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'My colleagues call me a 'pick me' girl and spread rumors that affect my self image and job.' UPDATED 3X

'My colleagues call me a 'pick me' girl and spread rumors that affect my self image and job.' UPDATED 3X

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Being picked on by coworkers can lead to an incredibly hostile work environment, and it's simply not sustainable.

"My colleagues call me a 'pick me' girl and spread rumors about me which greatly affected my self image."

I 24F am flight attendant at a certain Middle Eastern company. I got visa to China because there we have the best flights: long flight, long layover, the best passengers. Every FA will know why. Anyhow, because it requires a Visa, many colleagues are lazy to get it so only few of us are frequent on bidding for lanes to China.

It happens that one of first officers is always bidding to China because, as I said, best flight. I happen to be very often with almost the same group of crew + pilot + first officer every month at least once. FO is a young handsome man and ladies have an eye on him.

We were sitting once at the airport waiting for our plane to arrive (we were going to take plane from another crew who would be on layover until next group arrives) and I was playing games on my console. FO noticed and he sat next to me and started to ask me what I play beside this. And that's how our little friendship started.

He would always sit near me and watch me play and we started bringing our laptops to game in lobby of our hotel because it has good internet and we have 2-3 days layover in Beijing. Nothing much to do after you’ve been many times. Anyhow, as we started to talk about games, ladies started to interrogate me about nature of our relationship.

Then last week, we were again in the lobby, internet was good, we played a certain 5 on 5 game you all know. We sat across each other in 4 people separate. Two ladies from crew came and sat with us, one sat beside me, another sat next to him. They started to talk to us and we barely answered because we were focused. They were questioning him mostly. They'd ask me something too.

Then after we both died in-game, I asked them to please leave us alone and come after match is done which will be in around 40-50m then they can talk. I indicated that I will leave and they can talk to FO. They got a bit shocked by my reaction but they left. After the match was done, I said im going back to my room. He said he'll go too. I told him girls will look for him. He said and I quote “yeah...I better go asap.”

And we both left to our respective rooms. The next day, all the girls gave me cold shoulder. They were talking passive-agressively to me. And when we were in the lobby-kind of area after breaking our fast, someone brought sweets and fruits. I took a sour apple and some other sour fruits. (I get pimples from sweets)

FO told me that its a weird choice for dessert and that's when one of the ladies said in front of the whole crew in very sarcastic tone:

“Yeahhh, that’s because she’s so special, so different. Not like us other girls” and another one rolled her eyes very aggressively and almost yelled “did he pick you already” Very awkward.

This shocked me so much that I don't even recall what happened afterwards.

Anyway, they (women) don't talk to me now at all and I also heard rumors that I am sleeping with the FO. Which is not true at all. One of male crew told me that they told him how I sent two girls away and told them to come back later but before they returned, I took FO to my room. Not true.

This all makes me not want to go to my flights, it makes me want to change route even though this one is really the best for me. For days I feel like I have a rat in my stomach and I am watching short videos on pick me girls and I feel like crying. At first I didnt let it get to me, but it got to me. I want to rip off my skin and crawl under my bed. I feel like throwing up all the time.

The internet had a lot to say in response.

CocoaAlmondsRock wrote:

Tell the FO what happened.

OP responded:

I feel like if i do it, i will be a snitch who is crying to a man in authority over something stupid. “Women stuff” as they call it whenever something happens between women, its like its not significant. And I am afraid they will decapitate me if I snitch.

Parking-Wallaby-4166 wrote:

They are b*llies and you are not a 'pick me.' Don't let them steal something nice from you! I suggest you report them too, as spreading malicious rumours is not acceptable behaviour in any work environment (or any environment for that matter).

Then at least you have it on record, in case they start spreading worse rumors - f.ex. you being unprofessional, drinking on the job, stealing etc. Report them now to stay one step ahead of their malicious intentions. Because you never know, they may try to escalate it in order to get rid of you. And maybe say to your pal: 'just a heads up, but they are spreading rumors about us!'

Oh my god, I haven't thought about this. I actually read your comment 2hours ago and it made me talk to FO. Insane stuff went on, I'll write an update. Thank you for this view. I was so stressed, I didn't think of this.

101010-trees wrote:

They are jealous and are trying to put you down so they can feel better about themselves. They act like they’re in high school. You sound like someone he prefers to hang out with without the drama and he’s actually having fun. Be kind to yourself.

