Author Topic: Keeping it Professional  (Read 4884 times)

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Wicked10

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Keeping it Professional
« on: August 18, 2011, 03:08:22 PM »
Long time lurker here.  I'm going to try to keep this brief, as if I included all the background details it would literally be a novel and I don't want to bore you with probably useless details.

Background: I am taking a technical theatre program in college.  This program is quite small, as in less than 30 in my year, something around 60 - 70 altogether.  We are a very tight knit group, took all of the same classes in the first year, and while in the second year students branch into their specialties (Properties, sets, costumes, etc.), we still take many classes altogether.

Last year I was friends with a guy L in my program.  I was interested in nothing more than a friendship, especially as I had a boyfriend at the time.  Throughout the year it became clear that he was interested in more, an idea I did not encourage.  Toward the end of the school year, L had a blowup at me, the result of which was myself being no longer interested in even a friendship with him.  I made this perfectly clear to him, and politely but coldly deflected his attempts to rekindle the friendship.  End Background.

All was well up until about a week ago when I received multiple drunk texts from L, to the tune of "Hey beautiful," "How you doing gorgeous?" etc.  This came as a shock to me, as L had not done anything like this even before I had put an end to the friendship.  I should have just ignored the messages, but felt I needed to tell him that this type of behaviour was not welcome, intoxicated or not, which I did and then went to bed.  In the morning I had a message on my phone from the night before straight up asking if I was single (FTR I currently am, and am quite content). This went unanswered.  Later that day I received the "sort of but not really" apology message basically attempting to excuse his behaviour because he was drunk and that he wouldn't talk to me anymore.  This, again, was not answered.

Now, onto the question.  Because of the close nature of my program, I am going to have to interact with L throughout the upcoming school year.  How do I keep all conversations professional in nature?  I do not wish to speak with him about anything other than matters of the program.  How can I politely deflect personal questions or potential advances?

Thank you in advance E-Hellions, any advice you have is greatly appreciated.

guihong

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Re: Keeping it Professional
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2011, 04:14:28 PM »
You gave your answer.  "I don't wish to speak to you about anything except matters regarding the program". 

Act as if absolutely nothing happened, no drunk texting, nothing.  If he makes an advance, tell him coldly "No".  Don't worry so much about being polite-safety is first.



auntiem

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Re: Keeping it Professional
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2011, 06:02:51 PM »
Normally I'd say be blunt, however in this instance I think you have to be as professional and delicate as possible. The reason is that your field is a small community even out of college. Many jobs are gotten by word of mouth and kept based on your ability to not only do great work, but be immune to this kind of drama. It is the nature of the biz that you will run into the most redunkulous drama-lama, ego temper fueled bs not only from the actors (whom you expect it from) but also the crew (who are supposed to be the sane ones ha ha).
I'd suggest saying something lighthearted about the drunk texting and suggesting that you both forget it ever happened because you would like to keep your personal and professional life seperate and def. aren't looking to date anyone in the program right now if ever. You don't have to be his friend, but if you can help him save face and work on your relationship as a professional collegues it will serve you in the future in ways you don't know yet.
My answer might change if I knew what he blew up at you for last year.

Good luck on the program! What specialty are you going into?

Wicked10

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Re: Keeping it Professional
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2011, 07:28:22 PM »
Normally I'd say be blunt, however in this instance I think you have to be as professional and delicate as possible. The reason is that your field is a small community even out of college. Many jobs are gotten by word of mouth and kept based on your ability to not only do great work, but be immune to this kind of drama. It is the nature of the biz that you will run into the most redunkulous drama-lama, ego temper fueled bs not only from the actors (whom you expect it from) but also the crew (who are supposed to be the sane ones ha ha).
I'd suggest saying something lighthearted about the drunk texting and suggesting that you both forget it ever happened because you would like to keep your personal and professional life seperate and def. aren't looking to date anyone in the program right now if ever. You don't have to be his friend, but if you can help him save face and work on your relationship as a professional collegues it will serve you in the future in ways you don't know yet.
My answer might change if I knew what he blew up at you for last year.

Good luck on the program! What specialty are you going into?

The bolded is my main concern.  I don't want this to go sourly and possibly colour me in a bad light.  Word moves through the theatre community obscenely fast(I have personal experience with this) and I do not need to have anything like this keep me from getting jobs in the future.  If not for the nature of my chosen profession, a cut direct would be put into effect. 

