Why is she acting this way?

Discussion in 'Does She Like Me?' started by Skipper, Mar 29, 2015.

  1. Skipper

    Skipper Member

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    There is a woman that I’ve worked with with for three years now. The first year I met her, she pinged my gaydar like no other. There wasn’t too much attraction on my end at the time, she was a new employee in another department but we chatted regularly about work matters and once in a blue moon, family, travel, life type topics would come up. Had a pretty good report. The second year we didn’t talk as much due to work load and being moved around in response to work matters. Somewhere in the midst of the third year I fell for her hard, but kept my professional distance and demeanor, as she is a co-worker (until I leave at the end of my contract in June for a position at another company in the same city). What is puzzling me is her behavior.

    Up until about 4 months ago, we had a pretty good, cordial working relationship with one another. One morning I came in to get my morning coffee and she didn’t join me like had been routine for the past years. I thought it was odd but didn’t give it any deep thought. When I walked over I gave my usual cheery good morning, to which she looked at me oddly and ignored my greeting. The next morning I caught her staring at me (it didn’t seem to be hostile/glaring) while I was making coffee and said Hello to her. At that point she literally bolted out of the room. I was perplexed to say the least and thought I must have did/said something and wasn’t aware or something happened. I couldn’t find her anywhere later in the day to resolve the issue, I was irked about the matter, and finally decided to just let the situation be.

    So this went on for about 2 months, her ignoring my existence entirely or her rushing past me/bolting out if I so much as looked at her. I decided early on she was giving me some serious “go away” vibes for whatever reason so I mutually ignored her existence, to keep the peace if nothing else. No one else I knew seemed to be any wiser as to why she was acting this way, either.

    Then one day I was running copies for a departmental project meeting. I heard her come in, but went back to my business and zoned out to the hum of the printer. Next thing I know, someone was beside me, close enough I could feel body heat and sure enough there she was in my personal space. I was shocked, stepped away, and just stood there befuddled. She stood there like it was nothing for 2 or 3 minutes, grabbed a paper nearby and casually walked off. The very next morning as I was making coffee, I turned around to grab a lid for the cup and seen her staring at me, I looked at her for a moment; she made and held eye contact until I broke it and walked out. Later in the week, she did the same thing at the printer again to which I recoiled as she caught me off guard. She apologized for scaring me, but didn’t budge and didn’t seem to be getting anything that time. Then in the past couple weeks she has chased me down a handful of times, and started asking me for advice or information on a departmental topic, then she would gradually try to make the conversation move to more personal-life type topics, but usually when she does this I’m already on a mission somewhere so I have to cut the conversation short. Last week when she did this, I made a joking comment about her dedication, going out of her way to find me at a supply closet on another floor to which she blushed furiously, but kept on talking like nothing had happened. What is also different now is when we discuss, if we’re face to face in close proximity, she will make fleeting eye contact with me. She’ll keep for a few seconds, look around, then make strong eye contact for a few seconds, and repeat the whole way through the conversation.

    I really can’t do much about the situation anyways until May (if anything at all for that matter), but I’d like opinions, how others perceive this situation. Generally, I’d take the recent signs as someone possibly being interested or awkward friendship attempts, but considering how we used to be comfortable with each other then she started acting oddly avoidant, then this, I don’t even know what to think.
     
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  2. Bluenote

    Bluenote Well-Known Member

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    She likes you.

    She is acting like a crazy 12 year old. Or an adult with no social skills.

    I would run, far, far away.
     
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  3. Narley

    Narley Well-Known Member

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    I have to say that is REALLY strange behaviour. My one question to you is... Why did you never address her avoidance? Could you bring it up with her now in a casual conversation? If I were you I'd address that before even contemplating anything other than a professional relationship with this woman. Because as bluenote said... She was acting like a 12 year old... Something I'd run from as fast as I bloody could.
     
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  4. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member

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    This odd behaviour would lend itself to your colleague having a bit of an inner battle which has manifested as avoidance. What I can't understand is that if you have a good working relationship, why you didn't ask her if she's alright? As her behaviour towards you changed drastically and has continued to stay quite weird.
     
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  5. Skipper

    Skipper Member

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    Thanks for the perspectives. The logical side of me agrees with all this wholeheartedly. I guess I was still holding out hope from when I liked her initially when the situation/she was acting normal. That’s why I mentioned "if anything at all happens" as I already had some serious doubt when I posted this. I needed the reality check of outside opinions.

    To answer your questions, the reason I didn’t boldly confront her is twofold. One, she didn’t make it easy for me by ignoring and rushing away from me, and I didn’t want to make a scene after a few attempts to talk with her. That wouldn’t have had a pretty outcome where I am currently employed. Two, even though it is a far cry from mature, adult behavior, I’ve had several individuals in my life react in a similar way when they’ve found out I’m a lesbian and they’re extremely homophobic.

