A Woman Had Insisted on Keeping Her Personal Life Secret at Work For 9 Years, so when a New Colleague Exposed Her She Reported Them to HR

A woman had worked at her workplace for 9 years and always ensured to maintain strict boundaries between her personal and professional lives. She was inherently a private individual and believed in keeping her personal affairs separate from work-related discussions.

The Enigma in the Office

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Due to her private nature, the woman had diligently avoided discussing her home life, never revealing details about her marriage, twin daughters, or other personal aspects. This approach had resulted in her co-workers viewing her as somewhat of an enigma. 

Maintaining Friendships

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While the woman had formed meaningful friendships with colleagues, she had never felt the need to divulge personal information about her family, hobbies, or activities outside of work. “I’m not ashamed of my life, I just don’t like to discuss it at work” she explained. “My co-workers enjoy talking about their lives, but if I’m asked any questions I usually redirect them to someone else.”

A New Addition To The Team

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The situation took a turn when a co-worker named Melinda, who was hired just a year ago, adopted the role of an office investigator. Melinda sought to gather personal information about her co-workers, seemingly with the intention of using this information for potential leverage or gossip. 

Not Playing Ball

They Belong At Home
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Melinda began attempting to pry into the woman’s personal life, but the woman was not interested in playing Melinda’s games. She successfully deflected Melinda’s inquiries, maintaining her privacy.

A Privacy Breach

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However, one day Melinda excitedly announced details about the woman’s personal life to her colleagues. This included details of her marital status, children, hobbies, and even the fact that she had a presence on Facebook. 

Dirty Tactics

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The woman suspected that Melinda may have used online resources or social media to uncover these details, even though she had taken precautions to limit access to her personal information. The woman expressed her confusion: “I use a shortened version of my name (Ali from Alexandra) and my married name on FB, so I’m not sure how she found me”.

Taking Action With HR

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Understandably upset by this breach of privacy, the woman promptly reported Melinda’s actions to the Human Resources department, seeking a resolution to the situation.

The Unsettling Reactions Of Colleagues

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Upon learning more about her personal life, the woman’s co-workers reacted unexpectedly. Some expressed feelings of hurt, claiming that the woman’s secrecy suggested a lack of trust in her colleagues or a low regard for them. 

Justifying Her Privacy

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The woman attempted to clarify her stance, explaining that her desire for privacy wasn’t a reflection of her co-workers’ trustworthiness but rather a personal preference.

An Unwelcome Chill

Despite her attempts to communicate her reasoning, the woman’s co-workers responded by distancing themselves. They now seemed to engage with the woman solely on work-related matters, creating an atmosphere of coldness.

The Woman’s Perspective

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Despite her colleagues’ newfound coldness, the woman’s perspective remained unchanged. She had never lied or fabricated stories about her life. She emphasized that her primary intention was always to keep her personal life separate from work, as she believed in the value of compartmentalization.

The Internet’s Reaction

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The woman vented her frustration on the internet, and many readers chimed in with their opinions. Some empathized with her, with one commenter writing: “That is your private life, and exactly that, you are entitled to keep it private. To me, Melinda could be considered a stalker and possibly a matter for the police, let alone HR.”

Lying By Omission

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However, some people could understand the woman’s colleagues’ reactions. “I’m not sure you can call people friends and actively hide your life from them”, one person pondered. “It’s reasonable for people who thought they knew you to feel pretty upset about the fact that you’ve been lying to them by omission for years.”

Not What She Expected

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To the woman’s surprise, many readers stated that she was acting ridiculously. “It honestly blows my mind that you could work with people for nine years and not even mention once that you’re married or have kids”, one commenter stated. “I don’t think you’re a bad person for wanting to be private but you’re acting like you’re in the witness protection program.”

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