Reported a colleague to Human Resources


I’m in my forties and I have a colleague who’s in his twenties. He’s a shy, introverted guy who struggles socially at work and in his personal life. We come from the same racial and ethnic background, so I befriended him at work as a kind of big sister figure. Maybe I was naive, but I thought that we could hang out once in a while without there being any issues of mistaken intentions between us both. We would hang out infrequently, but would go to the movies once in a while, go out to dinner once in a while, and his need to hang out with me became more urgent and frequent. When I would tell him to back off, he’d make a big show about cutting me out of his life, which I didn’t mind, and then he’d come back. After this happened a few times and I told him the behavior was inappropriate, I began to distance myself after telling him he needed to make more social efforts to make new friends. I also politely rebuffed invitations to hang out and was direct that I didn’t want to hang out further with him. He took that feedback as him needing to try in a different way, and persisted in asking me out and trying to contact me through work channels although I blocked his number on my personal phone.

I have sent several direct messages to him that I don’t want to hang out again, but he keeps trying to apologize and come back into my life. He even moved into my apartment building unannounced. I tried not to read into it at the time, but his subsequent behavior has made me uncomfortable. I have been clear with him about my intentions to only be friends from the start of the relationship, and he is wanting more intimacy and closeness than I can provide. He is probably not used to having intimate conversations in his personal life, so I think he took these conversations to mean that there was a romantic intention on my part that there wasn’t. I cleared this up with him too. I feel guilty about turning him into HR as he persists in contacting me although I have asked him on numerous occasions to stop.

UM
C: S contacts me after I told him not to
T: I probably did a lot of things that confused him and led him on
F: Guilt
A: Be defensive about my behavior to HR, I communicate that this was only a friendship and nothing more to him and HR, feel guilt over drawing a line because I know how socially inept and isolated this person is, get annoyed with him that he kept finding different ways to contact me even after I told him that I did not want to hang out with him, send very forceful and direct messages to him about my feelings about the situation, threaten to escalate to police if the behavior doesn’t stop
R: I don’t have my own back in this situation

IM
C: S contacts me after I told him not to
T: This is exactly how the situation is supposed to play itself out
F: Neutral
A: Go through the HR discovery process, tell my side of the story, don’t worry about how I will be perceived, enforce a boundary that had been violated numerous times, feel like I should be more compassionate to S because I used to have similar problems and know how it feels to feel isolated.
R: Try to sit with the discomfort even though I know I don’t need to feel guilty

The depressing thing I keep trying to realize is that I seem to have a deep conversation or two with a man and it turns into harassment, This has happened to me more than once with co-workers and I’ve always been clear about lines. I keep thinking this is my fault and can’t fully believe that this is due to other people’s models because this is so common with me even when I draw clear lines.