Workplace dilemma


I’m not sure if this is right forum and apologize if I am in the wrong place. I did a pretty stupid thing the other day and I would like any advice I can get.

I take a certain medicine that helps with a condition I have. If I don’t get the right dosage apparently I can start making bad decisions. I’m not sure if it all the medicine’s fault. I think part of the problem is certain character flaws that I possess. Anyway my doctor lowered the dosage to see if I still needed it after the couple of years I have been taking it and after a few weeks I started to have judgment problems.

Well what happened is I was interested in a girl that I work with. Infatuated I think. Well I was off work and was thinking about her and I ended up googling her and looking at her public profiles. I don’t know what possessed me to do it but I found some stuff that was sexually themed so I wrote her on facebook, this long letter telling her about what I had found and that I thought it was a bad idea to post this stuff online because of predators and such unless it is behind an anonymous profile. She is 19. I am so embarrassed just writing this. I really thought this was a good idea at the time. Well she wrote back about 60 messages and shared a lot of info with me about her personal life, past, relationships and such. At the end she said what I had written made her feel very uncomfortable and asked me why I had done this. I wrote back and told that I thought she was very attractive and that I thought I was reaching out to her because I was a little out of touch with reality (I am 20 years older than her) and needed a reality check. She asked on what and I told her that a few reasons why I thought I was basically out of touch with reality, too old, work at the same place, etc. She didn’t respond back. So I didn’t write anything more. I knew I was having medicine problems so I corrected my dosage.

Well a week went by and I didn’t really connect with her at work except for work stuff. Finally we happened to be in the same place and I asked her if I had caused a problem with what I wrote. She said yes and I apologized sincerely and I thought it would be OK. A couple of more weeks went by and I started talking with her and we started getting along well.

Yesterday I found out in that first week or so she had talked with our Boss about my messages and was worried it might be problem if I got an upcoming promotion and she was worried that I might keep writing her at the time and she was worried she would have to tell me to stop. My messages were too much an invasion of privacy themselves. Well the Boss had to report it HR and they started the ball rolling on the complaint. I talked with my Boss about it yesterday and I learned that she didn’t really want to proceed with the complaint after she got a chance to start speaking with her. She saw that there was no threat like she had originally thought there might be. But HR kept the ball rolling anyway until my Boss talked to me about the situation. Apparently she said she is completely comfortable talking to me and being around me at work and has no problem with me. Well, I am not allowed to speak to her about the complaint and she can’t talk to me about it so we can’t really clear the air. I asked if I could just talk to her normally and they want me to just act like nothing has happened. I have not seen her yet since they told me about the complaint. I’ll see her Friday at work. She knows they talked to me.

Well, despite my stupidity with the internet messages, we started to hit it off over the past couple weeks, I think, with a friendship. Well, I am worried she will think I am mad and I’m not. I think she saw some potential for a problem and just wanted to check her options with the Boss. I know my Boss well and I’m pretty sure he involved HR because he said that after she told him about it he “had to tell HR”. I gathered from things the Boss said that she had tried to put the brakes on it. Well I’m in a situation where if I am friendly to her it might seem like I am being friendly because I have to be, with HR standing over my head ready to smack me down for “retaliation”. I want to communicate to her that I am totally fine that she moved to protect herself and that I am genuinely friendly with her because I want to be not because I am being forced to be. Otherwise our friendship might not grow because she might njot be able to trust my smile nor I hers, since my Boss and HR, did a pretty good job of making me doubt that she truly likes me and she might have just been friendly this past couple of weeks to avoid being persecuted by me. How do I find out if I can really be friends with her? Is it a lost cause? Should I just nod and smile and say “Hi, how are ya” in passing with out looking for any more depth like HR and the Boss want me to do? I feel like it might be on me to say something this Friday because I if I say nothing then she will probably think I am resentful.


Just say hello. Don’t say anything to her that is not required by your job. This is not someone whom you should purse any kind of personal friendship with at this time. The risk would be too great. Find someone else to talk to.


You don’t have a friendship. You can’t be friends with her. Stop thinking about her. Stop trying to think of ways to talk to her. Stop imagining some scenario where you have a friendship that will “grow”. You don’t.

Be professional at work, and that is it. End of story.


I want to say something more than hello though. I don’t want to put myself at risk but I do want to reassure her that I’m not unhappy about her decisions. We were just talking last week about getting ahead in the job and how to get recognition. What if I found an opportunity to say something about how I think she makes good decisions? Is this tact, where I say she makes good decisions in a way that I am talking about one thing but since it is the next day we meet after I have been informed of the complaint that she would understand that I think this in light of the complaint, a bad approach?


As 1ke said, don’t. Sorry, but given your situation, you should only interact with her if she initiates the conversation, and even then, you should be careful.


