Help--interacting with people

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Help--interacting with people

Postby Squirrel Girl » Apr 8, 2008 10:03 am

A little while ago, I posted up about a guy at work, LB, who would never talk to me, except to comment on my appearance. I finally told him he was creepy.

Since then (weeks, month or 2), he hasn’t mentioned my appearance any more. But now he’s going way overboard in his comments to me about anything.

When I came back from my trip to NM, I had a flight from hell. I came back to the office at 7 am to tell my boss that I was going home to bed. He was having a bull session with some others including LB. Most people said things like, “That sux.” “Why’d you even stop in here?” But LB said, “Oh, that’s terrible! That’s just awwwwwwwful!” It was almost in a baby talk tone.

I still try and avoid him. But yesterday, I brought in a rhubarb upside down cake to work, as I often bring in goodies. Just as I get to the door, LB comes out. He holds the door for me, and I say, “Thank you,” in a kind, appreciative tone (courtesy). But! He couldn’t let it go at that. After a moment’s pause, he says, “Oh, that’s a great looking cake! It’s just magnificent! That looks great.” I let the door slam behind me as I went in to drop it off in the pantry.

Then, later in the day I went in the door to our other building, precisely when LB and another guy (very nice) were coming out. We passed. And as he went by he started in about the cake again! I just continued on to my meeting without saying a word. You know, I have a big mouth and have been told I talk too much. But he leaves me speechless.

Other people in the office say things like, “Those were great cookies you brought in.” I respond, “I’m glad you liked them.” You know, normal speech.

This morning, I heard LB say, “Hi Jerry” to someone in the hallway. Why can’t he be polite or friendly to me like that without going on and on and on? It’s like he thinks I’m mad at him and he’s gonna try really, really hard to be extra friendly to me. He doesn’t notice that he’s having the exact opposite effect (if I’m reading his motives right). It's really ingratiating.

(You might remember from other postings I’ve made, that everyone else around here picks on me and is sarcastic, so this guy is really way different).

So, now what do I do? I don’t hate him, I just wish he’d treat me like a normal person (I may be caver weird, but that doesn’t mean I hav to hav someone take spessal cah uv mee so I’ll be awwite.).

A secy suggested I could just sigh with disgust when he goes overboard with me. I considered I could respond, “Of course, I’m the best, you haven’t praised me enough.” (Probably a bad idea because he told me whips excite him and he might find it cool to grovel to me--urk) In a way, I think I ought to say something to him, seriously. But I figure that it’s gonna be an endless series of “talks” with him where I have to keep trying to get him to treat me like a normal co-worker, and each time he does something different to be weird.

Help!
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Re: Help--interacting with people

Postby Scott McCrea » Apr 8, 2008 10:52 am

You had me at rhubarb upside down cake. :drool: :eat: :drool: :nuts:

Be honest and direct. Many guys don't get subtle hints.
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Re: Help--interacting with people

Postby wendy » Apr 8, 2008 10:54 am

maybe he has a crush on you and him being stupid and anoying is cuz you make him nervous. :big grin:
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Re: Help--interacting with people

Postby Phil Winkler » Apr 8, 2008 11:42 am

SG, I suggest you tell him directly his comments to you make you uncomfortable and you want him to stop. Then, notify Personnel and his Supervisor. It is far past time to elevate this to official complaint level. I don't know if you are employed at the government/federal or private level, but in government this would have been squelched ages ago. At least where I worked it would.

If it doesn't feel right, it isn't right. Nail that turkey soon.
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Re: Help--interacting with people

Postby Squirrel Girl » Apr 8, 2008 12:02 pm

Scott McCrea wrote:You had me at rhubarb upside down cake. :drool: :eat: :drool: :nuts:

It was gud, too. Not that I'm so marvelous, but the recipe was a gud-un! Rhubarb just came into season, and it's one of my fav-o-rite ingredients!

I think the guy has an attraction to me, but I don't think he's actually wanting to date me. FYI, he took the job here, leaving our CA headquarters, because he was going through his THIRD divorce. Tells ya somethin', huh? Once I had a party and it turned out to be the same day as our boss did, but mine occurred later in the day. That was back before LB was so weird to me, and he was invited. But he didn't show. I asked him later, and he said he took a nap after the boss's party and slept through mine. If he were really interested in me, he'd have set an alarm!

I agree that subtle doesn't seem to work with this guy. But, in terms of reporting him, all the guys like him. I've never heard anyone, including managment say anything but good things about him. That would make me look bad, I think, and it's not like he's pinching me or something where I really *would* turn him in.