OP responded:

Thank you for your kind comment. Yes, I prefer no drama, however, I got pulled into a whole lots of drama. There are talks about a lawsuit. I did not see any of this coming.

The next day, OP shared an update.

Oh my god you guys! This whole situation spiralled more than I could have even imagined. Small thing became an avalanche. So someone commented how these women could make up stuff about me st*aling and other things that could get me in serious troubles.

I eventually decided to text FO to call me asap because he was operating a flight at the time and that there's an important matter we need to discuss. When he called me, I told him that xyz people are spreading stories about us sleeping together during a layover. He said that he knows about it and that he dealt with it.

I was confused. Asked what does he mean by that. He said that he wrote a letter to the management. In this letter, he addressed the fact that a certain crew member (me) was being verbally harr*ssed by -their position on that flight-. He noted how he actually warned them politely and privately (I had no idea about that). And that captain actually gave him a permission to do it in his name.

When the harr*ssing continued, he also found out from 3 male crew members (including cabin manager) and 1 flight deck member (pilot in command) that each one of them was personally told by these women that FO slept with me during layover that week.

Not only was he angry that they continued to do this to me, he was actually personally offended by the slander, especially that they accused us during the Holy month of Ramadan. He wrote a letter and made all above mentioned crew members and pilot sign it. Captain put his stamp on it. And FO did too.

He told me that slandering a woman (and man but mainly woman) without 4 male witnesses is actually a crime in the country where we are based and he had all then present men’s signs, they couldn't make them testify against us but for us.

And our company's policy is that if theres a criminal lawsuit (-not civil lawsuit-) filed against any of the flight operating employees, their contracts will be terminated without further notice. So he wrote in the letter that he requests these crew members be banned from international layovers for 6 months and that they operate stand by (you dont have a specific lane schedule.

You must be ready 12 hours of each day to be called to any random flight, but for them, only domestic. You have 1 hr to appear at the airport. Also, you're paid muuuuch less. This is hell btw) for six months.

He then continued to say that management has only 3 options: to do as he requested, to terminate them right away or to do nothing and have him file in the lawsuit and their contracts will be terminated by default. And if he does file in a lawsuit, people who made up adultry story might get 6 months in jail.

He copied the letter, had men sign each one of them. He sent one copy to each guy and to the management, he kept the original. He told me that management will call me after Eid and that I confirm everything they ask me and that he will send me a copy of the letter as well.

I am beyond shocked. I am petrified. All I did was my job and play games in my paid free time. I never had any intentions to be part of someones termination or lawsuit. And I had no idea how seriously he took this matter. Too seriously.

I am literally beyond shocked right now and scared as well. I don't feel my legs and im shaking. I threw up after the call ended. I also asked him why the hell did he take such drastic measures, he said that I am unaware of what these stories can do to our reputation and if they reach wrong ears, even more than just reputation. And he said “and they made you cry, its not drastic enough”. 😭😭

The internet did not hold back their thoughts on the matter.

lynypixie wrote:

It’s also his reputation that he has to protect.

OP responded:

True. But to be honest, pilots (both captains and officers) are known to sleep around with no shame, with pride, actually. Both married and single ones. Its a common knowledge. I guess this one cares tho. Im glad at least. Someone else would say yeah, we did sleep together, even though we didnt. Though whole situation makes me really nervous and uneasy

international510 wrote:

Former airline mgr here. Your FO is doing a great service for himself, and you -- I wish we had more of that type of professionalism at my previous American carrier. He sounds ex-military in how he assessed the situation and handled it corporately. My work experience is majority airline, and I can say w/o a shadow of a doubt, reputation carries, damn near forever.

We even get word about employees from other airlines, and that has negatively (wrongfully, I might add) impacted people with their professional aspirations. I'm not even going to start with how it's affected people personally.

OP responded:

He has a law degree as well. Aviation was his secondary call actually. He explained to me everything very slowly and clearly in a language I understood. But to this moment I am suprised how the hell I appeared in middst of this fiasco. Nonetheless, he is something else. I asked him what does he think will happen, he said he does not think company will let him file in a lawsuit because the story might leak out.

It's a really bad look on them as well. And if they keep them and their punishment expires, by then he will already be the captain and ofcourse continue to bid for China flights. If he sees any of them on his flight, he will have the right to reject them at the airport which he will do. When asked why, he has the original document he made and its completely legit according to the company's policy.