The blowup was over something completely trivial.  However, he has some anger management issues which he refuses to deal with, which kind of paints the picture of what kind of blowup it was.  I refuse to put myself in that sort of a toxic situation, hence the end of friendship. 

My specialties this year are going to be scenic paint, costumes and stage management.  I'm really excited to start this next year and want to keep it as "drama" free as possible ha ha.

bah12

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Re: Keeping it Professional
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2011, 07:40:42 PM »
No, I'm going to go with be blunt.  Stuff like this angers me because these guys completely harass you and basically make it your problem that they like you and you don't like them back.  I had a guy do this to me when I was in college.  He liked me.  I wasn't interested.  We had a fight over something stupid that was basically his reacting to my lack of affection.  He'd call me and email me things that he knew would set me off and then would call and email me his apologies and excuses later.  In the end, it was all a ploy for him to rope me into paying attention to him...any kind of attention, even negative, was good enough.

It's not right that you have to tiptoe around him and watch how you handle him because he can't be mature about his own feelings.  My advice is to tell him as bluntly and clearly as possible that you only want to talk to him about the program and nothing personal.  Take a friend who you trust to witness you saying that.  Hopefully, the texts were a one off thing and he'll respect your feelings, but if he doesn't, then is there someone you can talk to?  Like the head of the program or something?

I'm not trying to insinuate that he's purposely being sinister and trying to ruin your career because you don't share his feelings, but the problem is that if he isn't going to handle rejection like an adult, then it does hurt you.  And you have to head that off at the pass.

blarg314

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Re: Keeping it Professional
« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2011, 09:01:26 PM »

I think you can be blunt and direct, but also not veer into drama territory. Sarcastic and matter of fact can work well, particularly in a public setting.

So if he tries something, look at him with an exasperated expression and say "I thought I told you to back off."  Ignore the personal comments if innocuous, and if not innocuous, glare briefly and pointedly, and then go on to the next thing.  If some one asks you about his behaviour towards you a "Yeah, some guys don't take rejection well," can work better than a sob story.

Reputation wise, there can be a huge difference between having a reputation for being overly sensitive, or demanding, or dramatic, and having a reputation for having little patience with idiots. 

I do think that letting him treat you badly because you're afraid he'll hurt your reputation is a bad precedent to set. I suspect this won't be the first time a professional colleague hits on you unwantedly, or gets snotty when you say no, and you'll need ways of handling it that don't involve running to the director to complain every time.  However, if things get serious, don't be afraid to talk to the police for advice, for example.

Do you have more established female colleagues you can ask for advice about this sort of thing? They've probably dealt with it themselves, and may have some good tricks.



auntiem

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Re: Keeping it Professional
« Reply #6 on: August 18, 2011, 09:47:48 PM »

Reputation wise, there can be a huge difference between having a reputation for being overly sensitive, or demanding, or dramatic, and having a reputation for having little patience with idiots. 


This.

If you are thinking about being a stage manager or tour manager this is exactly the type of rep to have.
 

Wicked10

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Re: Keeping it Professional
« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2011, 12:45:45 PM »
I am definitely not going to let him treat me badly or tiptoe around him to avoid hurting my rep.  I just want to make sure I am being polite and "adult" about the whole situation so my actions cannot be construed as being those of an unpleasant, difficult to work with person. 

If the issue presents itself, which I'm hoping it won't, I will probably go with the pointed glare.  blarg, thanks for the "some guys don't take rejection well."  That puts the issue on him, and not me.

If it becomes a big enough problem, I will be going to my program advisor to discuss the issues with her.  She's a lovely lady who wants to make sure everyone is doing well and comfortable in the program.

Thanks for all your advice, I'll update you if anything happens once school starts, though hopefully it won't!

bopper

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Re: Keeping it Professional
« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2011, 10:14:22 AM »
"Dude, I thought I made it perfectly clear I have no interest in anything other than a professional relationship with you.  It is getting to the point where I will have to bring in the program director if you don't back off."

Wicked10

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Re: Keeping it Professional New question post 8
« Reply #9 on: September 18, 2011, 09:33:17 PM »
So, unfortunately, the situation has not gotten any better.

Without getting into all the nitty gritty details, he insisted we "talk" about why I "hate" him and decided the best place to do this was at the department's pizza party.  He initiated the conversation like it was some kind of joke, like I was just playing hard to get or something.  I told him that this was not a matter of "hate," that I was not interested in anything other than a professional relationship.  He started to get mad, and so I walked away. 

