Author Topic: Dealing with a "flirtatious" volunteer - did I handle correctly?  (Read 7289 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

kittytongue

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 385
Re: Dealing with a "flirtatious" volunteer - did I handle correctly?
« Reply #45 on: December 01, 2012, 07:34:31 PM »
I have no problem with what you said or how you said it. I second a pp who said that this is how to handle a stranger impinging on your personal space. I don't think you were rude. Yes, you weren't "nice". That doesn't necessarily make you rude though.

jane7166

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 853
Re: Dealing with a "flirtatious" volunteer - did I handle correctly?
« Reply #46 on: December 01, 2012, 09:15:08 PM »
Since the OP said she talked to a "volunteer coordinator," then this is a program that the hospital / medical center has which allows developmentally disabled adults to learn job skills while volunteering.  My adult DD who has autism was in 2 such programs in high school.  While she worked in several areas:  housekeeping, laundry, pharmacy, offices, and food service, she was NEVER without some sort of supervision. 

DD probably had some interactions with patients during the housekeeping and food service stints but the interaction would have been minimal and controlled. 

"Bill" should have been occupied with a job.  If he wasn't doing something constructive, something should have been found for him to do.  This program in OP's hospital / medical center sounds like it is poorly run.

I agree with Kherbert's take on this:  OP was surprised and upset and didn't have a kinder planned phrase to impress upon Bill that his interactions were inappropriate.  If OP's response makes Bill more hesitant to socialize with patients, well, that's a good thing.   

gorplady

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 626
  • “Put silk on a goat and it is still a goat”
    • PerfectDuluthDay
Re: Dealing with a "flirtatious" volunteer - did I handle correctly?
« Reply #47 on: December 01, 2012, 09:20:50 PM »
Since he introduced himself, it was clear he didn't remember you. You were rude, he was not.



sasssf

  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 9
Re: Dealing with a "flirtatious" volunteer - did I handle correctly?
« Reply #48 on: December 01, 2012, 09:29:32 PM »
Hi:
I have  a disability  myself.  I'm not  intellectually  impaired, but  at times do have  a  hard  time  remembering faces, especially  if  I  haven't  seen  them in awhile.  I  also  have  worked  with a few people who  have various degrees of intellectual disabilities.  In  terms  of this  particular  situation, I  think the  OP was  just a  little  harsh.  Not  much  as  I  totally  understand  the  feeling  of  being  harrassed by  a  guy  with  "issues"  when  I jusr  want to be left  alone.  I  certainly  don't  think she  had  to engage in  conversation.    My tactic usually  is  to tell someone  I'm  really into  my  reading material.  If  I didn't  have  a book or magazine, I  would  say just that  I  dont feel like talking.  Then  if he persisted, I  would definitely  tell the receptionist  or  whoever.  He  just  may  not remember  the OP.

I  actually  used to  volunteer on a  hospital ward.  I  had  EXTENSIVE    training  and  if  on the  ward and  someone  said they were busy  or  didn't want a volunteer in their room, would immediately  leave  and not be the  least  bit offended. (I didn't need training to know that, lol.)  I  also  didnt go in the room if  visitors, a nurse or doctor was in it, unless the  patient  indicated they  wanted that.(Most of these  patients were there  longterm, so sometimes  they  wanted me there.)     I  agree with others  that  it  seems  odd,that  there would be a volunteer in a doctors office.    It  does seem  kind  of  like  his parents  finding  a way  for him to contribute.  It  is  a  noble  idea, but probably  not  the best idea.   

And  just   read  your  reply  jane7166,  and  totally  agree.  The  program  does  sound  pretty  poorly  run.   in the  long run, it may  do harm than good, if people get a negative  view of  people with  intellectual disabilities. 

TurtleDove

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6113
Re: Dealing with a "flirtatious" volunteer - did I handle correctly?
« Reply #49 on: December 01, 2012, 09:38:19 PM »
This man came up to me, stuck out his hand, and said, "My name is Bill, I volunteer here on Thursdays."  I just glanced up from my magazine and replied, "I'm not in the mood for conversation, go away." 

I think the OP was overly harsh. She knows this man is developmentally disabled. There was nothing about this particular interchange that was threatening or harassing in the slightest. The background is, for me, immaterial.  The OP could have chosen to be gracious and said something like, "Hi Bill - I'm busy - have a great day!" and diffused everything, especially because she knows he has developmental issues.  I am not a patient person in the slightest, but especially if I know a person is develomentally disadvantaged I take that into account and consider that I could make their day with a simply smile. If the man is in fact developmentally disabled, this is not about a specific affection for the OP but rather a boundary it seems he learned, based on his introduction of "Hi, I'm Bill..."