He really holds grudges against them. It did not seem like that when it all happened, or I havent noticed. So he said they will either terminate them or they will take his request but revoke their China visa from the system. But given that they might end up with him on other flights and he will for sure kick them, he believes they will be terminated. Either way, safe to say that I will not see them in China anymore.

Humble_Nobody2884 wrote:

What he did was both necessary and critical. The official documentation alone is MANDATORY for the protection of your position in the company, and even more importantly your reputation.

It’s sad that there are so many pitfalls for women in their personal and professional lives, and these other FAs weaponized this dynamic against you. The tough truth is you have to fight sometimes in life, and that’s what was needed here.

Feel hurt, angry, frustrated, whatever- you’re entitled to that. But I hope you never think you deserve to feel guilty or ashamed about this. You did NOTHING wrong, and your colleagues are simply reaping what they sowed through their own pettiness. Keep your head up as this all falls out, and in the meantime, Ramadan Kareem!

Over a week later, OP shared another update.

Two parts of update: 1st update abt colleagues - I got a call, management didnt make me much fuss, they decided to let them go because they cannot keep someone who did an actual crime and that FO seems to hold grudges. BTW I'm on good terms with woman from management with whom I talked to and she informally told me that management knows that FO will make them troubles.

So it's cheaper to let go of them now than to have to deal with him in the future.

Update 2, personal, since some of u really wanted to know and sent private messages Okay so basically, I had flight on tuesday to Germany and had layover till thursday. During this flight and layover, I was not with FO on flight as we never get flight together outside of China lane.

However, cabin manager (lets call him Guest Director GD for short) is one of my bosses on flight who sometimes is on lane for China. He is with us like 40-30% of the time. Anyway, when this entire situation happened, pretty much entire group that goes to China frequently found out abt what happened and it was clarified that FO and I are not together.

Anyway, on my layover in Munich, I was again doing as I usually do, gaming in the lobby when GD came over. He watched me play and we talked a bit. When I finished the match, he asked me if I would like to go bowling with him. We were always distant friendly on flights, he would sometimes be with us in lobby but we never spent 1-1 time.

Anyway, I left to my room, got ready, met him in lobby at around 8:30 pm, we went, did bowling till like 10:30, then he suggested we go eat something, bla bla, Ill spare you the details, GD asked me to confirm to him if I was with FO, I told him no and why is he asking.

He said he liked me from one event that happened a while ago, won't go into detail, but he said he always thought that I was actually with FO but nobody brought it up, turns out everyone just thought that. I was a bit stunned for a moment, I told him that I am flattered.

He asked me if I liked him, I told him that I do find him attractive and charming, which he really is, but that right now I am going through a lot of stress and he caught me of guard. He was very chill about it, he continued to flirt with me through out the night in very non-pushy manner. Very light, almost playful flirts. We saw each other again on friday.

Friday night comes, I'm at home, I did some gaming, FO was online with 3 other ppl, I entered the call, we did little gaming, didn't talk much. He was very reserved, answered shortly. I later called him privately to ask what’s up, he says he’s busy right now. I ask him to call me back when he’s done. He did not.

Sunday, we have China lane. On flight he didnt acknowledge me. During layover I was alone, he did not appear in the lobby. So I tried calling him, no answer. I went to reception, asked FO’s room number, as they already know us well, she gave it to me in trust. I go to his room and ngl, on the way over there, I was nervous what or whom I’ll find in his room. I knock, he’s alone.

I asked him if there's something wrong, he says that there is. I asked him to talk, he told me to go away from his room and wait him in the lobby. Anyhow, I asked him what is up, why is he being distant. He says he thinks its inappropriate for him to be around me further more. I was confused, he then explains everything by simply asking me if I had fun time in Munich.

I felt like I am in a relationship and just got caught cheating. I ask him what does that have to do with anything and who told him about it? He tells me that it has everything to do with it and that unlike -he says word in his language which is basically an insult to a man, like calling another man - not man- GD, he does not run after a woman who is with another guy.

Turns out he knew about Munich, he knew about our date in base and he was bitter about it + it appears that GD and FO have some beef from before. I asked him if he viewed me more than just a friend, he gave me a look “you stupid or something?” And asked me if I was kidding. I told him I genuinely had no idea.

