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to think my boss should deal with the bullying gossips, rather than tell me to change my friends?

(36 Posts)
nomoregossip Wed 24-Sep-08 10:22:27

I have a male friend at work, who I spend a fair amount of time with, on a purely platonic basis. We are aware that the fact that we spend time together leads to gossip, but we know everything is above board, laugh of anything that is said and frankly, find it quite amusing.

Or we did, until my (our) boss took me aside to say the gossip was getting nasty and I should really spend less time with this man.

I was furious and told him if people were spreading malicious lies, he should deal with that under the firms bullying policy. It was probably an over reaction (I never thought of it as bullying before) but I was so shocked that he felt it necessary to speak to me TBH. Also v. annoyed that he spoke to me as the woman and not to the man.

Anyway AIBU to think it's my business who I have lunch with?

ImNotOnline Wed 24-Sep-08 10:24:48

YANBU - Your boss sounds like an idiot, why should shomeone who is doing nothing wrong change because of people who are jealous of someone with a social life.

kitbit Wed 24-Sep-08 10:25:01

You are right, but the sad fact is that whatever the truth, people will still talk. And if your boss has a word with them, they'll think there's no smoke without fire.

Actually I think it's a good thing that he had a quiet word, because now you can make sure you handle it, rather than later on when you would have been blissfully unaware and caught out when it all blows up.

VinegarTits Wed 24-Sep-08 10:25:47

Your boss should have dragged the gossip mongers into his office and told then to grow up. YANBU

Tortington Wed 24-Sep-08 10:25:49

yes you need to make a complaint

mum2taylor Wed 24-Sep-08 10:26:16

if he knows so much about the gossip getting nasty it seems he is one of the gossips himself! I would see the point if you had a close relationship with your boss and he was only making you aware of what was being said but it sounds as if he's poking his nose into your business.

WideWebWitch Wed 24-Sep-08 10:27:07

Bullying sounds like massively overstating it tbh, it's not bullying, it's gossip, which he's making you aware of.

You can either ignore it or take on board the fact that, like it or not, people are drawing their own conclusions, and tone it down a bit. But if you don't care what other people think then don't. As long as you're genuinely not doing anything wrong that is (I'm assuming one or both of you is married). Is it actually a slightly dangerous platonic relationship?

wannaBe Wed 24-Sep-08 10:30:15

It's your business who you have lunch with. But.

If you spend a lot of time with this man then it is natural for people to wonder if there is more going on.

EEspecially if you/he are in relationships then work colleagues may feel that the amount of time you spend together might be upsetting to your/his respective partners.

If you are spending so much time together that you are part of the office gossip mill, then maybe you do need to have a look at your friendship, and question whether you actually do spend more time together than is perhaps appropriate for people who are in stable relationships.

FioFio Wed 24-Sep-08 10:31:51

Message withdrawn

WideWebWitch Wed 24-Sep-08 10:34:57

In my last job there was a couple who had lunch together a lot, went out in the evening a lot (her husband was a away often so she went out with this male work friend) and tbh he was CLEARLY infatuated. She was playing a v dangerous game imo. I've no idea whether anything happened but having seen them dance together once I'd be gobsmacked had it not.

Everyone was gossiping about it. I was the boss. I let them get on with it, none of my business. I still raised my eyebrows at their body language though.

LadyGlencoraPalliser Wed 24-Sep-08 10:36:44

That's absurd Wannabe. It is not her work colleague' place to make judgements about the OP's friendships. Lots of people find it possible to be in a relationship and still have friends of the opposite sex without wanting to jump into their knickers at the first opportunity. I have close male platonic friends, DH has close platonic female friends and neither of us have issues with this. It is nobody else's business to decide whether this is appropriate or not. If this friendship is not affecting the OP's work, then her boss needs to put a stop to the gossip, not the friendship.

flowerybeanbag Wed 24-Sep-08 10:36:50

I don't think you're being bullied at all.

If people are gossiping and your boss is making sure you are aware so that you can consider whether you are happy with that or whether you might need to tone it down a bit, I can't see a lot wrong with that tbh.

He may have not handled it especially well. I agree he should have spoken to both of you rather than just you if he manages both of you (do you know he didn't?), but in terms of whether it's fine for him to speak to you at all, I think it is.

