It occurred to me today that someone might think that I avoid them because I don't like them or am mad at them. Although it is true that when I don't like someone, I do avoid them, but if I am mad at someone, I confront. Unless it is someone I really don't give a damn about. In which cases I don't really get mad at them, I get disgusted at yet another example of said person's flaws.
The real reason I would avoid a person is because I think they don't want ME around for some reason or another and am trying to respect their space, and protect myself from further feelings of rejection, disappointment, and the like. There is honestly nothing worse than knowing that someone I care about is miserable because I'm in their life.
I have a colleague who I consider myself somewhat close to, even though I am probably nothing but a co-worker to her. In fact, she probably finds me incredibly irritating because all I do is complain about my job. She is the best listener in the world, and thanks to some of our talks, I am still employed and have stopped tearing patches of hair out of my head. She makes me feel that someone in this office not only actually gets me, but cares enough to talk to me for a while when I am at the edge of my wit. She has made a real difference in my life. So, I feel a certain closeness, which is probably really more gratitiude than anything else, but still, it's there.
When I care about someone, it's deep. I don't form relationships with people unless I really respect something fundamental about them. Yes, due to professional custom, there are a lot of people who I can have lunch with, talk about movies, wedding planning, family dynamics, and other women-talk, without really forming lasting, deep friendships. Like everyone else, I try to be pleasant and hope that most people might be glad to see me walking into the cafeteria. But there are a few who I actually consider good friends. People who, when I leave this godforsaken place, I will truly miss.
I am currently staying away from someone because I think that our cubicle proximity caused me to overflow into her consciousness a but too much. The last time I saw her outside the office she was snippy. Not directly, but snippy. I know she's under a great deal of stress right now from her boss and has been dealing with some really annoying shit, so it may have nothing to do with me. However, everything by default is always about me until proven otherwise, I can't escape the possibility that I only add to her stress, and serve no positive function in her life whatsoever. Since she has enough shit to deal with right now, I am avoiding her.
I adore her. But I'm staying away. For her sake, and for my own. When she snips at me, it hurts. I never developed that iron skin that yuppies - especially in sales departments - are supposed to have. Even if she's not sick of me... ouch. I'm not mad at her for snapping; I just hope she feels better soon. I miss the laughs we used to have.
Just this week she was forced to switch cubicles by a VP with territory issues, and now we are no longer in close cubicle proximity, which makes it very easy for me to give her all the space she needs without looking like I'm avoiding her. But... I miss her.
Part of me loves being in the middle of all the action - I live in Manhattan for chrissakes - and she is the most popular girl in the school (oops, I mean company), so I loved sitting near her. Now... it's boring over here.
I do have my own inner circle of friends here at the office - the above referenced ones who I will miss when I eventually bust outta here - but it's not the same. We're all band geeks. She's a cheerleader.
God, I'm living the yuppie equivalent of "My So-Called Life."