He then brought up bunch of stuff he did for me that, when he says it, does make it obvious but when you’re being me, it wasn't obvious. I asked why he never told me. He said he made obvious moves around me and I never reciprocated not even a bit and when I went with GD with no hesitation, no thought how it might look to him, he figured I had no interest in him and wanted the other guy so he left me alone.

I told him that I was not with the GD, he told me that had it been just random one time on layover going out, okay, but I went again when I reached base, I obviously was into him.

I just stared at him, I mumbled that I am not WITH him and that nothing had happened and he got annoyed, he snatched my phone from the table, unlocked as he knew the password, opened first active social media app and found GD’s chat right at the top. He turned the phone, showed me and said “last text 40 mins ago. That's all I need to know. I wont be anyone's afterthought.”

I was shocked to say the least (still am). This guy does not look like someone who would go for me at all. I stupidly asked him if that’s it, he said that's it. I was dumbfounded and I don't know why, I just stood up, took my phone like an idiot and walked away. I am still processing the whole situation, dont know what to think, feel or do. After this conversation, I just feel like I got punched in the guts.

Just few days ago I was not even considering that we were a possibility. I am still here. I have no1 to talk to about this so I am just venting here. At breakfast, he sat very far away from me, did not look at me. I feel sick to my stomach. 4pm, I havent seen him around at all.

The next day, OP jumped on with another update.

Final update: Last night at around 2am, I was being miserable when I got a call from FO.

I picked the call, he asked me if he woke me up, I said that I was awake. He asked if I ate anything, I said no. He then asked if it's okay that he comes to my room, I said yeah. Second later, he’s knocking on my door with takeout.

I let him inside, it was awkward at first. He said he couldnt sleep nor eat, thought I might be having the same issue so he brought us takeout. And added that he wanted to clear things out. And we did. He apologized for his behaviour, for snatching my phone and said how besides it being a douche move, he shouldn't have acted on anger especially given the fact that he’s a pilot, he must act better.

He asked me if I had feelings for GD. I said that I didnt. He asked me why am I still texting him, I told him there was no specific reason, I just needed a distraction because these few months and days were too much for me, and we don't talk much anyway. I didn't see my family in half a year, was alone on eid, he was just there, avaliable. That's it. He asked if we kissed or anything, I said the truth. We didnt.

Anyhow, he then explained to me that he fell for me a while ago, nearly two years ago when he still had a lot to go to become the captain. He told me how he questioned me here and there to see my views on world. He said how I told him a few times just randomly that I’vee never been in a relationship, I do not want a long relationship and if I do find a man that is good for me.

I want it to end in marriage, as much as possible in accordance to our religion. He then continued to say how regardless of his last name and his family’s wealth, he actually is paying his own debt for all the schooling abroad and the debt was big. His father did not support his aviation dreams. Sees pilots to be little more than truck drivers.

At the time, nearly 2 years ago, he had soo much yet to pay and he was sooo far from becoming the captain. He said that now that he is just few more lanes from 4 stripes, he was actually going to ask me to go official for just a few months for him to pay his debt so that he can completely focus on us.

He never bothered to do it directly because I didn't go out with any guy, didnt communicate with any other guy more than he was comfortable seeing. He kinda took me for granted, security that cannot go away. And now that he is so close to getting a promotion, he heard I went out with another dude, and to pour vinegar on wound, that guy happens to be a dude he mortally hates.

That’s why he reacted the way he did and felt like all of our bonding over the past nearly 2 years went to drain for GD out of all people. I apologized to him for this entire situation and told him that I thought I am hardcore cemented in friendzone given that he was around me for such a long time but never made an official move. I thought he behaved just how men naturally behave around women.

He said he is not upset with me anymore and said how we already know each other so well and asked if I consider him to be a suitable man for myself. I said that I do. He asked me if I would end my private contact with the GD. I said that I would.

He asked me if I would sign engagament contract to be legally his fiance within few days so that our ‘official’ relationship will be engagament and actually ends in marriage, as soon as he pays his loans. I said that I would. He told me what mahr he can pay at once or if I want another amount he could pay within some time. I said that I accept whatever he can do and wont burden him.

He ended with saying “is this clear enough for you madam? Are we official?” I laughed and said that now it is and yes we are.

And I took my phone, called the GD in front of him, he was like wtf you doing. I turned on the speaker, showed him sign to be silent.

