my manager refuses to text me, even though he texts the rest of our team

A reader writes:

When I started working for my manager, text messages were the acceptable means for communicating things like “the meeting has moved to another room,” “my flight just landed, meet at baggage claim?” and “I’m running late.” But for the last 18 months or so, my manager has refused to communicate with me via text. He still texts other coworkers; he sometimes refers to their text messages and they refer to his. In fact, he’s a fiendish texter, socially, and savvy in general, so I’m certain that this isn’t a matter of technical difficulties, though he’s tried, weakly, to pass it off that way the couple of times I’ve brought it up in passing.

I think I’ve traced this back to a business trip last year: I was out to dinner with my manager and another coworker when my manager suddenly reached across the table and wrestled my phone out of my hands so aggressively that it was really alarming and uncomfortable. It got more uncomfortable when he handed my phone to our colleague and told him to “delete that text, delete that text!” (The colleague and I had the same kind of phone and my manager didn’t know how to delete messages on it.) My first fear was that my manager was texting my colleague about me, but it’s probably more likely that my manager has a personal contact in his phone with a name similar to mine and he accidentally texted something inappropriate to me instead of that person. Fine, I didn’t want to see that anyway, let’s move on . . . except the rules for communicating have been different and confusing ever since.

I have a personal smartphone, but I can’t access my work email on mobile devices, and he knows that (he uses a corporate BlackBerry and his own personal smartphone). And even if he emails my personal account, email just isn’t the most efficient way to communicate quick, time-sensitive messages—there have been times when I’ve driven myself a little bit crazy, checking my email nonstop just in case he’s written. Also, he’s always made it clear that he prefers to avoid phone calls if at all possible (and I don’t object).

This seems like such a silly thing to worry about, but it can be impractical for both of us, and it’s gotten pretty frustrating for me. If we’re traveling and trying to meet up in a convention center, and I’m texting him “meet in the lobby?” and he’s emailing me “meet on the fifth floor,” we’re going to have a problem.

Once, I got very sick on my way to work and wound up in an urgent care center. The cell reception was too weak for me to get an email out, but I could text, so I sent a message that I was ill and couldn’t attend a meeting. I even added, “Please confirm receipt,” but got no response.

When I finally got home and felt well enough to open my work email, I read the “got your texts, John’s covering the meeting, feel better!” email he’d written immediately after I’d sent my message. It just would have been nice to get that confirmation—and peace of mind—while I was fretting about it in urgent care. It seems disrespectful that he would receive that message and explicit request for acknowledgment by text, and then put the phone down and type up an email, knowing that I wouldn’t have access to my work email in those circumstances.

It’s gotten to the point where I feel slighted at best, and at worst, discriminated against, not legally, but in the sense that I’m treated differently and must follow different, unwritten rules than the rest of our team. Is this something I can approach my manager about directly without seeming hypersensitive and needy? I know I can’t force him to text me, even if he does text everybody else, but is it crazy to try to find a compromise for the sake of communication?

Even if there is no solution and I just have to carry on, it’d be great just to get this out of my own head a little bit and see it from someone else’s perspective.

I can’t imagine why he suddenly stopped texting you when he continues to text others.

The story about him grabbing your phone away and never texting you again is bizarre, and I have no idea how to interpret it.

Frankly, I hate the use of texts to communicate in the workplace; they’re not stored, they’re difficult to review later, they’re easy to forget about (unlike email, which at least sits in your inbox until dealt with), and they interrupt you just like a phone call does. But your workplace uses them, and the examples you gave of when you use them are reasonable ones. So his refusal to engage with yours when he treats everyone else differently is baffling.

But you can’t make him text you if he’s not willing to, no matter how crazy or unfathomable his reasons might be. And it sounds like you’ve already tried asking him about it, to no avail.

So it’s time to try something different. Why not instead ask about getting a company-issued device that you can check work email on? That wouldn’t solve the problem entirely, but it would go a long way toward mitigating it. And frankly, you could simply say, without any frustration in your tone: “I noticed that while we used to text about some time-sensitive stuff, you’ve been switching over to email. I don’t have email on my phone and can’t receive those until I’m back at my desk, and sometimes our communications are time-sensitive. Could I get a company mobile device where I can send and receive work email?”

If that’s a no-go for whatever reason, then I think you’re just stuck accepting that you’re working for a loon who will randomly exclude communication methods on a whim.

Read an update to this letter here.

{ 148 comments… read them below }

    1. EJ*

      Agreed – would love to know more from the OP on this story…sounds like it could have been an entry all on its own.

    2. Liz in a library*

      Yeah, that’s what I was thinking too. I cannot even fathom how I’d react to something that inappropriate/boundary crossing.

      1. jennie*

        But if it was wrestled from OP’s hands it was probably in use and a passcode wouldn’t have solved anything.

    3. Katie the Fed*

      Yeah maybe he sent something meant for someone else but that’s not the way to handle it.

      My boss once texted me something me meant for his wife. It said “I miss you so much already and can’t wait to see you in a few hours.”

      I replied “Joe, I think it’s time for us to discuss professional boundaries.”

      Of course he didn’t really have a sense of humor so he thought I just assumed it was for me :)

      1. LisaLyn*

        Omg, that’s sort of awesome, though. He probably had a mild heart attack after reading that if he didn’t get that it was a joke!

      2. Yup*

        My friend has a (super senior big deal) colleague withe *exact* same name as her husband. One day she accidentally emailed the colleague, ‘Please buy milk and toilet paper on the way home.’ His response was something like, ‘Sure. I’ll be bringing it home to my house, though, so I don’t think that will help you.’ :)

        1. Lisa*

          Like that episode of The King of Queens when Carrie accidentally told her…boss?….that she loved him….because his name was Doug as w.ell

          1. Jamie*

            I’ve done this. Our awesome network engineer has the same name as my husband and I ended a call with “see you later – I love you.”

            Yeah – takes a while to live that down. Thank goodness he has a sense of humor.

      3. Lindsay J*

        Yeah, our regional director accidentally reply-all’ed to an email I had sent him with a very personal message clearly meant for his daughter or wife. Something to the extent of, “I love you very much and can’t wait to see you. Don’t forget your coat tonight, it’s kind of chilly.” So not only did I get this, but so did everyone else copied on that email list (all the managers and directors, pretty much). Luckily everyone knew that there was nothing going on between me and him so there were no rumors that flew, but it was a little awkward and funny.

        Everyone handled it by ignoring it for the most part, aside from making a couple jokes to him the next time we saw him about the weather and needing coats. It would have been really bizarre if he decided to take everyone’s phones and computers and delete the message before it was read.

    4. Vicki*

      He grabbed the phone is bad.
      If the colleague did anything other than hand it back to the OP and say “no”. that’s worse.

