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Thread: Coworker with poor social skills

  1. #21
    Platinum Member smackie9's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Jibralta
    The appropriate response is to be clear, professional, and polite about the fact that you prefer to limit your relationship with him to only work-related matters.
    This 100%^^^^

    You need to stop with "avoidance" and communicate firmly you don't socialize with coworkers on that level, and would prefer to have things kept professional. If you don't it can escalate to a visit to HR.

    Doesn't matter if he had a brain injury....there is always a need to set boundaries.

  2. #22
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    Yes, communicate something to that effect, speak up. Otherwise just go to work, enjoy your life and don't worry about analyzing and dissecting his every move, glance, word, etc.

    Frankly none of the theories matter. Just speak up politely and stay in your lane with regard to work.

  3. #23
    Platinum Member Cherylyn's Avatar
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    Regarding kissing, tell him not to kiss you anymore. Insert "please" and "thank you." You can be polite yet direct and firm.

    Maintain your safe social distancing space and speak up if you need to.

    Tell him that you will maintain a professional relationship with him and you are not to be contacted during non-work hours and weekends.

    You will not instill negative energy for telling him common sense rules. You will not look like a bad person for speaking up. You have rights to be treated with respect and he should respect your wishes. There's nothing dramatic about this at all. Do not be afraid. This guy needs to be put in his place and stay there!

  4. #24
    Platinum Member SherrySher's Avatar
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    I used to be a pushover in situations like this and didn't want to hurt people's feelings. I didn't want to come off as mean or antisocial.

    You know where it got me? Used by people, a doormat, taken advantage of, etc.

    Don't be that person.

    Tell him, "I am not looking for friends, please don't contact me unless it it business related and don't contact me outside of business hours". End of.

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  6. #25
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    Well yes the kissing on the cheek may be a cultural thing but of course that would depend on whether he actually is from a culture that does that. If he's not then you can't really pin it on that. In regards to your comment why did your company hire him if he doesn't have appropriate social skills. Well he's obviously not completely inept, like he doesn't feel people up or harrass people or whatever. It appears he just doesn't understand some social cues and social conventions. There are plenty of people in the world who are "neurodiverse", who are on the autism spectrum, have ADHD, etc. Are you saying they don't deserve to have a job due to not having the behaviours that are deemed standard by other people? If they can do the work then they should have the chance to have a certain job just as much as everyone else. Also social skills are not always at the forefront of all professions. Some jobs don't require much client interaction, they are more "behind the scenes", so to speak.

    I probably wouldn't concern myself too much why the guy spoke robotically at the get together and so on. He may be on the spectrum, have mild intellectual disability, anxiety, anything. You seem really bothered that he talked in this way because it's not how a person "should" talk. Not everyone totally fits the perfect communication stereotype so don't throw someone under the bus for that. I actually dated a couple of guys on the autism spectrum. One of them basically never made eye contact. I was just curious so I asked him was there a reason he did this? He said yes and that it's because of the autism.

    Also I understand that the way he used your phone number was inappropriate. I think during COVID and everything being online it even comes across as worse than it may in real life. I understand you don't particularly like this guy and don't feel comfortable with him. But technically if you picture this as interaction in the office and a colleague tried to be friends. And said: "Did you want to have our lunch break together?" or "Can I add you on Facebook?" Sure, maybe you don't want to because you're not vibing that person, but it would just come across as that person wants to make friends with you. Also everyone is different and some people are happy to talk outside of work and do want to be friends with their colleagues. For example, I do if I like a colleague. I would be happy to add on Facebook, chat during weekends and even hang out together. Which, again, only if I liked the colleague. That is your choice if you want to be actual friends with a colleague and you are entitled to that choice.

    I would say you just need to be very clear about where you stand. In particular if the guy is on the autism spectrum, it's often difficult to understand hints. Direct, clear approach is usually the best. You don't have to be rude but you need to state what you mean. So maybe just say to him: "Sorry, I don't actually message colleagues outside of work hours and my phone number is only for the manager for work-related purposes. I like to just focus on my work and nothing with colleagues outside of that." Hopefully stating it directly will make him get the point about how you feel.
    Last edited by Tinydance; 09-09-2020 at 12:59 AM.

  7. #26
    Platinum Member Wiseman2's Avatar
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    It would be best to just do your job without the additional unpaid unnecessary task of being the office armchair psychologist or second guessing the hiring process.

  8. #27
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    Originally Posted by Wiseman2
    It would be best to just do your job without the additional unpaid unnecessary task of being the office armchair psychologist or second guessing the hiring process.
    Exactly. As long as you don't work for him and as long as this is the extent - a simple one line text will do it. Or report to HR if it escalates I guess. And then move on and do your work.

  9. #28
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    It makes me feel uncomfortable as I don't want to instill a negative energy and given he seems to be overly dependent on my manager (as in requesting one to one meetings every day for one hour to discuss his tasks), it might trigger more drama than it should (making me look like the bad person).

    Could it be they hired him knowing he is on the autism spectrum so were prepared to accomodate him, or maybe he is just very conscientious. I would not bother yourself with what he does. If the manager thinks he is taking too much time, the manager will make that clear. Do NOT interevene!

  10. #29
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    I'm not sure as to whether he is on the spectrum of autism or Asperger's and quite frankly, it may be the reason behind his lack of social skills, but it doesn't fully excuse the inappropriateness of the request to talk about things other than work. I had friends at work and tons of my former coworkers are still my friends, but it took months of us going for lunch or hanging out together at work/after work. When you're working from home and have only seen the person once and interacted with them about 3 times, it is different.

    In my previous companies, whenever they had a hire with specific "needs" we were always advised beforehand. Again, I don't know if he is on the spectrum of autism or whether he has Asperger's or whether he's just socially awkward. I mentioned these two to ask to how I should respond to him in this light, not to judge him or say that people with special needs don't deserve to be in the corporate wold. It's not what I said or meant at all.

    Why would I intervene in his interactions with the manager? It is simply an observation - none of my business, but it does impact me as well because whenever I try to reach out to the manager for something, he's always busy with this guy.

    Besides, this guy also started getting involved in my work when I never asked him to/or for help. The request to have my personal number is one thing (inappropriate, but I can gloss over given the fact he may not understand social etiquette), but if he starts getting himself involved in my work, it's another conversation.

  11. #30
    Platinum Member SherrySher's Avatar
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    So, are you going to tell him in a nice but firm way to back off?

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