0

I was very surprised at the many downvotes my most recent answer got and want to understand why.

I took the OP at their word that they are not being flirty and used my example from my own work experience to show how hanging out with colleagues irregardless of gender is not per se suspicious and is not incompatible with professionalism at work.

I advised the OP to not be afraid if the colleagues in the question are bothering her, that how she should not be afraid to let her intentions of just friendship be known.

I answered quite a few questions pertaining to gender / race such as this one , and that answer was very well received. My answer themes of minimizing importance of gender / race / other personal characteristics and maintaining professionalism as one normally would with any other colleague seems to be well received in other questions.

What is wrong or unhelpful about this specific answer?

12

I didn't downvote, but my best guess is it's because you answered from a USA perspective a question from India. Two totally different cultures.

Plus you assume that the meetings are professional ones within the workplace, whereas they were social ones (one-on-one lunches and tea) and some were probably not in the workplace.

Lastly you advocated the OP being a bit of an activist if things didn't work your way. I cannot imagine that working out well.

All in all your answer seems to me to have missed the mark. It would not make sense in my locale, and probably not in India either.

5

I downvoted your answer for a number of reasons (and there is overlap here with what Kills has said):

  • Your baseless accusation that "It is somewhat disappointing that all the answers thus far are assuming you are the issue or your behavior was indeed flirtatious."
  • Your personal anecdotes are irrelevant and elongate an already needlessly long answer
  • A suggestion that the OP should avoid apologising. It's certainly appropriate to apologise even in situations where you believe you were acting properly, because you can regret the outcome (which in this case is a misunderstanding).
  • The suggestion that the men may be acting as part of a conspiracy to "set up" the OP. We have no reason to suspect that.
  • A suggestion that the mens behaviour were unwelcome and that the OP should go to HR if it continues. If you decide to go "hard" on these men, maybe in defence they may be inclined to claim they were just responding to the OP's "inappropriate" behaviour. I know for certain which the HR team will be more interested in.
  • The suggestion that the OP should "be forthright and assert yourself if needed be." with regards to speaking to HR. From what I've seen from some questions from India, this will end poorly.
  • The claim that "social interaction between men and women in the workplace is not by itself suspicious or unprofessional" but in some cultures it very well could be.

Your answer ultimately attempt to make a bit deal out of what could be just a minor misunderstanding, which is easily rectified (other answers also suffer this problem).

1
  • I have removed from my answer part of going to HR and clarified being forthright means towards others who are giving the OP inappropriate attention. I also condensed my personal experiences in the US , but maintained its use as an example of how social interactions between opposite gender colleagues can be acceptable, and still wholly professional. Could you think of retracting your downvote?
    – Anthony
    Oct 7 at 1:38
5

I downvoted it because I am familiar with Indian culture, and it was wildly inappropriate advice.

ALSO.

  • It comes across as condescending to call someone 'brave' just for asking a question
  • You admit that you are from a different culture, and then tell the OP all about how it's different, and offer no help
  • You assumed ill intent on the men, where it could just be a cultural thing. India is far more family oriented than the USA, and anything that could put the family at risk, would need to be addressed. That could be why the one man mentioned his wife and son
  • You told her to go running to HR. HR IS NOT YOUR FRIEND Less so in India
  • Your advice to "not apologize" flies in the face of the culture. Unlike the USA, an apology isn't commonly an admission of guilt.
  • It was more of a rant than substantive
  • It demonstrated a complete ignorance of Indian culture
  • It sounded more like a white-knight rant

In short, it was very VERY bad advice which could blow up in the OP's face. I would caution you not to apply USA standards to the rest of the world, there are cultural differences that vary wildly from culture to culture

3
  • However, if we assume the OP had good intent, where does the men jump to conclusion that she may be making sexual advances? Is that not an overreaction? If OP said something flirtatious, I would understand then. How was it a white knight rant when I specifically said she should not be afraid to be forthright and stand up for herself if needed? I was not swooping in to help as that would have been sexist, as OP would be lesser , rather an equal with rights not to be harassed? If I was a women, I don't want to be seen as fragile
    – Anthony
    Oct 1 at 15:16
  • 4
    @Anthony It's not about what YOU would do in her place, it's what SHE should do in her place. Perhaps you missed the part where you crapped all over her culture? India does not WANT to be 'Murica. Your advice was so wrong, I can't believe it hasn't fallen to double negative digits Oct 1 at 15:35
  • I have removed from my answer part of going to HR, parts that were condescending, and clarified being forthright means towards others who are giving the OP inappropriate attention. I also condensed my personal experiences in the US , but maintained its use as an example of how social interactions between opposite gender colleagues can be friendly, and still wholly professional. I also removed the suggestion that the men may have bad motives. Could you consider retracting your downvote?
    – Anthony
    Oct 7 at 1:42

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .