15 min/night. If she is bitter that I don't have the same level of commitment, quite frankly it is her problem since management doesn't really have a problem with mine.