    I simply assumed that she found out from one of my colleagues and reacted badly, for lack of a better explanation. I didn’t want this to escalate to an HR issue by trying to force her to talk with me and she perceived it negatively. There was a bit more to it than just “Huh? Weird. Hm. Oh well, better luck next time”. I'm so used to people knowing at work, I never did come out to her directly. It was only after she came back, acting like she is now, that obviously had me second guessing everything that had happened. That is what left me puzzled.

    If we do continue to talk, I agree that the avoidance and strange behavior topic needs to be approached sooner rather than later. Matter of trying to fit it into conversation.
     
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  6. Bluenote

    Bluenote Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't address it at all. If your HR is as strict as they are and she is as weird and volitile as she is... it could get ugly, fast.

    I think you want to talking with her in the hopes of getting some closure. But you have to trust your gut on this one. She likes you, but is somewhere inbetween very immature and creepy. So if you guys hooked up, your prize would be an immature, creepy gf.

    Seriously, can you imagine forgetting you guys' two month anniversary and you wake up to her having broken into your house and is sitting in your bedroom staring at you.

    Jesus. Gives me the shivers just thinking about it.



    Run. The fuck. Away. Fast. Do not look back.
     
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  7. Eloise

    Eloise Well-Known Member

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    There are two things that immediately come to mind:

    1. She's closeted and when she found out you were a lesbian she got scared. She might have had a crush on you but didn't expect anything, so being friends was fine. Her initial avoidance might have been nervousness about different expectations within the relationship. The turnaround could be that she suddenly became brave and decided to renew the relationship to see where it goes. Not making eye contact is a sign of nervousness. Does she appear coy and flirty or shifty? That could help determine whether she's interested in you or setting you up. Which brings me to,

    2. She's homophobic and ran like hell when she found out you were gay. Many straight women assume that lesbians are hitting on them when they're not. They also wonder if straight women are actually gay if they are touchy felly or use terms of endearment. I always tell those women that lesbians are well guarded and don't throw their affections around indiscriminately. Maybe while she was avoiding you she was going through every conversation you two ever had and wondered if you were hitting her. It could be that she's planning on running to HR with a claim of sexual harassment and wants to get her proof first. That could be why she's suddenly tracking you down. She's waiting for you to do something she can claim is harassment for no other reason than because you are gay.

    You should talk to her to find out what is really going on. But first, tell your supervisor so someone knows there could be a problem. Keeping it a secret could bite you in the ass because it'll be harder to claim that you were merely protecting yourself and not hitting on her. Get your story in first.
     
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  8. Skipper

    Skipper Member

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    I've been thinking about the situation since I posted and decided the logical option is to run far away as you've put it. I think you're right that my greater concern is reaching a state of closure on the matter, knowing no good can come from it. And, if I wasn't sure before, thanks to that little Twilight tidbit, I am now. Its just residual feelings back from when the grass was greener, I suppose.

    One reason I didn't consider talking to them [HR] and spearhead the situation initially when things went strange, is because as Bluenote brought up, it could get ugly in a hurry. My HR has a habit of pulling in both individuals involved in a case (separately) immediately after it is brought up to them [formal complaint or not]. So, if I mention to them "Hey, XYZ has been doing the following and I'm concerned about my professional reputation and employment..." they will latch onto it and drag both of us in immediately, separately then possibly together if they don't get answers that make them happy.

    I'm not entirely sure what the best course of action is. I don't want to ruin my professional reputation that I've built up by having someone make untrue claims, yet if we get dragged into HR I'm pretty sure there isn't going to be a pleasant ending to this situation either. On top of that, considering that she has been going out of her way to find me and interact, I'm not sure how effective going back to ignoring her will be either, or negative repercussions stemming from that.
     
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  9. greylin

    greylin Well-Known Member

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    Anyway to play it normal like nothing had happened, be polite and busnesslike and just hunker down for a couple of months?
     
    #9
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  10. Skipper

    Skipper Member

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    Update on the situation. I talked with an HR representative that I am somewhat familiar with on Wednesday, gave the short and sweet version of what had happened over the course of the year. I expressed that I didn’t have any intention at this time of pursuing a formal harassment complaint, nor did I want us to be dragged in for “mediation”. I simply wanted to report the oddness of the behavior for paper trail purposes, that I intend to keep the situation professional, have no interest, and wanted to have it on record in case the situation escalated in one way or another. She did ask why it wasn’t reported sooner to which I explained that I thought initially it was simply an overreaction to a clash of personalities or substantial difference in ideologies that provoked the behavior. She didn’t seem impressed by her behavior or my late reporting, but agreed not to drag us in unless it escalated or another report came in regarding the matter. She did say she could talk to her anonymously about conduct and “sensitivity training”, but I said I imagined she would know it was me and cause further issues and that I wanted a work environment that was as peaceful and productive as could be. She seemed determined to have this talk [conduct, training] with her, so it may still happen, hard to tell. So, that was that with HR, hopefully now and forever.