    5. OP*

      Yeah, that moment was definitely weird, confusing, and upsetting. All I can say is that it happened very quickly, and it was immediately pretty clear what had happened—my boss sent a racy or otherwise inappropriate text to me by mistake. It seemed in everyone’s best interest to let it go and I assumed we’d all move on. We’ve never spoken about the incident again and I would have preferred to forget it. I didn’t expect there to be any “consequences” or to be reminded every time I have a hard time getting in touch with my boss!

      1. Marmite*

        The fact that he grabbed your personal phone from your hands is ridiculous! Why was it any better for the colleague to see what he’d written that for you to see it anyway? The whole thing makes him seem like a lunatic!

    6. Sarah*

      Do you have one of those networks where you can go to your cell provider and get them to print off what the text said before it was deleted? If that’s an option, I would do it simply from curiousity and second it may actually shed some light on this.

    7. Jessa*

      This, someone grabbed something? That’s wrong for so many reasons that are way bigger than “he won’t text me.”

  1. Matthew Soffen*

    “they’re not stored, they’re difficult to review later,”

    That may be the #1 reason WHY he prefers texts for many things. I’ve got too many people who don’t like using email to discuss things.

    I’ve gotten to the point in my career where all I do is once they’ve finished their face to face discussions with me is afterwards I send an email to all parties involved and say “This is to confirm that I understood our conversation. What I took away was ‘xxxxxxx’, Is this correct ?”

    That way I DO have a trail and they will have a more difficult time later saying “that’s not what I meant” (I’ll be able to cover myself by saying “If its NOT what you meant, why didn’t you correct the email I sent out ?”

    A little juvenile, but it works.

    1. CJ*

      I’m very confused by the statement that texts are not stored. Mine are all at my fingertips, for months and months going back, sorted by person.

      But yeah, the grabbing of the phone and the subsequent weird behavior are… bizarre. Ask for a work device for sure.

      1. ChristineSW*

        That’s what I thought too….on my phone (Windows 7 Nokia), I can just click on a person’s name and see all the texts sent back and forth, unless I delete the “thread”.

        1. twentymilehike*

          On my iPhone you can choose to delete an individual message in a thread or the whole thread if you want. On the other hand, when people text me about work things and it’s something I think should have a paper trail or I need to address it later but don’t want to forget, I can easily forward the text to my work email. I think the problem with the texting is that it’s easy to manipulate.

      2. Ariancita*

        Agreed. On both my older Android and my newer iPhone, all my texts from the beginning of time are there. They are indeed stored.

        1. TheSnarkyB*

          But unlike emails, they’re not stored on a company server, etc.- they can be manipulated, deleted, lost of the phone is stolen…

          I think Alison is saying they’re unreliably stored, not that they’re snap chat.
          And I agree- also, you can’t search for them based on date like you can with an email… And it’s a helluva lot of scrolling.

          1. Vicki*

            My email programs have always had “delete from server options”, In addition, most companies I have worked for state that they do not have “enough storage for saving email on the server and if you want to keep it, you’ll need to download it to your computer.

            1. Observer*

              Your email programs may have an option to delete from the server, but if your admins are smart, either it won’t work, or they have archives that you can’t touch anyway. That’s simply good practice, because mistakes happen, and things get deleted that should not be all the time.

              And, most companies do NOT have a policy of not allowing you to keep email on the server. It used to be common, but not anymore. I’m not saying it does not happen, but it’s no longer the norm. Email is like any other paper, so if it’s something that would have been expected to be filed had it been on a piece of paper, it’s expected to be stored if it’s in email. Most companies (though not all) generally either have outsourced email, which usually means there should be enough storage for each person to go back a fair amount of time, or they have enough information to understand the need to store email. And many of the ones who don’t want to store email (because they don’t want to have to deal with legal discovery) absolutely do NOT want you to store email on your computer, either.

        2. Anon*

          My newer Android (1 7r old Samsung Stratosphere) will only save 220 texts. Everything beyond that is just…gone. It’s really irritating sometimes, so I can see how it would be problematic for saving work-related messages. However, in situations like the OP described (“meet in lobby?”) it wouldn’t be a problem. Also, as other people have mentioned, it’s relatively easy to either take a screenshot of a message or forward it to an email address.

          1. Laura*

            There’s an app for that: SMS Backup +. Sends you an email record of text convos (I’m pretty sure you set the frequency, but I’ve had it so long I don’t even remember for sure). I set mine up so my email filter automatically labels, marks as read, and files the emails so they don’t clutter up my inbox, but they’re there if I want/need them.

        1. Lindsay J*

          My Android stores all texts, too. However, I often root and or modify my phone, which requires doing a factory restore (and other people may need to factory restore or just plain get a new phone due to issues).

          Because I and my bosses have always used text a lot to communicate, however, I use an app called “SMS backup +” (made by Jan Berkel) which backs all my texts up to email on a regular basis. I’m big on having a paper trail and covering my butt in general. However, those that don’t use this app may risk losing all their texts in the case of a phone issue.

      3. Ellie H.*

        Blackberry eats texts (and emails) after 30 days unless you specifically mark them as saved (and you can’t mark every text in a conversation as saved, you have to do one by one). It drives me crazy. If anyone knows a way to turn that off and save everything by default please share.

      4. Sarah from LI*

        I think the person meant that, once the message or thread is deleted from your phone, it is gone. As in, forever deleted. There is no other record of that text message anywhere else but on the phones of the person that sent it and the person who received it.

        With emails or voice mails, there are most often copies of those messages in more places than on your smart phone. For example, I can log into my phone/internet carrier’s website and retrieve all my voice and email messages and data on all of my incoming and out going calls and emails. My voice mails are also set to email my inbox so that I don’t have to constantly call into my voicemail to check messages. If I delete a voicemail on the actual phone, I can always refer back to it in my email inbox, etc. That copy stays there, even if I delete my phone copy. Same goes for my email. I can delete an email on my phone and, unless I synch my phone with my pc, that email stays in my pc’s inbox.
        I hope this helps clear up the confusion :O)

    2. Kerry*

      I don’t think it’s juvenile at all. You’re confirming that everyone was on the same page, and creating a record that can be referred to later. It’s good business sense.

    3. Anonymous*

      Not juvenile at all. What IS juvenile is when you work with people who react poorly to you creating the trail. While I can understand (to a certain extent, kind of) not wanting “e-mail clutter,” in my experience only people who know that the written communication could bite them in the butt later on truly object. Otherwise, they appreciate the written clarification themselves (and the chance to make changes if necessary) and can easily delete if they don’t want it clogging up their inbox.

    4. EngineerGirl*

      Not juvenile. It’s wise and professional to have written documentation of agreements.

