Please Help! Work Colleague Keeps Asking Me Uncomfortable Questions. What Should I Do?


#1

I am in the British Merchant Navy. I am currently going to college in preparation for my first trip at sea. Everybody in my class knows I am a practicing Catholic; they know that I regularly go to Church and I regularly discuss my faith with class members.

However, one classmate constantly asks questions about my sexual past. He always asks about my sex life and the types of women I like. These questions make me uncomfortable because I haven’t dated since 2007 when I became committed to my faith. I haven’t been with any women since that time, and I am striving to live a chaste life until I find a good Catholic woman. I am also discerning a call to the priesthood so sex really isn’t at the top of my list of priorities at the moment.

I feel embarrassed when he asks these questions and I wish he would stop. He doesn’t believe in God so he wouldn’t understand my reasons for striving to practice chastity. What should I do about this? What should I tell him?

Please help me with this because it’s causing me a lot of stress at the moment. Thanks


#2

You are already open with your faith. An honest response would likely not surprise him. That response should be, “Sex outside marriage is a sin. That is because God made all people with dignity, so I do not look at women as merely objects to fulfill my sexual appetites.”

He should get the point.


#3

You are already open with your faith. An honest response would likely not surprise him. That response should be, “Sex outside marriage is a sin. That is because God made all people with dignity, so I do not look at women as merely objects to fulfill my sexual appetites.”

I agree with everything you have written, but I am afraid that I would come across as a ‘religious nut’ if I responded like that. I also think it would trigger a whole conversation about the Catholic views of sexuality, and I don’t feel comfortable sharing that aspect of my faith; I don’t want to be ridiculed.


#4

[quote="Dempsey1919, post:3, topic:195620"]
I agree with everything you have written, but I am afraid that I would come across as a 'religious nut' if I responded like that.

[/quote]

You are right. You will be looked at in this way. But that, while uncomfortable, is not a bad thing at all.

The next time it comes up, tell him just what you posted here, "I am striving to live a chaste life until I find a good Catholic woman." Also tell him that you will not answer nor discuss sexual situations with him any further.

If he continues to ask, just ignore him.


#5

Why in the world is he asking such intimate questions of you (or anyone)?? You are under NO obligation to answer such intrusive, personal questions. I do understand you want to give him some answer to make him go away....why not simply stare at him the next time and after a moment, ask (a bit loudly), "*Why on earth *would you need to know that or ask me that?" Then continue to stare at him. In my experience a reply like that tends to make the questioner uncomfortable enough to stop and leave you alone. Especially if you ask it loudly enough that others around you can hear it. Ask him that in an insistent but polite way - not in a sarcastic or mean way. (Which from the tone of your message, I do not believe you would do.)

I wish more young men took their sexual lives so seriously. Some woman will someday be very lucky to have you for a husband. .....or the Church will be exceedingly blessed to have you as a religious!!!:thumbsup:


#6

Perhaps you could tell him that you don't discuss certain aspects of your private life with other people. End of story. If after that he asks again you could just ignore him-excuse yourself and walk away. The guy sounds seriously rude and immature.


#7

Thanks for your replies.

This individual has made me feel very uncomfortable at work because of these constant questions and remarks. The questions are bad enough but the way he asks them is even worse; he uses disgusting words and goes into explicit detail about his sex life; he treats women as if they are nothing but tools for sexual pleasure.

I think I’ll do what everyone has suggested here. The only way I’ll be able to put an end to the questions is if I am honest; I’ll say something like:

I haven’t had a girlfriend since 2007 when I became a committed Catholic. You know that I am religious and that I am serious about my faith. I don’t sleep around and I don’t want to sleep around. It’s my life and it is my decision. Now that I’ve answered your question, I’d appreciate it if you would mind your own business.

Has anybody else been made to feel uncomfortable at work because of their Catholic faith?


#8

Perhaps you could tell him that you don't discuss certain aspects of your private life with other people. End of story. If after that he asks again you could just ignore him-excuse yourself and walk away. The guy sounds seriously rude and immature.

I really dislike this individual because he is very immature, and he is very uncouth. I always try to be very nice to him but it is sometimes difficult. I've blushed at some of his questions because they make me feel so uncomfortable; I'm not embarrassed by my faith, but I was afraid of what others would think. I've been embarrassed several times and I'm getting sick of it. I have nothing to be embarrassed about and I am not bothered about what others think.


#9

In the United States, what the guy is doing would be called sexual harassment and creating a hostile work environment.

I like this response best:

why not simply stare at him the next time and after a moment, ask (a bit loudly), “Why on earth would you need to know that or ask me that?” Then continue to stare at him. In my experience a reply like that tends to make the questioner uncomfortable enough to stop and leave you alone. Especially if you ask it loudly enough that others around you can hear it.

Don’t tell him you haven’t had a girlfriend since 2007 - he’ll just continue to mock you. Tell him that what he is doing is crude and unprofessional and none of his business.

Betsy


#10

Don't tell him you haven't had a girlfriend since 2007 - he'll just continue to mock you. Tell him that what he is doing is crude and unprofessional and none of his business.

