U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Non-Romantic Relationships
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 1.5 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
Jump to a detailed profile or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Business Search - 14 Million verified businesses
Search for:  near: 
 
Old 08-20-2012, 02:03 PM
 
Location: North Carolina
452 posts, read 596,314 times
Reputation: 459
Default territorial friend/co-worker

I know there are already some threads about this. My question is a little different, as the "threat" is more subjective and non-verbal.

I work in a very small department of a larger company. I am the only female in the department. My department and I have worked together for over 10 years and we are extremely close, professionally and personally. We refer to each other as "family."

Recently, a coworker (also female) from another department has been very present in our lives, personally and professionally. She has been been alienated from her department (her words) and I think she is feeling lonely and a little bit lost. In the beginning, her presence began as simple "hanging out." I have noticed that her behavior is getting more possessive and territorial. If we are walking or sitting together as a group, she will "box me out" so that I have to walk behind everyone else or sit outside the circle. She has become very centered around one particular male in the group, and her behavior is becoming more and more sexual. She has begun wearing skimpy outfits to work and will rub against this co-worker most of the time. She definitely does this more when I am around or approaching. Then she looks right at me, and grins and shrugs her shoulders. It is like high school all over again. What's extra weird is that this other woman and I are both married, and I assure you that I have no sexual interest in any male in this situation.

The whole thing is making me uncomfortable, both at work and in our social lives. I have taken a giant step back in order to distance myself from this strange situation. Aside from it being hard to have work-related meeting and discussions, I miss being able to have a simple conversation with my friends without someone practically fondling another person in the group.

Other people at work have mentioned it to me, including our HR person, who encouraged me to speak up to my colleagues about it. However, my experience with speaking up about this kind of "girl on girl" behavior is that it never ends well. I've dealt with it in romantic relationships, but didn't know that such experiences were possible with platonic friends.

Well, sure enough, I decided to speak to them about it, and their response was "I haven't noticed that." This was over a month ago, and they have made it clear that they don't think it is a problem. I feel so hurt and disrespected, like someone bullied me on the playground and my friends just stood there and did nothing. How do I explain that this woman's catty behavior is hurtful to me? I am ready to quit my job (which I was already considering for change of career reasons) and am devastated that my closest friends are not getting that this is really painful and is a big deal. I know friends come and go, but these are not just casual friends. How can I explain that this is a real problem?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 08-20-2012, 07:12 PM
 
9,712 posts, read 5,893,796 times
Reputation: 9728
Sorry to hear that this womans behaviour is a problem for you....I just can't figure out why?...and I don't think it should be....the way she behaves is HER problem, not yours.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-20-2012, 07:32 PM
 
3,676 posts, read 6,587,186 times
Reputation: 2533
Know what? Just do you job, be polite and friendly to everyone around you and go home at the end of the day.

Great job situations come & go like an accordion being used. Enjoy them when their great and put up with when they're not. Aside from that, you should have followed your own advice and said nothing. Sad but true- guys like babes making fools of themselves for them. Hey, we're pigs. Now you know.

Good luck.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-20-2012, 11:12 PM
 
Location: New York, NY
1,461 posts, read 1,239,268 times
Reputation: 1918
I wouldn't deal with her--that was HR's job. I would move on from her and recognize she is a delusional bottomless pit in need of affirmation. She doesn't respect herself, her marriage.... She's empty and angry and any woman in her area is a threat. That's why her office/division can't be bothered with her. I assume he's open to an affair and if that's what they want to do, let them. As for the climate in the office, touch base with the HR person and put the ball back in their court. Say you feel more comfortable with their office addressing it. I suggest that you tell them she has a history in her office and is continuing to be disruptive in yours now. Document (for yourself) when she comes in and how long and befriend people in her area if possible. You may get the whole story on her without having to say a word about what's going on where you are.

I hate to say this but you will have to get perspective on thinking that the guys in your office are like family. Their reaction is telling you they want their egos stroked more than they want a sister. Detach from them. Try not to be bitter but re adjust your view of them.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-21-2012, 04:42 AM
 
Location: Ostend,Belgium....
8,132 posts, read 3,612,526 times
Reputation: 4295
yes ticatica, that's HR pushing their job off on you! I'd stay out of it and not even discuss it with anyone else anymore. Ignore it and most likely it'll go away, if you don't pay attention to this behavior, it won't last... šPlus it's not aimed at you, she's flirting with someone else, that's up to them to deal with..you say you're family with the folks at this job..hmmm maybe it's just workfamily, not really close as in actual family, more like FB family?
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-21-2012, 10:25 AM
 
679 posts, read 393,814 times
Reputation: 1032
Ok, I see two different components here.

1) The Professional:
Are you a supervisor of this group or in some other position where it's your responsibility to handle any sexual discrimination/hostile workplace situations? Are you responsible for making sure your team isn't harassed, as a supervisor?

If yes, then you may have a professional obligation to document what you've done so far with HR and request instructions on how to proceed. Make sure a 3rd party from HR is involved with any additional reprimands. This way you won't get burned if all of the proper procedures aren't followed.

If no, I wouldn't get involved in it any more than you already are. And I think your initial instinct was right. Because if someone ends up taking disciplinary actions, she and any of the other guys involved are going to blame you. And from what you've said, she sounds like the type who will play victim. She'll probably try to make it look like you were jealous of how "sexy" she looks at work and reported her as retaliation. Someone will be stupid enough to believe her and take offense on her behalf. You'll get at least some people turning on you. That's not fair, but unfortunately, people can be stupid.

