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Is my male coworker playing mind games with me?

Tagged as: Three is a crowd<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (24 March 2019) 15 Answers - (Newest, 30 March 2019)
A female Canada age 26-29, *rin0236 writes:

There is a coworker who works in a different department, “John”. He doesn’t go to meetings, has attitude, gossips, flirts, dates fellow coworkers, likes to mess with people, etc.

When I first talked to him about something work-related, he cut me off and walked away. John also behaved in other ways that made me realize he was a jerk. (He’s rude to other coworkers, has a temper, etc.)

John talks with my coworkers a lot and when he would pass near my desk, I would hear him make noises like a “tsk” if I was checking my non-work email or once I caught him watching me as I cleaned up my desk after I spilled coffee.

A few months later, he started to stare at me in an intense way. It is intimidating and he only does it from afar, so I’m never close enough to question it or tell him to stop. He never talked to me, just stared.

I started to avoid him because I became uncomfortable. When my coworkers noticed, he would just shrug and look at me as if I was the one with the problem! (I feel like I'm going crazy!)

At events, he is very stand-offish towards me. If we’re in a group, he stands or sits as far away from me as possible. When he sees me approaching, he literally hides in his chair.

I feel embarrassed and uncomfortable. He can talk with other women, so why am I the one that he treats differently? Why does he act this way? Does he just like playing these mind games with me?

View related questions: co-worker, flirt

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A female reader, CindyCares Italy + , writes (30 March 2019):

CindyCares agony aunt I don't quite see where you are getting at.

Guys like this tend to be married with children ?... What does it mean ?

Married man with chidren can make " tsk " noises same as single guys. They can be standoffish, and favour some colleagues over other colleagues, and sit away from those they don't want to know better or spend time with, just the same like single guys can.

John may be just rude and obnoxious as you say, or display an unwelcoming body Language, but I don't see why this should be typical of a married man with choldren, or why his spouse would have to find fault with the way he acts at work ( other than as a confirmation that she married a grumpy guy, but she probably knows that already )-

I don't know, OP, it's as if you want us to tell you that no, deep down John is crazy about you , and the reason why he ignores you is just because he actually is consumed by his passion ; but, beside personally thinking this is very improbable, what do you care anyway.? Didn't you say he is a bad-tempered jerk ?

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A male reader, N91 United Kingdom + , writes (30 March 2019):

N91 agony auntWhy try to understand it?

Is there some reasoning behind this? Do you have some kind of feelings for him? As I don’t think many people would let this bother them as much as you are. Concentrate on your job.

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A female reader, Erin0236 Canada +, writes (28 March 2019):

Erin0236 is verified as being by the original poster of the question

I just don't understand it because I've worked with other guys like this and they are married with kids.... So do they act different around other people? Do the women just "put up" with their behavior? Or maybe they don't see it? Or they don't care?

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (26 March 2019):

He's treating you differently to other people because IT'S A GAME!! He knows you will notice this, because he sees you looking at him and knows that his behaviour will set you wondering about him and his intentions. He probably likes you, who knows? But the way he behaves, the stupid childish mind games he plays, are enough to tell you that he is a nightmare. He might be doing it to get you to like him and then drop you from a great height.

He isn't behaving normally. He isn't behaving how an adult male who would be a pleasure to have around, behaves. So stop the wondering. It doesn't matter why. Leave jerks like this in the background always. He is interested in yanking your chain. On work time. With your reputation at work to think about. Be strong and mature and really.....don't give him or his actions one more thought. You're better than this.

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A male reader, WiseOwlE United States + , writes (26 March 2019):

The greatest remedy for people who bother you in the workplace is ignoring them; unless they directly harass you, or interfere with the performance of your job. Otherwise, if you're busy at work; you don't have too much time to notice what silly things other people are doing.

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (26 March 2019):

Honeypie agony auntLet me guess, he is OLDER than you? right?

So IF you had dome something OFFENSIVE, he is OLD enough to tell you.

I think he picks on YOU because YOU react to his ridiculous behavior. He ENJOYS to see you squirm.

He isn't a very nice person and a sucktastic coworker, so STOP trying to get him to like you or talk to you, you don't NEED his approval to DO YOUR JOB.

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A female reader, Erin0236 Canada +, writes (24 March 2019):

Erin0236 is verified as being by the original poster of the question

He seems to treat other people differently than how he treats me, which I don't understand. I don't know if I did something to upset him, or if I'm just an easy target for him, but it's confusing to me.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (24 March 2019):

"When he sees me approaching, he literally hides in his chair."

Keep him seated girl.

So. do Not be scared.

he's just a satanist.

I bet you he checks porn sites when he's supposed to be working!?

Naughty boy.

Do not be intimidated, he's just fluming his insignificant plume.

Take it?

Nah. Leave it!

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A male reader, Guesswhothisis United Kingdom +, writes (24 March 2019):

Coming from a guy he sounds like a prize idiot. Why are you bothered? Sounds like he's playing games. Is that really what you want in life? Let's say for arguments sake you do get together what difference will that make? He's treating you like this now what's to say gw won't continue it do this layer on?