  2. Cruella Da Boss*

    AAM…Thank You!! I may be an “old fuddy duddy” but I do NOT think that texting is an appropriate means of communication in the work place. I prefer the “old fashioned” telephone call as the first means of communication, followed by email. I am the type that wants to speak to someone, ask all my questions, and be done.

    I just don’t understand why people don’t want to speak directly to someone any more?

    1. J*

      It’s not that people don’t want to speak directly, rather they (me) may prefer that you consider the importance of the information you hope to gain before communicating with them. I believe that phone calls are intrusive and distracting. If what you need isn’t urgent or time sensitive, why not send an email? I don’t think there is anything wrong with a phone call, but I don’t appreciate calls for everything throughout the day.

      1. twentymilehike*

        Ah, the age old email v. text debate! I agree with a lot of people here that phone calls can be distracting, but I also think there is some value to just making the call. I wish there was a “correct” answer for which is right, but my opinion is that it is really so dependent upon your line of work and your personality and so many other things.

        Half the time I wish people would quit calling and just email me and the other half of the time I have these ridiculous, stretched out email conversations that go on for days when I wish the person would just pick up the phone and have it done with in 5 minutes. It also depends on how eloquent the person is. I talk to some people who can’t spit out a coherent sentence verbally, and others who send me emails in all-caps, no punctuation and I have to read it ten times to figure out what their asking.

        You can’t win.

        1. Leslie Yep*

          You can win a little bit when you give your team lots of feedback on their communication! You’re so right that there’s no universal correct answer, it depends on context and role, but with many of my colleagues I’ve found that when we all commit to communicating effectively and giving each other feedback about it (e.g. we all take ownership over saying “Yeah, let’s just hop on the phone,” consolidating/synthesizing long email chains, etc.), we’ve seen lots of improvement here.

          1. twentymilehike*

            You can win a little bit when you give your team lots of feedback on their communication!

            I think I was assuming that it’s not just the team, but yes I agree on that. I talk to what feels like a billion people every day–from the general public, dealers, vendors, distributors and team members. I think I’m finally adjusting chaos as my normal routine! :)

    2. Mike C.*

      Because when you call someone, you are demanding that they drop whatever it is that they’re doing to deal with whatever it is that you are calling about.

      And frankly, there’s plenty of room for texting in the workplace. I receive texts from my bosses all the time when they’re in a meeting and need some data or if I’m in a meeting in their place and need to discretely convey some information. It’s simply faster email that trades traceability for convenience.

      1. Ariancita*

        Yep. Whether pro or con, this is the technology today and use of text will expand. It’s convenient for a whole host of reasons when emailing won’t be timely enough but calling is not an option (for a variety of reasons, like you’re in a cab/train on the way to the airport, at the airport without your laptop, etc…). I find calling is only useful when calling is an immediate need or the issue is complicated, etc. Otherwise, if someone is calling with non-urgent details, if I don’t have a notepad at the ready, I may forget important details.

      2. Layla*

        Texts are also useful for people being able to think awhile / check info out before replying you.

        Half the time responses to my calls would be “I’ll get back to you “

      3. Marmite*

        Texting and BBM messages are heavily relied on in my line of work. I am out in the field (independently of many other employees out in the field in different “fields”) and often need send a quick bit of feedback on something, let someone know the status of something else, let someone know I’ve arrived someplace, let someone know I’m running late, etc. etc. Phone calls for all these things would be annoying and across all employees cost a lot more than free BBM messages. E-mails are difficult to write as quickly on phone and rely on good enough signal (e-mail requires 3G or wifi, texts will go through when 3G isn’t available) for both myself to send it and for the recipient to receive it in a timely manner.

        We still use phone calls and e-mails frequently, and I’m a big proponent of a phone call rather than a huge chain of back and forth texts if there’s actually something to discuss, but texts are convenient and effective a lot of the time.

    3. Angry Writer*

      To me it’s akin to IMing in the workplace. HATE it unless it’s something like, “Come over to my office now.” Can’t tell you how many work conversations/instructions I’ve lost, swearing to myself they’re in email, but they were actually in IMs that I didn’t save.

      1. tcookson*

        The thing I hate about IM-ing is that, if I’m typing numbers into a spreadsheet when someone IMs me, the IM screen pops up and hijacks my typing before I’ve realized it . . . so the person who popped up via IM gets a string of numbers, and my place in Excel is lost. And if they keep typing messages to me, that happens several times — irritating!

      2. Tasha*

        Skype always saves conversations and is pretty good about file links. My research group uses it for quick questions.

    4. Vicki*

      Please do not phone me (or many of your colleagues) first. Please.

      Introverts especially are put off by this. We need time to think and time to process. If you must phone, email first to give us a basis for the conversation.

      1. Cat*

        Introverts are not all the same. We just had a conversation last week about treating colleagues as individuals instead of lumping them together.

    5. Rana*

      I don’t have problems with texting in some circumstances – my newest phone actually has a slide-out keyboard to facilitate it – but it’s good to confirm that the person you’re sending them to is okay with it. This is not just a matter of personal preference, but cost.

      For example, despite the keyboard, and my openness to texts, I don’t bother paying for the text service with my provider, meaning that each text is billed individually – both sent and received. This is fine in my current circumstances, but if someone is planning to send me more than four or five texts a month, I need to know this, because it will blow up my bill pretty quickly.

      I’ve also had trouble with people sending me picture texts, which require me to pay for online access (I don’t want to pay an additional $60 a month for a data plan I don’t use, so each picture text is, again, individually billed), and some of them – like those send by some iPhones – can’t be read at all.

      So, text-loving people – be aware that what may be simple and easy on your end isn’t necessarily so on the recipient’s end, and ask first before getting all text-happy.

      1. Marmite*

        I ran up a huge cell phone bill when I first moved to the US because I had no idea companies charge to send and receive calls and texts in the States. In the UK, and everywhere else I’d lived (New Zealand and a couple places in Europe), you only pay for what you send, anything you receive is free, so that came as a surprise!

  3. Elle*

    This is obvious to me. Your name is similar to someone else’s with whom he texts prolifically and so he doesn’t want to sext you again.

    1. Ariancita*

      Agreed. But he just needs to change the OPs name in her/his contact list to add space between the names, either by adding a symbols in front of the name or by giving whichever recipient a nickname.

      1. FiveNine*

        Problem is, even though OP said the boss is tech-literate, OP also said boss didn’t know how to delete a text on OP’s phone. It seems entirely possible to me boss doesn’t know how to change the OP’s name, either.

      2. OP*

        That’s my conclusion, too. I’ve thought about suggesting he keep my contact info under a code name in his phone, but I’m reluctant to bring up that incident again, even indirectly. Since privacy/boundary issues seem to be at the root of all of this, in a way, I don’t want to seem presumptuous or invasive.

