At the moment, we are short staffed at work, so it means quite often I am left on my own in the office. We have a dedicated postal service to pick up and drop off the post every day, and the postman in the morning is different to the one in the afternoon. The postman in the morning has always seemed quite friendly, we are an all female office and we always have a banter with him, for example at Christmas we had mistletoe over the office door and he gave us all a cheeky kiss on the cheek. I would describe our relationship as friendly and relaxed.
Yesterday, I was alone in the office when he arrived, and as he walked in he shouted out his usual “Morning Girlies” before realising that I was the only one there. As he was walking over to me to put the post on my desk, he said “Do you realise, if I wanted to have sex with you, this would be the best time to do it?”
His comment took me by surprise. As you know, I struggle with socially interacting with men anyway, and his comment intimidated me. My default response was “Bring it on”, before shuffling around the papers on my desk to distract from the interaction. As he put the post down on my desk, he pretended to reach towards my breast whilst saying “OK”, but thankfully he stopped about 6 inches away. That said, I was frozen to the spot so if he had continued I wouldn’t have been able to stop him. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t nervous or scared, I just couldn’t move.
I am annoyed that I didn’t deal with this situation and have many conflicting emotions and thoughts about it;
1) The postman has behaved in a completely inappropriate manner
2) Did I lead him on by saying “Bring it on”?
2a) When I told James about what happened, he told me I should report him immediately. I told him I didn’t want to because I didn’t want him to get into trouble/lose his job. Now let me look into this a little further. Why do I feel like this? Why is there a sense of loyalty? Does this come back to my need to be accepted and not rejected? Do I feel as though he is my friend? Have I been groomed or is this all completely innocent? Is it because I don’t want to make things awkward if he continues to deliver our post? BUT what right does he have to make ME feel awkward?
3) Why did I allow myself to feel intimidated? Why did I allow this situation to happen? If I was skillful, I would have recognised that his comment was innapropriate, I would not have allowed myself to feel intimidated and I would have told him he was acting inappropriately. I guess I am not able to apply the skills I am learning just yet but I know I musn’t be too hard on myself.
So, this is how the conversation SHOULD have gone:
Postman: Do you realise, if I wanted to have sex with you, this would be the best time to do it
Me: I am sorry, but I find that comment completely inappropriate.
4) I need to make a decision about how to deal with things skilfully now and I am going to use the DBT skill FAST (used to maintain the respect for yourself)
The postman is due to deliver the post today around 11am. Although there is another lady in the office, I could ask her to leave the room so that he things I am on my own. Perhaps he will make another comment, to which I can attempt to respond to skilfully. I think if I had had warning that the comment was going to be made, I could have prepared a skilful response, but as it was, I was taken completely off guard and unprepared.
My plan using the acronym FAST (Be Fair, no Apologies, Stick to values, be Truthful)
Be Fair: The postman is not acting appropriately. Perhaps this was an oversight on his part and a one off, therefore I am not going to report him. Perhaps I am giving him too much credit and another girl might have reported him as soon as it happened. But, if it happens again, I will have no hesitation in reporting him. I believe this is BEING (more than) FAIR.
No Apologies: I am not going to apologise or feel bad about feeling intimidated, awkward or uncomfortable. It is not fair on him to make me feel like this. A postman (or any man who is in his position) should NOT EVER discuss anything like this with a client. It is completely inappropriate and I am completely justified in feeling like this.
Stick to Values: My values tell me that he is being inappropriate and I am not willing to make any allowances for him.
Be Truthful: If it happens today, I am going to hold my head up high and tell him that he is acting inappropriately and making me feel uncomfortable, and if it happens again, I will report him. (Well, I’m going to try my best. Typing that out made my stomach turn over with fear and anxiety)
Wish me luck!!!