I’d like your opinion on something I witnessed recently. It didn’t directly involve me so beyond discouraging others from gossiping about it to me I haven’t voiced my opinion on the matter, but I’d like to know if my instinctive disgust at what happened is justified.
A colleague of mine – let’s call her Maisie – is very attractive. Another colleague – we’ll call him Lloyd – is markedly less so, not because of how he looks or because he’s unpleasant but just because he is awkward and lacks the social skills and natural charisma that make Maisie so popular. Lloyd’s almost childlike approach to asking Maisie out is perhaps indicative in itself of his difficulty with social interactions.
About a week ago, Lloyd brought into the office a bag of carefully wrapped presents and gave them to Maisie. He went to great effort to catch her alone, and one can only imagine the gut-wrenching nervousness he must have felt in giving the gifts to her and in asking her out.
So far so excruciatingly awkward, but it’s Maisie’s reaction I find awful. Anybody except Lloyd himself could have predicted that Maisie wasn’t remotely interested in going out with him, but she gave an ambiguous answer and accepted the gifts. When Lloyd had left she opened them, and spent the rest of the day telling everybody she could find what had happened and what Lloyd had given her. Only the following morning did she actually find Lloyd to tell him she didn’t want to go out with him – and give back his gifts.
I don’t even know where to start on the list of things about this that are awful – I’m disgusted by Maisie’s actions, and almost as disgusted by many of our mutual colleagues who’ve gleefully played their part in the humiliation of this man. Before now I’d never have said Maisie was a nasty or malicious person, but I struggle to believe anyone could be naive enough to be so callously cruel just through thoughtlessness or ignorance. I keep trying to tell myself that perhaps Lloyd himself acted badly in a way I don’t know about – but I can’t see anything he could have done to which Maisie’s actions would be the appropriate response.
I find myself wanting as little as possible to do with Maisie now. What do you think? Am I right to be disgusted about this? 1007-14
Some grace could be given for Maisie’s reaction to an awkward situation but her choosing to gossip like a nasty hag was unnecessary and cruel. Lloyd may be socially awkward but what he did was meant in kindness. You now know Maisie’s perspective regarding respecting her co-workers enough to not expose them to ridicule. Anyone with a lick of sense wouldn’t trust her in the future to not gossip negatively about themselves.