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I'm a female employee, and I have a baby shower coming up next week. I wish to invite my colleagues to the party. But there is one guy in my team I don't like, because he used to keep staring at me. He reduced the behavior a bit after I warned him, though he did not completely stop it. I did not want to escalate this incident further as I wanted to avoid getting into problems at work during my pregnancy, since it would lead to mental stress.

Now I'm in a dilemma if I should include him when inviting my other teammates to the party. Normally I would just ignore such people, but the problem is this guy is buddies with all the other guys in the team, and I'm afraid that leaving him out will make me unpopular within the team. This is risky as I have achieved good visibility and recognition after lot of hard work, with a chance of getting promoted next year.

I know I'm not obligated to invite anyone for my personal function, but I don't want to look bad in front of my team and my boss. Any suggestions on how to handle this?

  • 1
    Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. Please only use comments for their intended purpose like requesting clarification from the OP. While the gender aspect of the question is an interesting topic to discuss, that conversation belongs in chat not in the comments. So if you want to discuss the question please do so in its chatroom. – Lilienthal Sep 21 '17 at 18:21
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    Jamie, could you clarify some of the questions raised in comments by editing your post? A) Is this baby shower taking place at work, at your home, or somewhere else? B) How many teammates are involved? C) Is this someone you don't like or is the behaviour you mentioned truly across the line and something you would normally be talking to HR about? D) If the latter, are your colleagues aware of this colleague's transgressive behaviour? – Lilienthal Sep 21 '17 at 18:36
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    What country are you in? – jpmc26 Sep 21 '17 at 21:53
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    Have others in your office invited the team/boss to their baby showers? – alroc Sep 22 '17 at 12:48
  • This question was asked long ago, but I have 2 cents to throw in. The reality is more than likely the male friends of the man you wish to exclude are well aware of his behavior. It is entirely possible the entire office is. I dont think anyone would be surprised if he was the only one excluded. – Keltari Dec 23 '18 at 13:27

11 Answers 11

141

Should I invite a teammate I don't like to my personal function?

No, do not invite the creepy dude to ruin your baby shower, it's a personal function. The last thing you need is your partner or one of your outside of work friends noticing him gazing at you. This could lead to some uncomfortable questions, or worse, situations causing you and your partner anxiety.

Any suggestions on how to handle this?

Maybe you could just invite your female colleagues? In the US, its very common for baby showers to be for females only. This would be acceptable in most countries I suspect.

If you decide to invite male co-workers, and should anyone inquire as to why he wasn't invited (not sure how they would figure that out unless every single male but him showed up), give them the short version of the story (he made you feel uncomfortable). Anyone with common sense will put two and two together.

In the end, this event is to celebrate the coming of your new baby. Anything that hinders that experience should be excluded.

Additional Safety Note: If the shower is being held at your home, then absolutely do not invite creepy dude to your home.

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    I don't see how my point is baseless. OP asks "How can I invite all my colleagues except one?" and all the answers so far are "Just don't invite a whole bunch of them based on their gender." – Erik Sep 21 '17 at 17:29
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    @Erik LOL, that is one option. The other option is invite those she wants, and leave out the creepy guy. Most likely it will go un-noticed. If it doesn't who cares? Please consider my entire answer. – Mister Positive Sep 21 '17 at 17:30
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    I'm Australian, but here I've never been to a baby shower where any men were present. That's not to say none were ever invited, just most (including my guy) would rather have stuck a fork in his eye than sit through the oestrogen overload of a group of clucky women :) So I agree, just make it females only and there just shouldn't be an issue. – Jane S Sep 22 '17 at 4:52
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    @Ooker Its one thing to invite someone who may be shady to an event hosted at a public place, like say a restaurant. Its another thing entirely to host it at her home, and give creepy dude her actual address. There is a reason there are 18 useful comment marks on just the safety note alone. – Mister Positive Sep 22 '17 at 11:20
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    She's already had to speak to him about something that made her unfomfortable. If he feels singled out for exclusion, he won't have to wonder why. As the behavior has not stopped entirely, that's all the more reason that he should feel excluded and know he does not share the same social standing as his other male colleagues. It might be a different story if he were entirely oblivious to his own behavior and more specifically to its negative effect on her. – HonoredMule Sep 24 '17 at 5:05
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Don't invite the person, but do it in a way that doesn't promote inequality between him and your coworkers. Creating inequality is likely to cause the feelings of injustice that will lead to drama you really don't need.

