office security guard won’t leave me alone

A reader writes:

I am a young woman who works for a large company where I serve as the office manager for one department. A security guard at my company likes to stop by “while doing his rounds” for no reason other than to chat with me. Normally, I would be fine with that. I like to maintain a friendly demeanor (it’s part of my job) and I don’t mind the occasional chat. However, his visits are, as far as I can tell, completely unnecessary. He’s not supposed to come by to inspect my building until after my working hours are over. Worse of all, his visits are an almost daily occurrence and very disruptive.

I tried telling him that I am busy, I tried ignoring him, I tried wearing headphones. Nothing works. He’s even taken to calling himself my “friend” and has asked me to do things with him outside of work! That is inappropiate to begin with, but I am married and he knows this! It doesn’t matter how many times I politely turn him down because he will just ask again the next day. I feel intimidated because of his position as a security guard (he has access to ALL employee data) and I don’t want to be rude to him or get him fired, but he won’t leave me alone.

Do you have any strategies that might help me? I am rather shy and not very assertive and I am afraid of what might happen next since he is just getting worse. I need to get this guy out of my hair.

There are two possibilities here:

1. This guy is well aware that you’re signaling him to go away, but he doesn’t really care because you haven’t taken a hard-line stance with him yet, and he’s someone who thinks that the door is always open until you slam it loudly in his face. In this case, he doesn’t care about your cues because “hey, she’s still talking to me so how seriously can she mean it?”

2. Alternately, it’s entirely possible that this guy has no idea that he’s coming off as inappropriately persistent. You’ve noted that you like to be friendly and don’t mind the occasional chat at work. It’s possible that he genuinely hasn’t noticed that his visits are unappreciated. Some people without great social skills don’t get that “I’m busy” can be code for “I don’t want to talk to you”; they take it literally, as in “I’m busy right now but would talk to you if I weren’t.”

Either way, the steps to follow are going to be the same. And before I launch into them, I want to note that plenty of people will advocate skipping the first two steps and escalating straight to #3.  And you certainly have that option. In fact, if you’re getting any dangerous vibe from this guy, immediately skip straight to #3 — but I’m not hearing that from you. And I’m a big fan of speaking up in this situation and telling the person directly to leave you alone — although I want to stress that you aren’t obligated to take that option; if you don’t feel comfortable doing that, you can move right to #3 and your manager should take care of this for you.

But assuming you’re not getting alarm bells going off in your gut, and really just want this guy to get a clue and go away without having to involve your respective managers, I would use steps #1 and #2 first because they have the potential to make the whole thing much less unpleasant, and you sound like that would be your preference. So:

1. First, you need to get much more direct, because (it sounds like) you haven’t yet told him directly what you want. Say something that leaves no possible other interpretation. For instance: “I really can’t talk during the day anymore. I need to focus on work, and I can’t have visitors dropping by.” If he lingers anyway, be assertive and repeat yourself: “I’m really serious. I can’t have visitors, and you need to go.” Then you turn away and resume working. If he comes back within the next few days, you remind him so he knows it wasn’t temporary: “Joe, I wasn’t kidding the other day. You need to go.”

2. If you try the above and the visits don’t stop, now you need to escalate and get so direct that it’s probably going to feel rude to you. Repeat your statement one final time, without smiling, without softening it in any way: “You need to stop coming by.”

The whole point here is that now you have to do exactly what guys like this rely on you not to want to do — which is to be so direct that it feels rude. But saying something so direct does not make you a bitch. He is the one who has forced you into this type of statement, by ignoring all your nicer cues.

3. Once that’s been made clear, if the visits continue or if you get any unsettling vibe from him, you need to involve your manager. Explain what’s going on and what you’ve done to handle it. If you feel unsafe, you must mention that as well. You should also share your fears about his access to personnel data. Your manager has a legal obligation to ensure that you don’t feel harassed by this guy, particularly once you’ve clearly told him that his behavior is unwelcome.

Again, you can skip straight to #3. But #1 and #2 have a strong chance of working too.

What advice do other people have?

{ 48 comments… read them below }

  1. Bret Simmons*

    Alison, I just found your blog recently and your stuff is awesome. This is such practical advice. One of my students asked for my advice about unwanted attention on social media and I was so unprepared to give her good advice. I just don’t swim in those waters – I don’t get unwanted attention and I try hard not to give it. But I am not an attractive young woman, and I can’t even begin to imagine how difficult some of these situations must be. Glad folks like you are around to give solid advice. Thanks, Bret

  2. Anonymous*

    AAM, as always your advice is great for most situations. However (and this totally depends on, like you said, the vibe the OP is getting from this guy) I would skip to #2 then #3. I say this having been in the same exact situation; the guy was a security guard, with keys to my office, knowledge about my schedule, etc.

