Bianca Knows Best … And Helps a Super-Friendly Lady

Dear Bianca,

I’ve worked at the same company with my best friend for two years, but she was fired three months ago after management discovered an oversight on a report. At first, she went into a deep depression and she wouldn’t speak to anyone (including me) for weeks.

But she’s since landed another job, and we’ve begun talking again. She still insists that I never bring up anything related to the company though as she still has hard feelings about her firing, which she feels was unjust.

About a month after my best friend was fired, the company hired a new lady to take her place. Although I harbored a little resentment for the new hire at first, I’ve since formed a pretty tight friendship with her. My best friend hasn’t met the new girl, and I haven’t really mentioned our friendship to her for fear that she’ll be jealous that I befriended her replacement.

I’m hosting a big cocktail party a in a few weeks, and I’d like to invite both of them since they’re two of my closest friends. But I’m afraid that could be a terrible idea. I don’t think the new friend would have a problem, but I know my best friend would be upset to meet the woman who is holding her old job. Should I invite them both and take a chance? Or should I leave the new friend off of the guest list?

— Caught in the Middle

Dear Caught in the Middle,

As the self-professed Queen of Grudge-Holding, I can totally empathize with your friend’s harbored resentment for the company that fired her. Especially if she feels that she was let go unnecessarily. If I were in her shoes, I’d probably hate not only the company that fired me, but I’d hold a grudge against my replacement even if I’d never met the person.

But that doesn’t make it right. It’s great that you were able to move past your friend’s firing to befriend her replacement. That’s very big of you, but I wouldn’t expect your best friend to do the same so quickly.

I’m a big fan of friend loyalty, and I’d advise against inviting the new girl to the cocktail party out of respect for your best friend. If she’d been fired three years ago instead of three months ago, my advice would be quite the opposite. But she’s still dealing with fresh wounds.

If you think your new work friend might find out about the party somehow (like, if you’re worried an invitee might mention it on Facebook), I’d at least let her know why you aren’t inviting her. Tell her that you’d eventually love for the two to meet, but that you’re worried it’s too soon to introduce your best friend following what happened at work.

I bet the new girl will understand. She’d probably rather stay home and avoid a potentially uncomfortable situation anyway.

All that being said, you should tell your best friend that you’ve established a friendship with the new girl at work. Let the idea grow on her before introducing the two though. Maybe they can meet at the next cocktail party.

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