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#219235 - 04/20/08 07:52 AM Emotionally "touchy feely" employee
Brian35 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 05/10/04
Posts: 16
Loc: East Coast, US
I really hate this employee of mine. I manage a retail outlet and hired him (he's 10 years older than me) despite his having been fired throughout his career for various reasons, but he had explained he was a foster child and had severe abandonment issues, "abuse" issues, was in counseling and 12 step programs, etc which I certainly understood and could empathize with him. So I gave him a chance.

Unfortunately he's been an extreme kiss-ass to the point of text messaging me almost every morning "good morning!", every evening "hope you have a good night!" or "thinking of you!" which really makes me uncomfortable. I've told him to stop it but he always launches into a "I'm sorry, I'm just needy and I need to do that to feel safe." I've told him to find some other way but he says can you just ignore it? It's very strange.

I really don't want to turn it into a sexual harassment thing which is how it makes me feel given my background (and which is automatic firing in our company), plus I really don't think it is that on his part... he's just very clingy. Yet I dread every text message chime and really have grown to hate him even though he's a really good performer and I do feel sorry for him.

I hate all this! Why can't I just be normal and brush it off?! \:\(

#219253 - 04/20/08 10:34 AM Re: Emotionally "touchy feely" employee [Re: Brian35]
DanM Offline

Registered: 11/09/07
Posts: 540
Loc: So. California
I think you just have to be very direct and tell him to stop and advise him of the consequences if he doesn't. Afterall, you gave him the benefit of the doubt and took a chance with him when you hired him. He needs to be aware of that and the rest is up to him. You can't allow him to manipulate or harrass you any longer.

Just my thoughts.


#219260 - 04/20/08 12:08 PM . [Re: DanM]
JustJeff Offline

Registered: 03/19/08
Posts: 262

Edited by JustJeff (08/15/10 03:04 PM)

#219262 - 04/20/08 12:10 PM Re: Emotionally "touchy feely" employee [Re: JustJeff]
JustJeff Offline

Registered: 03/19/08
Posts: 262
Oh maybe he has ADHD, thats usually the best de>

#219278 - 04/20/08 02:50 PM Re: Emotionally "touchy feely" employee [Re: JustJeff]
MagRaith Offline

Registered: 12/24/07
Posts: 69
Loc: Salt Lake City, UT
Brian -

If I can offer an opinion it would be this - to me this is an issue of boundaries. You are not recognizing your right to have your boundaries respected. You are worrying about not stepping on this person's toes but you are totally ignoring your very legitimate rights and needs. This person is being very inconsiderate of your right to maintain your necessary healthy boundaries. His behavior is not normal, and is incredibly invasive and totally unacceptable. You've given this person a great opportunity, you don't owe him anything. He claims he needs to do this to feel safe but you need him to not do this because you don't feel safe.

So you need to tell him he needs to find another way to feel safe that does not involve requiring you to put his needs ahead of yours. That in my mind is bullshit, and if you've already told him to knock it off and he does not respect that then its time to get tough with him and tell him "do it or else". It is not your responsibility to make him feel safe or to make yourself miserable in order to keep him happy. Seems to me he is not the least bit concerned about how you feel in this whole thing. So stand up for yourself, you've given this guy more than enough, time to look out for yourself.

And as for wishing you were normal and could brush this off - that would not be normal. I can't imagine anyone would find this acceptable under any circumstance. Brushing it off is not an option and would definitely not qualify as normal. As uncomfortable as it might be for you this is something I think you need to hit head on, and "nip it in the bud" the sooner the better.

That's my opinion, and I'm pretty confident in it. Hope it helps.


#219290 - 04/20/08 03:58 PM Re: Emotionally "touchy feely" employee [Re: MagRaith]
WalkingSouth Offline

Registered: 08/30/05
Posts: 16270
Loc: Waldport, Oregon

Bottom line is that he's stepping on your boundaries and crossing them. Is he a pervert of some kind? Probably not, and indeed he may be just needy as he says, or he could be attempting to groom you as Jeff says. Stranger things have happened and it's possible for and adult to groom another.

Whatever the case it's your boundaries being crossed. You are not wrong to feel the way you're feeling in this regard. It's obvious you have a compassionate heart and are to be commended for it, but this is the right time as his supervisor and as you acting for yourself to step in and have a firm but kind chat with him. IMO.

Lots of love,


"Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting 'Holy Shit! What a ride!'" ~Hunter S. Thompson

#219294 - 04/20/08 04:20 PM Re: Emotionally "touchy feely" employee [Re: WalkingSouth]
EGL Offline
Moderator Emeritus
Registered: 06/19/04
Posts: 7821
I agree with the others above, Brian. This employee's actions are not "normal". And you have every right to put an end to them in a very decisive, unambiguous manner so that there is no mistake about how you feel about it.


#219308 - 04/20/08 05:25 PM Re: Emotionally "touchy feely" employee [Re: EGL]
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA

Other guys have covered everything, but I'll just chime in to say that if a guy has problems, he still has to respect the boundaries of others. This character isn't doing that, and when he makes excuses he's really saying that his issues entitle him to violate your boundaries. Bullshit. Draw the line and tell him he has to respect it.

Much love,

Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

#219313 - 04/20/08 06:12 PM Re: Emotionally "touchy feely" employee [Re: roadrunner]
Roofus Offline

Registered: 01/24/08
Posts: 233
Loc: Utah
Just to add one more little note, I would encourage you to identify what truly is "your problem" and what is "his problem." As so many others have mentioned, it seems to me that your problem is that he is crossing your boundaries. He needs to know that, and from what you have said "his problem" is that he is sensitive, and needy. When you put your foot down with him, he's going to be emotional it sounds like... thats his problem. Don't allow yourself to fall into the trap of not stopping this because you are afraid how it will make him "feel." You can't change that, and you need to take care of yourself.

#219465 - 04/21/08 02:33 PM Re: Emotionally "touchy feely" employee [Re: Roofus]
JustScott Offline
Greeter Emeritus

Registered: 01/28/08
Posts: 2615
Loc: Central PA
The fact that he asked you to just ignore it bothers me big time. Definitely a boundaries issue like many others have said! He's asking you permission to violate your boundaries, and that's not cool at all!

He's either gotta respect your's and others boundaries or he's gotta go. Make that as clear as possible. Tell him it's harassment and it's gotta stop! If you understand any of his feelings, I'd say feel free to tell him you understand those particular feelings, but they cannot continue to be acted on in that way.

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