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POLL RESULTS: Strings attached?: (13 comments)

POLL: Strings attached?

Friday, April 09, 2010 - 12:00 AM

A reader writes... Q: I have an ethics question. I’m a single woman in her 20s who works in a Center City office. A man I work with obviously has a crush on me, and I’ve made it pretty plain that I have no interest in him. He speaks with me every day and is very complimentary, etc. I didn’t feel too bothered by that, but last week he gave me an expensive necklace for my birthday. I tried to refuse it, but he said it couldn’t be returned and he’d throw it away if I didn’t take it. He looked hurt, so I said thank you and took it. Now I’m nervous that I may have encouraged him. Any advice?

POLL: What should she do...?
 
13% (234) Keep the necklace. Big deal.
 
48% (862) Give the necklace back and explain that it's not right for her to accept it since she has no intention of dating him.
 
20% (354) Return the necklace and alert the company's Human Resources department about possible sexual harassment.
 
6% (106) Give him an equally expensive birthday gift and then claim the whole thing "Even Steven."
 
11% (204) Give the guy a second look. Do you know how many women would love to have a boyfriend who buys expensive jewelry?
1760 people have voted in this poll. (This poll is not active.)
DanialArin
Lover

Posts: 92

Registered:
Apr 2009
Re: Strings attached? (Score: 1)
posted Friday, April 09, 2010 - 01:08 AM (#55599)

Has his behavior changed at all since the necklace? Does he seem any more hopeful or encouraged?

If things go a couple weeks, and he stops being so forward, then he's not taking any meaning in it. If he's getting more forward, you'll need to lay down the law. Returning the necklace to him could easily be the opening move of that conversation. If it comes to that, make sure he knows that the only reason you accepted it in the first place was because he guilted you into it.

Either way, I'd suggest you not wear it where so that he can see, as that would encourage him. Giving him an equally expensive birthday gift, as suggested in one of the poll options, would likewise be a sign that you're actively interested in him; that's not "Even Steven", it's reciprocity.


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delzoup
Lover

Posts: 8

Registered:
Jan 2010
Re: Strings attached? (Score: 1)
posted Friday, April 09, 2010 - 01:44 AM (#55600)

Throw it away? How manipulative and petty! You are not responsible for his action.

You've said you've been pretty clear, but I think it is time to be absolutely clear. Sometimes people only see what they want to see; sometimes people are just clueless. I would probably return the necklace as well.


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stuckinontario
Lover

Posts: 7

Registered:
May 2009
Re: Strings attached? (Score: 1)
posted Friday, April 09, 2010 - 06:16 AM (#55603)

Yeah, I'm gonna declare "Shenanigans" on this loser for pulling the "I can't return it" schtick with the puppy dog eyes - saying he'll throw it away only adds more proof that he's being a manipulative little weasel.

Any attempt to give him the benefit of the doubt still leaves him looking like a bit of a loser, though. Even if his intentions were good, he's obviously emotionally immature if he actually thinks an expensive necklace is an acceptable gift for a friendly coworker, but he's certainly mentally deficient for buying someone he's not even romantically-involved with an expensive gift & not keeping the receipt just in case it's declined. Seriously, if he has an ounce of sense, he should've foreseen the possibility that it wouldn't be accepted, & the fact that he's out a bit of money shouldn't be put on your shoulders.

Which only leads us back to him being a weasel... I voted for the second option where you return it & state flat-out that you're not gonna date him, but if he causes you even one bit of trouble over it, I'd be leaning towards the third option, instead. You owe this guy nothing!


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CasualNotice
Lover

Posts: 49

Registered:
Jun 2008
Re: Strings attached? (Score: 1)
posted Friday, April 09, 2010 - 06:18 AM (#55604)

Keep the necklace. Be firm.

You are neither legally nor morally bound to honor any stated or implied strings attached to an unsolicited gift, especially one that was all but forced on you. Keep the necklace with you in its box so you can offer it back to him if he tries to use it as a guilthammer.


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evasko
Lover

Posts: 2

Registered:
May 2008
Re: Strings attached? (Score: 1)
posted Friday, April 09, 2010 - 12:00 PM (#55607)

Make it clear to him that you are not interested and attempt to return the necklace. If he still insists he'll throw it away inform him that you will donate it to charity in his name then do so and request that the charity send him a thank you note.


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vorlonagent
Lover

Posts: 55

Registered:
Oct 2009
Re: Strings attached? (Score: 1)
posted Friday, April 09, 2010 - 12:01 PM (#55608)
In Response to CasualNotice (#55604):

Yep.

That was encouragment.

He's looking for a point of weakeness to try to get you moving in his direction. Acceping an expensive gift, when Our Girl is established as having a hard time saying no, the next thing is she start talking herself into dating him "only once" becaue it's the least she can do after accepting that gift...

No.

