What would you do?

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Today is the funeral for the mother of one of my coworkers. Everyone in the office is going except for me. I thought that one or two others wouldn’t be going, but I just found out that they all are going (there are 5).  One of my other coworkers feels very strongly about going – it’s almost mandatory according to him – and I think everyone else is going just because he has made such a thing about it, but I feel that sending a sympathy card is appropriate enough. Also, I’m not so good with funerals and having my coworkers see me do the ugly cry (let’s face it, all my cries are ugly cries) would kill any professionalism I have managed to assemble.

And also…the coworker whose mother died? Is the coworker who told me a couple of years ago that he had feelings for me and implied that he would be willing to cheat on his wife with me.  This freaked me out so much and affected my work in such a way that I went on a 2 year binge and gained 40 pounds.

Part of me feels like I should just suck it up and be an adult and go to the funeral, but then there’s another part of me that feels like I don’t want to be anywhere near this guy. Even now, I avoid him at all times unless it is absolutely necessary that I speak to him.  So being in a situation where I have to offer sympathy to him and his wife and kids feels strange and awkward and not something I want to deal with.

I will send a sympathy card, and I feel that is appropriate enough. I don’t think I owe him any more than that, and I believe I also owe it to myself to stand up to the peer pressure of attending a funeral that I do not want to attend.

So what would you all do? Put all the junk behind you and go the funeral “out of respect” for the coworker (this is what the other coworker said was his reason for going), or would you do what feels right for you, even if it is the opposite of what everyone else is doing?

 

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14 thoughts on “What would you do?

  1. I don’t think going to the funeral of someone you don’t know is about showing respect to the co-worker. You’re right on with the card, even without the history of what has happened. With the history, the card is being the bigger person, frankly.

    Don’t go.

  2. Julie Malone

    You do need to do what is right for you, send a card, say a prayer for the family, and go about your day. End of story.

  3. Amy

    Just wondering if Mr. I-Know-What’s-Right-For-Everyone-Else knows your history with Mr. Ready-To-Risk-My-Family. My vote? Send the card and be done with them both.

  4. jen b

    I would not in any way imply (in person) that you are ‘there’ for him. Ick! A card is perfectly appropriate & Hallmark thanks you. You do not need to explain your actions/inactions to anyone.

  5. If it were me, I for sure would not go and it wouldn’t even be a question in my mind. I probably would not send a card either. Since it is a coworker in what sounds like a very small office, I would express my condolences and that would be it. As a regular reader of your blog and someone who struggles with being overweight as well, I am wondering why this guy saying he has a thing for you make you go on a two year eating binge?

    • Okay, well “2 year binge” is probably a bit dramatic. The short story is that coworker and I were fairly good friends in the beginning – our kids are the same age, daughters went to same dance teacher, lots of things in common – and I thought he was “safe” to be friends with. When he announced his feelings, I felt stupid and naive, and it completely changed the work environment – I cut off all contact with him unless it was absolutely unavoidable. Plus we had lots of changes going on at work at that time anyway, and my natural reaction to stress is to EAT. I started eating and by the time I realized how much weight I was gaining, it was liking trying to stop a freight train. So really, the event happened 2 years ago, but the weight gain happened over a period of a year.

  6. Don’t go. I wouldn’t, and you have very good reasons not to. If this was a close coworker you do lunch with and confide in, then I’d go.

    You shouldn’t go for the guy’s sake, also – he needs to be thinking about his mom and not be distracted by your amazing presence. 🙂

  7. oolalang

    Don’t go. If he’s “willing to cheat on his wife” it’s not a major jump to guess he might try to take advantage of you offering sympathy. You don’t owe him anything.

  8. debby

    Oh no. Do not go. And personally I would not even send a sympathy card.

    I am not a funeral go-er either. And I guess its different in a smaller office. When I worked, quite a number of my co-worker’s parents died, but it actually never occurred to me to go to the funeral. I wrote personal cards to my best friends at work. Otherwise, the group card sufficed. But we had a staff of 100 instead of 5, so the pressure is different. Still, I would not provide any kind of encouragement to this guy whatsoever.

  9. Ugh, how annoying of that coworker to assume that everyone should do the same thing. I think trusting your instincts about how to handle it is the exactly right thing to do.

    And although I’ve never been in the situation you describe, oh, yes, I totally get you on why that would be a binge trigger: sometimes fat can be a heck of a sheild, or cloaking device.

  10. cookie

    The opinionns are quite clear and that one, and I agree. Don’t go. I wouldn’t even have thought about attending a funeral for a person I do not know unless it would have been the loss of a very good friend and I would have been asked for support.

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