by ieatbugs » Oct 6, 2012 Hello guys, I'm having a hard time evaluating my friendship with a co-worker and would like some advice. During orientation at my new job I met another woman around my age. She was quite friendly and we quickly became pretty close acquaintances. (I work in an extremely male dominated industry and she was one of only 5 other females in a nearly 150+ people company). After getting to know her I was really impressed by her analytical skills and maturity level. When a position in my department opened that was similar to her current one but a bit more complicated (but paid more) I recommended her for the position. A few months later she was promoted to it and it worked out great. Her director told her to thank me profusely because he never considered her based on her past employment history. She is a perfect fit for the job and is well-liked and respected for her work. Over the months, we were required to work very closely and we forged a much closer relationship; discussing our personal life outside of work frequently and mutual common interests. However, the more I have gotten to know her the more it is becoming apparent that she has a near pathological need to please. This became obvious after I tried to make plans outside of work with her and she opened her schedule and was booked for 3 months in advance. "Yeah, (name of guy she doesn't like) invites me to play basketball every week and won't take no for an answer so I do that. Also, (name of girl she admits to being not so fond of) invited me to another weekly event so my weeks are pretty busy." We scheduled an outing for her earliest availability and things seemed to go smoothly. As she lost weight and ran out of clothing that fit, I offered quite a few pairs of jeans to her to regain some closet space. She has shared with me a great deal of very personal information during this time. She talked about her decision to stop drinking because she can't limit or pace herself. She spoke of her tendency to fall in love and become obsessed with what her therapist says are fantasy relationships. The last time this happened she spent 6 months obsessing until she was able to let go of someone who she readily admits she was never dating. When this guy broke off communication with her, she decided it was due to her weight and has since been obsessively and unhealthily trying to diet ever since. She thinks that she won't be happy until she is skinny and guys find her attractive. I've tried to mentor her somewhat to provide perspective; she says that I have helped her learn that whether other people find her attractive isn't the sole source of happiness and that she needs to learn intrinsic motivation. She has acknowledged that her desperate desire to be liked is unhealthy and due to a lack of self esteem. She also has an incredible fear of confrontation. My issue is that I only ever hear from her when she has a problem. She has never once tried to invite me out or make plans with me with the exception of a mass birthday party invitation. Over the months that I have known her, we only engage outside of work if I initiate it. Which I don't mind doing on occasion, but I feel like I have been pretty kind and generous and would really appreciate it if she even took the time to be like "hey, want to walk with me to the office kitchen and chat while I get a cup of coffee? Especially recently, as I have had a very difficult and painful series of surgeries that has left me at home bedridden for a week at a time after each procedure. I could really use some support/distraction/lunch dates! I can see that she does initiate plans, most recently with a brand new guy she is obsessed with. She tells me she loves him, but that he "doesn't feel the same way", and apparently has said things to her that were so upsetting she needed to leave work early at least once. Sometimes I even wonder if she actually likes me or just is kind to avoid confrontation. Does she only interact with me because I recommended her for the promotion? Clearly she has a lot of issues, but is she so lost in her own world that I just can't reasonable expect her just can't reciprocate? Or is this an indication that our friendship is merely built on her sense of obligation toward me for her promotion? I feel like I end up in this situation a lot. I meet other women and try to be kind to forge a friendship, and we seem to get along, but it never really goes anywhere. It's really hard to make grown up friends as a woman in an industry that is 98% male. Thanks for any input that you all can provide!