Flirty co-workers

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    I'm a CNA (obviously), and as some of you here may know, I am also male. Currently, I am one of only two male CNAs at my facility. The other is dating a nurse, although she is not his supervisor. Anyway, the past few days, I've taken notice to something. The girls I work with are just now starting to get comfortable with me, and a few have started flirting a little. 4 in particular, to include 3 CNAs and 1 LPN. 2 of the 3 CNAs are married with kids. The other CNAs is completely single with a young child. So far it's just been innocent flirting from the CNAs. Smiles, pet-names, hugs, blown kisses, attempts at starting deep conversations, and a couple of times a quick pat on the rump. That was all fine, until today...

    The LPN I mentioned started flirting with me today. I'll call her Susan (obvious name change, nothing close to her real name). She was talking to me yesterday and asked me if I was so-and-so's husband. I said no, that I was her ex-husband. She did the whole "Oh, I'm so sorry, when I saw y'all together, you seemed like you genuinely loved her" bull. I just kinda smiled politely and walked off, not wanting to relive painful memories. Today I get to work, and I'm put on a different hall than usual. This hall is mostly women, 95% of which will not let me care for them. Needless to say, I was spending a bit of time out in the hall. Susan was the hall nurse. She was smiling at me, staring at me, calling me over to talk to her, etc. To her credit, she didn't bring up my past relationship as I thought she would. However, about an hour into my shift, she comes out of a room, walks straight up to me, and hugs me. I was a bit uncomfortable with this (being as I do find myself physically attracted to her but don't want to poop where I eat, so to speak), so I backed away. She got the hint and let go. However, not ten minutes later, I'm standing just outside a resident's room, having just come out of the room next to it, when she comes out, looks up at me, and takes my hand in her's. I looked at her, at our hands, and then up the hall to see the charge nurse, Nicole (name changed), staring at what's going on. I withdraw my hand and walk away. Susan goes on about her work as if nothing has happened. She continues to stare at me, smile at me, call me over to her, etc. Everytime I go over to her, she's touching on my arm, touching my chest, etc. Nicole was apparently paying attention, as about halfway through our shift, right after meal trays were passed, she calls Susan to the desk. I was working lights during supper and was told to be somewhere else as Susan was walking towards the desk.

    I don't know exactly what was said, but Alice (name changed), another LPN, told me that Nicole basically talked to Susan about inappropriate behaviors at work, not bringing up specifics. Soon after supper, I was assigned the task of being a rehab resident's personal sitter. That was fine with me, as it got me away from Susan, relieving the uncomfortable feelings I was experiencing. That was around 6. Around 8, the resident I was sitting decided it was bedtime. I was walking up to the nurse's desk to talk to Nicole when I overheard her talking to Brittney, one of the married CNAs that likes to flirt with me, about Susan's behavior. Brittney was livid. She was trying to keep her voice down, obviously, but was still talking loud enough for me to hear her from around the corner. She explained to Nicole that Susan needed to back off, that if anyone was going to flirt with me it was going to be her, if anyone there was going to get me to open up to them, it would be her. I slinked back towards the resident's room and started walking back towards the nurse's station on the side of the hall where Nicole could see me walking up there. She silences Brittney and I tell them the resident has gone to bed and that if he got back up, to call me. Brittney smiles at me and out of reflex I smiled back. I realized my mistake and walked back to my previously assigned hall. Susan continued to smile at me and stare at me, but didn't talk to me or come close enough to touch me. I sense that her conversation with Nicole sank in a little.

    Now, I'm not a great looking guy or anything. I'm 6'4", overweight, kinda shy and awkward, and really NOT looking for anything like this at work. Don't get me wrong, the attention makes me feel good about myself, but it doesn't inflate my ego and it isn't something I'm craving. IF I was to meet any of these girls in public and they were all single, I would flirt back. But the fact is, we all work together, and I am NOT trying to get fired. The company doesn't particularly have a fraternization policy, but I know the administrator very well and know for a fact that she won't put up with it. I'm the newest hire on my shift, so if anyone were to be terminated for this behavior, it would be me. Or atleast I would hope it would be me. I know the two married CNAs are the bread winners in their families. But other than Brittney and Susan, I know for a fact that it's just a little harmless flirting with the other two. However, it is Brittney and Susan that I don't know how to deal with. I have tried making it clear that I'm not interested, but it doesn't seem to be working. I think they both know that I am attracted to them, despite how hard I have tried to hide it.

