I recently heard about an incident and wanted to get opinions.
Sharon and Katie work at the same (small < 30 people) office. They work on different floors and dont really need to interact much at all. Theyve never been to lunch together, and they dont socialize.
Katie works on the 1st floor, is in her late 20s, and often can be overheard talking about fashion/clothes, hairstyles, and her quest for Mr. Right. Sharon works on the 3rd floor, is in her late 40s, doesnt share much about her personal life, but has varied interests, and likes to chat with a select group of people about common interests. Its necessary to pass Sharons desk on the 3rd floor when getting supplies, coffee, and also when retrieving documents from one of the power printers near the supply cabinet.
Katie works closely with another person who, (for whatever reasons) had a few conflicts with Sharon. Supposedly things were resolved, but (imo) Katie got an earful from the coworker.
Sharon sometimes keeps a candy dish on her desk, and of course people can help themselves. Strangely enough, this is what seemed to start the problem. Katie comes up to the 3rd floor a few times a week sometimes she speaks to Sharon, sometimes not. Sharon speaks to Katie in passing, but thats about it. The way I hear it, about a month ago, Katie came to the 3rd floor accompanied by someone from a branch office. She reached into the candy bowl and said Oh, these look good. Can I take a few? Sharon smiled and said Sure, and hello, by the way. Katie kind of bristled and said Hello, Sharon.
A couple of weeks later, the office Christmas party was held at a nice banquet hall. Dinner, music, entertainment a nice evening. Spouses, dates, clients, and branch employees attended.
During the course of the evening Katie made a production of coming over the table where Sharon was sitting and said Sharon, I just wanted to make a point of saying hello to you. I dont want this to turn into one of those loooooog conversations, but I hope you enjoy the party. Then she walked away. Several people sitting at the table with Sharon gave her a What the heck was that about?
look. Sharon just shrugged and the party continued.
Sharon was offended, but didnt discuss the incident with anyone at the office. Instead, she gave Katie the cold shoulder whenever they passed each other, and, from what I hear, things are still chilly between them (not that its ever been warm). Katie complimented Sharon's outfit a week or so ago, but Sharon mumbled "Thanks" and continued with whatever she was doing.
Sharon was recently talking to the Office Manager about business, and OM slyly brought up Katies name, asking Sharon how she felt about her. Sharon simply said I really dont know her well; our contact is minimal but was careful not to say anything about the party incident or her negative feelings about Katie. (When Sharon relayed the incident to me, she referred to Katie as an airhead.)
Thanks for getting thru all this!! How could this have been handled better?