You're right, it is none of his business and I shouldn't really have to explain myself. He shouldn't be asking these questions in the first place. He can clearly see that they make me uncomfortable. I'll explain that I am a Catholic and that I do not sleep around. That is all I will say. I don't have to explain myself or go into any more detail.

Thanks very much everyone. You've made me feel much better!


#11

Any time he asks that, firmly say “that’s a personal question” and don’t say anything at all. Don’t explain yourself, don’t tell him why you don’t want to answer it, if he repeats himself just say again that it’s a person question. If he asks you why it’s a personal question, say it just is.

Don’t ask him not to ask you these questions, don’t explain yourself or tell him anything about your past.

PervyGuy: Did you do X with women
You: That’s a personal question (keep silent)
PervyGuy: Why, is it because of your faith?
You: It just is
PervyGuy: How about Y, did you do Y
You: That’s a personal question (keep silent)
PervyGuy: How about Z?
You: I think I already answered that (keep silent)

You just have to be firm and unapologetic about it. You don’t owe him information about yourself or an explanation about why you’re not sharing. I’ve had people ask me weird stuff that I didn’t want them to know, I would just say it’s personal and keep silent even as they waited for me to say more.


#12

Personally, I’d have asked him why he was so anxious to learn about my sex life and then implied that it was perhaps he a) had a tough time with the ladies and wanted tips or b) because he’s attracted to me and is trying to find the right way to ask if I’m gay.

Crude? Ribald? Certainly. Kind? Generous? Particularly Christian? No. But would implying that he’s so interested in your sex life because he’s gay and has the hots for you get him off your back? Likely.


#13

You just have to be firm. I've had people ask me weird stuff that I didn't want them to know, I would just say it's personal and keep silent even as they waited for me to say more.

Thanks. This is good advice. I'm a very private person; I don't open up and share intimate details with people I don't know very well. My close family and friends all know about my life and my faith, but I tend to keep others at arm's length (until I get to know them properly). I'm just not the type of person who likes to broadcast everything; I like to mind my own business. I think this is why his questions have made me feel so uncomfortable.


#14

I think he has an interest in you. Everybody I’ve know that asks these kinds on questions of other men have something in common. I would be blunt and honest and distance myself from him.


#15

I think he has an interest in you. Everybody I've know that asks these kinds on questions of other men have something in common. I would be blunt and honest and distance myself from him.

It's interesting that you should mention this...

I have heard others in the class jokingly question his sexuality because he regularly mentions homosexuality. I don't think he's gay because he's had relationships with women in the college. However, he has a "bromance" relationship with another man in the class; they regularly cuddle each other and touch each other playfully; in fact, they're inseparable; they are always together. His "friend" has just broke up with his girlfriend recently.


#16

[quote="Dempsey1919, post:15, topic:195620"]
It's interesting that you should mention this...

I have heard others in the class jokingly question his sexuality because he regularly mentions homosexuality. I don't think he's gay because he's had relationships with women in the college. However, he has a "bromance" relationship with another man in the class; they regularly cuddle each other and touch each other playfully; in fact, they're inseparable; they are always together. His "friend" has just broke up with his girlfriend recently.

[/quote]

Touching? Cuddling? And not in a "I'm going to act gay this one time to make you uncomfortable in front of people so we can all get a good laugh" sort of way? Yeah, that's not a bromance there pal......


#17

[quote="Dempsey1919, post:15, topic:195620"]
It's interesting that you should mention this...

I have heard others in the class jokingly question his sexuality because he regularly mentions homosexuality. I don't think he's gay because he's had relationships with women in the college. However, he has a "bromance" relationship with another man in the class; they regularly cuddle each other and touch each other playfully; in fact, they're inseparable; they are always together. His "friend" has just broke up with his girlfriend recently.

[/quote]

Verrrrrry suspicious...........

Just because he has had sexual relationships with women does NOT mean he is not gay. I think we all know that. So all his activity with his "boy-friend" makes me highly suspicious......

I agree with NOT telling your last romance was in 2007. That is NONE of his business and would only fuel the fires of his harrassment. I say stick with the advice I gave and others gave of keeping your personal life to yourself and loudly stating to him that you do NOT understand why he needs to ask you these things!

BTW: Yes - I have had someone bother me at work about being a Catholic. But he was a sort of Pentocostal and felt that Catholics were going to go to hell. He bugged me unti l threatened to report him and go to a lawyer for workplace harrassment. He stopped.


#18

[quote="The_Bucket, post:12, topic:195620"]
Personally, I'd have asked him why he was so anxious to learn about my sex life and then implied that it was perhaps he a) had a tough time with the ladies and wanted tips or b) because he's attracted to me and is trying to find the right way to ask if I'm gay.

[/quote]

Thanks, you beat me to it. :thumbsup:


#19

[quote="Dempsey1919, post:1, topic:195620"]
I feel embarrassed when he asks these questions and I wish he would stop. He doesn't believe in God so he wouldn't understand my reasons for striving to practice chastity. What should I do about this? What should I tell him?

[/quote]

How about "Why on earth do you need to know my sexual history? Are you thinking of proposing marriage to me?" :shrug:


closed #20

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.