    Now, my question. What should I do? How do I not-so-subtly let these two girls know that while I am flattered, I refuse to let anything happen with anyone I work with. I have even considered spreading the rumor that I'm gay. I mean, half the women up there think I am, anyway (why does a man have to be gay to want to be a nurse? Or is this just a southern thing?). I just don't know how well that'll go over if I start dating while I'm working there. It's a small town, everyone knows everything. Also, most of these girls know my ex, went to school with my ex, etc. For some reason, there seems to be this "If he made HER happy enough to marry him, he must be a helluva guy" attitude.
  2. 32 Comments so far...

  3. 1
    1. Tell them that your personal policy is never to date people that you work with. Repeat as needed. Stay as professional as possible about it. If they start making things too uncomfortable for you, you may need to bring it up to your supervisor.

    2. Make sure you continue not to flirt back. Don't fall into the trap of thinking that "harmless" flirting is really harmless--the last thing you need is for them to get a mixed message.

    3. Do not spread any sort of rumors about yourself that aren't true (e.g., you're gay, already dating someone, etc.) unless you are prepared to live that part for as long as you work there, if not longer. Especially since, as you said, you live in a small town where everyone knows everyone's laundry. And you never know who will be working at your next job.

    Good luck.
    Last edit by Meriwhen on Sep 10, '12
    carakristin1 likes this.
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    Be careful of behaviors that border on sexual harrassment. Sounds like you've got a mini soap opera going on. Need to nip everything in the bud NOW before someone starts to feel some unrequited love - 'hell hath no fury ... '

    'Nuff said.
    Red35 and Meriwhen like this.
  5. 0
    Wow, that's quite the excitement. Just be real with them: "I'm flattered, but I'm not interested in a relationship right now." Repeat as necessary, and you don't need to get any deeper. If they continue to bother you: "I told you already that I am here to work. Please don't [fill in the blank] any more." After that, enlist the help of your charge nurse, DON, or anyone else to reinforce any harassment policies that are in place. You don't need to deal with that.

    Also, do not spread any rumors about yourself. That will make this situation even more "middle school" than it already is. Be transparent and honest about what's going on. Your co-workers may not like it, but they will respect it.
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    I'd tread carefully as to try not to offend anyone while also making boundaries clear. Honestly, if I were in the situation, as wrong as it may seem, I'd probably tell them that while you are flattered, you are talking to someone else. It wouldn't hurt their feelings and maybe you really are? I wouldn't spread a rumor about your sexuality. That's extreme and unnecessary.
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    When I came into work this afternoon, there was an in-service on sexual harassment. Nicole talked to the DON and Unit Manager this morning on the phone. I have known Nicole since high school, and she is the only person up there I have really talked to about anything. She's the only one up there that knows or will know what I went through at the end of my last relationship. She also told the DON and Unit Manager that I was obviously uncomfortable with the situation. The administrator was brought into the mix and wrote the in-service. Susan apparently got the point, as she wouldn't even attempt to make eye contact with me. Brittney didn't seem to get it quite as quickly. I worked the hall with Brittney today, so we were pretty much side-by-side for the entire 8 hours. Nicole paid close attention to our interactions. She was smiling at me, winking at me, etc, but didn't really cross any lines.

    I'm going to see what happens. Nicole is watching out for me, as are the DON and UM. The UM pulled me into her office before I clocked in (before anyone else was there so that no one on my shift would know) and point-blank asked me if I felt like I was being harassed. I told her that while I had been made to feel uncomfortable at a few moments last night, I did not feel that I was being harassed. I was then asked, quite clearly, if I was going to file a complaint with any governing body. I told her that unless it gets to the point that I am being touched inappropriately, I will only bring my problems to my managers. She then told me that under no circumstance would I be working under Susan, directly, again.

    Susan is in a little bit of hot water, right now, for something unrelated. I'm just glad she was smart enough to realize that the in-service was in reference to her behavior last night. The other two CNAs that are kind of flirty with me weren't there today, so whether or not they get the in-service is questionable. Things seems to be put out for a day and then forgotten about.

    Of course, on the other halls, the question on everyone's lips was who *I* was making advancements towards. It was also made very clear to me today that everyone up there knows I'm quite straight. So a gay rumor wouldn't be well received. Even the residents known beyond a shadow of a doubt that I'm straight.

