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Guy Accuses Coworker Of ‘Leading Him On’ After He Learns She’s Muslim

Jose Luis Pelaez Inc/GettyImages

Sometimes, well maybe a lot of the time, it can be difficult to tell if someone is flirting.

And nobody ever wants to just assume.

So while everyone is “chatting” in a holding pattern, communication can get muddled.

Case in point…

Redditor OkAsk4646 wanted to discuss her experience and get some feedback. So naturally, she came to visit the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit.

She asked:

“AITA for not telling my coworker that I’m Muslim and accidentally ‘leading him on?'”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“I (25 F[emale]) am Muslim.”

“I never hid this fact, it is something I talk about casually when mentioning holidays or my childhood growing up overseas.”

“However if you don’t hear me say that I’m Muslim, it’s usually hard for the average American to guess as I don’t wear a hijab (yet).”

“I’m VERY white passing.”

“I’m a natural blond, I’m pale, I have a slight French accent (thanks colonialism), and speak French fluently.”

“I live in the American south, and use French for my job quite often.”

“I’ve been told my name also sounds European to Americans (it’s Arabic but I can see the confusion).”

“So that, plus my accent, plus my looks makes people all come to the conclusion that I’m French European.”

“If someone asks though, or if it comes up, I’m very quick to correct them and say I’m African.”

“Brings to me my job.”

“I work with a guy named ‘Joey’ (27 M[ale]).”

“Now he works for another department (big company), so we rarely have much interaction.”

“The interaction we do have however is usually short and very friendly.”

“It was honestly hard to tell if he had a crush on me or if he was just naturally nice since I didn’t know him all that well, but regardless he was a kind dude.”

“Now the other day I was in our lunch room, and talking to some female coworkers when Joey happened to walk by.”

“I was telling my friends about a funny experience I once had at a bazaar as a kid, when Joey interrupts and asks if I traveled around a lot when I lived in Europe.”

“I giggled, since it’s common for this mistake to happen, and told him I’m actually from Africa and the bazaar in question is the one I grew up near.”

“His mood took a complete 180.”

“His eyes grew wide and he was like ‘Wait what you’re Islamic?'”

“I was giggling still and said, ‘Yeah I’m Muslim, you didn’t realize?'”

“He replied that if he did realize, he wouldn’t have spent so much time trying to talk to me and getting to know me.”

“I asked what that meant and he said Arabic girls are the biggest teases since we would never actually date a white boy.”

“I replied that putting aside the fact I don’t date, which is true I’m quite religious and am seeking to wear hijab soon, what made him think I owed him my affection anyways?”

“Now some people at my job are saying that I strung him along because he didn’t know I was Muslim.”

“And I should have been up front with him in the beginning so that ‘He didn’t waste his time flirting with me.'”

“So AITA?”

Redditors shared their thoughts on this matter and weighed some options to the question AITA:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Many Redditors declared OP was NOT the A**hole.

“NTA. You don’t know each other well enough to engage in personal info about your religious views.”

“He never asked, you never told.”

“Him assuming your ethnicity and whether you date or not is his problem, not yours.”

“His comment about Arab girls was disrespectful.”

“You don’t owe him anything.” ~ islasdiary

“I hate people like this so much.”

“I (24 F[emale]) have a degree in a male-dominated field.”

“I work in a male-dominated job, and all my hobbies are male-dominated.”

“So most of my friendship prospects are male.”

“Do you know how hurtful it is when someone treats every one of your coworkers like a normal human being, but not you, because you’re a girl?”

“When people will banter with everyone except you, because you were born a different sex and you look different to them?”

“I just wish people would treat everyone equally, regardless of gender. It can’t be that hard.” ~ StarInkbright

“What is wrong with people thinking you even thought anything of him to lead him on?”

“It’s the workplace, I would naturally assume it’s collegial kindness (not sexually oriented interest).”

“How come no one at your work is commenting on that??”

“He should know better than to even mention his crush at work, when clearly you never knew to lead him on.”

“You just found out like everyone else.”

