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I work in a startup company as a developer. This is my first job and I have been working here for 3 weeks. The company shares the office space with another company, with a small corridor between the two. The other company is into real estate business, and I guess they own the building.

Along the way to the washroom, there is a cabin with a transparent glass partition. The cabin is used by the other company's Director, who is a beautiful lady.

Since the first day, when I passed by the cabin, I would look at her. Initially, she would give me a slight smile. I kept doing this and it became a habit(A bad one).

Last Friday, when I did this, she came out of the cabin, and asked, "Excuse me, do you need anything from me?", to which I could just respond, "No, miss.". Which I consider was mean to ask me to stop doing that.

It was then that I realized that I have been doing wrong, she might not have been comfortable with that.

Since then I've been tensed that she might disclose this to someone else but I'm not that comfortable in talking to a beautiful lady who might be considering me a bad guy due to ignorance in mine action.

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    Gentle reminder to my friends at this community: Please refrain from downvoting the question if it is only because you find the OP's actions disagreeable. Consider the usefulness of this question from the perspective of navigating the workplace, and then decide how/if you want to vote. – Masked Man Apr 29 '17 at 16:12
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    Maybe she was just making conversation.... – Rui F Ribeiro Apr 29 '17 at 19:02
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    @KyleKhalaf: That action might be professional suicide. "Excuse me, do you need anything from me" is MOST DEFINITELY not a chance to talk. It means "stop peeping through my window, or I'll bite your head off", just in a slightly more polite form. – gnasher729 Apr 30 '17 at 8:24
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    @IshanMahajan I see that you have removed the sexual-harassment tag. I will not rollback, but be informed that what you did there does count as sexual harassment, especially given the lady's response to it. When you take the "Prevention of Sexual Harassment" course at your company, you will see what I mean. – Masked Man Apr 30 '17 at 9:03
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    What I do find wrong in the question is it already being slanted as “peeping”; it would be more correct to use looking; please do not contribute to the current state of affairs that we are guilty for being born male – Rui F Ribeiro May 1 '17 at 21:53
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First thing of course is to just stop the behavior. If you've made it awkward for this woman, then as long as you don't keep doing it, then you're probably okay. Just stop doing it. She probably just wants to behavior the stop and she took action to stop it. Case closed.

If she does take this higher to your boss, then explain to them that you didn't mean any disrespect and offer to apologize.

  • And ask to move your working location so it can't happen again. – tzerb Apr 29 '17 at 16:39
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    @tzerb In this case, I don't think that would make any difference. The cabin is along the way to the washroom, so I suspect the OP will continue to have the "opportunity" to do the deed. Moreover, someone 3 weeks into his first job asking for a change in work location will raise a lot of brows and could end up being a case of Streisand Effect if someone probes a few levels deep. – Masked Man Apr 29 '17 at 17:19
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    My point was for him to keep out of the situation entirely. Use a different bathroom or take a different path. What's the real issue? He was just a bit creepy, I'm not sure it matters how many people know. – tzerb Apr 29 '17 at 17:37
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    But it wasn't just one incident. You did it every time you passed. Think about that part, please. Stop peeping at her. If you apologize do it sincerely and don't make excuses. – Andieisme Apr 29 '17 at 18:11
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    You said you had to bend over to look at her, so stop doing that. Look in another direction as you pass by her cubicle, or better yet, keep your eyes straight ahead down the hall. – Steve-O Apr 30 '17 at 15:53
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What just happened is she had a situation arising with a colleague (that colleague being you), and took an action to resolve the situation quite diplomatically. What she most likely would like to see right now is total confirmation that this intrusive behavior from you is over. That would likely be a relief for her. Concocting apologies will do the total opposite of this. At best you were awkward and totally moving forward is a great way to stop being awkward. At worst you were intrusive or leering or gawking, and totally discontinuing the behavior is the best step.

I would not use the word harassing yet. Harassing behavior is repeated. Maybe if a lot of very unlucky things happen to you the fact that you "peeped" multiple times would constitute harassment, but responding to her simple request for you to stop doing that would be to not harass her. Which isn't to say this went well for you. You said she is a "beauty" and you seem to think this gives you allowance to treat her stupidly. It does not work like that. Women who men think are "beautiful" should not be treated rudely, with respectful treatment reserved for women who look just okay.

Kate McGregory has posted an answer on how out of the line a show of apology can be. Apologies can say, "You owe me more attention for this situation I put you in." In your case, nothing good will come out of your mouth if you try to explain that you were just awkward and that she is a beautiful lady (no, really, do not say that).

Interacting with people who you are attracted to is difficult and can cause problems for yourself or the other party. So until you are better at this go with the very rough rule of thumb, do not treat someone of the opposite sex a way you would not treat someone of the same sex. This is a very blunt rule but it sounds like you have not gained a basic understanding for how to even say hi to a woman even if she is a professional colleague, which can put you very close to causing danger for others or yourself. I would recommend applying this in and out of the workplace and working on the basics of respectfully interacting with women, but the workplace is a must.

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    +1 especially for the workplace guideline "do not treat someone of the opposite sex a way you would not treat someone of the same sex." – electronpusher Apr 29 '17 at 23:34

protected by rath Jan 19 at 15:59

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