If gossip is getting nasty he should do both, he should speak to you and your friend about being aware of the fact that what you are doing is leading to gossip, and he should also speak to the people who are being nasty. Do you know he didn't do that?

People will always gossip if there is something like this to gossip about. If it gets nasty as the manager he should address it absolutely, but its not going to go away altogether and I do think a bit of thought about how appropriate/sensible you are being wouldn't be a bad thing.

FioFio Wed 24-Sep-08 10:36:59

Message withdrawn

VinegarTits Wed 24-Sep-08 10:39:25

So if you have a platonic relationship at work that must mean your infatuated nomoregossip hmm

wannaBe Wed 24-Sep-08 10:40:57

I agree with fio. If someone was gossiping about me and another man like that then I would want to know. Especially because I wouldn't want the gossip to potentially get back to my husband and lead to him jumping to his own conclusions.

How many threads do we see on here from women saying that they are anxious/concerned about their dh's friendships with work colleagues? For all you know his dw might be one of those posters.

It of course goes without saying that platonic friendships are totally possible between people of the opposite sex. But when it comes to others questioning whether there is something more, and one or both are in relationships, then it becomes time to question whether it would perhaps be wise to tone things down a bit, even if it's only in the face of those who have drawn their own condlusions from your closeness.

I have a male friend who I see occasionally. We have been friends for years and there has never been any suggestion of anything more between us (tbh I wouldn't sleep with him if he was the last man on earth, I just don't see him like that). I am quite openly friends with him and we occasionally meet for coffee in public places. To my knowledge no-one has ever gossiped about us, but if I thought that others were thinking there was something between us, then I would wonder if perhaps my dh thought the same.

flowerybeanbag Wed 24-Sep-08 10:41:24

Did he say exactly how the gossip is getting 'nasty' as opposed to just gossipy?

FioFio Wed 24-Sep-08 10:44:54

Message withdrawn

VinegarTits Wed 24-Sep-08 10:45:46

Agree with LGP, imo the boss should be telling the people who gossip to tone it now, not asking the op to spend less time with her friend, yes fine make her aware of the gossip, but dont expect her to tone down her friendship because others have nothing better to do that spread nasty idle rumors.

WideWebWitch Wed 24-Sep-08 10:47:57

If you're the boss you can't actually dictate what people talk about!

You can ask that they raise any WORK RELATED matters in a professional manner but you can't order them not to discuss other things!

You can say, if someone tries to talk to you about it, "I'm afraid I won't gossip or discuss that matter as it's not work related" but you can't actually stop people from talking.

Agree with flowery, it was fair enough to make you aware of it imo.

wannaBe Wed 24-Sep-08 10:50:46

agreed www.

Tbh if the friendship is innocent then a bit of gossip shouldn't be an issue surely?

So if the gossip bothers you then maybe you should ask yourself why?

VinegarTits Wed 24-Sep-08 10:51:44

Oh, so you cant stop people gossiping, but you can ask someone to tone down a friendship hmm I think her boss was right to make her aware of the nasty gossip, but wrong to ask her to spend less time with this man

PoorOldEnid Wed 24-Sep-08 10:52:51

agree with www and flowery

and wannabe

PoorOldEnid Wed 24-Sep-08 10:53:44

maybe her boss is aware that the man doesnt see this relationship in the innocent way that nomoregossip does...

nomoregossip Wed 24-Sep-08 10:54:01

Thanks everyone for your views. I don't really think it's bullying either, I just flew off the handle with the shock of being "spoken to" but just out of interest , I did google a definition of workplace bullying here and I do think you could make it fit. However, I have absolutely no intention of taking it further and will continue to be aware that it is going on and laugh it off as before.

No idea why it is "nasty" I guess you could say any gossip is nasty. BTW, don't kid yourselves that gossips are all young females. I am the only woman at work (which is why I have formed this friendship - (he is the safest, most married man I know) and the youngest member of our team is 37!!

I think my boss meant well, but he definitely hasn't spoken to my friend (I would have heard the explosion grin )

VinegarTits Wed 24-Sep-08 10:54:45

she already said the gossip didnt bother her -

'We are aware that the fact that we spend time together leads to gossip, but we know everything is above board, laugh of anything that is said and frankly, find it quite amusing.'

I think she is more annoyed at the boss asking her to spend less time with the man, correct me if i am wrong please nomoregossip?

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