        And, when I really visualize having that conversation, I realize it’s unlikely to get me the result I want. Either a) it has occurred to him that he could change my name in his contacts and he’s chosen not to and to handle it by not texting at all instead, or b) it hasn’t occurred to him, but alluding to that awful moment by making the suggestion would probably make texting me even more uncomfortable for him, not less.

        1. Marmite*

          He has a work and a personal phone, right? Can’t he just keep the personal contact off the work phone and text you from that one?

          1. Lindsay J*

            That’s what all my friends do. Plus work phones get locked away when partying, etc, so any indiscretions are kept strictly to personal contacts.

    2. Anon*

      I agree this might be the reason – but if so, why not just change OPs contact name in the phone to something very clearly different? It would be associated with OPs name on the phone, so it wouldn’t necessarily be visible to anyone else. I don’t know if there is anyway to bring this up to the boss, but it would be such an easy fix if this was the main reason for not texting. It could also be to keep a record, but most of the scenarios above aren’t the kind of thing you’d need to keep a record of..It could also be that there were allegations of inappropriate behaviour, so now OP’s boss wants to keep all communication transparent on work emails and communication. It’s going to be hard to do anything except Alison’s advice with out knowing more about the motivations for not texting

    3. FD*

      That would be my guess too, but the OP says he has a personal device and a company device. Shouldn’t it just be a matter of remember to only text intimate matters on the personal device and just not have her as a contact listed on that one?

      1. twentymilehike*

        And what about just replying to the specific text? It doesn’t make sense to me in regard to that …
        So. Weird.

      2. Cat*

        He has a company blackberry. He probably doesn’t have phone service associated with it; just data (that’s how ours work, too).

    4. Apostrophina*

      Agreed, but it’s less clear to me why Boss doesn’t just change the contact info so it might appear differently on his phone (make the OP “PM George” or “Lastname, George” to distance him from “George SecretNinjaContact”). Handling it this way just ensures an employee is constantly reminded that Boss has something weird going on.

    5. Emma*

      Seems like a simple fix to change the worker’s name. From “John T. Smith” to “Work John Smith” or something along those lines. But this still sounds just weird – maybe he has “learned text aversion” for you now. Like how you will never eat White Castle again after getting sick that one time .02 seconds after nomming your first tiny burger.

    6. Layla*

      I thought so too but it doesn’t really make sense.
      He should actually stop sexting/ texting the other person.

      Not texting the OP does not prevent him from actually texting the OP!

      Unless he deleted the OP’s name off his contacts

    7. Pussyfooter, aka. OneoftheMichelles*

      Yeah-what these guys are saying.
      Before I finished reading the post, I thought “Why don’t they just pick a nickname for the OP and use that?”

    8. Ellie H.*

      Yes, I think this is the obvious explanation too. But he is a moron for not changing the name to “MY COLLEAGUE Jane Smith” to contrast it from “Janie Smyth,” his girlfriend. That would have been a much easier fix.

  4. Sniper*

    Personally, I’ve always hated when my boss has texted me. Most of the time it’s because I’ve not been at work and they want to communicate unimportant work related stuff to me that they can just email and I’ll deal with on the next business day.

    So I’m with Alison on this. Aside from the hotel incident, are you really missing out on anything by not being texted by your boss?

  5. Colleen*

    Whether or not I’m pro-texting or anti-texting, my WACKO BOSS ALARM is ringing off the hook. Find a new boss before the next bizarre behavior surfaces. I think you’ve just scratched the surface of weirdness.

    1. Leslie Yep*

      Yep — this is it exactly. It’s pretty fun to get indignant about the email vs. text vs. phone vs. skywriting vs. hovercrafting into your office (I too am really outsizedly passionate about my preferences), but really the issue at hand here is that there’s some kind of weird behavior on the part of the boss, and it’s negatively affecting the OP’s ability to do her job effectively.

  6. fposte*

    This is weird and annoying. Is the inability to get work emails on your mobile unique to you, or is it just firewalled? If your co-workers can get email on their phones, he may not remember you can’t. Not that that solves the problem, but it makes it a little less egregious.

    1. LJL*

      In the company I worked for, only company-owned devices could have email on them. A weird security feature. The workaround was to use Webmail through the phone browser, but that is kind of a hassle.

    2. OP*

      It’s not just me. For a while I had my work email set up in the mail app on my phone, which helped a little—that’s when I drove myself a little crazy, refreshing constantly while working away from my office just in case he’d emailed me. But the system could tell that I was using an unapproved device/app to access my account and lock it out until I called IT to have my password reset (and agree not to disregard the policy again). It’s been more than a year, so it’s worth checking to see if the policy has changed. If I could get my work email pushed to my phone, I could set up notifications for emails from my boss and resolve the practical issues (if not the weirdness).

      There is a webmail portal, like LJL mentions, but it’s barely compatible with mobile browsers or small screens or both. Everybody, including my manager, complains about how difficult it is to access email that way. That’s part of the reason it’s so frustrating that he contacts me that way. In some way, it’d be better if he just emailed my personal account, but he usually starts with my work email.

  7. Amber*

    Are you a female on an all male team? My first thought is that he is either:

    a) he’s having some kind of affair and doesn’t want any texts from females (aka evidence) on his phone even if they are legit

    b) he’s been caught having some kind of affair in the past and his significant other actively checks his phone so any text from a female could get him in trouble again

    c) He is attracted to you and his significant other knows it so any text from you will get him in trouble (this could be true if you’re male or female)

    Unfortunately I can’t think of any legitimate reason why he would behave the way he is acting.

    1. Just Me*

      This is what I’m thinking. And in this case, I think it would make it even easier for him to consider getting you a work phone.

      Personally, I like texts at work for things like the OP mentioned. “Be there in five minutes”. “Please send me joe’s contact info” etc. Email boxes get way overloaded, and immediate needs may go unnoticed. (Unless you have your email pushed on your smart phone and are constantly checking to see if its important. Annoying)
      A text message pops up and can be seen immediately and responded to if needed. Also less intrusive than a phone call.

    2. Pussyfooter, aka. OneoftheMichelles*

      picking a nickname to use for texting the OP could address these possibilities.

      *my spell check thinks “texting” is a misspelled word–that’s funny.

    3. Lora*

      This. One of my colleagues was ordered by his wife not to exchange texts or emails with any woman, ever, using his personal email/phone. Seriously, if I send an invite to poker night, it has to go to his wife’s email–not his–so that she can check it for hanky-panky and decide whether or not to pass it along to him. She flipped out a few months ago when I texted him to ask directions to a co-worker’s housewarming party. Apparently “do you turn left at Winter Street or at Davis” is secret code for “take me hard” or something, I don’t even.