    I told him to back off after repeated rebuffed advances and he still kept coming around to my workplace and talking to me. This might be more forceful than the attention the OP is getting, I know. I gave him one chance and then went to both my manager and HR, specifically because of the position that he held and how his access to certain things scared me.

    Anyways, OP, AAM is right. If you feel like you just can’t stand up for yourself though (I felt awkward, rude and awful about the whole thing), give him a firm push and then get someone else involved.

  3. Anonymous*

    OP here. First of all, thank you so much for the wonderful, thoughtful advice. I do have some recent developments to share. A fellow (older, wiser) female coworker was visiting recently and happened to see what was happening. She pulled me aside and gave me the “be direct” advice. So, the last few times this man has been by, I was very blunt and dare I say, downright rude. I told him I don’t EVER have time to chat with him and that I need to focus on my work. I made it very clear that I do not want to see him appear in my office. Not at all. He keeps coming by and has now taken to getting right into my face, less than a foot from me, and will only leave once I raise my voice to the point where my colleagues can hear me. I didn’t get the creepy vibe from him before but I do now. I plan to speak with my manager tomorrow.

    1. Tom Considine, CIPP*

      Sorry for your situation; it’s never a good thing to have a harasser in workplace.

      My first question is:
      What does your organizations policy on harassment in the workplace state? They should have written policies/guidelines on the escalation process when staff feel harassed (physically, sexually or emotionally). Check your employee handbook or speak with your HR for a copy of the policy. You should have been trained on this when you were hired and annual training afterwards. I just have a hard time believing a company that has a need for security guards wouldn’t have a written program in place. If they don’t have one at all, they have serious issues coming their way.

      Your comment “he has access to ALL employee data” scares the hell out of me!
      Why does a security guard need full access to all spaces that contain sensitive materials?

      There are two reasons to have a security guard;
      1. Deterrence by presence- against employees and outsiders from breaking company policy or the law
      2. Report- to sound the alarm to proper authorities in the event his presence did not deter an improper or illegal act from taking place.

      I don’t understand the need to give a security guard full access to spaces containing sensitive information. If there is a need to do so then any sensitive information should be kept in locked file cabinets that he has no access too. Once again I refer back to the 2 reasons of having a security guard.

      I can’t tell you how many cases of identity theft I’ve investigated over the years caused by cleaning crews and security guards with access to sensitive information.
      Sounds to me your organization has serious security program and employee training issues that need to be addressed quickly!

      Good luck!


      1. Anonymous*

        Stumbled across this in search of another issue, but being in the Security Industry I felt Tom’s remark merited a reply:

        For starters, there are plenty of reasons why a Security Officer would have access to areas with sensitive information. Just for starters, Fire Safety often requires that someone have access to all areas of a site at all times. Most companies are more than willing to give a Security Guard a key to the records room if that means protecting said room. Would you rather risk someone snooping in your files or losing all of them in a fire? The one risk may affect some people, the other can bring down a company for good. (For the record, I’ve never worked for a company that required the Security staff to have access to actual files. Rooms that contain files/servers? Sure. But my company and every other one I know of would strongly encourage the client to lock cabinets/encrypt computers as necessary to secure files beyond just locking a door. Heck, my company requires perssonel files to be locked in a cabinet where NOBODY but me has a key.)

        To be honest, I’m strongly inclined to believe the OP may be misguided on the fact of the Officer having access to actual personnel files, unless he’s in house and works directly for her company. Even then it would be EXTREMELY rare, not to mention irresponsible on the company’s part.

        Second, there are plenty of other reasons a company may have private security on site. Deterrence and reporting are big ones, to be sure, but there is a wide array of reasons companies like mine are hired, from the fact that having security lowers insurance rates to real, honest to goodness armed protection.