So, yes, an "all female" baby shower. Or a "close friends" baby shower. But not a "most of the office, except you" baby shower is in order.

Keep in mind that once you establish the rules to exclude this person, the rules are your defense. You need to advertise them, "I'm having an all-female baby shower!" and you need to follow them. Breaking the rules will just enforce feelings of inequality which will cause future workplace issues.

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    Do feel that "all female" and "all male" events lower inequality in the workplace? – Malvolio Sep 21 '17 at 20:57
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    I disagree. One person's creepy behaviour is causing discomfort. There is no problem with not including that person in the invitation. Either he is a creep, in which case you definitely don't want him in your home and have no need to be concerned with promoting inequality, or he is completely unaware of the discomfort his behaviour causes (unlikely given OP's prior warning) and missing out on social functions might provide those clues. – mcalex Sep 22 '17 at 6:01
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    @Malvolio I have an opinion, but it's just an opinion. There is not likely to be a perfect equality, but we should strive to have things equal overall. Denying men access to a baby shower is not the only solution; everyone (including creepy guy) can come, everyone but creepy guy can come, only women, only men, etc. But solutions that blatantly isolate the creepy guy can cause more problems than solutions where he's part of a group that doesn't come. Who knows, the guy might not be creepy to anyone but Jamie; but, the wrong move by Jamie can have this person angry at her for months or more. – Edwin Buck Sep 22 '17 at 12:21
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    @Malvolio - since we're talking about a personal function, a baby shower, in someone's home, I'm not sure how "inequality in the workplace" even gets a mention. – PoloHoleSet Sep 22 '17 at 14:25
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    @Geliormth - is there some fundamental right to be invited to someone's baby shower that I'm unaware of? If you throw around words like "discrimination" where they don't apply, they lose meaning. – PoloHoleSet Sep 22 '17 at 14:27
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When inviting co-workers to a personal event, you need to invite either less than half of the group or all of the group. You can't invite all but one, because that is really rude. (Actually, that's true for other areas too, like a child in school and birthday parties.)

So if you don't want to invite this guy (and your reason is really good for excluding him), then you need to only invite a few people, your closest co-workers. Don't invite co-workers by gender either, which is often done for baby-showers (and I see you were not doing).

The reason for not inviting by gender is related to work. Women have traditionally been disenfranchised by extra-curricular events: only the guys are invited to a poker game or baseball game, and because co-workers are there, some work connections happen. Inviting only women has the same taint. Yes, baby showers in the US are traditionally just attended by women (although that is changing), but once more than a few co-workers are invited, it is now making it into a quasi-work event too. Even if none of the guys choose to attend, the work invitations should not be gendered.

(This of course doesn't apply if it weren't co-workers. Just guys going out and doing something, just the women having an event? That is always acceptable. It's only when you add in the work dynamic that separating by gender is a problem.)

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    Inviting females only is very common, at least in the US. I throw a poker night on occasion for the boys. Nothing wrong with having a gender specific personal gathering. – Mister Positive Sep 21 '17 at 16:43
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    "Don't invite co-workers by gender either" Do you have a reason for this? Particularly since this is a common practice, I think it could be an easy solution to this situation. If your reasoning is that you think that baby showers in general should be open to both genders, I think that's a bigger discussion that isn't really on topic here. – David K Sep 21 '17 at 16:45
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    @MisterSortofPositive - if you're having a poker night for the boys, and invite all your male teammates and none of your female - you don't see that as a problem? I guess that's why it is still happening and still a problem. It's even worse if you're inviting management and we're excluded. When you're inviting a lot of co-workers, it is no longer just personal. (If it's just a few out of many, no management, that is different.) – thursdaysgeek Sep 21 '17 at 17:00
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    @thursdaysgeek No I don't. I also don't have problem when my wife says I am going out with the girl's tonight either. Of course we have mingled events too, but having a gender specific one isn't a big deal unless you make one. – Mister Positive Sep 21 '17 at 17:01
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    "but once more than a few co-workers are invited, it is now making it into a quasi-work event too." I strongly disagree with this. A baby shower, during off hours, is not remotely a work event regardless of how many people from work are invited. – Andy Sep 22 '17 at 0:46
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I'll present a different view. There are answers above recommending "No" - with good arguments. But there are arguments for "Yes" as well.

