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Working With a Former Friend

Coworkers That Used to Be Friends


Question: A friend I had a falling out with has been hired by my company. How should I handle this?

Answer:  Life certainly likes to send us a curveball or two, and having an ex-friend show up to work at your company one day is certainly that. If you and your friend had a relatively healthy break up, then acknowledge your former friend without dredging up the past. After all, you two have talked things through and you know you’re not going to be pals. If you ended things as positively as you could, there will not be a need to fear that your former friend will sabotage or bad mouth you. In this case, say hello to your former friend and welcome them to the company. Then, remain cordial. You don’t have to be best buddies once again, but there is no need to be on bad terms, either.

However, if you had falling out and it never got resolved, your friend could still be hurt and angry. In this case, ask your friend to lunch or try to get a few minutes of uninterrupted time when you can talk. This is not the time to make up with your friend, but simply to let them know you don’t want things to get weird at work.

Tell them:

  • "I just wanted to let you know I have no hard feelings about the past and wanted to welcome you to XYZ Company."


  • "I’m sorry about what transpired in the past, but let’s remain professional since we’ll be working together. Feel free to count on me if you need help or have any questions here."


It’s wise to keep some personal distance from your friend and treat them as you would any other coworker that you do not know well. Don't assume the worst about them, but remain professional. Chances are they want to just focus on work as much as you do.

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