        The problem is, most of the people who control budgets and choose which contract security company to hire have the same simplistic, small mindset that Tom does. They think all the Security Officer is there for is to deter crime (just by being there and wearing a uniform? That’s not a deterrent, it’s a target – but that’s another conversation) and call somebody if an alarm goes off. Never mind that any decent alarm system these days automatically dials out to the appropriate authorities…

        The end result is that the lowest bidder, not the company with the best people, gets hired. Constant underbidding by competing companies drives prices down, lower contract rates drive wages down, and next thing you know the one person who ought to be one of the wisest, smartest, most trustworthy people on site (he does have access to almost everything, by necessity) is getting paid $8.00 and hour. Poverty level pay doesn’t get the kind of people we need to do these jobs, but simple-mindedness like “He’s only there to deter crime or call the REAL authorities” perpetuates the cycle. Then people want to complain about the Officers we can afford to hire. That’s about right.

        At any rate, the Officer is WAY out of line by any standard. I would encourage the OP to go to the Officer’s immediate Supervisor about the issue. Give the Security management the same respect you would want if the offender was someone working for you. That usually goes a long way toward getting issues resolved.

  4. Elizabeth*

    Well, the OP has made my comment moot for her situation, and I certainly hope it turns out okay, because this sounds frightening.

    However, for anyone else going through this, I have only caveat to AAM’s excellent advice. In option #1, she suggested, ““I really can’t talk during the day anymore. I need to focus on work, and I can’t have visitors dropping by.”

    I would suggest that someone following this advice drop the phrase “during the day” as it sounds as if talking “during the night” might be an option.

    I might be paranoid, though.

    1. Jennifer*

      I agree with dropping the phrase “during the day”. I also thought that it opened the option of talking “during the night”. Glad I’m not alone. And I hope the OP has success in dealing with her manager and HR tomorrow.

      1. Anonymous*

        Very true. I was thinking that since he has knowledge of the grounds that he might follow her to her car one night. It’s creepy.

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Really good point about dropping the “during the day” — and an inadvertent illustration from me of how even when you think you’re being clear, you may STILL try to soften it without even realizing you’re doing it!

  5. GeekChic*

    OP – Might I recommend a book? “The Gift of Fear” by Gavin de Becker. Very useful in helping you determine when (and how) to listen to that little voice inside you that is warning you that something is “wrong” or “off”. Best of luck with your manager. You do NOT deserve such behaviour.

    1. a. brown*

      The Gift of Fear looked totally sketchy when I picked it up (in paperback, with a bombastic cover) but was really helpful in validating the feelings of discomfort/fear I sometimes get. This is especially important for women, since we’re often called over-emotional (or even just emotional, as if that’s a fault) and oversensitive. ESPECIALLY in cases of sexual harassment, which is totally what you’re experiencing. Hopefully your manager will intervene and you won’t have to even deal with this situation anymore. I wish I was semi-omniscient so I could come down on all scumbags that harm people in this way. Or at least tell them off!

    2. JessB*

      I’m reading The Gift of Fear right now! I heard so many good things about it, I bought it.

      I agree, AAM, it should be required reading, I think for all managers, and on high school booklists.

  6. JC*

    To the OP: That is awful! I hope it works out for you – keep us posted.

    I think the situation of him only backing off when you have to raise your voice for other co-workers to hear, actually works in your favor. Also the fact that there is another co-worker who noticed what is going on. All of them are witnesses to his behavior and can be used to strengthen your case.

    Honestly, I had a creepy vibe from the original post to begin with. There is no reason for him to have acted that way at all – it seemed perfectly planned out on his end. It seemed as if he was going out of his way to socialize with you and typically a normal guy will get the married status and back off. But this guy, total creepster, just didn’t care and was hoping for something more regardless.

    He may have known about your kindness and non-assertive cues and leeched off of that. In my history of dealing with creepy guys, being a shy gal myself, they seem to enjoy feeding off of it. I learned a long time ago to be rude and directly dismissive to get them to know to back off. It’s uncomfortable but it gets the job done.

    Explain the entire situation to your manager and the witnesses to his behavior. It seems to me like he is intentionally pushing your buttons to see how far he can go. Nipping it in the bud as soon as possible will get him to back off – most likely he won’t do anything extreme knowing everyone knows what he’s doing. But honestly, at this point, he should be fired. He is physically intimidating you and has crossed the line.

    Good luck

    1. AW*

      While I’m very sympathetic with the OP, just one question – how do people with limited assertive skills, shy, easily intimidated, etc get to be selected to work as an office manager? What if it was a situation happening to OP’s subordinate? How would she handle it? Would she be able to?

      1. Anonymous*

        I think, being one of those less assertive individuals, it’s different when it’s yourself. I defended many employees of mine from verbally abusive customers and from bad situations with their co-workers. It’s different (and to me, much much harder) to do it for myself. Just a thought.

