One of those days...

Joined
May 14, 2009
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So I work in Japan with 2 women at my school. Recently there has been a lot of tension in the workplace with one of them. She just got a boyfriend and has suddenly turned into the coworker from a not so nice place.

Today she told me that I am not american, and that I do not think like an american, and she cannot get along with me because I do not think like an american. She has blatantly attacked who I am and my personality. I had nothing to say to this because, well, I am most definitely an american and I really do not want to cause more workplace troubles. To avoid a huge workplace problem, I simply ended the conversation. But she has finally crossed a line, and something needs to be done. I work in a small school and there is no place to simply avoid the issue. We have to work together every day, and we have no private areas...

How should I approach this matter with tact?

Daniel
 
Joined
Dec 21, 2008
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Newark, Ohio
all situations are neutral, it is your response that can fire it up. Just continue to be yourself, friendly and cordial. Don't respond with fire. Lend her an ear if she wants.
Daniel,

You can also "borrow" a bit from the art of Ju-Jit-Tsu, in which the focus is on removing yourself as the target. A simple sidestep is easy. It's also feasible that the new boyfriend, or just 'something' upset her in such a way that you may have become the easy target for "frustrational" venting. Unfortunately that is something over which you have no control. No control that is except to sidestep, and politely continue about your business, continue doing your job. "What goes around comes around."

BTW - Here's to a better tomorrow!! :smile:
 
Joined
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Georgia
I am american, she is japanese. She crossed the line by attacking me personally. I dont care if she attacks my work, or anything about what I do. But coming off and saying that I was somehow unamerican and that my personality sucked because I was not her type of american was just too much.
I have been in my town for a year and a half, and most people treat me like a cute pet. I am almost never treated like a real person out here. I have gotten used to that. But for one of my coworkers who lived in the US for 4 years to come at me and say

I dont think you are american because the way you think is different from other americans.
I like americans but i dont get along with you.
your way of thinking is bad
Your personality is repulsive


I am not sure how to deal with this. I dont know if it is something i did before. It coincides with the boyfriend, but that could be unrelated too...

Are any women reading this? Any ideas? I do not want to make things worse, but I sure as heck dont want to let things continue like this. I wont tolerate being treated like crap from a coworker everyday. That fine line. This is the first time i have ever had this happen. Usually everyone finds me very laidback at work. I do my best not to cause or instigate problems. Evidently that makes me unamerican.

the kicker is 2 weeks ago things were great at work. Everyone got along perfectly, like we were good friends. Now it is like a freaking ice planet.

Daniel
 
Joined
May 16, 2007
Messages
962
Location
Germany, near Duesseldorf
Hi Daniel.

It's a quite difficult situation. I think you are right not to worsen the situation. But of course, you don't need to tolerate such behaviour.

Unfortunately, I don't have any advice for you. If it was possible for me to understand women, I'd write books and get rich.

Good luck !

Regards

Mattes
 
Joined
Mar 15, 2009
Messages
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Los Angeles, CA
Maybe she likes you? And the only way to get your attention is to cause trouble with you. She was probably trying to get you jealous by having a boyfriend. I'm just speculating though, but It happens all the time.
 
Joined
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Sliverdale, WA
OK, well I would tell her what’s bothers you, and you want it to stop. If you can go above her and you tell her that if she continues it will. ONE IMPORTANT THING, NEVER GO TO HER LEVEL NO MATTER HOW GOOD IT WILL MAKE YOU FEEL. Keep being nice, being you, say hi and smile. On the other hand, maybe she does like you and you’re not giving her the attention she wants. Maybe try taking her out for coffee or tea and talk to her. Taking her out would be my second choice but that's just me.
 
Joined
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Cool beans. We had a little chat. Nice and civil. I thanked her for telling me what bothered her, but told her to never again attack me verbally. My personality is my personality. I will work on trying to not irritate her. It seemed to go well, we both left less irritated than before.

I am giving her a probationary 1 week period. The manager, who is not our boss has been filled in, and i will be informing my supervisor if she causes me any more grief.

I really suck at arguing with women, i always lose, whether I win or not. It either ends in me losing the argument or the girl leaving in tears. Usually the latter. 5 years of construction work will give you a wicked sharp tongue. But that is too far out of bounds.

Thank you all for the input, I hate that I had to even ask. At work things should just be civil, even if you do not like the person. At least, that is how I work. I work well even with people I cannot stand to be around.

man what a nasty little surprise for today... But the remedy is coming, in 4 hours, a nice tall stein of beer. oh yeah.

Daniel
 
Joined
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Newcastle
I recall reading somewhere that Japanese reserve brutal honesty for those they've accepted into a closer relationship, as opposed to the polite face-saving fictions used with strangers...
 
Joined
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Sugar Land, Texas
Sounds like you went the correct route to handle this situation. I tend to agree with what Joseph said, perhaps she might have had a thing for you and now that she has found a boyfriend, she wants to push you away so that she does feel attracted to you anymore. Or, perhaps the boyfriend is just for show and she was trying to make you jealous and when it didn't work, she got mad at you. You never know. :confused:
 
Joined
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St. Paul, MN
I really suck at arguing with women, i always lose, whether I win or not. It either ends in me losing the argument or the girl leaving in tears. Usually the latter.

Daniel
I'm glad things are cooling off, but if I had to wager a guess this quote above is likely what she is picking up on and what she was referring to. Just going off a few words to try and make an assumption is hard, but these few sentences and the corresponding behaviors that underly it would likely make you not get along with almost all of the women I have ever met.

First, there are no winners and losers in arguments. Debate and argument are completely separate things and confusing them with personal relationships causes significant problems (it took me 5 years of dating and 3 years of marriage to figure that one out.) second, if your position and actions in an argument or a debate routinely makes one of the participants cry, then my guess is you are moving from discourse to accusation, and that is a sure-fire way to get things riled up in a hurry. Bummer this is happening at work, but I'm guessing that it won't be the last time unless you do some serious introspection.
 
Joined
Dec 18, 2007
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415
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Chicago, IL
Did you do something to set her off? I don't think anyone would say something like that out of the blue. Maybe she just had a bad day.
 
Joined
Mar 23, 2009
Messages
593
Location
Nevada
If it REALLY bothers you, you don't have to put up with verbal abuse from coworkers. Tell a supervisor to deal with the problem for you. If you weren't American, her comments would be clearly discriminatory and illegal. Given that you are, its a little odd, but its still unacceptable workplace discrimination that should not be tolerated.

It fine to not like people and be mean to them for a variety of reasons; but if it is because of race, national origin, religion or sexual orientation you have a lot of legal protection.

Or you could just try to act more American...have you considered putting on weight or watching more TV? ;)
 
Joined
Mar 15, 2009
Messages
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Los Angeles, CA
If all else fails, smash your Nikon in front of her and show her that you just bought a Kodak. Then scream.. "Is that American enough for you?????? "


Edit.. don't smash your Nikon, maybe smash a Canon instead :biggrin:
 
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