December 8, 2021 at 2:47 pm #1100776CatherineGuest
Hi. At a work party, a colleague who had been off sick came back to see everyone. I was always very friendly with him because he is lovely. But at this party he disclosed to me that the reason he was off sick was because he had been feeling suicidal and this had been going on for a couple of years in his life. I was very understanding and non judgemental as I have suffered with depression in the past. But our conversation was cut short. So he messaged me to thank me where I told him anytime, he needed anything to just drop me a message. But he has continued to message me, asking about my day and things which I have reciprocated because I try to be as nice as possible. However he has just messaged me asking to go out for coffee to finish the chat. I don’t really want to, I don’t think I would feel comfortable, I am also very busy at the moment. He is still on sick leave so I won’t see him at work. I hope he also isn’t thinking that my niceness was a sign of romantic interest. I have no idea what to say to him so please help.December 8, 2021 at 3:18 pm #1100777Dear WendyKeymaster
This is a hard no. He’s taking advantage of your kindness/openness/youth and trying to make a move on you. Ew. He is not respecting the boundaries that your work relationship and age difference should imply. I would say something like, “I’m not going to be able to meet you for coffee, but I hope you feel better soon and find the support you need to make a full recovery.” This implies, without explicitly saying so, that you will not be the support he needs and he should look elsewhere. Obviously, if he doesn’t take the hint, you will need to be more explicit.December 8, 2021 at 5:51 pm #1100780LisforLeslieGuest
Even if it’s not romantic, it’s still making you an emotional crutch and it’s still boundary crossing. In the future don’t offer your time “Drop me a line anytime” because emotional vampires will glom onto that and never let go. Next time you’re in those circumstances try to be more vague and non-committal “That sucks but I’m glad you’re getting the help you need.” or “I appreciate you being vocal about mental health.”
In the meantime, if he persists after you say no, just say that you aren’t able to give him the emotional energy he’s asking for and you need him to stop.December 8, 2021 at 6:49 pm #1100781BittergaymarkGuest
Telling a much younger — and I suspect, attractive — colleague that you are suicidal is pretty red flag material. It’s manipulative and creepy.
Just say you are busy and never meet up with colleagues after work unless it’s a group thing.December 8, 2021 at 7:42 pm #1100783KateKeymaster
I would just firmly say “no thank you,” or “I can’t” if Wendy’s first script doesn’t stop him. I wouldn’t offer additional explanation or get more explicit. Just “No.” You don’t want to give him any material to continue engaging. And don’t apologize either.December 9, 2021 at 7:57 am #1100793LisforLeslieGuest
Definitely agree – you don’t owe him any explanation; not to how you’ll use your time, what you’re doing, anything.December 9, 2021 at 9:54 am #1100796BittergaymarkGuest
I do find it darkly hilarious that you are so surprised that he keeps messengering you, LW — when you literally told him — and I quote… “anytime, he needed anything to just drop me a message.”December 9, 2021 at 6:37 pm #1100843HazelParticipant
I tried turning this one round so that it was an older female colleague rather than a bloke. And that might be okay, (and that’s the circumstance I would have said “call on me for anything” ) I think you have overextended beyond what you actually meant. Try to disentangle yourself but also remember, do not tell people that they can turn to you for help if you are going to feel uncomfortable following through (and I would too, were I you, you need to nip this in the bud probably) But if you don’t mean it, don’t say it, especially to someone with suicidal ideation trouble. It’s definitely too much for you to deal with so find a way to detach without harming anyone.