update from the reader whose romantically rejected coworker was causing problems at work

Remember the reader who rejected her coworker’s advances, which then resulted in him behaving like a baby at work? Here’s her update:

Well, I hate to let people down, but there hasn’t really been a resolution to this situation. After I read your response and the responses of the other readers, I decided to give it a few days and see what happened before I took it to management, because I was deeply afraid they would bungle it.

During that time, two things happened: First, he and I reached something of a detente. We didn’t discuss it, but he seemed to relax his tension towards me and knocked off (most of) the passive-aggressive behavior.

Second, my boss noticed something was going on and apparently set “John” down for a talk. Apparently, I was not the only person he was having difficulty with — I was just the most noticeable. Our boss did not discuss this with me first and has never asked me about the situation — he just basically took “John” out for a coffee after work and told him to quit acting like a [glassbowl].

Since then, things have lightened up. He’s still doing that middle-school thing where he quits talking to people when I walk up, but he’s now treating me like a person again, even if we no longer speak to each other about non-work-related topics.

It’s not the greatest situation, but for now it’s workable, and I am still looking for a new position in a new, hopefully less dysfunctional, environment.

{ 10 comments… read them below }

  1. Samantha*

    I can relate to how awkward and stressful this be for you. I became friends with a coworker, “Ed,” who developed a crush on me, despite the fact that he was a notorious woman hater. I managed to maintain our friendship while dodging his “puppy dog” stares and his attempts to block me in hallways and to find out about my sexual preferences.

    He eventually stopped his pursuit, and we settled into a nice friendship – until I had to report him for verbally abusing a client. Then “Ed” turned on me and began bad-mouthing me to friends and coworkers. “Ed” and I have managed to keep up an appearance of friendliness at work (sometimes even joking with one another), but an underlying tension creeps in, and I worry that he might try to get even with me. The CEO who disciplined him after I reported him has left the company, and we have only a short-term “interim” leader (and supervisors who want to sweep everything under the rug), so I feel somewhat defenseless, especially since “Ed” is a shining star in our company.

  2. JT*

    I’m not sure how you’d go about it checking on this, but it could be helpful if there was documentation of the earlier disciplinary action.

    1. Samantha*

      Thanks, JT. Unfortunately, I think my written report was destroyed as part of an agreement between the CEO and “Ed,” who claimed that having the document in his personnel file would hurt his chances with our upcoming new management. The CEO gave him a verbal warning.

      1. AMG*

        Keep documenting, including your suspicions about what happened with his file. Trust me on this one.

      2. A Bug!*

        So he’s a “shining star” and anything that might suggest otherwise is quietly destroyed?

        Oh, my stars, it just wouldn’t be fair for an employee’s inappropriate behavior to reflect poorly on him, oh no. What kind of message would that send?

        He’s basically a perfect employee, after all, except the time he maliciously smeared the reputation of a co-worker for pointing out a valid concern. After all, look at his record! It’s spotless! It’s not like he has a history of this sort of thing. Not that we’d be able to tell.

        I’m with AMG. Keep documenting.

        1. Samantha*

          I appreciated your sarcasm; it was good therapy for me! Since I’ve kept my frustration bottled up, it helped to share this and get some understanding feedback. I’m glad the original poster shared her update.

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