Even if the guy she's hitting on or the other guys feel uncomfortable, if you're not a supervisor, you're not obligated to get involved. You can provide support as a friend and suggest wording (if you feel comfortable doing so) for them to use to let her know to back off. You can suggest they go to HR. But I wouldn't get involved any more than that. And only with a co-worker I really trusted.

2) The Personal.
You're understandably hurt because you thought of these guys as close friends. I think Ticatica did a pretty good job summing this up

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ticatica View Post
I hate to say this but you will have to get perspective on thinking that the guys in your office are like family. Their reaction is telling you they want their egos stroked more than they want a sister. Detach from them. Try not to be bitter but re adjust your view of them.
Is it the whole bunch acting this way or just some?

Try to be pre-emptive about the seating and standing and sit next to/stand next to people who won't block you out. If she looks at you when she's rubbing up on the one guy in particular, don't give her the satisfaction of a reaction, look away and speak with someone else.

She's the one who's making a fool of herself by dressing and acting inappropriately. I agree that's probably what happened with her department and will probably eventually happen with your department.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-21-2012, 12:13 PM
 
679 posts, read 393,814 times
Reputation: 1032
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eeyore1 View Post
Aside from it being hard to have work-related meeting and discussions
Is she doing this during official, on the company time/property meetings? If yes, does she or her department have any legitimate reason to be involved?

If she doesn't have any legitimate reason to be involved in on company time/property meetings, then you wouldn't be out of line to point out you're working. If you're the supervisor or running the meeting, you can do this by simply state the meeting is starting. If she tries to hang around after that, then talk to her supervisor and/or HR.

If it's a discussion, you can just directly say, "we're working on X Project now, is there something we can help you with?" This way you're approachable if she has a legitimate question, etc. But setting a boundary if she's just there to flirt, etc. It can work for the meetings too. "We're just about to go into a meeting, is there something we can help you with?"

I'm also trying to clarify which of the 3 issues below you're the most concerned with:

1) male colleagues being harassed/you being made to feel uncomfortable

2) her being unsocial to you

3) the waste of productivity that goes on while she behaves like this.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-21-2012, 12:40 PM
 
8,615 posts, read 2,462,122 times
Reputation: 3372
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eeyore1 View Post
I know there are already some threads about this. My question is a little different, as the "threat" is more subjective and non-verbal.

I work in a very small department of a larger company. I am the only female in the department. My department and I have worked together for over 10 years and we are extremely close, professionally and personally. We refer to each other as "family."

Recently, a coworker (also female) from another department has been very present in our lives, personally and professionally. She has been been alienated from her department (her words) and I think she is feeling lonely and a little bit lost. In the beginning, her presence began as simple "hanging out." I have noticed that her behavior is getting more possessive and territorial. If we are walking or sitting together as a group, she will "box me out" so that I have to walk behind everyone else or sit outside the circle. She has become very centered around one particular male in the group, and her behavior is becoming more and more sexual. She has begun wearing skimpy outfits to work and will rub against this co-worker most of the time. She definitely does this more when I am around or approaching. Then she looks right at me, and grins and shrugs her shoulders. It is like high school all over again. What's extra weird is that this other woman and I are both married, and I assure you that I have no sexual interest in any male in this situation.

The whole thing is making me uncomfortable, both at work and in our social lives. I have taken a giant step back in order to distance myself from this strange situation. Aside from it being hard to have work-related meeting and discussions, I miss being able to have a simple conversation with my friends without someone practically fondling another person in the group.

Other people at work have mentioned it to me, including our HR person, who encouraged me to speak up to my colleagues about it. However, my experience with speaking up about this kind of "girl on girl" behavior is that it never ends well. I've dealt with it in romantic relationships, but didn't know that such experiences were possible with platonic friends.

Well, sure enough, I decided to speak to them about it, and their response was "I haven't noticed that." This was over a month ago, and they have made it clear that they don't think it is a problem. I feel so hurt and disrespected, like someone bullied me on the playground and my friends just stood there and did nothing. How do I explain that this woman's catty behavior is hurtful to me? I am ready to quit my job (which I was already considering for change of career reasons) and am devastated that my closest friends are not getting that this is really painful and is a big deal. I know friends come and go, but these are not just casual friends. How can I explain that this is a real problem?
The HR person is the one that should be speaking to that colleague. It's their job - to make sure nothing inappropriate is happening at work. But if it's nothing concrete, just an attitude, you're probably out of luck.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-21-2012, 01:20 PM
 
Location: in my mind
2,585 posts, read 1,819,319 times
Reputation: 3988
Unless you are in some sort of managerial role in this group and have responsibility over this person or others in the group, I think you are letting your personal issues with this person overly cloud your judgment. You are letting her get to you.

I think what is really bothering you is that you're realizing that the men you work with may not be as great "friends" as you think they are. Their baser instincts are emerging now that there is a woman around who wants to flirt with them. She is competing with you in that regard, but its a battle you shouldn't be fighting in the workplace.

I would advise trying to not let her get to you. In fact, a good strategy would be to be super friendly to her. Remind yourself that it is an office, not the school yard, and try your best to rise above. That is really all you can do.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 08-21-2012, 03:41 PM
 
Location: New York, NY
1,461 posts, read 1,239,268 times
Reputation: 1918
Being super friendly can backfire as some people see kindness for weakness. You don't want to put a bullseye on your back.
Try joining meetup.com to make friends with like minded people outside the office. You'll need to fill the emotional support space they aren't filling anymore.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply
Please update this thread with any new information or opinions. This open thread is still read by thousands of people, so we encourage all additional points of view.

Quick Reply
Message:

Over $79,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Non-Romantic Relationships
Similar Threads

All times are GMT -6.

© 2005-2014, Advameg, Inc.

City-Data.com - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25 - Top