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Workplace problem - please can anyone help??


Twig55
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Hi.

 

New to this forum, but was on AVEN many moons ago.

 

I have a problem. I have identified as aro for about 6 years and nothing has happened to change that. Yesterday, a colleague, who is also a friend, sent a global 'fuck you' message to the entire company so I called him to check that he was ok (he was working from home). I'm still not clear on the whys and wherefores of that email, but he started gushing about his undying love for me. When I say gushing, I mean he wouldn't stop talking about it even after I gave a firm 'no never' response. He told me things I wish I could erase from my brain and another friend of mine was creeped out by when I described it to her.

 

Now, this person is a friend and if he's having other issues then I acknowledge that he may be using his apparent love for me as a way to vent other emotions. I don't doubt that he does love me, only I think his behaviour was so odd that I can't reconcile it with his normal behaviour. If he is experiencing an emotional break, I don't want to make things worse.

 

At the same time, I am incredibly uncomfortable with the whole situation. I sent him a forum post that explained how it feels to be aro and brushed aside (for all his claims of respecting me, he ignored almost everything I said), which he read and then called me to discuss. I picked up, and ended up hanging up on him when it was clear that he had read the words and then totally forgotten them within about a minute of conversation. Since then, I've had a couple of messages on WhatsApp and one text message, all some variation of 'I love you'.

 

I'm worried about work on Monday because he seems unable to take no as no, regardless of any other problems he's got going on. I'm worried it may escalate to the point of having to speak to HR. I'm also slightly worried he might turn up on my doorstep, he was so out of character.

 

I suppose I'm looking for advice on how to navigate this. Ideally, I would like to pretend it just didn't happen, but I don't think it's fair to completely deny what he feels any more than I think it's fair that he's ignoring me right now. So things can't be the same. I intend to speak to my manager to make her aware so that I can easily start HR proceedings if I feel the need to, but I don't want it to get that far.

 

Does anyone have any insight into how else I can deal with this informally? Or can anyone who is romantic give me some insight into what sort of things are good/bad to do/say in this situation? I just don't know how to handle it.

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Hello. I wish you the best of luck because it really is not a good situation.

I was once informed about sexual harrassment from one colleague to another one and had an insight about the legal discussion within HR/direction. We went through these person's text history and that was a difficult moment for us all. The person harrassed was partially discredited because she used to be friendly with her offender and blocked/ignored him before saying NO WAY and making everything cristal clear. All that I can advise is:

- you write to him clearly that you don't love him and document this (proof).

- you write to him that you want him to stop contacting you, (not necessarily because you don't like him as a friend but) because you take it as harassment. You also document this (proof).

- if necessary you write to him that you will ignore further replies and that this blocking means NO WAY THANKS.

- you make sure that he can still contact you for professional matters but tell him that any other topics will be reported to the management.

- even as it is you can already report the person to the management. Maybe check your company policy about it. Reporting is simply mandatory in some american corporations because people being unconfortable at work is bad (for you and for the business).

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Whoa, how bizarre and upsetting!

 

If he sent a global 'f- you' to the entire company, I would suspect they'll be watching him pretty closely and likely speaking with him as soon as he comes into work again, which I think will help work in your favor.

 

I know you don't want to go to HR, but I would absolutely speak to your manager ASAP. Don't put it off. If he's ignoring your boundaries, your manager needs to help take steps so that you to are separated and someone is keeping an eye on him at the very least. Honestly, if you can contact your manager before Monday or go in early to meet with them about this, that might be best.

 

I would also block him on all social media and whatever else form of contact you have with him. If you can reach out to other friends of his who would be safer interacting with him, I would also do that. They can check in on him and help support him with whatever he's got going on. If he's experiencing some sort of breakdown, that's very sad, and I hope he gets the help he needs, but you don't need to "help" him by putting yourself in unsafe and/or mentally compromising situations around him.

 

I think it might be best for now to treat him as a work colleague and nothing more. Be professional but curt and hold him at a distance if he does approach you. Invoke your manager's name if you need help detangling from interactions, like "[manager] is really on me not to have so much downtime today, so I really need to get to work, so I don't have time to chat" or "I actually need to meet with [manager] right now, excuse me".

 

I'm really sorry you're dealing with this. It does sound pretty scary/uncomfortable. I hope it works out for the best!

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8 hours ago, Ch0c0 said:

The person harrassed was partially discredited because she used to be friendly with her offender and blocked/ignored him before saying NO WAY and making everything cristal clear.

Sad but not surprising. When will people get that the person harrassed is never the guilty one?

 

First, I would say to stop justifying. No is no, he should take that this way. I read that allo sometimes think that if you justify your "no", it means you care so they still have a chance.  I don't know if it's true.

 

 

Then, take distance. Possibly,  tell him how it makes you feel and see if he stops. Maybe he has an emotional break-down, and it's sad, but I'm sure he has other friends who can handle that, or maybe a therapist. You are not responsible for him, and it doesn't justify the way he is treating you. Also, this way he may get better that his behaviour is scary and abusive.

 

Finally, don't handle it alone. Speak about it with other friends if you feel the need to, before reporting the behaviour if that doesn't stop. Your safety is essential.

 

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Hi @Ch0c0, @pressAtoQUEER and @nonmerci.

 

Thank you very much for your responses. I took some time to digest your advice and have taken action to terminate my relationship with my friend, though it makes me sad. I believe it is the best thing to do, all things considered, especially as I agree that my attempt to salvage our friendship makes it seem to him like there is a chance. I have an apology from him and an agreement to keep his distance in writing. 

 

I will still report everything to my manager for the record, but hopefully this will be the end of it.

 

Thank you for giving me the confidence to get to this point. I think I will be able to handle this now that I have taken this step.

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That's good to hear Twig55! I hope this is the end of it.

 

It's definitely okay to be sad over this, as well. He was a friend before this, and friend heartbreak is as real and valid as any other heartbreak from any other relationship that ends. It can hurt to cut off a relationship even if you weren't that close because it changes the possibility of getting close. Give yourself some time to feel bad and grieve about what happened.

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The person sent a global "fuck you" but DIDN'T QUIT? I kind of assume that they will either quit, or be fired for inappropriate emails soon... nothing in relation to you, but I would think that a global fuck you would be grounds for firing anywhere...

As for the protestations of love... No means no. You don't need to have a reason to say no. You don't need to explain yourself. You don't need to convince them. If you say "no" and they don't back off immediately... you did the right thing. As PressA said, it's ok to be sad about this. 

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