Invite him, but have a chat with him first. In this chat you need to acknowledge that he has improved. Be sure to also tell him that he is still causing you to not feel fully comfortable at work, and you need it to stop completely. If he doesn't you won't be able to invite him to events where other coworkers will be. Now, if you get some sense of agreement to this, that he in turn promises to improve, then invite him. If you don't then he'll know why he wasn't invited. Socially awkward people sometimes don't know why they are being left out, the obvious is not so obvious to them, so you need to be clear on it.

It could be that this person, through no malice, happens to be socially awkward. ("Attribute never to malice, that which can be explained by incompetence alone") If you include him, he might improve - he has had a successful social interaction. Then you have certainly been the good Samaritan, and you just might have solved all future problems regarding this person. But only you can decide on this, I have not witnessed any of his behaviour, you have. I don't know how uncomfortable he makes you feel, you do. Your choice.

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    This. Clear information that he improved and why he might (not) be invited. Opportunity to improve for him, without ostracizing him. For some reason, this guy IS friends with others. Perhaps he has good qualities? I'd add: talk to one of other guys. The reasonable and mature one. Confess to staring making you uncomfortable and how you handled it so far and what you are planning to do. Get his advice on how you're not wanting the guy who used to stare there yet and yet you don't want to also totally ostracize him. – LAFK says Reinstate Monica Sep 23 '17 at 15:01
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I have read through these answers and have agreed with a few of them. But...if I were in your place, here are a few suggestions that might work for you.

1.) I would have an informal baby shower at the office, just for a few moment that would include all of the office people that wanted to support you. If creepy guy is there, fine,...it's less personal. While informing your coworkers of your short office baby shower, make sure to mention that you will also have a private baby shower for family and close friends and that while you care about everyone at the office, it just wasn't going to be possible to accommodate everyone at your home. (People can contribute to whatever registry you have, but don't make them feel obligated.)

2.) Don't invite your coworkers unless you are extremely close to them and...I have to say...many times it IS the female coworkers of whom we are closer to. (This is why an all "female" baby shower makes sense. Because you ARE a female and they know what kind on sensitive hormones you are trying to deal with. This is why a lot of men don't mind staying away.)

3.) Don't have a "baby shower"... (Let's be honest, the baby shower is for the ego of the mother to be. The baby doesn't care who was there or which gifts were given. We really don't NEED a "baby shower", but it's a nice way to help stock up and prepare for your child.) You can always have a nice dinner after work or at some happy hour to celebrate your baby. People can come and go as they please and it will be less awkward. Again,...people can contribute to your gift registry...but don't make them feel like it is obligated.

All in all, a "Baby Shower" is a personal event. You need to think about how much access you are allowing professional colleagues to have to your personal life - for your safety and the safety of your child.

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    I don't see an issue with a mother celebrating the birth of a child, with friends. A lot of folks make friends at work. Not sure what value this answer is adding to those already provided. – Mister Positive Sep 22 '17 at 14:58
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    In general this is what we have always done, had one shower in the office (at lunch) for coworkers and then a bigger one for close friends and family outside the office. And only invite co-workers you see outside the office regularly to that one. – HLGEM Sep 22 '17 at 14:59
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Any suggestions on how to handle this?

Tough call. Not inviting one person will surely be noticed, even more given that person you say is friends with most coworkers.

I see two options here:

You could decide not to invite that person to your party. In case you were asked why you could say you "forgot" to invite him. This however is a bit dishonest to my taste. Also have in mind that if it is known that you don't really like this person your other coworkers most probably expect you to be reluctant to invite him, and probably won't be asking questions (unless they were not that aware of your situation with this person or if they have other intentions on asking).