Acadianna

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1176
  • Remember -- no matter where you go, there you are.
    • My Dragons
Re: Dealing with a "flirtatious" volunteer - did I handle correctly?
« Reply #50 on: December 01, 2012, 09:50:01 PM »
It is a Kaiser medical complex that has a building designated for same-day surgeries.  So the volunteers in the surgical building provide directions, assistance with wheeling post-surgical patients to their cars, etc.

This surprised me.  I certainly wouldn't want anyone except medical staff wheeling me, post surgery, to my car.

Sharnita

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 21524
Re: Dealing with a "flirtatious" volunteer - did I handle correctly?
« Reply #51 on: December 01, 2012, 10:01:54 PM »
He doesn't need to recognize OP to find his appropriate work space. He was where he wasn't supposed to be - in that sense I agree the background is not all that important. Even if he had never approached her before he should not have been there.

LeveeWoman

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4187
Re: Dealing with a "flirtatious" volunteer - did I handle correctly?
« Reply #52 on: December 01, 2012, 10:08:54 PM »
I think the rudeness in this situation is the volunteer office for not reining in this guy. I wonder how many other people have been disturbed by him.

Twik

  • A Pillar of the Forum
  • *****
  • Posts: 28632
Re: Dealing with a "flirtatious" volunteer - did I handle correctly?
« Reply #53 on: December 01, 2012, 10:30:09 PM »
I think the rudeness in this situation is the volunteer office for not reining in this guy. I wonder how many other people have been disturbed by him.

Pod. Someone who asks strangers to "be my girlfriend" is not ready to be working unsupervised with the public. And it's clear from the history of the harassment that Bill doesn't get subtleties.
My cousin's memoir of love and loneliness while raising a child with multiple disabilities will be out on Amazon soon! Know the Night, by Maria Mutch, has been called "full of hope, light, and companionship for surviving the small hours of the night."

blarg314

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 8504
Re: Dealing with a "flirtatious" volunteer - did I handle correctly?
« Reply #54 on: December 01, 2012, 10:44:13 PM »

If this were someone the OP hadn't met before, her response would be way over the top.

However, this was someone who, in the past, had harassed the OP to the point that she needed to speak to his supervisors to get him to back off.  Being overly chatty or socially awkward in a workplace setting is one thing - repeatedly asking a woman to be his girlfriend and not taking no (or "I'm married") for an answer steps over a line, even for someone mentally challenged. The OP has no particular reason to believe that the young man in question has improved his behaviour, either, given the abrupt nature of his introduction.  Not wanting to strike up a conversation with him, and brusquely repelling his attempt is, I think, okay in that situation.

The fact that this is in a medical setting makes the original harassment worse. People waiting in doctors' offices tend to be there because they are sick or in pain, and often worried and upset.  That's not a good situation to expect people to tactfully repel unwanted advances. It's also a situation where leaving is not an option. If you remove yourself from an uncomfortable situation, you forfeit a medical appointment you may have waited some time for.

blarg314

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 8504
Re: Dealing with a "flirtatious" volunteer - did I handle correctly?
« Reply #55 on: December 01, 2012, 10:45:54 PM »
It is a Kaiser medical complex that has a building designated for same-day surgeries.  So the volunteers in the surgical building provide directions, assistance with wheeling post-surgical patients to their cars, etc.

This surprised me.  I certainly wouldn't want anyone except medical staff wheeling me, post surgery, to my car.

My guess would be that it's a choice between having a volunteer wheel you to the car, or whomever was picking you up wheel you to your car (or wheeling yourself).   Often the volunteers are doing stuff that otherwise wouldn't be done, because there aren't enough paid staff do it.


Mental Magpie

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5460
  • ...for the dark side looks back.
Re: Dealing with a "flirtatious" volunteer - did I handle correctly?
« Reply #56 on: December 01, 2012, 10:48:54 PM »
At first I was appalled that you said, "Go away."

Then I was sympathetic that you've had this type of encounter before with this man and that he hadn't gotten the hint.

After that, I was sympathetic to him because he obviously doesn't understand social cues due to this disability.

Then I thought practically, because I can see you saying, "Go away" very gently in a manner of plain, straight English so that he understands.  The tone of voice would be plain, un-emotional, and informative in a base language that he could possibly understand.


I also think your advising the volunteer coordinator was very appropriate because if anyone knows how to speak to him in a way he understands, it should be his coordinator.  I also agree with blarg314 on the basis of this being a medical setting.  Not everyone wants to talk, especially if they are ill, and they shouldn't be exposed to this sort of interaction without being able to withdraw from it and keep from being further being harassed.