    I don't work tomorrow, but go back on Wednesday. That will be a day off for not only Susan and Brittney, but also for Nicole. So it might be a day free of uncomfortable feelings, but it also might be a day with unrecognized problems, especially if Susan or Brittney are called in...
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    Glad your facility recognized that this behavior is inappropriate, and that they acknowledged you are not at fault. Hopefully everyone involved will realize how serious this is. I mean is your town THAT small that all these ladies are willing to risk their jobs, husbands, etc., for you? That's crazy. If everyone knows everyone's business, than you can be sure these ladies' husbands won't be too thrilled when they hear their wives are flirting at work. (and the wives will say YOU initiated the flirting) I would be very careful with this situation. If the behavior doesn't improve, report it immediately to cover your behind. Good luck
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    I knew a guy who said he became a CNA because he liked the idea of working around mostly women, apparently thinking it would be a chance to flirt while getting paid. This obviously sounded like a pretty bad idea to me that was bound to end poorly for him.

    He later complained that he discovered most female CNAs and Nurses have zero interest in male aides and nurses and think theyre gay, and instead tend to date firefighters, soldiers, cops, and jobs like that lol. He also said working as a CNA was too much damn work, so his career as a CNA lasted like 3 months. I have no idea if he became a firefighter or cop.
  10. 0
    The guy CNA who works at my job has slept with everyone, even some of the married women, and there's always a bunch of drama. It's so gross.
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    Paws2people - Around here, the healthcare facilities are kind of priviledged as far as information goes. Everyone that works there (be it an LTC or the hospital) knows everything that happens in town, but very little of what happens inside said facility gets out to the general public. As far as the married women go, it is well known that both of them are in loveless marriages that are only held together by kids. Brittney's husband has apparently (so she says) been sleeping around since she had their second child and hasn't touched her since she had their third due to the fact that she is now over 220 pounds, after being 125 when they met. That child is 18 months old now. Honestly, yes, I think she is willing to sacrifice her marriage for a man that will pay physical attention to her. I also believe that she sees me as being that man because I (unwittingly) pay emotional attention to her. I listen to what she says, I give input as warranted, and I'm genuinely nice to her. But that has nothing to do with me feeling anything for her and entirely to do with the fact that I was raised to be a gentleman. Pretty much same goes with Susan. When we worked together that first night, I listened to her complain about this and that. I know for a fact (I've known her for a while, guess I should have mentioned that) that she has had a crush on me for almost three years, ever since my ex-wife and I were dating. She refused to come to our wedding and I found out later that it was because she didn't want to watch me marry my ex when she thought she was so much better suited for me. So there is some unfortunate history there, but I honestly thought and believed that she would be professional. Do I expect too much of people?

    funtimes - I got into this because I want the experience while I am in nursing school. I knew I was getting into a female dominated, or pink collar, if you will, job field. However, I didn't think *I* was such a hot item. Like I said before, yeah, I'm tall, but I'm also overweight. I'm not what 98% of women would consider to be "handsome," much less "hot." But for some reason, I seem to be quite the comodity where I work. I have a theory behind that that is inappropriate for this discussion, but it has to do with my ex's past and our relationship.

    fuzzywuzzy - I am NOT going to sleep with anyone I work with, be they married, single, my superior, my subordinate, my perfect equal. I have a rule about that sort of thing (again, inappropriate for this discussion). I have very few rules (I sound like Gibbs now [I do adhere to the Gibbs rules, though]), but one of them has to do directly with my conduct with those I work with. I am not friends with anyone I work with. Even Nicole and I aren't what would be considered friends, although she does know more about me than anyone at that facility, including the two women in the office that have known me my whole life. I am not going to be friends with anyone there. I don't want to hang out with those girls. I don't want to go to bbqs, pool parties, cook-outs, bonfires, mudding, or anything else with any of those girls. And I personally don't want them to be privy to any of the private happenings in my life. Yes, they all know I'm in school, and they all know that I'm going to school towards my BSN, but that was common knowledge before I started my first shift up there. Only one CNA (and, yes, one of the flirty ones) knows what classes I'm taking, but that's because she has begged me to tutor her in N&D and AP1 and I said I would in return for her tutoring me in algebra.

    I was off tonight. But while I was in school today, I did notice a couple of my classmates kind of looking at me and smiling, etc, so atleast I know it's not just at work. However, I think the girls at school have to do more with my intelligence than being the only guy around to flirt with. Especially seeing as how one, IMO, could totally be a model if she wanted to be. Believe me, that made me feel special. However, same rule as for work goes for girls I will potentially be entering the nursing program with. I refuse to date any of them because of potential awkwardness if we were to break up. I don't deal well with awkwardness and would find myself dropping out of the program to get away from them.


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