(Disclaimer: I am by no means a famous person, but I do have a medium sized YouTube channel with around 100k subscribers.)

So it just happened that the company I worked for a couple years now hired someone that knew my channel. At first I didn't mind talking to him about it, and taking a picture with him. I actually felt flattered and good with it. But it just doesn't stop.

He comes over at least 2 times a day asking me things, wanting pictures or literally just snapping pictures with his phone of me while I am working. And I can't take it anymore. He also calls me in my free time, putting me on speaker while his friends are listening.

I don't want information of where I work online and I am scared he might share this information. I just want to have a normal work life.

What can I do to make him understand that I really like to have a "normal work life" and that I hope he doesn't compromise my safety. Because I have had a couple bad interactions with "fans" in the past. I don't think he means to make me feel unsafe, I believe he just doesn't know better.

(What I tried in the past:

I asked him to only come to me with not work related things during lunch break or team building events like paintball. (which he ignored)

I asked him not to put anything personal of me online. (which he hasnt done but he told friends where I work and I don't think he understands how serious it is to me)

I told him I feel unsafe when he calls me and I don't know who is listening. (which he told me is "not a big deal" because it was only his friends))

Update: I tried a mixture of Simons and Möoz answers.

When he came in this morning, he went straight to my desk and asked 'How I survived outside in the cold long enough to get to work?'. I kindly answered and asked him to come with me in a meeting room because I need to talk with him about something serious. He followed me in there.

I tried my best to look him straight in the eyes and told him as firm as I could that this behavior needs to stop. Completely. That I do like him as a person, but this behavior is dangerous to me and it affects more parts of my life than he thinks. I told him it is borderline stalking, and he was shocked. Also I told him again how unsafe I feel. I didn't let him speak at all. I also told him how I usually build my friendships and that I am willing to give him a chance to change.

Our next Team building event will be kart racing in teams of 2, I offered him to be on a team with me and take pictures there. I explained that it is a neutral environment where no one could stalk me in the future.

Then finally I let him speak. He said he was sorry, he tried to explain that he was not thinking clear when he saw me in the past. He apologized more and promised me to stop taking pictures of me and calling me. He also will gladly join my team. In the end he was almost crying and saying that he was trying to hard to get my attention and that all he wanted to be is friends.

Thank you so much for your answers, I will try to post an update tomorrow and see if he keeps his promise.

  • 1
    This isn't an answer to your question, and I guess this example is quite extreme. But it seems like what you're experiencing are some of the drawbacks of "fame", the more people know you, the less private your life becomes. I would say that you should expect a certain amount of this if you want to become more famous (and earn money from it) and that in general it goes with the territory. Obviously this can go too far - but if you were really famous you'd have someone following/taking pictures from afar 24/7. Still it sounds like you're situation he has been resolved which is good! :)
    – Ian
    Mar 1, 2018 at 8:41
  • 4
    @Ian You are right. But if something bad happens on the street or someone is following me home I can call the police. If I am on meet and greet events I have security. At work I can't pay a bodyguard to stand next to my desk, I can't call the police. This is mostly a workplace problem because we have to see each other every day for 9h. And to be honest it happens so rarely that someone approaches me on the street. And usually it is a 10sec interaction like: "You make cool videos girl!" - "Oh thanks!" - "May I snap a selfie with you?" - "Sure!"
    – anon
    Mar 1, 2018 at 8:53
  • Glad it worked out.
    – Simon
    Mar 1, 2018 at 23:01
  • @anon How did this turn out?
    – Alex M
    Aug 24, 2020 at 7:13
  • Good luck! I sympathisize! I also have a public alter-ego, but have never had quite the intensity of problem you describe! Aug 24, 2020 at 15:07

7 Answers 7


Tell him one last time to stop doing that. Be firm and straight, don't beat around the bush. Don't get involved in any discussions.