      He’s not the Old Spice guy, so I don’t know where these hordes of maenads lusting after 40something, 5′ tall, out of shape & balding dudes are hanging out.

      1. Ruffingit*

        How sad. That must be a hell of a way to live for your co-worker. That kind of control does nothing but push a person into affairs. People who try to “parent” their spouses as though they are minor children forget one thing – eventually children grow up and leave.

      2. Ask a Manager* Post author

        I have questions about whether it’s reasonable for them to expect you to comply with this. I mean, if they want to conduct their relationship that way, it’s their business — but should you be expected to play along? I can get doing it to save him grief, but I’d be pretty tempted to ignore their instructions and handle it like you would with a normal person.

        1. Ruffingit*

          One thing people forget sometimes is that this is not just an unreasonable request. There’s also the component here of spousal abuse. When someone issues a dictate like this to their spouse, it’s quite possible that there are some severe consequences being levied at home in the way of physical abuse if texts/e-mails are seen on the person’s phone/computer from the opposite sex.

          I’ve seen that kind of thing in the workplace unfortunately and because of it, if a co-worker makes such a request, I follow up with them regarding if everything is OK at home, but I will also usually give in to the request simply because I know that not doing so could compromise their safety in a variety of ways.

          1. Chinook*

            I think that REQUIRING that all emails go through the spouse is definite flag for potential spousal abuse. I see it as akin to controlling phone calls and where they go. If the genders were reversed, it may even seem more obvious.

            While I don’t normally recommend meddling in other people’s marriages, if you have a friendly type of relationship (and you might if you are sending over poker night invites), you may want to be on the lookout for other red flags and even let your colleague know if you are a safe person to talk to/help if they need to get out of that situation. I understand that it is harder for men to seek help and admit to abuse, sometimes showing that they won’t be judged as weak for admitting to the issue may be a way to help them find a path out.

        2. Lora*

          It’s his choice, it apparently does save him considerable grief if I email via his wife. And when I have ignored it and emailed him directly anyway, he tends to no-show, beg off at the last minute sort of thing. Whereas when it goes through his wife’s email sometimes she gives him permission to attend social events, even without her.

          I don’t get it either, I mean, if she’s reading his emails, she can see for herself that it’s a mass email invitation going to 40 other people, or a work-related thing, or a simple “hey, I found a great recipe for udon noodle soup”. But whatever, for all I know she has good cause not to trust him.

          1. Ash*

            “sometimes she gives him permission to attend social events”

            I cringed so hard when I read this. What a horrible way for anyone to live, and what a disgusting thing to do to something you supposedly love.

      3. AgilePhalanges*

        My sister had a boyfriend who felt the same way as your colleague’s wife. Made her delete all male contacts from her phone in his presence–co-workers, old friends, cousins. I think he let her keep our step-dad and brother, but not step-brothers (or some weird delineation like that). Needless to say, that relationship didn’t last long, for oh so many reasons.

        1. Ruffingit*

          Thank God it didn’t last long! That guy clearly had major issues. I hope your sister also wised up and chose a better boyfriend the next time.

      4. AnonintheUK*

        It also assumes that ALL the women have no sense of propriety whatsoever and are just desperate to fling their undies off for anyone in sight

    4. AMG*

      Yep, this is exactly what I thought. Even if there are other women on the team, maybe the wife got jealous or insecure about you in perticular for whatever reason.

      1. tcookson*

        That’s what I thought, too. One guy in our social group got a promotion at work and got an assistant assigned to him for the first time. The assistant was a very attractive woman, and he was terrified of how mad his wife would be if she ever saw the assistant. His wife is the kind that, if we’re all out eating at a restaurant together and there is a good-looking woman in the room, she will get mad at her husband for it, even if he’s not even looking! She is just insecure and jealous in a way that doesn’t have anything to do with her husband’s actual behavior.

        1. Ruffingit*

          So what did happen when the wife found out her husband was working with this year’s Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover model? ;)

    5. OP*

      I am a female working on an all male team. My boss is gay, so I don’t think this is related to fidelity, but I do think there are some male/female dynamics at play (e.g. he handed my phone off to my coworker, another man. He trusted him to delete the message without reading it too closely? Or at least without taking offense?)

      1. Zahra*

        As the only woman, that kind of behavior could put your chances of advancement in jeopardy. You’re already at a disadvantage since you’re a woman in a male team. I don’t know if intent factors in discrimination matters, but if he texts all the men and not the woman, it’s a problem.

  8. Ruffingit*

    The OP has brought this up “in passing” a couple of times. I’d bring it up more forthrightly with him using the same language Alison suggested “I noticed that while we used to text about some time-sensitive stuff, you’ve been switching over to email. This is rather difficult when we need to communicate time-sensitive information. I would prefer that we return to your texting me when information is sensitive. E-mail is not helpful in this context because I cannot check it on my phone.”

    He may make some excuses about not being text savvy at which point I’d say “You didn’t seem to have problems with it previously when you were texting me, but if you’d prefer to send me e-mail rather than text me as you do with the rest of the team, I will need a company issued mobile device.”

    In other words, I wouldn’t let him get away with this ridiculousness, but then that’s me. Whether the OP can have this kind of upfront conversation depends on a lot of factors not known from the letter.

    1. fposte*

      “You didn’t seem to have problems with it previously when you were texting me” is pretty adversarial, though; I’d recommend against it. This is one of those many situations where you’re actually better off letting somebody get away with it, because “it” isn’t ultimately that big a deal and being adversarial is.

      1. Ruffingit*

        You are probably right fposte, it is pretty adversarial. Whether or not this is appropriate depends a lot on the relationship the OP has with her boss and whether or not they can have this kind of conversation. Not enough information to know that.

        I tend to be the type to confront things head on if that is possible. But again, for the OP, this may not be. If it’s not an issue worth fighting about, I’d let it go and move on. I might also look for another job because this situation is so odd that it makes me wonder what is going on with this boss. I tend to agree with others who have posted here that he possibly sent a sext or other unprofessional communication to the OP accidentally and if that is so, the OP may find themselves with bigger issues with this person in this future.

        I’d definitely be interested in a follow-up from the OP about what happens with this.

    2. Anon*

      If I were in your shoes, I would agree asking for a company device is a good step if you feel the need to be tied in. If that doesn’t pan out, you can either conclude that texting is no longer a viable method of contact with that person and stop doing it all together (if the boss doesn’t text back, stop texting them at all) and/or you can have a conversation and reiterate to your boss politely but explicitly that, “if you email me while I am out of the office, you will have to assume I will not get it until the next time I am at a computer.” This allows you to stop being worried about checking emails. If the boss doesn’t follow through and tries to do impromptu or time critical things via email and an issue results, you can just say, “well, you know I don’t get emails on my phone.” Of course, this is at your own risk, as the boss may take these issues out on you anyway.

