Fight with a friend/co-worker... should I let this go? (longish)

This may be more appropriate for MPSIMS, but since I’m looking for opinions, I’m asking here.

A little backstory, first–
This girl at work about my age, we’ll call her Melissa, has been there about three months. We were fast friends, but I noticed quickly that she’s extremely defensive-- if you have to correct her about anything, even if you’re training her, you have to phrase it VERY delicately and she still might take it as a personal attack. We’ve had several spats about this very thing, as I’m the resident go-to person on what she’s now doing; they’ve been pretty minor up to now, so I usually let them go after awhile (she has never apologized, though I maintain that they were ALL due to her attitude).

Anyway, this morning, I walk in and cheerfully say “Hey, Smell-issa!” My joking way of saying good morning. She doesn’t respond, so after a minute I wander over to where she is and say “Hey, I said hi, what’s up?” And she barks “Yeah, but you called me fucking SMELL-ISSA! You know I don’t fucking like that!” (Actually, she told me some kids used to ill-naturedly call her a meaner version of that in school, and she hated it… however, I have called her that before and since knowing that, with no problems up to now. I guess I assumed she was over her junior high trauma.)

So I’m pretty taken aback, and say “Whoa… nice to see you too, just tryin’ to say hi, guess you’re in a bad mood…” and she starts into some tirade about how she WAS in a good mood until I said that, and why the fuck did I call her that, so I just cut her off-- “Hey, you know what, just shut up. If that’s how you’re gonna greet me, then fuck you.” And I walk away.

I am pretty goddamn offended that she turned a silly little greeting into a fucking attack. I’m trying to say hi and she bites my fucking head off?? I’m pissed. So I don’t say a word to her for a while, and then I notice her quietly crying about it, so I start to feel bad. I feel like I was justified in telling her to fuck off, because her reaction was totally inappopriate, but I figure I can at least say I’m sorry for saying the nickname in the first place, so I do. I say “Hey, I’m sorry I called you that. It won’t happen again.” She doesn’t say anything. Doesn’t even acknowledge that I said a word to her. We haven’t spoken since, and this was at 9 this morning.

I know what she’s going to do; she’s going to wait ‘til tomorrow and then act like it never happened. She’s not going to apologize or even so much as accept MY apology. She’ll just go on as if she never flipped her shit over some trivial bullshit, and I never called her on it. Thing is, I think I’m owed an apology, and I’m not so sure I’m ok with this just being dust in the wind. To me, her reaction was fuckin’ psycho, and I’m not real sure that I want to be friends with someone with such a ridiculously short fuse, especially if they can’t even acknowledge it as a fault. I don’t need that shit.

Now, I’m not totally immature-- if we’re not friends, I’m capable of having a civil working relationship with her, so that’s not an issue. There just won’t be anything extra. I’ll be a co-worker and that’s it. Also, if she apologizes sincerely, I’ll accept. We’ll go back to being friends, but I have irrevocably lost some respect for her, and I can’t help that.

What I’m wondering is, what do you guys think about this? Am I being bratty, or am I right in being seriously offended? How would you react?

You both sound like you’re about 8 years old.
What you said was unprofessional, to say the least, and it’s very possible that she has deep-seated issues that you’ve touched on.
Try to think of what an adult would do/say…

She was immature in her reaction, but you were immature in your greeting.

You’ve apologized, she won’t accept it, let it go, and try to act more professionally in the future.

Let’s see: It was a comment made in poor taste, but there was already precedent. You admitted you were joking, you apologized for hurting her feelings. She’s being a fucking baby about it.
So yes. You are owed an apology.

But you won’t get it. She obviously has some issues with how she relates to people, and it will probably tarnish every interaction she has.

My prediction:
You’re right. She’ll act like it never happened. Until the next time she throws a wobbler, then she’ll bring it up again.

It’s a shame to lose a friend over something as trivial as this, but I don’t think she’d be a very good friend anyway. So it’s no great loss. Sure, professional civility is the way to go, but I wouldn’t recommend trying to be especially friendly with her…or at least, let her make the first move in having a social relationship.

eta: it sounds like she was having a bad day, and your remark, while previously okay, was just thrown at her at the wrong time, and sent her over the edge. You were around, so you caught the blame.
And to those who are saying it wasn’t professional: their relationship is more than just professional. They are–or were, according to the OP, “fast friends.” A little good-natured ribbing between friends in the workplace is not necessarily unprofessional.

I don’t think you’re owed an apology.

It would be gracious of her to give you one, sure, but you’re the one who called her a name and then told her to fuck off. I wouldn’t react favorably to someone calling me stupid names, either. She overreacted, yeah, but that wouldn’t have happened had you not been calling her names in the first place (and I don’t think it’s particularly relevant that you had called her names without consequence in the past).

She should, however, have accepted your apology. Giving you the silent treatment was immature.

I think that the other girl has issues and you’re being a little bratty, although I can understand your reaction.

You’ve both acted brattishly, in all honesty.

Just because she chose to be Miss Drama Queen doesn’t mean that you should (I’m referring to your “fuck you” comment). You can’t control her reactions but you can control your own. The best way to deal with people like that is to remain calm, not to heighten the drama.