    Now, onto the reason of this post initially – I did talk to the co-worker. Since my last post, nothing really had changed. She continued on with the awkward, flirting type (?) behavior that I had described before. On Friday, despite my attempt to ignore her initially, she approached me and tried to strike up conversation (not as boldly as she had been, at least) to which I flat-out asked her what was up, as I was fed up with the situation. I recollected everything to her (friendly for 2 years, months of acting like I had the plague, and now she is all over my personal space) and asked what in the world was going on with her.

    She seemed taken aback that I asked (almost, too, like she was amazed that I noticed….?). Supposedly, she explained, a few days before all this nonsense began that a couple straight co-workers (which I am not familiar with) confronted her saying that she was being excessively flirtatious with me in the workplace (to which, either I was completely oblivious beyond help or there was no flirting going on and we’ve got some ridiculous co-workers) and they thought it was unnecessary.

    As the story goes, the next day after they confronted her, I guess I was acting unusually short and aloof with her (which I don’t remember doing, but okay), so she thought they had told me something untrue and I was reacting badly to their interpretation of the situation, or they had been bothering me too. Subsequently, she began avoiding me. She said she was unsure of the situation and didn’t have the nerve to ask me and because she is one of their youngest, newer employees (relatively speaking) in a competitive department, she thought they would fire her without much question because of the older employees grumbling.

    Then, somewhere along the line another co-worker (one that I speak with often), asked her why she was acting weird with me and everyone else. At this point, she became pretty vague about what the conversation entailed. Sounded to me like this co-worker told her to get her act together and quit acting strange with us, particularly me.

    So, in the end, I told her I wasn’t aware any of this had transpired, I never interpreted any of her initial actions/conversations as being flirtatious and hadn’t been offended with her behavior until she began acting bizarre with me, without explanation. I didn’t come out to her (as I don’t want to encourage the behavior), but I did clarify that I’m certainly not homophobic and if she wants to speak periodically in a friendly manner that is fine. Which she seemed willing to accept, we'll see.

    Now that everything is (I hope) taken care of and smoothed over, I will now mind my own business until June when I can get out of this circus.
     
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  11. Narley

    Narley Well-Known Member

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    Glad the situation has been resolved! Hopefully you won't have any more problems till June.
     
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  12. greylin

    greylin Well-Known Member

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    If I understand the chronology, you spoke with HR and then cleared things up with her. So glad you have cleared the air with her. I think HR will probably follow up so be prepared.
     
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  13. Narley

    Narley Well-Known Member

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    Yeah actually I thought the same thing as Greylin... Your Hr department sounds very tricky!
     
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  14. Skipper

    Skipper Member

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    You're correct. I wasn't expecting the situation to proceed in the manner it did. My first priority was to make sure HR had some inkling of what was going on in case the situation went south, as her behavior and intentions were unclear at the time.

    It just so happened that she was pressing me later in the week to a point that I couldn't ignore her and mind my business like I was initially hoping. That, in return, prompted me to ask her and resulted in the discussion above.

    I have no doubt in my mind that HR will rear its ugly head, despite telling me they won't get involved any further at this point. The representative was a bit too adamant about talking with her, for my tastes anyway. I suppose I can understand employer's perspective though. They're trying to keep everything running like a well oiled machine and nipping employee based problems in the bud helps manage that to an extent.
     
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  15. greylin

    greylin Well-Known Member

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    From her perspective, if HR talks to her the chronology will be different. She will think you went to HR after she thought she had explained things to you and you are still not satisfied. I am really chicken when it comes to advising on dealing with HR because they can be tricky but certainly it helps to be the first one to say something to them if someone seems erratic because I have witnessed more than one cases where the erratic one cried victim to HR first. I just want to let you know what is running through my mind on this at the moment. And I am trying also to explain the ambivalence of my following advice:

    My impulse at this point is run into the same HR person accidentally on purpose and say, "oh hey btw, that thing I told you about, it is all cleared up with a simple chat..." I would keep that update short and casual. I figure this way, even if the HR person were to talk to her, she may have in mind that this is no longer an issue to you but they are just following up.

    I don't know how good this advice is because sometimes, in dealing with the fuzz, less is more? But I figure I give you some input anyway.
     
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    Last edited: Apr 7, 2015
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  16. gr8dane

    gr8dane Member

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    Thank you Bluenote...I spat coffee all over the keyboard and monitor. That post was hilarious...not sure that you meant it to be funny, but sure found did!!!!
     
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  17. Bluenote

    Bluenote Well-Known Member

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    I meant it to be both serious (the OP deserves real advice) and somewhat humorous. Sometimes it helps bear or understand situations by pointing out the absurdity or humor.
     
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