No offense, but it seems a little creepy that you want to have a relationship with this girl. She is 19 and you are 39? Just think, only 2 short years ago she was only 17; a minor. Technically, you are old enough to be her father. Creepy from her standpoint to be sure. I say this from experience as I had older men bothering me at work when I was in my early twenties. I only saw them as creepy people, not someone I wanted to be friends with. I was always nice to them, smiled, and small talk if they initiated it at work because I had to be nice and get along, but I certainly didn’t want anything to do with them outside of work.

Just leave her alone and find someone closer to your age to date. You can join a dating website to find someone. Keep your personal life and work separate.


Yeah, at this point she’s bad mojo. Stay away. Don’t try to fix anything with her. You have the right to remain silent. Exercise that right. Anything you do or say may be held against you.

If she’s 19, and you’re 20 years older, that puts you at…39. I’m a little older than you are, and I sometimes interact with college interns at work. If you don’t have a natural “wall of separation,” you better build one quick. And it’s not just her who may be uncomfortable: women in the workplace can sense an older guy orbiting around a young woman. They **will **label you.

But what does your interaction with her outside of the workplace have to do with HR? How can she file a complaint over something that occurred over the 'net and on your own time?

HR has no jurisdiction over this whatsoever. I’m not a labor relations lawyer, but I can’t imagine that personnel policies have any role here.

This is kind of fishy.


The whole company is a little fishy.


When I’m interviewing interns, particularly women, I never do it in my office, only in the conference room. Usually my secretary is with me (because she’s nosy).

If they’re “hired,” I never try to be their friend. I say hello. I will be conversational, but I never ask them about their personal lives unless they bring it up. Then I stick to polite questions.

I talk to them as any manager would who is acting like an on-the-job teacher/instructor/mentor. If I show any enthusiasm about them it’s about their work assignments or college courses.


I was once falsely accused of sexual harassment. I don’t think there were any formal complaints, but the HR person told me to avoid the woman. I had never had more than a polite conversation with the woman. In the few weeks prior to the complaint, I hadn’t said more than “hello,” to her.

I left the place a couple months later. About a year afterward, a young guy who worked there called me to ask if the woman had ever accused me of harassment–she had filed the same complaint against him and he was completely blindsided by it. :rolleyes:


Eh, maybe you all are right. Maybe I should just ignore her now unless she needs me for something work related. Maybe she will think I resent her and if everything goes right I will soon be promoted above her. I hated to think she would have this uncomfortable feeling about me esp. as her boss but what can I do? Nothing. I could just be polite and cold. I thought there was a way to do better than that but maybe it is too risky.


Stop looking for “opportunities” to “say something”.

If you have to actually work on something that requires collaboration with her, then talk about work. Otherwise, say hello, say goodbye, hold the door for her, smile. That’s it.


My Boss told me that the reason she initially came to him was because she was worried about having a bad work relationship with me since I was coming up on the promotion. If I just stop having friendly conversation with her, like we have been, and just start telling her what to do in an impersonal way, you really think that is best? Rather than trying to find a way to put her at ease?


Maybe I am just being a creepy old guy. If I am talking to her and she is just playing along like she is friendly but really doesn’t want to have anything to do with me, how would I know that? About her or anyone that is young. I guess I forget how young people look at 40 year olds since it has been a long while since I was that age and being the ‘old guy’ is just becoming an issue for me. I’m like at a transition point between youth and old age and perhaps I am not young enough to be seen as young and not old enough to feel like an old guy yet.


I’m in a weird way about it. I’ve never had a workplace problem before in my life and maybe it is my nature to try to fix the problem to suit myself. All of the employees work around each other so it would seem odd for me to be friendly and chatty with everyone but her but maybe that suits her. You guys seem to think so.


Dude, you’ve posted 7 posts on this in the last three hours. The last three you were basically talking to yourself.

Yes, you are obsessing. Yes, it is creepy. Give is space. Give it time. Don’t “try” to do anything. Just let it rest.

And see your doctor and maybe a counselor about your lack of judgment/impulse control when not on this medication.


I’m sitting here at the computer having a conversation with the other posters and watching TV. Please stop. I don’t know what happened to you but it doesn’t have anything to do with me. Your mind was made up long before you read my posts. It is obvious. You made your opinion known time and again, now you give your controlling attitude a rest. I’ve got till Friday to decide how to handle this real situation. You say fake smile and cold politeness. Got it.


If you three consecutive posts were in response to others it would be advisable for you to quote the comment that you are replying to. It does look like you are talking to yourself. And 1Ke is giving you sound advice, the same advice that I have. Leave her be.



I just don’t think being impersonal is going to cut it. I get where you guys are coming from but I can’t see treating this woman like I don’t know her anymore. I screwed up but talking and laughing with everyone else and then treating her like I don’t want to have anything to do with her isn’t going to work. That is only going to create the situation that she was hoping to avoid. Nah. I can do better than this. I’ll find a way to put her concerns to ease by Friday and help create a pleasant work environment for her.


This whole situation is a lawsuit waiting to happen. :popcorn:

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