“And then for him to continue with his racial stereotyped commentary on your dating life, at work in a group.”

“If he ever had a chance, regardless where you’re from, that’s a total turn off AND unprofessional idiocy.”

“Where do you work???”

“Are you living in this century?” ~ mayfeelthis

“And he obviously didn’t work THAT hard to get to know her if he didn’t even know where she was from, her religion and that she currently isn’t interested in dating anyone.”

“And she didn’t know him well enough to know if his kindness was flirting or just being a nice person to a coworker.”

“Calling bullsh*t on him claiming any ‘effort’ on his part.”

“OP is NTA, but coworker(s) definitely are.” ~ ladygrndr

“OP is NTA. You’re an AH.”

“Admitting you’re racist without saying you’re racist.”

“Go get your facts straight before commenting.”

“‘African’ is not automatically any shade of black and South African whites/Charlize Theron-like people are not the only people who can have light skin.”

“You’re stereotyping people.” ~ Amiya0609

“This so so much! NTA!”

“It’s not like most people walk around announcing their religious and ethnic background to everyone they meet!”

“Who would expect that?”

“What are you supposed to do?”

“Assume everyone who’s kind to you is flirting?”

“Introduce yourself saying ‘Hello I’m OkAsk4646 I’m a muslim woman from Africa, I don’t date?'”

“You’d sound crazy and presumptuous and probably a little smug.”

“He’s being unreasonable and so is anyone who agrees with him.” ~ thaliagorgon

“NTA. In fact his comments could be construed as sexual harassment since he basically just admitted in front of everyone that he was only being nice to get in your pants.”

“Definitely go to H[uman] R[esources] and tell them what happened – this needs to get on the record.” ~ Johnny-Fakehnameh

“I know it seems harsh, but the reality is that most things make their way to HR.”

“If you are the first one to report a potential issue, then you are in the clear.”

“If not, then you are guilty until proven otherwise.”

“Let HR know what happened, that it made you uncomfortable, that there are witnesses and who they are, and what your desired outcome is.”

“This isn’t about hurting him.”

“Sadly, this is necessary to protect yourself.” ~ BAT123456789

“NTA – ‘stringing someone along’ is an intentional act.”

“You didn’t go out of your way to spend time with him from what I can tell, you were simply friendly when you did run into one another.”

“Someone else’s misunderstanding is not your issue.” ~ gonnagetcancelled

OP came back to chat…

“It’s honestly ridiculous.”

“And not to sound weird or anything, but I’ve realized interactions are different here in America than they are overseas.”

“For example, in my country and in most European countries.”

“For us it’s very very normal to be incredibly friendly, hell we greet people of both sexes by kissing cheeks.”

‘But in America, despite being a very liberal country, it seems like there’s much more boundaries between different genders?”

“Correct me if I’m wrong, but here my friendliness with men is seen as flirting where I never ever have that trouble when I’m overseas.”

“Thing is I could be quite dense when it comes to guys flirting with me.”

“Since I have a history of thinking guys are just being nice when my friends swear they like me.”

“It would take nothing short of a full blown confession for me to get the hint.”

Reddit continued…

“There are absolutely a lot a men (a lot of people, really) that see someone being kind to them as romantic/sexual interest.”

“A lot of the times these are people who themselves are only kind to people they’re attracted to and think they can get with.”

“They just assume everyone else behaves the same way. It’s very sad, honestly.” ~ onlyrightangles

“He sounds like one of those incels who thinks women basically owe them attention and even sex if they are so much as a little bit nice to you.”

“And with his ‘you’re Islamic?'”

“Complaints, it sounds like you can also sprinkle in some xenophobia on top of his cringy incel ideology.”

“No my dear sister, you are definitely NTA.” ~ lrk786

“NTA, what is with those people?”

“How is not disclosing your religion ‘leading someone on’ dude sounds pretty entitled so you dodged a bullet one way or another.” ~ thegardeningcat

Well OP, Reddit understands your frustration.

You were being friendly.

You’re allowed to be friendly.

Good luck and stay safe.