Now, I ask you: Is it really unbearable for you to tolerate this person? The other option you have is to invite that person anyways. It is your party, your moment of celebration with your partner and friends. Usually in most parties one goes there are people you like and people you don't, but you should try not to be affected by their presence, and enjoy the moment as it is.

If you think you can tolerate his presence for one party then I suggest you invite him. Who knows, it could even be the case that he does not assists at all (for whatever reason he may have), but you will have made a honorable choice, and if other coworkers ask you can say "I did invite him, probably could not come, it's a shame"

If you go for this second option, a side suggestion I have is to be clear with him when doing the invitation. You could say something in the lines of: "Hey, I know we have had some problems on the past, but I wanted to invite you to my baby shower. It would be nice to share a good moment with you and our coworkers". This way you are making it clear that you don't want any problems during the party, but at the same time you are showing respect and offering him your forgiveness, something honorable and showing signs of maturity (which will also help your reputation as a plus). Hope this words help you out, and my best wishes to you and your new family.

Note: As someone pointed in comments, it is worth noticing that it seems that baby showers are mostly events where only females attend. If you think this is possible it would be worth a try, as you will be solving your dilemma.

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    You make some good points but I'm not sure you've thought it through fully. Firstly, the main problem with not inviting him is one of perception: excluding one specific person is Not a Good Thing in a professional environment. You could consider it a form of bullying and that's frowned upon. Secondly, the suggestion of being direct with the coworker is a good one in very tense relationships but that's a conversation that shouldn't be held lightly. Maintaining a polite distance is typically the safer option than directly confronting someone. – Lilienthal Sep 21 '17 at 18:29
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    @Lilienthal I am aware of it being a problem of perception, and indicated so in the first line of my answer. Besides, being clear with the coworker is not exactly confronting him; it is saying "yes we may have some past problems but I am still inviting you if you want". In no moment is suggested for them to sit and go back on their problems. The OP may be safer by keeping her distance and not inviting the person, but she does not feel totally comfortable doing so as indicated, that is why I provided the before point of view. – DarkCygnus Sep 21 '17 at 18:40
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    I can not reccomend making up lies. They will notice eventually. Just be honest imo. – Mafii Sep 22 '17 at 7:12
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+100

One thing which is so far neglected by the other answers and which changes the situation:

You said that you expect to be promoted.

A promotion means that you not only gain status and more money, it means that your actions are more closely monitored and that you accept more responsibility: This effectively rules out that you invite everyone but the guy.

So far I understood the interaction between you and the guy was only interpersonal, so it is everybody's guess what is going on. Nobody can read minds, neither of you nor of the guy. If you would invite everybody but the guy and the guy has friends in the office, you are signalling that you hold personal grudges in the workplace which is exactly the wrong impression. Such small gestures have likely killed many promotions because the candidate was overconfident and then started to prepare to settle old scores. You are still under supervision if you fulfil the trust given to you when you get promoted.

Don't blow it.

The exact course of action is not important: If you invite only women, if you invite a few selected male colleagues, if you talk beforehand with creepy guy...whatever, everything could be a good solution. I share the concern that you should not invite him to the baby shower, so really choose a solution which cannot be taken personally.

For solving the situation with creepy guy sooner or later: look up the other answers here how to handle the situation if you feel the situation must be resolved.

  • Wow, it is now possible to award a bounty to an answer as user? Thank you very much, Lilienthal! – Thorsten S. Sep 26 '17 at 22:24
0

It is your baby shower. You can invite (or not invite) whomever you wish.

I recommend that you do not invite the guy you do not like. If you invite this guy, he may interpret it as a signal that you like him. This interpretation would not be entirely unreasonable.

I recommend that you do not invite any of your other colleagues. If I received such an invitation, I would feel obligated to go and obligated to produce a gift. I am already busy with my own family obligations. You may have mistaken my collegiality for friendship - which I admit is not entirely unreasonable.

I recommend that you invite your family and friends.

