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How Do I Tell My Depressed Coworker to Leave Me Alone?

"How Do I Tell My Depressed Co-Worker to Leave Me Alone?"

This question is from a Group Therapy post in our TrèsSugar Community. Add your advice in the comments!

I work at a hospital and I met a cook at the cafeteria where I go to every day, inside the hospital, about two years ago. So, since I see him everyday and ask him to fix me a sandwich or whatever, we became friends. We talked every day a little bit about soccer or things like that, nothing too deep. About two months ago, I ended up adding him on Facebook, and he gave me his number to call him anytime I needed something to eat and didn't have time to wait or something like that (that's what he said). So, he started to go further, texting me occasionally, offering me chocolates or homemade sweets. Slowly, everybody at work started noticing that he had a crush on me, when I just thought he was being kind. I never liked him, he is so not my type.

One day he started asking me how long I'd been single. So, I asked what caused him to think that, because I'm in a relationship. (It's been six years, on and off, very complicated but that's a whole other story). He thought I was single because I had nothing about my boyfriend on Facebook (the last time we broke up was last May and I switched my relationship status and haven't changed it back to "in a relationship").

I started to suspect that he thought I was into him, when all I had previously thought we had a totally innocent friendship. Soon after this revelation, he told me that whenever I went to the cafeteria, I couldn't take my eyes off of him. Of course, I was like WTF? He knew I had been in a serious relationship, and yet he thought I liked him and was trying to pursue me!

From then on, I kept my distance, keeping the conversations to a hello/goodbye only. Of course, he noticed and asked me what was up. I told him I didn't want him to misinterpret things; that I have a boyfriend who I love, and I have no plans to cheat on him. He said OK and apologized. The next day, I go to the cafeteria and I find he's not there. Same story the next day. He texts me and tells me that I'm not going to see him for a while, since everything that happened made him get depressed and that he was going through a crisis. He took a medical leave for two weeks, during which he texted and called me incessantly. I never answered his texts or calls.

When I finally saw him back at work, he ignored me. Soon after, though, he texted me saying that "he missed our friendship." I never answered him. I've really had it with this guy; I used to like our chats, but I certainly don't anymore. I want to tell him to stop texting me completely, but I don't know how to do it without him suffering from a "crisis." He is constantly telling me how bad he feels, and how he doesn't want to come to work anymore, and I just don't know what to do.

How can I tell him to leave me alone?

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subliminalseduction subliminalseduction 4 years
Go with what testadura says. I had an unstable guy chasing me around for a while who really tried to heap a load of guilt on me for the same type of situation. Avoid the cafeteria, I wouldn't have any contact with him because he may misconstrue it as you "regaining interest". This is a friendship that could be threatening, because if he overreacts so badly the first time, he can't be stable. Don't think that this is your fault, simply explain, if you'd like, that he misread the situation and that there was never potential for a relationship, that you'd feel more comfortable if you stayed friendly at work. I would not resume a personal phone call and Facebook friendship with him, and if he does harrass you, go to HR.
lickety-split lickety-split 4 years
yikes. personally, i think i'd avoid the cafeteria for awhile. let him move on to something else. it scares me that he's obsessing about you. don't walk to the car by yourself and be careful!
testadura67 testadura67 4 years
Hate to say it, but it's his problem, not yours. He crossed a boundary in your friendship that made you not want to continue the friendship, and with good reason. You have a relationship that is your priority. The fact that he overreacted is not your responsibility. Just tell him you only want to be work friends if that's what you want, or tell him you don't feel it's appropriate for you two to continue being friends at all out of deference to your relationship. Remove him from facebook, block his number if he keeps harassing you on your phone. That's what incessant unwanted calling and texting is, by the way. Harassment. If it keeps up, bring it to your HR dept. You've handled this gently and honestly so far. Don't let him take advantage of your kindness.
JessicaM25 JessicaM25 4 years
I'm going to take a different stand on this. Men and women are different and how you feel and how he feels about certain actions have a lot of ways of being intrepreted. Him doing things for you was his way of expressing on how he felt about you. You recieving them, thinking they are of friendship nature, probably made him think you liked him too. Which is why I feel he was so shocked when he found out you weren't single. Obviously, there is a lot more to go by and I don't see the need to be crude. You were his friend once and you no longer wish to be friends. If I were you -I would give him a call and talk to him and clear out the air on anything and then tell him you no longer want to continue a friendship but wanted to make sure things were cleared up. You are not responsible for his feelings but we are all still human beings. Just clear the air out and cut him off. You can still be civil and say hello and goodbye when you see him. Life is too short to be mean. Things happen but in the retrospect of things but I feel as if it was a lot of misplaced feelings and miscommunication. GL.
kurniakasih kurniakasih 4 years
henna is right as in you're not responsible for his mental health or any emotional crisis that he's having, don't let him use that as something to control/manipulate you. I also agree that you don't have to cut off contact face to face, just text/e-mail your decision to not have contact with him once and for all because your friendship has made you very uncomfortable, and no more contact (for some reason, I also am inclined to tell you to keep that last communication if you can), block him from your fb, block from phone, etc. No matter how badly you feel, don't start anything, don't reply anything if he managed to msg you, and for a few weeks or permanently, you may need to find another spot to eat lunch, like henna said, it's probably inconvenient, but it'll save you time and energy from dealing with him, and it also signals that you're serious about cutting contact. Hopefully he'll get the message and leave you alone. Good luck.
henna-red henna-red 4 years
Eat somewhere else. Text him that you are uncomfortable with the relationship that has developed and you are ending contact with him. You are not responsible for any crisis of emotional health that this man has. He's using this as a manipulative tool. This man has some serious issues, and will only try to draw you into them further. He is using the whole get another job as a manipulation also. He's trying to guilt you. It's bull. Cut off contact. You don't have to do it face to face. Text him, once, about your decision, and then block him. Don't invite or allow a conversation or interaction about this with him. Just be done. You need to stay out of the cafeteria. Bring your meal, step out and around the corner, whatever, but leave this guy strictly alone. I know it's inconvenient, but this kind of personality can get stalkerish, and you don't need that. He's already too much, over the line. Be firm, be in control of yourself, avoid anger. Just keep it calm, and polite. Your presence will tempt him to continue this, so do yourself a favor and stay away from him, no matter how unfair it seems to you. It's the safest option, at least for a while. Let him simmer down, the situation deflate and stabilize. Good luck
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