A man struggled to be around women, claiming that they made him feel uncomfortable. This created tensions in his life, something that would soon cause him serious problems at his workplace. Here is what he had to say:
Avoiding Uncomfortable Interactions
The man expressed his unusual social preferences: “Long story short, I am not exactly comfortable around women, and I do what I can to minimize my interactions with females as much as I can. It has nothing to with capabilities or anything I just get extremely uncomfortable.” Perhaps he would struggle less if he considered them as women instead of ‘females’.
New Colleague’s Efforts
A new woman started at work. She was eager to foster workplace friendships and made persistent attempts to engage with the man. However, the discomfort he felt from this led him to excuse himself whenever she approached.
Despite the man’s reluctance to build a bond with the woman, he claimed to still make as much effort as he could handle. He claimed to maintain civility, and even engage in polite, albeit uneasy, small talk.
Explaining His Actions
However, a problem arose when the new colleague described the man’s behavior to one of his other colleagues. The colleague explained to her about the man’s preferences, but instead of being understanding, she took this as a challenge to make the man open up to her.
Direct Request for Space
One day at work, the woman’s efforts to socialize became too much to bear for the man. “I asked if she could leave me alone please, that I have no intention to become her friend or open up”, the man explained.
The response from the colleague was unexpected. Instead of understanding, she lashed out and accused the man of being misogynistic and rude, leaving him perplexed and troubled.
Over the following weekend, the man had time to reflect upon his recent workplace challenges. He questioned whether his reluctance to engage in interactions with women was justified or if he should start to make more of an effort.
Justifying His Feelings
The man made an attempt to explain his feelings. “I go to therapy but that only does so much”, he lamented. “This is something rooted in trauma.”
Despite justifying his actions, the man also recognized the effect that this was having on other people. “I understand this is a me problem. It’s not fair for my new colleague to be punished for my own issues.”
Ultimately, the man was left grappling with his conflicting feelings. He recognized that his social preferences were beginning to cause drama and tension in his life, and this had the potential to affect his work. However, he also felt that his feelings were not a choice but a product of trauma and that he had the right to tackle this by setting his own boundaries.
The man logged on to his favorite online community, seeking validation for his actions from other people. Whilst many readers recognized the validity of the man’s trauma explanations, they still emphasized that he had to make changes. “You need therapy”, one person suggested. “You are limiting yourself and alienating your co-workers. This will be noticed.”
Limiting His Career
The same commenter pointed out that the man’s career would be severely stunted unless he tackled his trauma head-on. “You will have many co-workers who are women”, they reminded him. “You will have bosses who are women. You will never get promoted until you fix these issues you have.”
Despite the man’s claims of trauma, many other commenters had little sympathy for him. “I would fire you”, claimed one reader. “If your work communication behavior is based on anything related to gender, race, or a bunch of other things, that’s wrong. You need to be capable of communicating with humans and treat all humans equally.”
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