I can’t imagine wanting to be friends with someone who’s ego is so fragile that she lashes out at other people all the time, but you’re right that you will need to have a civil working relationship with her because that’s the adult thing to do.

How old is the OP, and what kind of job is this?

She sounds really touchy but you also come off incredibly immature yourself. Were I you and you guys really are friends, I’d just apologize, telling her that I didn’t realize it was such an issue, and move on.

A mature, professional person does not intentionally bait someone they know to be overly sensitive. They avoid those landmines in the workplace. Sorry.

See, we avoid this type of crap at our workplace by being openly hostile to each other.

Hey, Smellisa!
Fuck off!

Sounds like a good day.

I kind of figured the “professional” thing would come up. Honestly, we joke around like little kids all day, so in the context of our relationship, this really was a shock to me. (For example, if we’re discussing whether we liked a movie and we have different opinions, she’ll say “Well, you’re fat,” and I’ll say “You’re ugly,” and we’ll laugh.)

Don’t know if that changes anything, really. I don’t normally throw “fuck” around at co-workers, but I guess she set the tone for that and it just came out. Still probably shouldn’t have taken the bait, considering the location. Maybe I should apologize for saying that at work, but if we’d been anywhere else, I don’t think I’d change it.

Thanks for the responses so far.

I can see where you might have thought the insulting-yet-good-natured greeting would be okay since you said you felt like you had become friends very quickly. She freaked out, which is unprofessional and rude on her part, but you reacted badly to her freak out. We all make mistakes and I certianly understand why you reacted the way you did, but in the work place you really can’t tell people to fuck off. It is generally frowned upon.

At this point I seriously recommend no longer considering her a friend. Think of her as that odd coworker and leave it at that. I personally choose to keep my personal life separate from my work life because of things like this.

No. Making a habit of trading personal insults with a very touchy person? You’re playing with fire, and you know it.

She may have overreacted to the initial name-calling, but the fact that you didn’t immediately apologize for having hurt and offended her, but instead told her to fuck off, is utterly outrageous. And if you did that shit to me in the workplace, and came back sometime later to apologize, I might not be so quick to accept it on the spot, either, as I might need more time to cool off from your gross, unprofessional conduct.

You not only aren’t owed an apology, but it’s up to you to make sure she understands that you truly regret your behavior and that it won’t happen again under any circumstances. Then count yourself lucky she didn’t go to Human Resources and report you.

Based on the OP, I’d guess she’s nine, and so the job must be selling Girl Scout cookies.

nevermore, you called the girl an immature name, and then you told her “shut up” and “fuck you.” I’m not saying she was the poster child for maturity, but IMO there’s no question who was further out of line, and it wasn’t her.

As far as her not acknowledging your apology, I think you’re being over-confident in even assuming she’ll accept your apology, which I note was for the name and not for the “shut up” or the “fuck you”. IMO, you’ll be very lucky if she walks in tomorrow and acts like the whole ugly exchange never happened, since the alternative is that she cuts you dead (ignores you) or confronts you about it (another fight). Or worse, involves your boss or human resources about your unprofessionalism.

Put your relationship with this girl on a purely professional level and keep it there. You don’t know each other well enough for the “mean teasing” you’re doing (“mean teasing” is okay only if both parties understand the boundaries of it); you’re not not communicating well (either of you); and you’re behaving immaturely (both of you). Coworkers only from now on.

I really didn’t, before today, because she’d never been touchy about anything actually personal… just work.

There is a moral to what you’re saying, though, and I think I get it. At any rate, I definitely won’t be comfortable joking around with her in this manner anymore.

I hope you’re able to develop a positive professional working relationship with her, nevermore. This might be the first time you’ve encountered this sort of behaviour in the workplace, but I can guarantee you it won’t be the last, so this will be a great learning experience for you to work out the best way to deal with it. :slight_smile:

I’m a little surprised at the tone of some of your replies… seems like some of you aren’t accustomed to the joking around that goes on between young people these days. That’s about enough of the snide comments about my age and occupation, though, thanks.

Seems like most people agree that I was out of line by saying “shut up” and “fuck you” when she launched into her fuckity-fucks. Fair enough… I do feel bad about saying that at work, regardless of who “started it”. I need to control how I respond when people lash out at me at work. Lesson learned.

I am not an unusually defensive person.

I have a T-shirt that says “Slinky”, in the toy-brand logo. At some point several years ago, I wore this shirt to work and someone joked that it looked like it said “Stinky”. Hahahaha, we all had a good laugh.

Except no one. Would let it. GO. I like that shirt, but everytime I would wear it it was “Hey Stinky!” “How you doin’ Stinky!” One particular day, when I was stressed out about something else entirely, someone came up and said something to the “Hey Stinky” effect, and I had a smiliar reaction that your co-worker had to “Smell-issa”.

Overreacting? Yeah, certainly. She probably had some other stuff going on. I still think it’s rather strange that this:

wasn’t your first response, instead of “Fuck you”.

Track her down, apologize again and don’t call her that anymore.

There is no age at which it is appropriate for professional people in a work environment to call each other names or swear at each other. Both your actions and hers were unprofessional and immature, and it’s really silly to then imply that those of us who think so just don’t get you young people today.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to load the victrola into the autogyro to fly it over to the buggywhip factory.