The problem with choosing the lesser of two evils is that you're still choosing evil.

buvezdevin

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1486
Re: Dealing with a "flirtatious" volunteer - did I handle correctly?
« Reply #57 on: December 01, 2012, 10:53:53 PM »
This man came up to me, stuck out his hand, and said, "My name is Bill, I volunteer here on Thursdays."  I just glanced up from my magazine and replied, "I'm not in the mood for conversation, go away." 

I think the OP was overly harsh. She knows this man is developmentally disabled. There was nothing about this particular interchange that was threatening or harassing in the slightest. The background is, for me, immaterial.  The OP could have chosen to be gracious and said something like, "Hi Bill - I'm busy - have a great day!" and diffused everything, especially because she knows he has developmental issues.  I am not a patient person in the slightest, but especially if I know a person is develomentally disadvantaged I take that into account and consider that I could make their day with a simply smile. If the man is in fact developmentally disabled, this is not about a specific affection for the OP but rather a boundary it seems he learned, based on his introduction of "Hi, I'm Bill..."

I don't think it is clear that the OP knew, at the time, that Bill was developmentally disabled - and more to the point, OP has acknowledged since her first post that she could have responded better.

The key point, to me, is that this is a medical center, where one would expect some institutional recognition of *patient's* feelings and considerations to be predominant over *any* volunteer's, yet the volunteer program has, at least in Bill's case, failed to train or oversee Bill sufficiently to prevent inappropriate overtures and staying outside facilities he is not meant to be in.

The background is material, but more so the front ground:  OP was a patient at a medical facility.  General care, and consideration for a *patient* should be the medical facility's first consideration, before that of volunteers - who are presumably there only to promote patient care, not add stress. 

The background is relevant in that volunteer Bill had already posed enough unwanted intrusion that OP actively sought care at an alternative location in part to avoid him.

Much as you suggest, I and many others would extend additional consideration to those with certain challenges in most situations.  In the OP's case, she agrees she could have responded better, but I think it key that she was a patient in a medical facility rather than browsing in a store or like situation.
Never refuse to do a kindness unless the act would work great injury to yourself, and never refuse to take a drink -- under any circumstances.
Mark Twain

sunnygirl

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 262
Re: Dealing with a "flirtatious" volunteer - did I handle correctly?
« Reply #58 on: December 01, 2012, 11:17:17 PM »
I am under no obligation to speak to anyone just because they approach me.
This, this, this.
We woman are programmed to be "nice", even if we are uncomfortable, and this makes us vulnerable.
We feel guilty, and we shouldn't. Etiquette does not dictate responding to strangers. We teach our daughters not to talk to strangers, then as we grow into women, we are taught that it is "rude" not to.
His "special needs" are a red herring, if someone sets off your hinky-meter, you are under no obligation to interact with them.

POD this x100000000000000
The idea/social conditioning that women are supposed to be 'nice' and that owning a vagina means you're obligated to make nice to men and participate in social intercourse if a man incites it - regardless of whether that man is a potential predator, a stalker, or makes her uncomfortable - is one of the main contributing factors to rape culture and the fact we live in a rape culture is one of the biggest threats to women our society faces and is something all women (and men!) should actively fight against.


Mental Magpie

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5460
  • ...for the dark side looks back.
Re: Dealing with a "flirtatious" volunteer - did I handle correctly?
« Reply #59 on: December 01, 2012, 11:19:54 PM »
I am under no obligation to speak to anyone just because they approach me.
This, this, this.
We woman are programmed to be "nice", even if we are uncomfortable, and this makes us vulnerable.
We feel guilty, and we shouldn't. Etiquette does not dictate responding to strangers. We teach our daughters not to talk to strangers, then as we grow into women, we are taught that it is "rude" not to.
His "special needs" are a red herring, if someone sets off your hinky-meter, you are under no obligation to interact with them.

POD this x100000000000000
The idea/social conditioning that women are supposed to be 'nice' and that owning a vagina means you're obligated to make nice to men and participate in social intercourse if a man incites it - regardless of whether that man is a potential predator, a stalker, or makes her uncomfortable - is one of the main contributing factors to rape culture and the fact we live in a rape culture is one of the biggest threats to women our society faces and is something all women (and men!) should actively fight against.

The only negative reaction I have to this is that not all women were taught this, and thus "we women" is not appropriate.  I do not like being lumped into a category to which I do not belong just because I have a certain set of genes.
The problem with choosing the lesser of two evils is that you're still choosing evil.