Give it back. Tell him to get his money back, ebay, Craigslist, something. This is one moment where Our Girl has to take and hold control of the conversation.

This may well be the time to go to HR about this. If he doesn't accept defeat gracefully and permanently, it certainly will be.


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JustSomeGuy
Lover

Posts: 1

Registered:
Apr 2010
Re: Strings attached? (Score: 1)
posted Friday, April 09, 2010 - 12:21 PM (#55609)

The Big Red Flag here is that it's happening at work, which means that if his constantly rebuffed advances escalate into full blown stalking, you have no good way to escape. He's obviously in need of a bigger clue, as your repeated denials of interest seem to have no effect. Go to HR, put your complaint in writing, and keep a copy. If you feel like being nice to him, warn him that if he keeps pushing the issue you will file a complaint. By buying that gift, he escalated things beyond casual office flirtation.


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HandEFood
Lover

Posts: 11

Registered:
Apr 2009
Re: Strings attached? (Score: 1)
posted Saturday, April 10, 2010 - 12:05 AM (#55614)
In Response to vorlonagent (#55608):

@vorlonagent: Better yet, ebay it, and give him back the change.


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Atavism
Lover

Posts: 7

Registered:
Oct 2009
Re: Strings attached? (Score: 1)
posted Saturday, April 10, 2010 - 04:10 AM (#55617)

Whether you encouraged him is irrelevant. The fact is, he guilt tripped you into accepting a gift he knew you didn't want. You don't owe him a thing in return whether he thinks you do or not.

You said he already knows you aren't interested, it sounds to me as if that isn't enough. If you haven't already, politely make it as clear as possible that his advances aren't welcome. When you do, be ready to give the necklace back on the spot if he so much as mentions it. After that, if he continues it's time to talk to HR about sexual harassment.


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zmortis
Lover

Posts: 76

Registered:
Jun 2009
Re: Strings attached? (Score: 1)
posted Saturday, April 10, 2010 - 07:50 AM (#55619)

I said give the guy a second look. You now have a no strings attached lacky at work that will buy you lunch, cover for your work, and act as your personal assistant at will. Since you made it clear that you have no interest in him romantically you simply have to remind him of that periodically, and then anything he does to court your favor can not be thrown back into your face later if he grows tired of your lack of reciprocation. As an employee in a white collar environment for over 18 years I can say that these kinds of office "friendships" are fairly status quo.
If he comes back at you thinking you owe him any quid pro quo, just give him his walking papers. If he becomes actually harrasing (unwelcome comments, uninvited personal calls at home, etc.) simply raise the spectre of Human Resources involvement without taking action. The threat of potentially getting in hot water will definitely cool his intrest in you.
However, I think you are missing out on a good oppotunity to have a "minion who does your bidding" for nothing if you don't look at the opportunity here. Just make it clear that anything received from him will only be accepted with no strings attached.
I hope this helps.


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hunter1234
Lover

Posts: 1

Registered:
Apr 2010
Re: Strings attached? (Score: 1)
posted Saturday, April 10, 2010 - 10:25 PM (#55621)

If you realy have clearly stated that you are not interested then keep it.He might have given it hoping to get some sort of affection back but you have made your possition clear.Also you might want to allert human rescources about his continual approaches


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galaxygoddess
Lover

Posts: 6

Registered:
Aug 2009
Re: Strings attached? (Score: 1)
posted Sunday, April 11, 2010 - 04:21 PM (#55627)

Give it back.

If you don't feel comfortable giving it back to him directly, you can always try to locate where he bought the gift and find out their return policy. Let's say he bought it at Kay's Jewelers. They list their return policy, and you can either print it or obtain a copy of it from the store and give it back with the item. Most jewelry is rather easy to locate the company it came from since they have online listing or can even show you their catalogs.

If for some reason he bought it at a speciality shop which custom made it, they are typically the only companies that don't have a return policy and they're even pricier which just make the gift all the more creepy.

Mostly, I'm suggesting that you arm yourself with information about the item you were given. If it turns out it was a cheap wal-mart knock off that just LOOKS expensive, then maybe keep it and remind yourself what a cheapskate he is.

The point is, you obviously don't feel confortable around this guy, and you're confused about a "gift". My co-worker used to bring me a sunkist everyday, and for his birthday I gave him a little fridge magnet. THOSE are "acceptable" "gifts", this necklace crosses a few too many boundries with fuzzy lines.


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NunyaBidness
Lover

Posts: 83

Registered:
Apr 2008
Re: Strings attached? (Score: 1)
posted Monday, April 12, 2010 - 08:17 AM (#55647)
In Response to zmortis (#55619):

zmortis: Really? Manipulating people with the threat of HR over gifts is "Status quo" where you work?

I hope you carry a mine detector, because sooner or later someone is going to step on one.


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Discussion: POLL: Strings attached? | Login/Create an Account | 13 comments
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