If he continues doing it go straight to HR and let them handle it. You might also want to consider to talk to a lawyer. I think his behavior is borderline stalking, which is a criminal offense in Germany.

Regarding taking pictures of you, you might want to google "Recht am eigenen Bild".

  • 30
    Do so in writing so you have a paper trail. Feb 28, 2018 at 14:57
  • 5
    @DonQuiKong: I doubt that office work can normally count as a public setting. Feb 28, 2018 at 15:48
  • 2
    @DonQuiKong depends on what a judge/jury counts as being famous
    – J_rite
    Feb 28, 2018 at 15:49
  • 4
    All you're doing is re-iterating that the OP should say something, you're not actually helping with the how/why they should say something.
    – Möoz
    Mar 1, 2018 at 0:02
  • 4
    "Recht am eigenen Bild" is about publication, not taking pictures.
    – johannes
    Mar 1, 2018 at 0:02

Be direct.

At this point, don't ask him to stop politely tell him to stop. You don't need to justify the reason at all. When he comes to you at work, before anything is even said, ask it is work related. If they say no, simply tell them you are too busy and to please leave you alone.

As for this person putting stuff online about your personal life, you can't really do anything more than you have done until that actually happens. Finally, when he calls don't answer.

It seems a bit harsh, but I think you have done everything right up to this point and if that is not working than you need to slowly increase the pressure on your side.

If the above doesn't work you may need to talk to your boss about it, or even file some form of harassment paperwork.

  • 15
    "If they say no, simply tell them you are too busy" No, that will just encourage them to come back when OP doesn't look busy. Just say no. Explain why it has to stop once, after that it needs no further justification.
    – Mast
    Feb 28, 2018 at 18:05
  • 1
    "don't answer" This is really important. I worry that the OP has (unknowingly) been encouraging this individual by appearing receptive to their attempts at friendship Feb 28, 2018 at 23:59
  • 1
    It seems that he does not get that what you say is important. That may be related to how you communicate with him. When you reject a contact next time, be assertive, almost aggressive, in body language and voice modulation. That may make him realize that it's about a matter of a different category, and important. (I know this effect from myself. Sometimes I say something important, and the listener gets the content, but does not understand the importance.) Mar 1, 2018 at 3:34
  • 1
    @VolkerSiegel As a woman in my mid 20s it is kinda hard to seem "agressive" in body language and voice to a mid 30s male coworker.
    – anon
    Mar 1, 2018 at 12:23

Say plainly and succinctly,

Stop coming over to my desk for non-business reasons.

then when he does it again.

We spoke about this, STOP!

If it still continues, tell him that you're going to have to speak to management, and if it still continues, that you will go to HR. Be careful about that last one as HR IS NOT YOUR FRIEND. Once it goes to HR, you no longer have control over the situation.

But, before it escalates to that level......

Answer any "Can I..." type questions with a simple "NO". Do not make excuses or go into detail because that gives him an opportunity for a counter argument.

I learned this tactic from dealing with salespeople, and having done sales myself. If you give any reason, you create an opening. For example.

If you say

Look, you're disrupting my work...

That gives him the opportunity to respond with

It's just a quick selfie, it won't take any time

As you've posted, he's already responding with counter arguments like this. Be very clear and very firm with him.

I keep my professional life and my youtube life separate. Do NOT disrupt my work life any further.

Then, escalate if needed.


Give him your shoes to walk in

This person seems to only be seeing things from his perspective, he's not considering things from your perspective. And to be quite honest, there aren't many people who can relate to your situation, being that you're a celebrity (of whatever level) and that it involves additional effort.

Which is why I suggest for you to sit this person down and explain to them how this affects you, and especially in relation to your situation:

Listen, I completely understand that you're excited, and I'm totally flattered; I do what I do for my fans, after all.

However, you need to understand that this affects my in x, y, z way.

I hope you understand that my work is my only 'safe' place, where I get to feel normal.