        1. JC*

          I am the exact same way. I have no problems telling creepy jerks to back off my friends, or defending those who need it, but there was a time I could not do it myself. There are still times where I feel I can’t, and I have to muster up the energy to not “freeze up” like I used to do.

      2. Ask a Manager* Post author

        I think “office manager” in this situation means that she’s doing administrative work, not managing employees.

        (That said, I think it’s very common to be able to be perfectly assertive in normal situations but not be sure how to handle this specific thing.)

  7. Charles*

    “I don’t want to be rude to him or get him fired . . ”

    Why not? He is suppose to be PROVIDING security; not be the reason FOR security.

  8. Anonymous*

    I had good luck once when a pushy guy kept getting in my space by loudly saying “Are you trying to intimidate me?”. Loud enough that everyone stopped what they were doing and looked.

    But in your case, in sounds like he is already escalating. I’d start documenting, and discuss with my supervisor how uncomfortable you are working alone, even for one minute. That of course means, if you have to stay late or work through lunch to finish something, so does your supervisor. That realization usually gets supervisors to make a move.

  9. Aubrey*

    Hi OP – Thank you so much for the update. I’m astonished that after your clear message, this person has the audacity to get even closer to you physically and continue to bother you. This is not just harassment, but bullying and intimidation as well. I’m happy to hear that you are going to your manager about this; do it FIRST THING in the morning.

    Best of luck and be safe.

  10. agirlnamedme*

    I got the creepy vibe from the OP right away, too. I think I’ve seen this kind of person in action too many times. He knows his target – the nice girl who is perhaps a bit timid and further intimidated by his position. This makes him feel powerful.

    This absolutely needs to be reported to managers and HR immediately. If I was this person, I would not be the last person in the office and would not walk to my car late at night.

    I hope the OP comes back and keeps us updated.

  11. Claire*

    Document, document, document. Start with the most recent and work back. Strip out all emotion and state exactly what happened when.

    I’m so glad you’re kicking this up to the next level. Alert your manager that someone else witnessed his behavior and came to the same conclusion you did.

    Good luck and keep us posted!

  12. Dennis*

    Pretty good advice to working ladies. I’m really lucky that I’m not a pretty girl, and I swear I never bothered my female co-workers before…

  13. Anonymous*

    I’ve had three of these situations myself, and involved my managers immediately as soon as I felt threatened (as you’re doing) by an older man or a man in a position of authority. Each worked out karmically and HR-wise – heh.

  14. Anonymous*

    For ladies only – RAD classes are invaluable. The university I work for gives free lessons to students and staff. They are awesome. You will find reserves of assertiveness you didn’t know you had!

  15. Amy*

    One other thing that’s a little disturbing: why does security have access to employee files? I’m thinking there could be some privacy issues at stake here, no?

  16. Anonymous*

    I know a current situation that is somewhat similar. There is this guy and girl at my work. She’s caught the guy’s attention, and now he follows her around everywhere while working, and usually he’s not on duty (this isn’t an office environment). He follows her around and writes his feelings to her. But she’s being too nice to him as well, and I believe she’s trying to avoid reporting him. More women need to be firmer in their “back off” statements.

    1. Anonymous*

      More women need to be firmer in their “back off” statements? How about more men need to learn to read social cues better so things don’t get to this point to begin with.

      1. Anonymous*

        In this situation, the one I mentioned, is both. She definitely needs to tell him point blank and he needs to get a clue.

      2. The gold digger*

        Exactly! Some women play hard to get, but in a social context, not work. Men refusing to believe what women say is infuriating. I traveled through South America and then worked in Miami and had a taste of what everyday life is like for beautiful women. I am just ordinary looking, but an American woman traveling alone? Must be a slut!

        I tried the code phrases that usually work on American men – the polite demurrals – but the Latino men were unswayed, either by choice or by truly not understanding what I was trying to communicate. I finally got to the point (and it was liberating!) where I just said, “Don’t sit here.” “Leave me alone.” “Go away I don’t want to talk to you.”

        One morning, on the train to work in Miami, in a coach that was empty except for me, a man got on and sat right next to me. I turned and said, “This coach has a million empty seats yet you sit next to me?” He was astonished. Called me a bitch, but moved. Fine with me. If being perceived as a bitch is what it takes to be left alone when I am not asking for attention, then bitch it is.