Plus, he's said a variety of the comments in front of others, like the airplane thing in front of the bosses, and by themselves, they don't sound bad. I don't think the bosses would really appreciate the cumulative effect. Plus, I might have to work with him on a project in the future, so I don't want this to escalate too badly.

I guess I'll just have to, next time he does it, if I'm "together" enough to take advantage of the situation, tell him he's got to stop being so superlative with me, and that he needs to treat me like the other co-worker. That he doesn't seem to rave over Dave or Bob, so he shouldn't be doing it with me.
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Re: Help--interacting with people

Postby Phil Winkler » Apr 8, 2008 12:21 pm

Incredible. Now you think it's your fault. :shrug:

That, in itself, should tell you something is wrong. You have no idea what other people are thinking when he talks as he does. It is possible they are asking themselves why you aren't objecting to it.

Good grief. I'm sounding like Dr. Phil! :rofl:
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Re: Help--interacting with people

Postby Squirrel Girl » Apr 8, 2008 12:41 pm

Phil Winkler wrote:Incredible. Now you think it's your fault. :shrug:

That, in itself, should tell you something is wrong. You have no idea what other people are thinking when he talks as he does. It is possible they are asking themselves why you aren't objecting to it.

Good grief. I'm sounding like Dr. Phil! :rofl:

Hah, hah, hah, now I'm always going to call you Dr. Phil! (Actually, someone on my local mtb forum uses Dr. Phil as a moniker).

No, I don't think it's my fault. But I do perceive that others will think I'm complaining excessively. That is an interesting thought, that others might think I ought to have said something (remember I did once when he commented on my leather jacket). I've considered asking a guy in my office what he thinks. He's the guy who was there yesterday when I went though the door at the other building. And he has been right there at "outfit" comments in the past. Once and once only, the nice guy made positive mention (after apologies for not wanting to be out of line) that my toenail polish matched my shirt. I wasn't offended at all, and it was not part of a pattern of annoyance. But if I confide in him, it might put him in an uncomfortable situation since he works with LB all the time.
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Re: Help--interacting with people

Postby hunter » Apr 8, 2008 1:33 pm

SG, just my 0.02:

-Based on you descriptions I think Wendy is correct in her guess.

-Reading your description and feelings about why you don't necessarily want to do anything makes this a tough situation. I think Phil's suggestions are good but if they seem to harsh you could take a middle ground by talking to him and informing your supervisor of the issue and say that you have talked to LB and if nothing else occurs you consider the issue finished. The distinction here is that you are making your discussion a matter of record but are not filing a complaint. Putting things on record is important because down the line if you want to show this has been going on for a long time you have evidence. The same thing can be done at a less official level by using email and saving the messages.

It depends on the organization but if your employer has a Omsbud or conflict resolution person/service you might also discuss the situation with them.

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Re: Help--interacting with people

Postby Squirrel Girl » Apr 8, 2008 2:17 pm

hunter wrote:SG, just my 0.02:

-Based on you descriptions I think Wendy is correct in her guess.

-Reading your description and feelings about why you don't necessarily want to do anything makes this a tough situation. I think Phil's suggestions are good but if they seem to harsh you could take a middle ground by talking to him and informing your supervisor of the issue and say that you have talked to LB and if nothing else occurs you consider the issue finished. The distinction here is that you are making your discussion a matter of record but are not filing a complaint. Putting things on record is important because down the line if you want to show this has been going on for a long time you have evidence. The same thing can be done at a less official level by using email and saving the messages.

It depends on the organization but if your employer has a Omsbud or conflict resolution person/service you might also discuss the situation with them.

James


Yes, I think Wendy is right, also. I'm sure I make him nervous. And I'm not doing anything to cause it. I go to work, I am polite when it's appropriate, and I avoid him the rest of the time.

I don't think we have anything like an ombudsman, but if we did, s/he would be in CA, so that makes things difficult. I have spoken with a few individuals over time, and I could enlist them to verify this problem has been happening for a long time. It's not in email, but I have several that I could count on to prove my point.

One time my boss took me aside and told me that a co-worker complained about me because I was telling a story. I had seen a couple doing something risque on a picnic table while riding my bike home from work. It was something I saw in a public park, so I didn't feel I was too out of line. And some secys were telling other secys and obviously thought it was funny. But one guy didn't like it as I found out later. My boss told me on the sly that someone complained (and who it was), so I've minded my Ps and Qs around him ever since. But it makes me sensitive to getting bosses involved. Maybe too much so.

