Dear TBM,

I own my own small business and recently hired a woman on my staff. I later found out that she is the ex-girlfriend of one of my best friends and that they no longer speak. I only met her once, at his birthday dinner. It was in the early stage of their relationship and she and I barely spoke. I hadn’t been in touch with him since. Due to the fact that I was traveling a lot for my business, I wasn’t aware of what happened/transpired between them. When I hired her, I didn’t even recognize who she was. She was actually referred to me by another mutual friend, who also knows my best friend. Neither the mutual friend nor my best friend’s ex said anything about it, even when being referred, during or after the interview. It was never brought to my attention. Maybe they just assumed I knew. Well my best friend came to my office while I was out and found out she worked there, which of course caught him by surprise and then he informed me who she was. He did not seem mad but clearly stated that he wish he had known because him and I have a joint venture project. He said he talked to her a lot about me when they dated so he was certain that she knew who I was. He also said that if I feel that she’s an asset to my company then don’t sweat it. I feel funny about the whole situation. What do you think I should do?



Hi Casey,

It doesn’t seem as if you did anything out of malice. If you didn’t remember her, you shouldn’t feel guilty about it. You should have one more conversation with your best friend about the situation so that you can be 100% sure that he’s really cool with her working there. I think it would help bring clarity to the situation and ease whatever doubts you’re having.

You should also have a clarity conversation with the ex-girlfriend. I think that when she got interviewed she should have taken the opportunity to have an upfront conversation about it with you and could have put it on the table to clear the air. That would have been the professional way to handle it but she may have opted not to bring it to your attention out of fear of not getting the position.

The bottom line is that if you have a conversation with your best friend and he truly has no problem with her working at your company and you do in fact feel that she is an asset to your business; keep her on your staff.

The most important thing is keeping your friendship intact.

I hope this helps you in terms of how to move forward in this situation.


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