I talked to the GD, explained him in short what happened and he actually started laughing, i could hear he was smiling. He told me that even though FO is an ass, he is actually happy for us and that he thinks FO is the one for me and that he will make me happy. I asked if he was angry at all, he said no and how he felt like he wont get much warmth from someone else’s sun anyway.

GD apologized if he caused issues between us and said it was 100% his intention at first but he thinks im a good girl and its haram to do this to me. Wished us both good luck and safe flight back home. I ended the call. My FO made a surprised face but didnt say anything. He told me that he was nervous about operating a flight with no sleep and no food and he knew this had to be done.

Anyhow, we wrapped things up, ate, visibly relaxed. Right now we are sitting at the airport waiting for our plane to arrive to go back to our base. My cheeks hurt from smiling. I went from being the most miserable person to being the happiest. I still wonder if he will ever tell me what went on between him and GD tho.

The internet had a lot to say in response.

taorthoaita wrote:

Well. Good luck with that heap of red flags.

Ogolble wrote:

Is it normal in your culture to sign an agreement to date? Also, him telling you who you can and can't be friends with, isn't a good thing. It's controlling. But, good luck!

Quirky_Movie responded:

She works for one of the airlines in the Middle East from the previous stories. She isn't from there but I believe is Muslim.

All of this is kind of normal within the Muslim faith as I understand it as someone who worked for an Emirates based company. A lot of laws are from the faith in that region. (Understanding that there are feminists movements within these groups that might disagree with parts or all of it.)

Brave_Anonymous1 wrote:

She is a religious Muslim living in Muslim country. Normal is very different there compared to, say, US or Brasil.

OP, congratulations! He sounds like an awesome guy!

OP responded:

Yess! Thank you. Also, about the rumours, I guess western woman is okay if someone says such thing, no big deal. But for me, I'm 24, I still got my V card. Such words can ruin me, get me fired or worse. But I guess people arent that educated on what happens overseas.

tiny-flying-squirrel wrote:

It’s technically a marriage/engagement contract, called a nikkah, which functions as a prenup. Religiously, it makes you spousal partners, thus permitting a full relationship. However it’s also not official until the reception, or Walimah, so it can be annulled before then if there are any issues.

I wrote this elsewhere but in that culture the way he was treating her was basically dating, she was just oblivious about it. If a guy thought they were dating a girl and she went out with his nemesis his reaction makes more sense (although he could have reacted more reasonably for sure). He did apologize and realize she is just oblivious so made his intentions clear.

This is a big green flag in Muslim, Arab, and Asian cultures. A predictor of many abusive relationships in the current generation is a refusal to clarify intentions and propose the contract, which puts the woman at risk of social sanction and blackmail. (And just wasting time on a man who is not serious and will cheat on her, not provide for her, and leave her later on)

OP responded:

I don't see an issue with it. Its not for dating, its for engagament. He has obligation to pay me my wedding gift. So I am for it.

And he asked me to cut contact with a guy who obviously wanted to sleep with me, I am okay with that. I see no issues.

SignificantOrange139 wrote:

I'm trying real hard to be understanding of the fact that you come from a different sort of culture...and I sure hope you're right. But please for the love of your God, protect yourself. Fight for yourself when you need. Because I'm sorry, you're blind to not see just how insanely controlling his behavior is. Cultural norms don't change that it IS about control. Patriarchy is patriarchy no matter the hat it wears.

OP responded:

Which part? The part where he does not want me to be in contact with a man who obviously had intention to sleep with me or? What am I missing here?

SignificantOrange139 responded:

You want me to be blunt? Ok. Fine. He got physically aggr*ssive and violated your f#$king privacy. Then immediately jumps to this. And you, ignore all this and accept a literal purchase of your person, from a man who acted like he owned you already. That is controlling behavior. And this is how you're starting your relationship.

As another person explained, if this is what your honeymoon period of your relationship looks like, you've got hell coming your way. You're about to lose all personal agency and you're pretending it's some kind of fairytale. And half the reason you like this guy is purely that he's "sooooo dreamy, and tall, and handsome."

The only word that you've really used that wasn't about his physical appearance was that he is kind. But is he, really?

Take off the rose tinted glasses for just a moment and really be introspective.

letmesleepindammit wrote:

Oh honey...be safe. good luck. Maybe take off the rose tinted lenses and get prescription glasses instead sooner rather than later too.

Well...this certainly escalated in all directions.

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