    2. a. brown*

      How about the fact that they’re at work? A woman can’t help catching a guy’s eye, but a man can resist the temptation to act on his attraction.

    3. JC*

      1) Following her around = creepy, needs to be stopped
      2) Even when he’s not on duty = super creepy, needs to be stopped and fired (why doesn’t anyone stop this? clearly it’s crossing the line of safety issues)
      3) Writing his feelings to her, Her avoiding his actions = very worried for her personal safety (I assume he has difficulty expressing himself, and over a period of time, with nothing changing, he may explode and turn violently obsessive towards her)

      Overall just a really bad situation. Someone needs to report him and get rid of him before it escalates anymore than it has. I really have no tolerance for creepsters like this, and I hope this situation is able to get resolved ASAP before something extreme happens.

  17. MillenniMedia*

    I’m not sure what level of security is needed in your office, but is this person armed? If so, I would address this immediately with your manager/HR. Even if he’s not, whether your office has a harassment policy or not is irrelevant. Harassment in the workplace is illegal and you shouldn’t ever be made to feel uncomfortable or unsafe while in the office. *I’m* getting that feeling in the pit of my stomach just reading your original and follow up posts and would escalate the issue ASAP.

  18. Adam*

    I recommend to a shy employee to write a letter to the person they are having trouble expressing themselves to. Give specific examples and how that behavior makes them feel. It’s work very well in the past. That may be step 2.5. A well written letter also covers the documentation part as evidences that you have tried to address the issue with the person first. The letter can be either given to the person or read out loud to them (Highly recommended), given the circumstance and sensativity of the situation I would recommend she give him the letter and ask him to read it “to himself” in front of her in a public setting like the office.

    1. AW*

      I’m sorry, I disagree. Writing a letter to a guy? With the “lack of social skills” that he displayed so far, this could be taken as another chapter in the book, for the lack of a better word meaning him interpreting it as now they have relationship, and that she is taking him that seriously and now writes him letters…..Are you kidding me?
      I agree with all others who said – sit down, write down each and every detail, name witnesses and report him immediately for harassment and breach of professional conduct.

      1. Dawn*

        I disagree about writing a letter also. This is something that would be more appropriate to a relationship in your personal life, not a in a business setting.

        1. Jamie*

          Wanted to chime in my vehement disagreement with writing a letter, also.

          Way too personal.

          The only letter I would write would be to HR documenting the harassment.

    2. JC*

      I don’t mean to jump on the bandwagon with this one, but a letter is a very bad idea. The letter will only serve to make this guy feel special with the attention he gets from it. Like everyone said, letters are personal and it sends the wrong message that they are somehow intimate and close.

      I understand your reasoning for it though – shy people (being one myself) do have some difficulty expressing themselves in certain situations. It also does cover the documentation part, but there are many other ways to have documentation (dates and times of the incidents, witnesses to the incidents, and anything he sends to you like letters or gifts – though I have been told never to accept gifts from stalkers even if they serve as evidence, as accepting gifts just encourages the stalker)

  19. Joey*

    Why can’t she just tell the guy “look I’m not sure if I made myself clear but if you don’t stop bothering me I’m going to have no choice but to file a complaint.”

  20. Eric*

    From the OP’s update – I’ll join the chorus of folks urging an immediate upgrade to AAM’s step #3.

    However – if I can add another possible tool for the toolbox in the situation where there is no immediate safety concern, and it is presumed that said guy is just not reading the clues quite right. It may even be an individual on the Asperger’s spectrum who has specific inability and/or difficulty in reading such social cues.

    If you know someone who is reasonably close with this individual, or you know someone who is reasonably close with somebody who is close to this individual, use that 3rd or 4th party to make the communication.

    However (again, assuming the guy is harmless and just doesn’t get it) – the 3rd or 4th party can be useful in getting them to recognizing that their attention is unwanted. The guy may not like it … and they may even resent the 3rd or 4th party being involved. However, (again, assuming social ineptitude and not malevolent intent) – this may be a way to get the message across without putting a black mark on the individual’s record.

    Of course – if this does not work – then be all means continue with steps 2 and 3 as escalation as needed.

    1. MikeM*

      I don’t think this takes a serious enough tone either.

      OP said that when confronted, he stepped within a foot of her. He only backed off when he was aware that others noticed his behavior. That’s in the same general range, as far as understanding socially acceptable behavior goes. His aggression, whatever the reason, is grounds for dismissal.