Throw him a bone

The next part of the step is to actually give the person some satisfaction and something to work with. Unfortunately, this person doesn't seem very self-aware, so he doesn't realise that he's affecting you and probably thinks that he's entitled to you (being that he's your fan). Cutting him off cold-turkey might not be the most effective way to approach this, as he won't feel satisfied.

In this connection, I'd give him some time or method to keep him involved, in a way that you're comfortable. This will keep him at bay, and yet allow him to feel like he's got some sort of connection.

So, I'd like to offer you a way to feel involved in my process, I can offer a chance for you to view some of my behind-the-scenes productions and even to share that with some of your friends. Also, I'm happy to send you alerts about some of my upcoming productions, so you can get ahead of the curve.

I'm also happy for you to, x, y, z.

Sound the alarm

So at this point, if the person is still pestering you, you're welcome to carry out the steps outlined by the other answers, including talking to HR.

This should be a 'last option' type of deal though, as you don't want to wreck your work situation by causing bad relations, nor do you want to lose a fan (and the fan's influence).

  • 6
    I really like this approach, it is so different from everything else I have read here. I am not sure how good I would feel to give him more insight. But I like the idea of "offering" him something so it is easier for him to let go.
    – anon
    Mar 1, 2018 at 8:07

Because I have had a couple bad interactions with "fans" in the past. I don't think he means to make me feel unsafe, I believe he just doesn't know better.

I think you are correct: your colleague is probably not aware of the effects his behaviour has on you.

What can I do to make him understand that I really like to have a "normal worklife" and that I hope he doesn't compromise my safety.

I'd approach him outside of work and make clear how this is affecting you. Make sure you keep it concise and friendly when you talk with him.

Normal worklife

Mention that being treated like a celebrity all the time gets very tiring for you.


Make clear that mishandling your information could have profound implications online (think of swatting).

If this doesn't get through to him, I'd suggest Richard's answer.


1. Alert them to the issue

You need to indicate to them that the behaviour is inappropriate. (Which you have already done)

2. Show them why it's inappropriate

You need to get them to see it from your point of view, explain it to them how other personalities have been harassed at home, work, had gunmen, been swatted because their private lives and their 'famous' lives have collided.

3. Onboard them using Psychology

You need to 'dangle the carrot' "We cannot be friends/co-workers/acquaintances if/while this continues, when this stops, we can be on friendly terms again." and you will get the privilege of knowing me.

4. Show them the consequences

You need to 'show the stick' "If this continues to disrupt my work life, and encroach on my personal life, I'm going to have to take action and that's going to end up with a result that neither of us are going to like."


You've already asked him politely to stop. I would tell him, in no uncertain terms, that this is inappropriate work place behavior and needs to stop. If that doesn't work, proceed up the "chain of command". Speak with either his boss or your boss. That should solve the problem. If it doesn't, speak with their boss. If that doesn't help, go to HR.

tl;dr It's almost always best try to resolve issues at lowest level possible

  • 4
    I don't see how this answer adds anything significant to Simon's answer or SaggingRufus's answer.
    – David K
    Feb 28, 2018 at 14:06
  • @DavidK Simon's answer is to go straight to HR, which I think is a bad idea. SaggingRufus' is closer to mine, but isn't very clear about proceeding up the chain of command.
    – Kevin
    Feb 28, 2018 at 16:01
  • "If the above doesn't work you may need to talk to your boss about it, or even file some form of harassment paperwork." - Seems pretty clear to me.
    – David K
    Feb 28, 2018 at 17:25
  • 1
    @DavidK if "talk to your boss about it or file some form of harassment paperwork" and "handle it at the lowest level possible. talk to your boss first, then their boss, then hr if necessary." have the same meaning and clarity to you, then you should down-vote according to your conscience.
    – Kevin
    Feb 28, 2018 at 17:33
  • @DavidK How does RichardU's, posted an hour after mine, add anything significant to Simon's or SaggingRufus's?
    – Kevin
    Mar 1, 2018 at 17:00

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