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    why vote down for this answer ? – kifli Sep 22 '17 at 8:29
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    @kifli What does this add that hasn't been covered by the other answers given? – Mister Positive Sep 22 '17 at 11:34
  • @MisterSortofPositive well it says to keep it private and just dont invite any coworkers – kifli Sep 22 '17 at 11:48
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    @kifli I am pretty sure that was stated in another answer..... – Mister Positive Sep 22 '17 at 11:51
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I'm a guy, and at one workplace I worked at invitations to baby/bridal showers were extended to "everyone". I didn't think of them as applying to me until the HR manager was making the rounds and specifically invited me.

Baby/bridal showers have historically, in the U.S., been a woman's domain, and as an adult I've never felt slighted that I haven't been invited to a bridal shower. Now political correctness is inclining people to think, "You can't have XYZ for just men" and "You can't have XYZ for just women," although that is cracking; I am not aware of storms of protest at the opening of women-only gyms. Who knows? Perhaps in five years we will see men-only gyms.

It's your event and you don't need added stress. I'd invite every woman in the company if you want.

P.S. If I were a co-worker of yours and we were on friendly terms, I would want to be in some sense in on the conversation. However, you have a dozen options by which you might keep me in on the conversation. An invitation to a bridal shower is one option. Not inviting men does not hinder you from other ways of keeping co-workers and friends in on the conversation.

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I can see this has many answers already, but in my point of view, most of them are really tangential, to different extents.

Your concerns:

Now I'm in a dilemma if I should include him when inviting my other teammates to the party. Normally I would just ignore such people, but the problem is this guy is buddies with all the other guys in the team, and I'm afraid that leaving him out will make me unpopular within the team. This is risky as I have achieved good visibility and recognition after lot of hard work, with a chance of getting promoted next year.

I know I'm not obligated to invite anyone for my personal function, but I don't want to look bad in front of my team and my boss. Any suggestions on how to handle this?

My suggestions:

  1. Do not do a ladies-only event where, all other things being equal, you would not. You can see here some guys saying they've never been invited to a baby shower, and some saying they were. I was invited, more than once. Not relevant.

  2. Do not use the "forgot to invite you" approach. It's evasive, dishonest (as the suggester admited), among other things.

  3. Do not put any emphasis on your partner or close friends noticing Mr. Creepy Guy's behaviors; that's missing the point. And the point is that Mr. Creepy makes you uncomfortable.

  4. Do not go out of your way / step on egg shells just to prevent a possible risk of Mr. Creepy feeling resentful or "wronged". That's not your business. ¹

  5. Do not consider "tolerating" this person's presence in your event.

  6. Definitely disregard any concerns about "ego", as was suggested here, regarding your child birth's celebration.

  7. Do not consider having a chat with Mr. Creepy just for the sake of the event; that would also qualify as "going out of your way".

  8. Ditto, on "inviting either less than half of the group, or all of them", also as per my footnote ¹, whether leaving him out is rude ir not, is besides the point.

All that said, I mostly agree with this part of the top-voted answer, though:

If you decide to invite male co-workers, and should anyone inquire as to why he wasn't invited (not sure how they would figure that out unless every single male but him showed up), give them the short version of the story (he made you feel uncomfortable). Anyone with common sense will put two and two together.

TL;DR

You just don't invite him.

If his buddies question you, feel free to be however honest you like in your answer. You can say:

  • "We are just not too close"
  • "I don't feel we get along very well"
  • "He makes me uncomfortable"
  • "We have a bit of a personal problem, and I'd rather not discuss it"
  • Anything else, including a very detailed description on the actual reason he wasn't invited, specially if the person who's asking is a valued friend. Really, your call. Furthermore, you can of course be more or less detailed, depending on who's asking. (Ideally, no one should ask, I guess).


¹. I think people who get offended should be offended - Quote by Linus Torvalds (not as universally applicable as intended by Linus, probably, but still valid a lot of times)

-2

I'm a guy too, and I've never been invited to a baby shower. IMO these are women only events that don't require any office explanation.

Regardless, any event you host in your home is personal and entirely subject to your whim. Do what you feel is best and don't let anyone make you feel one iota of guilt.

It's your celebration; not anyone else; so enjoy it :)

protected by Mister Positive Sep 25 '17 at 11:16

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