Later that night I was, once again, subjected to a drunk text message, the basics of which were "i love u very much, i don't care that you hate me, i know you said not to drunk text u but oh well."  What?!  Nothing about what I had said could be misconstrued, I was very clear in the conversation earlier that day.  This message went unanswered.

It is obvious that he is not taking me seriously, so this is an issue I am going to be taking to the program adviser as soon as possible, as he and I have to work together on the same show this semester (I am an assistant stage manager, he is board op).  Any advice on how to bring this up without sounding whiney or woe is me or like I am going to be a big drama-fest?  Oh, and at the next opportunity I plan on telling him to remove my number from his phone.

missmolly

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Re: Keeping it Professional
« Reply #10 on: September 18, 2011, 09:55:08 PM »
If you still have the texts I would show her to them. I would also document any 'incidents' that have happened, (I know that's generally more of a workplace-type action, but I think it would be a good idea nonetheless). I think it's perfectly fine to tell her how uncomfortable this makes you personally, but also stress your concerns for the professionalism of the course.
"Any idiot can face a crisis, it is this day-to-day living that wears you out". Chekhov.

atirial

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Re: Keeping it Professional
« Reply #11 on: September 19, 2011, 04:25:28 AM »
Another vote to show the advisor the texts and document everything. Also do you have any witnesses to his behaviour, and people who can confirm that you have been cutting off the friendship? Depending on how he responds, it may be necessary.

ETA: It sounds as though it is time to escalate. From what you say, it seems he has decided what kind of relationship he wants and isn't going to listen to anything you say to discourage him.
« Last Edit: September 19, 2011, 04:28:49 AM by atirial »

auntiem

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Re: Keeping it Professional
« Reply #12 on: September 19, 2011, 04:07:51 PM »
In order to keep it professional I would show the text to the advisor and ask for advice on how to handle the situation. Showing the ability to be willing to deal with the issue yourself, just needing advice on how to do so shows that you are willing to act professionally even if he is not and also clues in the advisor of the situation. I'm a little worried about the anger issues in this instance so having an advisor clued in to what is really going on is a good idea.
I'm sorry you have to deal with this and I totally understand your concerns regarding the world you wish to work in, but I think I have to amend my original advice since he now sounds beyond unreasonable. You may not know yet, but are you calling the cues on the show you are going to be working on? I can (sadly) almost guarantee that he will "miss" an important cue to make you look bad. Which will show his unprofessionalism but won't help in the moment.
You are closer to the situation, but my instinct would be to said to his face "Seriously dude, you are behaving like an actor*. Cut. It. Out."
*imbue that word with the same implication as if you mean to say diva/actress (in other words, your line reading will carry the meaning).

Twik

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Re: Keeping it Professional
« Reply #13 on: September 19, 2011, 04:27:44 PM »
This has gone beyond something that can be swept under the rug or ignored.

1. He's said he loved you. That's pretty hard to back down from, without a big loss of face. Precisely *because* you gave him no encouragement.

2. He's said that he "doesn't care" if you don't like him, his "love" for you will take priority. This is pretty messed-up thinking.

3. He's starting to try to use public places to pressure you into accepting his fixation on you, and gets angry when it doesn't work.

This is a great setup for an all-out blowup (hopefully in merely metaphorical terms), possibly affecting the production you're in. The professional thing to do is clue your advisor in that one member of the production is not acting professionally, and let him/her determine the best way to proceed.
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livluvlaf

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Re: Keeping it Professional
« Reply #14 on: October 05, 2011, 08:17:02 PM »
This has gone beyond something that can be swept under the rug or ignored.

1. He's said he loved you. That's pretty hard to back down from, without a big loss of face. Precisely *because* you gave him no encouragement.

2. He's said that he "doesn't care" if you don't like him, his "love" for you will take priority. This is pretty messed-up thinking.

3. He's starting to try to use public places to pressure you into accepting his fixation on you, and gets angry when it doesn't work.

This is a great setup for an all-out blowup (hopefully in merely metaphorical terms), possibly affecting the production you're in. The professional thing to do is clue your advisor in that one member of the production is not acting professionally, and let him/her determine the best way to proceed.

POD!

Don't sweep this under the rug, it could become dangerous. Tell others about it ...