Dear Cubicle Coach:

I'm friends with someone at the office on the same level. I know I'm about to get promoted and that she won't take it well. How should I handle this?

Answer:

It's really her issue to deal with, not yours, but you're smart to be thinking about it. In a perfect world, she'll come to you and say, "Lindsay, I wanted to congratulate you. It's a great job, and you're going to be fabulous in it." Sure. And Dane Cook might win an Oscar. Give her a week or so to come to you. If she doesn't and relations seem strained, take her out for coffee or a drink. Don't be apologetic. None of this "It could have been either one of us; I got lucky" stuff. But, rather, "Look, I know this may be uncomfortable, but I'm hoping it won't affect our friendship, which means a lot to me." You haven't mentioned if you'll be supervising your old friend in your new role. If so, keep it cordial but cool. If she really steps up, you can always get cozier later.

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