I need some advice on managing a friend.
This woman and I started in the company many years ago. We worked together on the same team for over 10 years. Worked the same projects, went on business trips all over the world and developed a friendship.
We were also briefly romantically involved as well. That was over a decade ago, it was short lived and we both moved on, married and have families.
My career has advanced faster than hers. I was promoted out of the branch we were in and into a different division 7 years ago, I was promoted again 4 years ago. During this time we drifted apart but were still pretty close, doing the occasional lunch or happy hour. We would bounce ideas off each other etc. A few months ago she did a lateral transfer into my division. She is now a direct report to me.
I was worried at first about managing a friend, but it seemed to be going ok for a while. A couple months ago she told me I was "her best friend in the world". I wouldn't go that far, and to be honest I would call her a close "work friend". As far as others in the division go, there was some talk about possible favoritism, but those other employees concerned said so to my face, not behind my back and after talking to them, it doesn't seem to be a real concern for them any more.
A few weeks back she made a proposal and I went against her desired course of action. That is when it came tumbling down. From a business point of view I think I am in the right and I chose to go another direction. I guess she feels betrayed (although she won't tell me). She has completely dissolved our friendshp and she is largely refusing to talk to me even about work related topics and does not ansswer the phone or worlk related texts from me.
I have two major concerns: First do I need to just let go of the friendship? I don't want to, being a boss can be lonely, but I am worried this was a bad path to start with. Is it possible to manage a friend, especially one that feels that strongly about it?
Second I am worried she is going to self destruct over this. I do care about her. She is a high performer but the way she is sidelining me at work is not going to work out for her or our division. It can't. She doesn't have to be my friend (although I want her to be), but if she can't come around as an employee she probably needs to transfer for her own good.
Any advice would be appreciated.