People don’t talk much about friendship breakups so there can be even more “what did I do wrong?” or “what’s wrong with me?” than with romantic breakups.

I’ve lost several dear friends over my 45 years. I think more about each of them than about any ex-boyfriend I thought I was going to marry.

Of the friendships that have ended, I think only one was my (undesired) choice.

It’s sadly similar to when I quiet-quit on my landlord.

The short story: a friend said something that hurt my feelings.

It didn’t feel right to brush it under the rug and be secretly bothered so I brought it up the next time we were together…

I think I thought she’d say, “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you.” (I’d know that was true. And that would be that.)

Instead… “Why can’t I just get a hall pass?” Why can’t you just let this go?”

We went back-and-forth for a while after that night. Only texting and emailing.

I couldn’t imagine a bestie who wouldn’t talk to me the first/only time there was an issue between us. Especially knowing the hoops she’d jump through to make a sputtering romantic relationship work.

Like with my landlord, I threw up flares to my friend. But we weren’t able to talk. Which made the situation worse.

The problem was no longer what she’d first said to hurt my feelings. It was everything that happened after.

The leadership lessons we’re talking about in this new series apply personally, as much as they apply professionally.

Remember the two types of quiet-quitters in the last post (about how to keep your team engaged)?

In and out of the office:

#1 – Those who send up a smoke signal, even if it’s bumbling or unpolished… They want to stay engaged. They want things to get better. They’re asking for help to fix this.

#2 – Those who go straight to silently detaching may want the same. But maybe they think nothing’s going to change so why bother? Or that it’s better not to say anything? Less drama, discomfort, risk that way….

This is the last installment of a three-part series on quiet-quitting. What have you noticed?

>> Thinking back, have you ever reached out (with words, eyes, actions) to a colleague, spouse, friend…? You wanted to make something work? But ultimately had to stop caring?

>> Or, have you ever been so fed up that you just shut down? You couldn’t give your time/energy/heart anymore?

Has it ever been like oil and water? One person takes a step forward; the other takes a step back?

>> Maybe you’ve never quiet-quit (or loudly), but you’ve been on the receiving end when someone else did?

You’re not the only one. Comment below and tell me about it.

Awareness is half the battle.


Sheila Devi is an Executive Life Coach.

She focuses on deadline-driven, high-pressure careers (like law and accounting).

Individuals: Sheila helps private clients get perspective on professional/personal challenges so they have more time to focus on their best work and other priorities, such as family and health.

Firms/Corporations: Sheila teaches EQ (in a way your team has never heard) to help them: navigate working with stressed clients/colleagues, avoid burnout, and rediscover satisfaction and engagement.

Interested in one-on-one coaching or having Sheila connect with you company? –> Simply email

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