  9. Anonymous*

    Has he ever mentioned that he would prefer email over text to you? If he’s using a Blackberry, it might just have set your email to default when communicating.. mine used to do that when I had one. I’d think I was texting someone but really it was going to their inbox.

    1. twentymilehike*

      Oh THIS!! I was thinking this, also, but I’ve never used a Blackberry, so I wasn’t sure if that would even be possible. If we had to be on what the issue was, this is where I’d put my money. Because seriously, some of his replies sound like he thinks he really is replying to the OP’s texts, and if they never had a discussion about text v. email, he could just have no idea … I mean, really, sometimes the easy thing to do is just ask.

      1. OP*

        I’ve never used a BlackBerry either, but the only mobile number I’ve ever had for him is his personal one. I don’t even know the number for his BlackBerry. Honestly, it’s never occurred to me to treat it like a phone, maybe because I’ve never seen him answer a call on it (I guess I have a little telephone traditionalist in me after all!) I could ask if he’d prefer to communicate with me on that line. That would solve the whole problem on my end!

    2. Anonymous*

      Oh! My MIL has a Blackberry and the same thing happens. Somehow she replies to texts with emails. I didn’t realize that was some kind of setting. We rarely are communicating in any urgent fashion, so it never really bugged me, but I thought it was weird!

      1. Ellie H.*

        My roommate (who I think has an Android – I have a BlackBerry) once in a while texts me and it comes in as an email. There doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to how this works and I really don’t understand it.

    3. Ruffingit*

      I would think this might be the case, except that the OP has twice brought up to the boss that she’s no longer receiving texts from him as she did before and he’s hedged, claiming he’s not technologically savvy. So I don’t see a wrong setting being the problem here because he’s aware she’s not receiving texts from him and he’s tried to make excuses as to why that is so.

      1. Anonymous*

        He might have said something like “I don’t know what’s going on. I don’t know much about technology.” meaning “I’m sending them – idk why you’re not receiving them.”

        1. Ruffingit*

          At that point though, you’d think he’d check into it. I would. If everyone on my team was receiving my texts except one person, I’d get someone to help me with the phone to see what the problem might be. That’s why I think this guy is doing this on purpose. It just doesn’t make sense otherwise. She’s told him TWICE and he’s done nothing? No, something is wrong here. If it was simply accidental, he’d work with the OP to solve it.

          1. OP*

            Yup, that’s all true. Once, I went with the technical difficulties thing, chalked it up to him having a new phone, and said, “let me know if you want me to text you my number, just to make sure you have it for the next time [we need to reach each other by phone].” He agreed and did actually respond to acknowledge that message. When the next time eventually came, my phone was silent, but I got home to a couple of “change of plans, meet here instead” and “where are you?” emails.

            1. Ruffingit*

              So weird that he’d send e-mail for change of plans and where are you messages. That just makes no sense at all. I’d love for you to confront this guy and get to the real cause of this, although I know that may not be the smartest tact to take. It’s just so weird.

              1. fposte*

                There are so many AAM posts where I’d love to take one of the people involved into a locked room with a bright light and make them confess what the heck they were thinking.

    4. OP*

      He’s never expressed that preference, no, though I realize that he’s basically demonstrating a preference with his actions, and maybe I’m at fault for not getting the message (pardon the pun) and accepting the new, unwritten rules long ago. I guess I’ve held out because I know that he still texts other coworkers and because texting still is a way to successfully convey information, just not to get any back.

  10. Kerry*

    I text all the time in my personal life, but would hate it if it became common in my professional life.

    In addition to the reasons Alison mentions, they’re also still not all that reliable. Much better than they were five years ago, but there have still been recent situations I’ve been involved in where texts just weren’t received, or came through hours later for some reason.

  11. Allison (NOT AAM!)*

    I agree he had no business grabbing your phone, but I have a HUGE pet peeve about people texting at a dinner! If it was a group thing – (everyone agrees that so-and-so needs to know XYZ right now), that’s one thing – send the note and put the phone away, but to sit and text privately to someone else in the company of others is so incredibly rude to me. If it was a personal emergency, apologize and excuse yourself, but don’t sit and have other conversations at a function! It really indicates that the people you are actually with don’t deserve your respect and attention. Put the phone away.

    Yes, I too am a fuddy duddy. I don’t have problems with quick notes by text as the OP noted – meeting has moved, flight has arrived – but for anything that needs traceability, please email me. All it is is Common Sense and Respect.

    1. Judy*

      I get so POed at my husband for that. Not about texting, but reading emails on the phone, or whatever he’s doing. Even when it’s the two of us, he just reaches for the phone. He does it when we’re eating with the kids, with my parents, etc. He only does it in restaurants, never at home, which is odd to me.

      It’s one thing if the conversation takes a turn that would be what we call at work “a Google moment”, where something “needs” to be looked up to settle an argument. You know, what’s the top grossing film of all time, or who got the first patent on some obscure thing.

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      Yeah, I wondered if his behavior at dinner was an objection to her texting during dinner, and if “delete that text!” referred to the text she was in the process of typing … as in, he was making a statement about wanting her to quit texting while they were eating. (That was a rude way to make it, obviously, but I do wonder if that’s what it was.) But that wouldn’t explain his weird behavior that has followed.

      1. AllisonD*

        I wonder if his actions at dinner are a message to you …. were you actually texting during dinner with your boss? Why was your phone even out and on the table. Really??

        1. Marmite*

          I read it as he had sent a text to her, in error, and she was checking her phone because she’d just received a text message notification. If it was a work dinner it wouldn’t be out of place for all of them to have their phones on and to check them if they received calls or texts. I personally hate phones at meals, but in work situations it is sometimes expected.

          1. Jamie*

            Depends on the position as well. If I were at dinner with my boss and I ignored a text without checking who it is from it would be odd..because it could be an emergency (my server texts me when it’s down.)

            Company phone or not I’d be wildly offended if someone ripped my phone out of my hand and if it were my personal phone…that’s just egregious.

