Every week, Daniel Mallory Ortberg answers additional questions from readers, just for Slate Plus members.
Q. The elephant in the interview room: I am about to begin the process of interviewing for my dream job. I’ve worked for years to get my foot in the door, and I couldn’t be more excited. But there’s a problem: One of the people interviewing me is close to my boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend, “Lisa.” Three years ago, Lisa, who at the time was also my friend, was dating my current boyfriend, “Aidan.” Then Aidan and I admitted to each other that we were in love and had been for a long time. It was the messiest, most selfish thing either of us has ever done. We don’t sugarcoat it: Our happiness came at a painful cost to Lisa. Lisa is best friends with “Keisha,” who is best friends with “Taylor,” who will be interviewing me. I know that Taylor is aware of who I am. Once, Aidan and I ran into her and Keisha, who loudly pointed us out. I’m worried about how to approach Taylor. Do I acknowledge that we kind of know of each other? I’m really anxious that Taylor hates me because she’s friends with Lisa.
A: I don’t think it will improve your candidacy to bring up the fact that you started dating your boyfriend when he was still seeing the friend of a friend of your interviewer’s. Stick to presenting your qualifications and credentials as professionally as you can, accept the possibility that Taylor may be less inclined to hire you than someone else, and don’t bring up your personal life either before or after the interview.