Tell him to back off and find a guy who's gonna treat you right.

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (24 March 2019):

Honeypie agony auntYep, I agree.

He can ONLY "play" games with you, IF you play along. So far you have.

IGNORE the man. DO your job. If he wants to "tsk" walking by your desk WHO cares?

And why are you upset that he talks to OTHER women and not you? He is an ASS from what you describe, why on EARTH would you want to have anything to do with him?

He might just not like you. It happens. So what? He isn't your boss and it's your work place not your social scene.

Pretend he isn't there, BE professional, do your job and if you want to TALK to people at work, PICK the hard working and positive people (and don't talk smack about this guy or any other coworkers).

YOU are the one making this into a drama. Not him, even for all his antics.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (24 March 2019):

He's getting to you. You want his attention, otherwise you wouldn't care. Be careful with this guy. He is NOT good news. You already know this, but he's staring to get to you anyway. Be strong and block him, mentally and physically. Don't look his way and get this manipulative man out of your head. Busy yourself with your work and other colleagues and only give him any of your time if you need to for work.

He IS playing games with you and he's winning! Staring and then hiding is all DESIGNED to get you wondering. Even if he wants you and fancies you, he will make your life a misery if you get with him. The way he behaves screams that he is manipulative and will be abusive towards you if you start to invest in him emotionally.

You are already partially invested in him. His attention and mind games add something to your working day and he knows it. Surprise him and let him see that his mind games do not have one single effect on you and show him that you are a strong woman by ignoring him completely. Take the wind out of his sails and be the winner in this scenario. Because it IS a game to him. Don't let him win.

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A female reader, CindyCares Italy + , writes (24 March 2019):

CindyCares agony aunt He can only play games with you, if you play along. But if you go about your business and work as if John did not even exist, (and as you should do because you are there to perform a job , not to socialize with everybody or to get distracted by some colleague's antics ) ; problem solved and games over.

You sound displeased or disappointed that John , some times, is giving you a wide berth. Why ? If he is such a rude, gossipy, bad- tempered individual, the least you have to deal with him, the best for you !

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A male reader, N91 United Kingdom + , writes (24 March 2019):

N91 agony auntIn all honesty, why do you care?

You’re at work, not a social gathering. If he wants to act like a child then let him. Concentrate on the job you’re being paid to do.

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A male reader, WiseOwlE United States + , writes (24 March 2019):

You first describe "John's" cringiness; and then by the end of the post you seem disappointed he doesn't seem to like you.

You're far too aware of his every move! Seems you'd be too engrossed in your work to notice him much!

What exactly is the concern? That he is weird, or that he doesn't flirt or treat you like he inappropriately treats other women?

Be glad he keeps his distance. He can make all the expressions and gestures he wants from afar. If they come directly at you; and he invades your personal-space, take it to Human Resources. If he is creating a hostile work-environment for you; keep record of the time and place of each incident, and who witnessed it. Submit your complaint to your manager and human resources.

If he's disruptive in the workplace, and argues with co-workers; it is likely it has already been reported and addressed. He's a known "character" around the workplace; so he's given a pass. That doesn't mean they're not building a case against him.

You have a right to ask him to please keep his stares and gestures to himself. Then ignore him. You're an adult, and you know you will always have that one co-worker that rubs you the wrong way.

There's no-way you can make him like you; but if he goes out of his way to intimidate you; that is cause for a formal complaint to your employer.

Make absolutely and most abundantly certain, that your complaint is because he is actually harassing you. Not because you want him to flirt like he does at other women. I feel some reservations about your post. I don't want to advise you to report someone and jeopardize his job for the wrong reasons.

From what you described, he's already digging a hole for himself. He'll dig so deep, he may look around and find he can't climb out of it!

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A female reader, Youcannotbeserious United Kingdom + , writes (24 March 2019):

Youcannotbeserious agony auntHonestly, why do you even care? You say yourself, the man is a jerk. I am tempted to leave my response at that, but will elaborate.

You are at work to work, so I would just keep my head down and work (you can check personal emails in personal time - don't give this guy ammunition). He is not your supervisor or anything, so I don't see any reason for you to worry about his idiotic behaviour towards you. You can't control what he does (perhaps HE can't either?) but you CAN control how - or, indeed, WHETHER - you react to it.

If you are noticing him staring at you from a distance, then you are obviously looking at him too. Stop checking what he is doing. Ignore him to the best of your ability, unless you need to communicate about work. If he sees his behaviour is not having an effect on you - or, better still, that you are not even noticing - he will move on.

The man's a jerk. Rise about what he does, ignore it and concentrate on your work. You are not going to get on with everyone at work. Leave him to his gossiping and attitude while you concentrate on what you are paid to do. Your bosses will be aware of his lack of work ethic. Give him enough rope and he will hang himself.

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