      2. OP*

        I can see how you could interpret it that way! To clarify, all three of us had our phones out at the table. Not excellent manners, but not an unusual practice when we’re traveling, working long days, and just grabbing an informal meal. I’m not much of a texter at all in my personal life—I think I was actually scrolling through pictures of my dog and feeling lame for not having a human at home to miss me! I was aware that my boss was typing away (clicky keyboard) opposite me. My coworker was next to me, looking at pictures his kids had sent him (he’d just showed some to us). All of a sudden, my boss dropped his phone and his hands shot across the table, seizing mine, effectively trapping my phone in my grasp for a second before he started prying my fingers away from it. I resisted. It was as if we were two-handed arm-wrestling, with both my hands on the inside. I pulled back, hard, and tried to twist away, until it struck me “this is my boss!” and he overpowered me. He started touching the screen, but I think he inadvertently closed the messaging app or opened something else and didn’t know how to get back to it. He was bright red and his hands were shaking. At this point, I was just stunned and basically paralyzed, I think I was beyond speech by then. My boss handed the phone back across the table to my coworker, who had the same device. I don’t remember if he offered to take it or if my boss was like, “here, take this,” but my boss started telling him “delete that message, just delete that message!” My coworker looked very serious, like he was trying to keep calm and get the situation under control. His eyes were darting over the screen, like he was trying not to look directly at anything long enough to read. Very quickly, he opened the messaging app and deleted the most recent thread. He held up the phone to show my boss that the message was gone. He didn’t let my boss take or even touch the phone though, which I appreciated at the time—it seemed like he was showing some respect for the fact that it belonged to me. My boss sighed a big, relieved sigh, and my coworker put the phone back in my hands. My boss, still bright red, said something by way of explanation (“I did NOT mean to send that!”) and I think his phone off before he put it aside. The atmosphere was very tense, and my instinct was “oh my gosh, was that about me?” I told myself I absolutely could not let myself start thinking like that, and it sunk in that the erroneous message probably had nothing to do with me…awkward. As though this wasn’t already awful without that connotation hanging over us. I thought: he made a mistake; we’re all embarrassed; there’s nothing to gain from making a further scene; and decided the best thing to do was to maintain my own professionalism in the moment and just move past it. And our meals came and we ate dinner and went to our hotel…and carried on.

        Oh, wow. It’s been a long time since I thought about it in detail. I’d forgotten how upsetting it was. My heart is pounding. I didn’t intend to relive it in writing or type so much…but that’s the whole story.

        1. Not so NewReader*

          Do you think your coworker would have insight? Can you talk with him confidentially?

          I think the boss’ level of reaction was alarming.

          I find it interesting that the coworker knew which text to delete. Perhaps it was obvious in the moment. I think the coworker knows some additional information.

          1. OP*

            I don’t think I’d trust my coworker to keep the confidence if I brought it up with him—after all, this was the person my boss trusted over me to destroy the evidence, and the loyalty could go both ways. And even if I could ask him, I’m not sure there’s much to gain by knowing the exact content of the text message, if my coworker even read it (I do think it was obvious in the moment that he should delete the most recent incoming message/the one with my boss’s name. When he returned my phone to me, the rest of my message history was all intact). Maybe I’m being naive, but I consider the content something of a red herring at this point.

            However, I’m coming to realize that the lack of trust as well as my lingering discomfort are bigger issues than I’d realized.

    3. OP*

      I give my boss and my coworkers and myself a pass on this when we’re traveling. Usually, we’re not at a formal function; we’ve been together and on the go all day and we’re sitting down to eat together because it’s convenient, not to discuss business or visit socially. It seems fine to spend the time while we’re waiting for drinks or food sending a few quick texts to someone at home, refreshing Instagram, or just gazing out the window. I actually appreciate that mini break. There’s no expectation for small talk and we all have a semi-private moment to relax and/or gear up for the next thing.

  12. Joey*

    I wonder if he got a mistress and she has the same name as you and he accidentally texted you instead of her. That would be the only thing I could think of that would explain all of this.

  13. Rindle*

    I feel like we’re not getting the whole story here. The dinner situation is too bizarre. This happened out of the blue? And the coworker just naturally complied with the “delete that text” directive? Not to mention, if I’m sitting at the dinner table holding my phone, I’m not going to have the reflexes or the wits to “wrestle” with a dining companion who takes it out of my hands. He’d easily snatch it – no wrestling required. Finally, if – as OP says s/he now thinks is the case – the boss had accidentally texted something inappropriate that he didn’t want OP to see, why wouldn’t the boss mind the coworker seeing the same text? This story doesn’t add up.

    1. LisaLyn*

      Yeah, I was wondering about the coworker thing, too. I mean, if it was something he didn’t want the OP to see, why was it ok for the coworker? Things that make you go hmm.

      1. Marmite*

        This occurred to me too, but I wonder if co-worker and boss are male and OP is female. Perhaps boss didn’t mind a bloke seeing his racy text but didn’t want a woman seeing it?

  14. Susan*

    I am not a big fan of texting with bosses or other coworkers.

    That said, am I the only one who doesn’t get the notion that “a text is less intrusive” or “a phone call demands you pay attention to me now” ? Phone, email, text are all basically the same – a way to make contact with another person on a topic of interest. I can ignore a ringing phone as well as an email notification as well as a text that pops up or vibrates. I can decide which ones I’m ready to respond to right away and which I’m not. The whole distinction on which is more or less intrusive is lost on me.

    1. Esra*

      If someone sends you a text, you have the message regardless. With a phone call, they may or may not leave a voicemail, and the expectation is an immediate response.

    2. JamieG*

      When someone calls me, my phone vibrates until their call gets sent to voicemail; I’m a little neurotic, and it’s really hard for me to ignore my phone going off if I can hear it. When someone texts me, my phone vibrates once and then it stops forever, so it takes a lot less effort to ignore it and keep doing what I was doing.

      There’s also the expectation that when someone calls you, you’ll answer – because they’re clearly still sitting on the phone waiting for you to pick up. With a text, it’s rude to ignore it for days or whatever, but the person isn’t necessarily watching their phone, waiting for a response.

      1. Chinook*

        You can also use a text to pass on information that is needed in a timely basis but doesn’t require a response. “Pick up milk on the way home” or “I’m in the lobby” are good examples.

        1. Rana*

          Yeah, that’s how I usually use texts – meeting up with people. Given that most of the time we’re arriving by way of public transit, or walking city streets with spotty reception, texts are the better way to go.

  15. Not so NewReader*

    “Boss, I feel that because I am not receiving your text messages, I am not able to respond to you as quickly as I would like. I would like to receive your text messages so I can stay on top of what is needed from me. What can we do to fix this?”

    Is there someone else in your group that would relay the boss’ texts for you?

    1. Ruffingit*

      Even if someone will relay the texts of the boss, it doesn’t fix the OP’s whole problem because the boss is not responding to communication specifically from her to the boss. He’s e-mailing instead. No other team member can help fix that problem, unfortunately.

  16. Katie the Fed*

    I’m a little lost on this because we can’t have cell phones where I work, but why doesn’t the OP sit down and ask the supervisor how he prefers to communicate on issues such as unexpected absences, etc.

  17. AllisonD*

    Why ever would you be at dinner with your boss and a colleague with your phone in your hands?