Anyhoo, that boss was promoted, and I have a new boss. Both of them are sarcastic and say things that are perhaps insulting if you took them that way (which I don't). In fact my former boss (now my boss's boss) has said some really outrageous things to me. But they don't bother me, because he doesn't direct them at me in particular, he just blurts things out because it's his sense of humor. Both boss's tend to think people are all different, and when I've mentioned someone, they just seem to think it's not "me" but the other guy is a little weird, and not to worry about it. There hasn't been this particular type of situation, but I still would rather avoid bosses.
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Re: Help--interacting with people

Postby Phil Winkler » Apr 8, 2008 3:06 pm

SG, it really sounds like Dilbert land there. I'm fairly sure I would have a hard time tolerating a lot of corporate life nowadays.

Also, you have an excellent contemporaneous record here, too. It would hold up in court or during a EOC hearing, I'm quite sure.

I suspect the guy is a bit of a sociopath based on his inappropriate behavior and talk. He simply doesn't understand the effects his words can have. As Wendy says, he may truly like you, but is incapable of expressing that in a normal way. He also likely lacks empathy; another sign of a sociopath.

They're out there.....
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Re: Help--interacting with people

Postby Squirrel Girl » Apr 8, 2008 5:38 pm

Phil Winkler wrote:SG, it really sounds like Dilbert land there. I'm fairly sure I would have a hard time tolerating a lot of corporate life nowadays.

Also, you have an excellent contemporaneous record here, too. It would hold up in court or during a EOC hearing, I'm quite sure.

I suspect the guy is a bit of a sociopath based on his inappropriate behavior and talk. He simply doesn't understand the effects his words can have. As Wendy says, he may truly like you, but is incapable of expressing that in a normal way. He also likely lacks empathy; another sign of a sociopath.

They're out there.....

Yep, Phil, you're right, too. This is a record.

No, he is completely clueless as to how his words come across. Yes, I think he likes me and is incapable of expressing it properly. I think of him as being emotionally like a 15 year old boy. But he's not a 15 year old boy. He's an adult man who is into whips!

I don't think he lacks empathy. He had excessive empathy when I complained of being on an airplane all night long. He just doesn't "get" it. And I'm forced to endure him miscommunicating to me, every time I cross paths with him. I'll try and say something next time he is weird to me. But it's sometimes hard, if I'm not ready with a response to his weirdness and I can't predict what he's gonna say, so I wind up being silent. We'll see. I'll let you know if something of note happens.

Thanks, folks.
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Re: Help--interacting with people

Postby NZcaver » Apr 8, 2008 5:48 pm

Just from this, I wouldn't brand him as a sociopath in the clinical sense quite yet.

To me, his interactions just sound like that of an "awkward" guy. Knowing how some workplaces get, it takes all sorts - even the weird ones. This guy made borderline inappropriate comments in the past, and Barbara to your credit you dealt with it appropriately but subtly. Now he's holding back, but just being a little overly nice in passing to perhaps atone for past indiscretions? You have him pegged for the guy he is, and frankly as long as you continue to work in the same area there will probably be one thing or another which will set him apart in your mind - in a negative way.

Perhaps pick an appropriate time for another quiet chat, and try to set him straight about how you feel. But as you say, he's no doubt blissfully unaware he's irritating you by just being "nice" occasionally when passing. Despite best intentions, some people perpetually have their blinders on and can't begin to imagine how the other feels. Good luck.
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Re: Help--interacting with people

Postby Squirrel Girl » Apr 8, 2008 7:05 pm

NZcaver wrote:But as you say, he's no doubt blissfully unaware he's irritating you by just being "nice" occasionally when passing. Despite best intentions, some people perpetually have their blinders on and can't begin to imagine how the other feels. Good luck.

Thanks.

When I worked in MD, it was with all these uber geeks with MSs and PhDs in computer science. One seemed to dislike me, but it was hard to tell because he was so quiet. I made a special point of saying "Hi Mike" brightly to him when we'd pass in the halls. I figured, he can be a stick in the mud, but that doesn't mean I can't be a nice, friendly person. Too bad for him if he's not that way. However, I did *not* go out of my way to search him out and engage him in conversation. Just a "Hi Mike" and that's it.
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Re: Help--interacting with people

Postby wyandottecaver » Apr 8, 2008 7:26 pm

Hey,

At least your trying to make the situation better in a non-confrontational way, and seeking practical advice.

When comes to understanding women I admitted my failure long ago and just try to keep quiet :)
I'm not scared of the dark, it's the things IN the dark that make me nervous. :)
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Re: Help--interacting with people

Postby Ralph E. Powers » Apr 9, 2008 1:01 pm

wyandottecaver wrote:Hey,

At least your trying to make the situation better in a non-confrontational way, and seeking practical advice.

When comes to understanding women I admitted my failure long ago and just try to keep quiet :)

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