Ostracism at work, and choosing loyalties. Help?


#1

I had no idea where to put this thread? Its not about family but work, and so doesnt fit in the family forum. Anyway here goes. Please forgive the two posts.

I am in a real dilemma.

I am friends with 2 people I love dearly. We all worked together until recently when one left. One of them has had issues, psychological.

When I joined the place I had no idea what the dynamics were. But I noticed that he was very much ostracized. So I befriended him. The culture of the place is such that there is a work clique that excludes people from social activities. I am often one of the excluded ones. It is so so sooo painful that I have cried at least once a week for the past 2 months. The women especially exclude me. They will exhange short niceties on the halkways but then will ‘block’ their gaze and look away shunningly if they are in a group chatting and I try to approach. They will talk about lunches and weekend activities they had together that they all attended but did not invite me. Once i even heard about the plans beforehand and ecpressed a desire to go but they didnt involve me anyhow.

I never thought Id still feel this awful about being left out at my age but there you go. I am in my early 30s. I should add that I recently lost my father and i live in an entirely new place where I moved for my job and dont know anybody outside of work. I am also not the most outgoing.

Anyway, I have heard them shunning another coworker guy too. Excoriating him to others for posting an unwanted facebook birthday wish witj a joke which everyone else was doing. He wasnt allowed to apparently because only friends were allowed to joke. I thought it harmless. At most one could ignore or rather than talk loudly to coworkers about it in a way that diminished him in their eyes in my view.

When i asked once why this guy was unwanted, i was given reasons i thought very superficial: He sometimes spoke to himself or coughed annoyingly. Personally thatvwould only make me want to not spend too much time if i was sensitive to weird noises but this person said it has reached a point that they hate the person and if he says hi they look away and dont day hi back.

Bottom line, there is a culture of excluding people. It is not bullying perse but it feels just as awful.

Continued in next post…


#2

Back to my two friends. The one with psychological issurs accused the other of some form of sexual harrassment. The group was so mad they basically shunned him for life. This is the point in which I came in, noticed the isolation and befriended him.

In our conversations, he has never seemed crazy. He seems frankly honest in an almost child-like way. But i think he has problems understanding context and so can misread things. For this reason from the way he describes it, i have never thought he was sexually harrassed at least by that guy.

The accused guy is part of the ‘clique’ but has always been gracious to me. I love him. Hes great. Now that was a while ago when the whole thing went down.

Our ‘unstable’ shunned friend (he was the most shunned) was recently let go. He became very angry feeling that the admin had gotten him to quiet down about the issue and then waited for an opportunity to release him. He then made all this comments on social media that are just crazy. When i spoke to him in concern i learnt about the letting go and then he started pouring his heart out about all the shunning, not just his own but others. He said many things. A lot I disagreed with. But I could not disagree with many of his complaints having both witnessed it and endured it. I also knew how hurtful it was.

In any case, at some point in the course of these days of dealing with the letting go, he became convinced that he must revive the old harrassment claim because he was convinced that it was the reason for his shunning by collegues and the boss and for his letting go which i kinda believe because i had heard from another co-worker close to our boss that she hated the guy ever since the complaint because he risked the image of the company.i didnt say this to him though.

Now this guy complains that they did not care about him at all, only about the image and regrets having let things cool because he only endured it because of the assurance of the job. At least thats his claim.

He then took the matter public and involved law enforcement…pretty serious stuff. And devasted those people mentioned who will now be on that record.

At the time I was listening to him vent and he said he was going to do something, i got really scared thinking he meant violence which he laughed off when i tried to talk him out of it. The next day at around noon he announced abruptly that he will report the matter. I at first didnt disagree with him because I didnt know what to say but called my mom quickly for advice and she advsed me to tell him directly not to seek revenge. I contacted him and asked him not to in a soft manner, letting him know it will not help him and that he would hurt the guys mentioned. I named them one by one. He insisted that he HAD to tell the truth because the company protects its image over people and told me point blanck he wouldnt lie for any of those guys. I wasnt asking him to lie, just to not proceed with the issue. I even suggested he get a labour attorney to negotiate better terms for him with the company rather than use this harrasment case. He eventually said he wasnt interested in money but in truth and was convinced that his action would somehow make things better for others in future. I called him twice more but he was determined and i realized he wouldnt be dissuaded.

I then wondered if I should betray his confidence and warn my other friends but wondered what good it would do besides allowing them to worry early and impotently?

At that point I received messages alerting me to a social media message he had sent announcing his intent to proceed with tjat action. I was horrified and relieved. Relieved because i knew they knew already and because I was no longer burdened with the decision to betray one persons confidence in order not to betray another’s friendship. Absolutely horrified because it was the point of no return. And also horrified for the guys involved.

