Posted by: Help | 2008/01/10

How do I deal?

Hi CS and happy new year to you. I had this ? under CS Annex but i would like your expert assistance as well. Please dont crucify me 4 this double posting - I just need advice.
I will attempt to cut the long story short. I have a support member of our staff who does not talk to me and has not even confronted me about anything. He just merely goes around telling his own groupie the so called offence I have committed against him and also warns them not to tell me. Feeling confused by this and figuring out that the matter is too trivial to hate someone, ie. apparently i removed his food from the oven and did not return it after warming up mine. The friends then come and tell me about it. He is almost the same age as my grandfather. All this happened last year. I would greet him in the morning or whenever i bumped into him thinking that he had not heard me. It finally dawned to me that he did not want to talk to me anymore because he would just pass my office without saying hi and go about greeting everybody loudly.

One of my resolutions for this year was that I would overlook this and start again to make peace, by a simple gesture such as greeting, but he still keeps quiet. I would like to ask him what the problem is but he is rude and as I once tried to do last year, he just picked up his suitcase and left for his delivery duties. Seeing that nothing has changed about him this year, I am discouraged to say anything to him so I resorted to just keeping quiet as well.

My problem is that it becomes impossible for me to give him urgent instructions and this is making my job a little difficult and he knows this. Unlike what he does he does to other profs, he will my matters to last minute. Besides this, it is just not in my nature to work with people that I can not talk to- even if one dislikes me, i still would want to greet them in the morning and get a reply - this is how I was brought up and taught that regardless of whether I am a professional and he is a support staff at the end of the road, I still need to respect him especially taking into consideration his age.
Strange enough it is so much easier to deal with misunderstandings amongst other professional staff members but this one is just a mystery to me.
How can I deal with this situation? I know to some people it might sound insignificant but it just does not sink in well within me. Do I continue keeping quite and in which how would you suggest that I do to distract myself from thinking about this?
If I go and ask him what is wrong, how do I do without implicating his friends? and most importantly how do I get his attention?
Note: We are both black and I'm a female the 1st black person to make it to the professional level at this company - do you think this might have anything to do with his scorn for me, taking into account our black culture. I also heard that he once vowed not to talk to one of the other support staff member until either one of them died - and that was indeed the case because the other guy died without the 2 of them having made any peace. He is also the kind of person who would nt think twice about going to your superiors in order to get you into trouble.
Please help and thank you. Sorry about the novel like question.

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Hi Help --- and a good new year to you, too.
ISn't it amazing how some people get into such a tizz over such a petty thing ! And sadly, at his age, he's not likely to change his apparently prickly personality. ISn't there an HR person or dept that should deal with such staff problems ? COuld you discuss it with your own boss or supervisor ? From what you say of his prior history, it sounds as if he feels bitter and resentful about other people and other aspects of his work, too. Some people seem to make bearing a grudge a hobby --- instead of trying to sort out and solve problems, they nurse them, feed and water them like a special plant --- they may find a sense of meaning and power in their grudges, which in a very real sense are about them, rather than about you.

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