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I am working for US based Organization as Development Team Lead in IT Department. 6 months back we have hired a new person. They come from the same state in India. I am his Boss. Initially I helped them to settle down in this new place as it helps for them to quickly focus on work. Finally they ended up living in the same Apartment community. Below are my observations about them:

  • They are a good, honest and hardworking person and their work etiquette is also good
  • They have some personal family problems
  • They met the expectation with the help of others
  • They are a little slow in learning

Everything is working good. Recently they started developing friendship with me beyond work. They invited my family for lunch over weekend. It went well. In return I have invited for lunch same and I feel it is even. Recently my family left for India for a 3 months Trip. But they started offering breakfast, lunch and dinner on every week end.

I don't know if they are genuinely trying to make a friendly relationship or bribing me to get work related favors in future.

I don't want to be bribed. How to refuse those favors in a positive manner?

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    Seems much more likely that he's just lonely, being in a foreign country without (I'm assuming from what you've written) any other friends or family here. – jamesqf Mar 14 '16 at 6:02
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    What's your work relationship with this individual? Is it a supervisor/subordinate situation, or are you on the same level of the org chart? – alroc Mar 14 '16 at 13:07
  • @jamesqf I agree and especially since the OP said his family left for India (so I'm assuming the OP is by himself), it makes more sense for the co-worker too think there is more free time time to get to know one another. – Kodos Johnson Mar 14 '16 at 23:47
  • @alroc: Yes you are right. I am his Boss – Babu Mar 15 '16 at 3:26
  • @Babu I recommend you check your company's policies on things like this. Some have strict rules about (for lack of a better word) fraternization like this. – alroc Mar 15 '16 at 14:00
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I don't want to be bribed.

Assume good faith

Do not make the assumption that he is trying to "bribe" you, or has any other underhanded or nefarious intentions. You have no proof that these are his intentions, and so, to be completely fair to your coworker, you should not act as if he has those intentions.

How to refuse those favors in a positive manner?

You are uncomfortable with one-sided, take-only relationship

Healthy relationships have certain amounts of give-and-take, and you don't keep careful score. Under the assumptions of good faith, he is simply lonely and views you as one of his only friends.

If you are uncomfortable having a close friendship with him, you need to just avoid spending so much time with him. You can claim that you need alone time, or you need to spend time one-on-one with a specific friend, or just state that you have plans. It may reduce the pressure on you if you can introduce him to others outside of work that he can make friends with.

If you are ok with spending further time with him, ensure that it is not one-sided. You need to host, pay for groceries, cook, clean dishes, and/or pick up the food check if you go to any meals out.

Treat everyone at work equitably

You are a team lead, not necessarily management, but the team probably looks to you for leadership.

Protect your own integrity and reputation at work. Let him know that you must hold him accountable like you would anyone else, and actually do it.

That doesn't mean you can't coach him or mentor him more than you might others, but if you are skilled at that, you should probably be promoted into a management role where you can do that for everyone you work with.

  • I agree with the friend tips. The "accountability at work" though is not quite right. It depends on the positions of both parties and how they interact. If they are equal and coworkers then try to keep it professional but still friendly enough so nobody gets hurt. NEVER try to manipulate or use your friendship at work (especially for promotions). If he wants to talk or something (excessively) just say "Hey, Rahim yeah...hold that thought, I gotta finish up XYZ for ABC. We'll talk more later after work." or "Yeah, well I gotta get back to work, I'll catch up with you later." Keep it simple – B1313 Mar 14 '16 at 2:26
  • If the OP is a manager then I suggest addressing the issue directly to avoid any miscommunication or misunderstandings. State, in the politest way possible, that "[OP] have specific obligations to meet and [Rahim has his]. Let's try to keep our private lives separate from work to avoid complications." Let him know that if he feels uncomfortable with you [OP] as his manager to let him know and see if you can work something out with the company/him to make it work. This situation is VERY difficult and often can cause strain so be warned, but if done correctly could be a good skill to acquire. – B1313 Mar 14 '16 at 2:32
  • Good answer, but if OP doesn't want to make friends at work, I'm a big fan of just saying so directly rather than finding in-the-moment excuses for not going for lunch. Addressing the pattern directly but tactfully is much kinder in the long run. – Lilienthal Mar 14 '16 at 7:15
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Having just moved to a new country, he's probably just glad to bond with someone.

He needs to completely rebuild the social network he left in India - and he's starting with you. I actually don't see any ulterior motive here.

If the socializing isn't too frequent, the problem could be entirely in your head.

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I am going to assume by the context of your question that you are not this person's manager. (If you are it is probably best not to engage any new employee like this.)

So in effect it is very very hard to believe this is a bribe in any way because:

  • you do not have adequate power to affect anything

  • the "bribes" in question are terrible. In fact for most people this would annoy them and be an anti-bribe.

  • in the US bribes are not quite common. They happen sure, but they hardly ever happen involving the lower levels of a company. Mainly because people in the US gossip a lot and it would be an easy way to lose your job.

Verdict - No Bribe!

  • I am his boss and he is my subordinate – Babu Mar 15 '16 at 3:27
  • Still don't think it is a bribe - but what the hell are you doing? You don't start off doing family weekend events with a new employee. – blankip Mar 15 '16 at 13:04
  • I didn't understand what do you mean? Do you think, I shouldn't have accept the first invitation itself from new Employee – Babu Mar 20 '16 at 2:24

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