General Etiquette > All In A Day's Work

Apparently I'm the rude one

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Hi!  ;D

This is my first post on Etiquette Hell after 2 years of lurking around on the site reading all the fabulous posts and stories.

I now finally have a story to tell.

A bit about me: I'm an extremely private person, I don't gossip and I don't share intimate details of my personal life with other people besides my family. When I'm at work I will chat and discuss my plans for the weekend and I'm always warm and friendly to others. I'm also hearing impaired, which makes it hard for me to hear sometimes.

I recently moved to a new city and took a position with a small company, I get on well with everybody there. However, there has been a few situations with a colleague, let's call her Jane, who started a position with the company 3 weeks before me.

Example 1:

My family and I went through a deeply personal issue this year and I was extremely upset because I am very close to them and seeing them hurting made me upset. So I decided to take a couple of days of annual leave and I decided to tell my boss, in private, what was going on. What I didn't know is that Jane was around the door eavesdropping. Later Jane proceeds to announce to the office about my personal situation and publicly gave me advice on how to handle the situation despite not knowing the full story. I politely said "I am not ready to speak about this, it is a private matter". She kept bringing the situation up whenever I was at work, usually via email. I told her one more time that I did not wish to speak about it and ignored the other emails. She would keep emailing me back saying how rude I was being. Two weeks later, when I was alone in the office with Jane and eating on my break. I accidentally hit the bowl a couple of times with my fork and suddenly Jane went off at me swearing and yelling.

Jane: I told you to stop scraping the bowl with your fork!
Me: I'm sorry, I didn't hear you say that.
Jane: Yes you did! *Proceeds to call me a string of swear words*
Me: Jane, I'm hearing impaired I can assure you that I didn't hear you.
Jane: You are so dingdangity rude! I gave you great advice the other week about *family situation* and you rudely brushed me off.
Me: I did not wish to speak about it. It's an extremely delicate matter.

I got up and cleaned my lunch items in the sink.

Was I rude? Is there some way I could have handled the situation better? It has been a month and she still brings up my personal family matter and keeps trying to stick her nose in my personal life. I've spoken to my boss about it, but my boss brushed it off and just said that Jane has my best interests at heart. What should I say when Jane keeps bringing it up?

Example 2:

I work long days and I sometimes like going to the gym or to a dance class after work or sometimes straight home. I prefer going to the gym and dance class by myself, so I can work at my own pace and unwind. Jane loves the gym and recently she asked me to go to the gym with her one day and I said yes because I thought it wouldn't hurt. We were on the treadmill and she started yelling 'encouraging' things at me, such as "come on grandma" and "move it fatty!" I didn't enjoy it at all and she recently been pushing me into going to the gym every day and signing me up for personal training programs without my consent and if I don't do it she calls me a rude ingrate.

I'm just wondering if there would be a better way to approach Jane in regards to this? I just want her to know that I prefer going to the gym by myself.

Any advice is welcome.

Holly  :D


You need to talk to HR and mention "hostile work environment".


--- Quote from: QueenfaninCA on May 20, 2013, 06:29:09 PM ---You need to talk to HR and mention "hostile work environment".

--- End quote ---
POD and if there isn't one go to boss and tell him that Jane is a busybody that needs to be reined in and she does not have your best interest at heart. I would also file a complaint with the gym about this woman being allowed to sign you up for classes without your consent and call you names. Next time she calls you names at the gym go straight to the manager and asked that either she be removed or your membership be refunded in full.

Have nothing to do with Jane outside of work. Talk to HR about the harassment in the lunch room. This is one of those cases where you need to get your word in first. Jane is behaving extremely inappropriately and needs to be reprimanded.

As far as going to the gym, you have two ways of doing this. One will be more satisfying but will be further engaging Jane (which is a bad idea.) The safer one is "No, I'm not going to the gym with you." Say it coldly and then walk away. The other way is to tell her how mean and bullying she was, but all she'll do is turn that around on you and make it how she is trying to help you and you're just ungrateful.

I don't know that this would fall under hostile work environment (very strict definitions there and I don't want the thread locked for legal advice).

It does fall under a lack of common decency, though. You've been firm but polite. She has the issue. Your behavior has been fine. Regarding the bowl scraping, I am one of those people that's insanely sensitive to sound and I can't fathom how she thought that was an acceptable way to act. Saying, "Sorry, I know you probably don't hear it, but that sound is painful to me" is one thing. What she said...unacceptable.

Regarding the gym behavior, you could either tell her that you found her brand of encouragement off-putting and you'd rather go to the gym alone.  Or just say "No" and repeat as necessary. Then, do what kherbert05 suggests. That is an issue that is outside of work, but the gym does have a vested interest in keeping its members from being run off.


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