In any case he has been sent away and at work I no longer must chose. Everyone is solidly behind the accused guy as am I, because i genuinely think that my other friend misread things even though I wasnt there. But they hate the accuser. I fear for my own place at work but I am unable to act like I hate him. Because I dont. I partly blame the longterm treatment by the group for that unempathic reaction on his part. He is not capable of feeling sorry for the people who made him feel so bad for so long. But I totally get their anger. What he did was serious. But now that he is gone, for my own sake, should I pretend that I dont cate about him either? How much should i betray him to survive here where I am already suffering?

I was unabke to lie. It just felt wrong.


#3

I would:

a) start looking for another job

b) once I had another job, refuse to become involved in any kind of a soap opera

c) do my work, get paid, go home, use my time away from work for going to Mass, spending time with family and friends, pursuing personal goals, relaxing


#4

Try to find friends outside of work. Are you interested in anything? Mountain-climbing, knitting, wine-tasting? There’s a group for that! And volunteer somewhere that seems according to your talents: Sunday School, soup kitchen, tutoring poor children, a senior center…

Be pleasant to all your co-workers. Stop wanting to be “in” with them: you know they are not very nice people. Don’t discuss your friend who’s no longer there, just say you need to get back to work whenever the conversation gets uncomfortable.

You have no idea what happened between the accuser and the accused. Remain uninvolved at work; just say you have to get back to work of the conversation gets uncomfortable.


#5

Do not get embroiled into the situation. You can not change it, esp. as you don’t know the facts involved. Instead “Kill them with Kindness,” and pray for them, one and all. The idea of seeking other employment seems to be a good idea, if possible. Stuff on FB can not be counted on as accurate, but the reality of the poster, right or wrong. Pray. Peace.


#6

Your post reminded me of the movie Mean Girls.

Honestly, some people never advance beyond high school.

Women especially like to play the exclusive clique games that I find incredibly immature.

I would find it flattering that they do not include you in their clique. It means you are not as immature or as shallow as they are.

Meanwhile look for another job and/or live your social life elsewhere.


#7

I got a headache reading this post.

Letting peopke at work know that you are friendly with people who are planning to sue the company and gossips and posts on fb about it is not wise…if you are concerned with the stability or safety of the workplace, you report it in confidence .

Do you actually think talking about legal stuff that may affect the other people at work negatively will somehow get you included and liked more at this job?

The best topics at work are work, fun things you did on the weekend and trivial things …not defending a person who was ket go and has problems because then it becomes your problem at work too…avoid these conversations, and do not add to them.

Your personal opinions do not have to be shared. Be professionally courteous with everyone and avoid topics like this at work.


#8

:amen:


#9

Yes, I am trying to make friends outside my department. But for those who suggest not being friendly with the let go guy…is that Christian? Would Jesus abandon someone just because he was dismissed from work or has psychological problems?


#10

As far as I know, no one said not to be friends with person of interest. Just to be very careful of what you say, post and try not to get in over your head as you don’t seem to be a skilled consular. Sometimes the best intentions go awry. Peace.


#11

You can be friendly with the person threatening legal action. Be careful, though. Be aware that you may be questioned during any lawsuit or legal action. I would not tell anyone else about at work about continuing contact with him.


#12

I just wanted to come back here and give a small update. I have stopped talking to the guy who was let go for my own job security. I guess it makes me a coward.

But I keep wondering if I should stay in this environment which I now see is very toxic. There are enough nice people but when you are made to feel like an outsider, it just bums ypu out. In the holiday my spirits were up, I was making all sorts of resolutions. One of them was to keep a respectful distance from the cliquish people. But on my first day back, we were at a table having lunch, one of the females I spoke of earliet came by with a question. I hadnt seen her for a while so I said Hi smiling enthusiastically. Before I could say happy new year, she totally ignored me and continued to talk to the rest at the table as if I wasnt there. It sort of shocked me but I decided to assume that she was so into her question that she didnt realize I had greeted her, so I continued to engage in the conversation. She kept treating me as if I was invisible, so I quit and then and there made a decision that I’d had it and would not be talking to this person again. She must have realized the change in attitude because she started tryin to be sweet in a still distant way which to me felt like a sick little game.

My realization is that my work makes me miserable. I mean, I dont enjoy the job itself but can get by if the people are nice. But I come back from holiday hsppy and full of positivity and on the first day, someone makes me not want to go back there again. I guess my question is how do you handle a person like this? Would it really be contrary to charity or just common decency if I just never talk to her again? She later tried to send me a weird sweet text as if we were best friends all of a sudden, right after that blatant rudeness. I did not ignore it but I did answer in the most neutral fashion possible. I could not bring myself to play that funny game anymore. But since, we meet on the corridor, I look away and so does she. Is that childish? I am genuinely in a space where I feel I would be better off if I saw as little of these people as possible.


#13

This is the best advice and that I would do.


#14
  1. Take the high road, you don’t have to be friends with your co-workers, but you do need to be civil (even if they aren’t). Don’t give them a reason to complain to your superiors about your behavior.

  2. Look for another job.


#15

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