      I’m all for avoiding documentation of misconstrued events or a simple lack of understanding but this ‘black mark’ seems warranted.

      And nine days later, where is OP anyway?

  21. Conceerned Reader*

    OP, please come back and let us now how it went with your manager. I can’t help but become worried if we don’t hear back from her.

  22. steve*

    just some info for women in the workplace. I have had to deal with my wife’s ill behaved coworkers in the past and my attitude has often almost gotten the better of myself as well as almost gotten her in trouble so most of the time i try to stay silent. however she will let me know if something is wrong, and that is when I kick things into gear. reading your report of mental abuse sickens me though. under most circumstances a nice photo of yourself and your spouse and or children in plain sight can deter the don juan wantabe’s or openly stating that “I dont think my husband would approve of us going anywhere after work” can also shut down the no means no non believers. but sometimes you do have to get crafty with these idiots. first thing is he is a security guard, so he was probably hired through a third party corp. you could just call his supervisor or the company that trained him “i.e. named on the badge on his sleeve” and have him removed from your area. if thats not possible then there is always plan b. and you may quote me on this “there is nothing more scary than an empowered female coworker telling off some nut that cant get the hint”. now since my wife works in the fast food industry and she cant just put pics of me and the kidos up everywhere and most of her coworkers dont speak much english. i can usually just show up to get her from work in an old border patrol tshirt and most of the time they will stop the games. but im no small gent either so it doesnt take much. either way the presence of the angry male or female friend or spouse is terrifying to simple minded idiots who think they are beyond the boundries of your right to work in peace. I know they say violence is not the answer. however you do live in the USA and have the right to feel safe especially at your workplace. as a peace officer i would never say no to someone in need of help and i’m willing to bet bet there is a female officer in your city that would be most pleased to say a few words to a dink with a chemical imbalance. my advice is to watch your step with people like this always have a friend walk you out keep your cell phone in one hand and your car car keys in the other “car keys hurt almost as much as mace or pepper spray” and cant blow back in your face. plus in most cases people are not attacked in the open. just as we use them on tv your car makes a great leverage point and you dont want to be fumbling through your purse for keys when you get to the car. empower yourself girl, i know that not wanting to be rude or mean in an office atmosphere is first for some but safety should be. take action and have this fool punished for his actions. and if you are ever uncomfortable around a fellow coworker male or female go straight to that persons supervisor.

  23. Security Expert*

    Either way the security guard’s behavior is unacceptable and should’ve been stopped a long time ago. While I don’t know the security guard in person, I think you are spot on with possibility #2. Some people just don’t realize that they’re being disruptive. I think this is the case with the security officer…

    A secound though i had while reading further, is your concern about the security guard having access to all employee data. I know this is something that happens in many companies, but it’s so wrong. A company hires security guards to protect their stock, data, customers, employees… Their duty is to either

    – prevent crime or breach of company policy from happening by making their presence known
    – call the responsible authorities (police, fire department, first aid providers…) in case of an incident

    In order to perform these tasks, security guards do not need access to private employee data or other sensitive information. I’m glad you expressed your concern about this in your article, since data security / protection is a joke in some companies. It’s something they need to be made aware of…

  24. Julie*

    I’m reading through the archives, so I know this is an older post, but I wanted to respond. I used to work in an office with a very friendly security guard, and at first it was fine – he and I and others from our team would say hello and kid around and ask how the families are doing, weekend plans, etc. But he started getting a little too friendly – I don’t think he realized it made me uncomfortable. To be honest, I probably wouldn’t have said anything except that a guy on our team had just been sexually harassed by a woman in one of his classes. He reported it to our manager, and it was something that we all were talking about in the office – how terrible it made him feel, what you can say in those situations, etc. Anyway, the next time the security guard came by and gave me a hug, I told him I would rather he didn’t do that because it made me uncomfortable. He apologized, and he wasn’t defensive. I don’t remember exactly how the conversation went, but he, my office-mate, and I ended up continuing to talk about general stuff (in that same conversation!). I was so surprised that he didn’t get defensive, and he didn’t apologize and run. After that, everything was fine, and whenever I see this guard, we say hello and catch up like old friends (but no hugging because even though I would feel OK about it now, I don’t want things to be weird). I really appreciated his attitude about the whole thing – I sincerely believe that this is a person who simply made an error in judgment. The important thing is that he responded when I asked him to stop. The guard who has been harassing the OP did not do that, and that’s a huge difference.

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