My Promotion Ended Our Friendship

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They collaborated as equals. Until one climbed the organizational ladder and into a hierarchy.


Episode 9 of How’s Work? with Esther Perel catches up with two community organizers who were best friends when they joined the job together and have since given into competition, jealousy and shame. A promotion for one has only advanced the other’s sense of betrayal. How can they continue to work together and maintain a friendship with such a blow to their trust?
In My Promotion Ended Our Friendship, Esther listens as much to what is, and isn’t, said as to the tonal hints of suppressed anger in how it’s said.  


What to listen for in this episode of How’s Work? with Esther Perel:

  • When trust erodes, its replacements can encompass doubt, fear, self-consciousness, shame and confusion.
  • Listening to someone’s tell-tale affect can reveal more authentic emotions (e.g., humiliation, self-doubt, jealousy) than listening to someone’s curated content. 
  • Just because we don’t speak our mind out of fear of hurting someone doesn’t mean that our truth isn’t expressed in other ways—with the unintended consequence of hurting them, nonetheless.
  • Living our relationships with a sense of scarcity means experiencing another person’s win as our loss. 
  • When pressed to prove our friendship and collegiality, we feel obligated to provide evidence. Trust, by contrast, is a leap of faith. 
  • How to pursue our authentic self, autonomy and aspirations without compromising our relationships and sense of loyalty?

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