Just when I had given up on Chris, she sidled into my office late yesterday afternoon. "Now that it's quiet, do you have time to talk?"
Without going into she said/she said, Chris basically apologized for handling the situation poorly. She said that in thinking of it afterwards, she realized I must've felt blindsided, as if this came out of nowhere. She added that in hindsight, she would've waited until Michelle calmed down to have a meeting, and then advise her not to offer up emotionally-charged accusations, but instead focus on work-related and personal interaction items that could be worked through.
She alluded to the fact that Michelle is a bit immature when it comes to dealing with team situations and team interactions. She believes that comes from the fact that Michelle has self-esteem issues and basically did nothing but data entry for the last eight years (i.e. didn't deal with people, just sat and entered data all day long).
Yes, she's a terrific worker, however not so adept when it comes to dealing with other people's personalities.
Conclusion: Since I am "more mature," I should probably make a move to make things more bearable between us, but if I don't, Chris isn't going to hold it against me. She did add that there could come a day when I would be Michelle's direct supervisor, so it would be in my best interest to develop a more cohesive work environment with her. She added, though, that I could only do what I could do and if Michelle's lack of emotional maturity can't deal with it, there's nothing more to be done.
All in all, I'm glad we had the talk. I admit to feeling a bit of anxiety when Chris sat down to talk to me, however the talk went smoothly and it was clear she didn't blame me for anything that transpired.