  18. Gene*

    “If we’re traveling and trying to meet up in a convention center, and I’m texting him “meet in the lobby?” and he’s emailing me “meet on the fifth floor,” we’re going to have a problem.”

    Have the problem. When he asks why you didn’t show on the 5th floor respond that you texted you were in the lobby and since you got no reply, you waited there for him for X minutes, then gave up on him and went to the bar. PRN until he gets it. Stop checking your email from your personal device – sepecially since your IT doesn’t want you to. If he responds to your text via email, don’t respond to that email until you get back to the office (or wherever you can check email from an approved device.)

    Sto rewarding the behavior and the behavior will stop.

    1. 22dncr*

      Amen Gene! I’ve always found that if you don’t let it break it will never get fixed. Some people will only respond to that. It’s scary and feels like you’re being a slacker but it’ll be for the best. He’s the one that decided to cut you out. So, be cut out and find out what the solution is.

  19. Spreadsheet Monkey*

    I don’t have anything to add that someone else hasn’t already said, but I do want to point out that this post is so reasonable (“I feel slighted at best, and at worst, discriminated against, not legally;” ” I know I can’t force him to text me;” “Even if there is no solution and I just have to carry on, it’d be great just to get this out of my own head a little bit and see it from someone else’s perspective.”), and a very welcome change from the drama of yesterday’s post.

    Bravo, OP, this is how to ask for advice. Thank you.

  20. Anon on this one*

    I’m sure other’s have posted stories about texting the wrong person and the nightmare it can cause. This has happen to me twice once I did it and the other time I was on the receiving end.

    First, I had the opposite happen to me. My children leave out for the bus stop around the same time I leave for work. They go to school out of district and I often have problem with their bus arriving late (upto 30-45min late in 15degree weather w/ below 2 windchill factor) especially doing the winter. And since I work fairly close, sometimes I’m able to run back home , take them to school if needed, or call the bus company to see what happen. So in the mornings when they forget to text me that they are on the bus I text them ‘are you on the bus’. Well my son’s name and my supervisor’s name starts with the same letter and *were* next to each other in my contacts on my phone. One day I accidentally sent ‘are you on the bus yet’ to my supervisor. I immediately went to her office and explained the situation. Luckily she and I already had an understanding about the issue with my kid’s bus situation– as I had to leave to take them to school a few times but I was so embarrassed. But to avoid that ever happening again and I have removed her name out of my contact list.

    The other time my “best” friend, one of her friends and I went on a 3 day vacation. The friend and I have had personality clashes from the jump (but we’re cordial) –so we decide to go on a vacation together. Anyway it all came to a head when we landed back in the states and were riding the airport shuttle back to *my* car . My phone dings, and I see sheer panic in my “best” friend’s eyes, I look down at my phone and it’s a text from my “best” friend, I open and read it, “she doesn’t have money to tip the shuttle? She’s just upset that she has to pick up her kids in (blank town) ” Needless to say it was long awkward drive home in *my* car. (Originally I was going to pay for the airport parking but definitely felt that I didn’t have to contribute to tip at our home airport since I drove the 2 hr to the airport in my car and wasn’t expecting any gas money–matter fact I was going to meet them at the airport but since I had the bigger vehicle my “best” friend asked if I would drive)…. anyway after they got all comfy in my car, I drove up to the cashier and looked at them and said “are you going to pay?” They paid. Then I pulled out the money I had stashed in my car to pay for parking, counted it and put it in my purse. I drove them back to my house, where the friend’s car was parked. After that it took a few months for my friend and I to rebuild our friendship and it’s still not 100%.

    1. Ruffingit*

      Wow. That was SO incredibly sh!tty of your “best” friend. Honestly, I don’t know that I would have bothered to rebuild the friendship. One thing you know for sure about her is that she has no problem trash talking you behind your back. So sorry that happened to you, but at least you have some insight into who this woman really is.

      I’m nosy so I’d like to know what the first conversation with your best friend was like after this incident.

      1. Jet Puffed Marshmallow*

        Well either I called her or she called me the next day. I remember she said something like she thought I was acting funny towards her. She explained how I was rude with her when she had asked me if I had change for a five dollars when we got on the shuttle. My “rude” response was “no, I don’t.” –Now after she asked me if I had change for five dollars, and I responded she then asked ‘if I had two dollars for the tip’. I responded “No. I don’t have any dollars” (which was true I only had twenties) at this point I had already noticed the that she was busy texting on her phone– as she had being doing in the airports. I then said that “she and Jane were ungrateful because I decided to drive my car to the airport and pay for the parking. (I originally planned to get dropped off at the airport) And I didn’t feel like I should have paid for the tip. And it was rude and ungrateful for you to ask me to contribute to the tip.”
        * (I forgot to add that I did tip the shuttle driver once I took out the money I had stashed for parking ”

        After that, the conversation got really heated but she then tried to blame Jane saying said how difficult she could be and Jane was the one who was having issues with me. Clearly the text message didn’t lie. I responded that “Any issues I had with the friend, I didn’t spend my weekend texting you about it, I was just enjoying myself on vacation–because Jane and I don’t have to be friends. We are grown ups?” It got really heated again and we had to revisit it later, then we met for lunch one day.

        Yeah, we’re in a weird place right now. We go out from time to time, we chat about difficulties at work but I definitely don’t see us planning anymore vacation together. This year she’s going with a completely different friend, and last year I went with my cousins. Honestly, I should have seen the red flag because one year she went to Hawaii, for her sister’s wedding, and she spent the entire time complaining to me about how rude her sister was to plan a wedding in Hawaii…I get that Hawaii is expensive but I didn’t understand why she couldn’t enjoy the moment. She had paid for it.

        1. Ruffingit*

          Thanks for satisfying my nosy curiosity! :) I’ve been there with issues like this and it’s hard. The friendships are never really the same after things like this. It sounds like this woman is quite negative and catty. Probably best that you haven’t vacationed with her again. Go with people who you can actually enjoy the time with. Why waste time off with jerks?

  21. FreeThinkerTX*

    I’m late to the conversation, but thought I’d tell my “wrong addressee” text story: I once received a naked pic of a male coworker when he thought he was sending it to his girlfriend. He was appropriately mortified, and I thought it was funny. I had deleted it as soon as my brain registered what it was., and told him not to worry about it, because he didn’t do it on purpose. . . and because he didn’t have anything that I hadn’t seen before. :-)

    I can imagine that the OP’s boss might’ve done something similar, or might’ve been sending something raunchy to a friend that the friend would’ve found funny [it’s not the kind of stuff I find funny, but my older brother and his friends love to send each other pics of things they’d be embarrassed to be caught looking at in public]. Since I’m used to that stuff from my brother, I probably would have teased my boss – gently – about it. Just to acknowledge it out loud so we could move on.

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