By Melissa Hughes
When Shakespeare was writing Macbeth and penned the line “a false face must hide what the false heart doth know,” do you think it was because he was spending his time in the company of gossiping two-faced women? Throughout history and especially today, we are all sometimes forced to put on a happy face when we are in the company of people we find less than pleasurable. Was Shakespeare the first to make a literary reference to the modern day frenemy?
As I have grown up in the office environment, I have had a lot of experience with “false face syndrome” it’s almost amusing watching at a distance seeing two people fake niceness to each other at near sainthood levels of sweetness only to run to their closest girlfriend to gossip about what a bitch the other girl was the second she leaves the room. Can’t we all just get along?
As adults, we are expected to play nice. I believe it’s in the “how to be a grown up” handbook (volume 8, chapter 23.) You don’t have to like everyone you work with, you just need to maintain a level of professionalism. In the office, there are certain undeniable truths that we all must accept.
1. You will work in a cesspool of filtered and refiltered air, you will get sick and the people around you likely won’t wash their hands or cover their mouths when they sneeze or cough.
2. Someone is going to steal your lunch out of the refrigerator. Even if you write your name on it in Sharpie marker 15 times, if it’s delicious looking or smelling, someone will take it.
3. There will be a creepy guy who wears too much cologne and thinks he is God’s gift to women. He will try to be charming but will more than likely just make you feel like a piece of meat.
4. There will be mean girls, lots of them. When people are contained to a small area and they get bored and need something to talk about, don’t be surprised if it is you they discuss. Rule of thumb I have taken, if you are not part of the discussion, you are probably the topic of it.
So how do we survive the office frenemy? My advice is the same for dealing with catty women as it is for a good hand of poker, never let your emotions show and let them think they know the cards you were dealt. When you don’t play into their game, they will likely fold and find someone else to go after. Be the bigger person and don’t get involved.
Melissa Hughes is a 30-year-old single mother of one. Girl Talk started as a telltale horror story of the city’s most epic dating disasters and evolved into a column about love, life experiences and growing up. Melissa has a weekly TV segment on PA Live, WBRE, discussing activities in Weekender and a Girl Talk radio segment every Wednesday on 98.5 KRZ.