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Woman Reported To HR For Constantly Bringing Up How Much Coworker ‘Changed’ Since High School

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High school.

No one ever really seems to escape.

That particular part of life leaves a haunting.

It doesn’t matter where you sat in the hierarchy, it follows.

Case in point…

Redditor Wooden-Lion6192 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 taking what I believed to be a bullying issue to HR about a girl I went to high school with?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“I (28 F[emale]) work for a company of around 50 employees.”

“Recently a girl was hired who was in the same grade as me in high school.”

“She did not bully me or anyone else in any which way, but was definitely higher on the social hierarchy than me.”

“And was one of those people who then essentially ignored everyone below her.”

“Kind of looking visibly annoyed when paired with you for an assignment etc.”

“I never liked her because of this because although it’s not bullying, it still makes you a teenage a**hole (in my opinion).”

“When she joined I knew I just needed to be an adult and a professional and not bring this dislike forward.”

“I treated her completely normally, was particularly friendly and of course it was known we went to high school together.”

“However soon, after a few weeks, it became apparent to me that she had been repeatedly telling our coworkers that I was ‘soooo different’ to how I used to be at school.”

“If asked to go in to detail, she would say that I used to be really shy and quiet.”

“I fully understand that she did not know me, and that may have been her perception of me.”

“But I am exactly the same person as I was then (update: of course having matured and changed slightly, but no dramatic changes).”

“If you knew me you’d know that.”

“I wouldn’t mind if she’d said this once as a ‘huh, I guess she’s more extroverted that I thought.'”

“But she keeps repeating it to everyone who will hear.”

“To me at this point, based on what I’ve been told by coworkers, I feel like she’s trying to make the point that I wasn’t cool.”

“And she’s using coded language to imply that without actually saying it.”

“I pulled her to one side and I asked her why she was making so many comments about how I’d changed, when she didn’t know me in the first place.”

“And I would appreciate it if she would stop.”

“She said that I’m overreacting.”

“And that although she didn’t know me that well, I was obviously an introvert then and she’s allowed to be surprised by the difference.”

“She’s kept on doing it over several months so now I’ve made an official complaint to H[uman] R[esources] who don’t think it’s a huge deal but have spoken to her telling her it’s making me feel uncomfortable.”

“She has now called me an a**hole for reporting her and having something on her record, and for making her feel uncomfortable at her new workplace.”

“She also said that I’m the only one who’s holding onto how things were in high school, as I was and must still be jealous of her and am now taking my revenge.”


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. But barely.”

“And only because you asked her to stop before you went to HR.”

“Your memories of high school are definitely playing a role here (don’t kid yourself otherwise).”

“I think your assessment of ‘coded language’ is just your hostile intent bias.”

“But that doesn’t matter.”

“Your request that she stop talking about you like that was perfectly reasonable.”

“She kept on doing it anyways.”

“HR did the right thing here by not making a huge deal and instead just asking her to stop.”  ~ bitwisewahoo

“I think when she said that ‘you are still jealous,’ she really exposed herself.”

“She thought in high school that she was better than OP and she still does.”

“These things are not in OP’s head.” ~ TheDangerousAlphabet

“Yes! It almost sounds like new girl is trying to recreate the high school hierarchy.”

“At first I was thinking it was in OPs head but based on new girls reaction to you asking her to stop I don’t think you are over-reacting here.”

“Proceed with caution.”

“Do not let her get a rise out of you.”

“Next time she’s telling someone how much you’ve changed I would say something like ‘Wow why are so obsessed with me since you got here?'”

“Or even ‘Hasn’t everyone changed since high school?'”

“If she keeps going with ‘your change’ maybe add ‘from what I recall we weren’t close in high school so how would you really know’ loud enough for everyone else to hear.”

“Obviously they’ve all heard about how much you’ve changed so it should be old news at this point.”

“Play her game right back so your fellow coworkers can see that she’s a s**t starter.”

“Just don’t lose your cool while you do it.”  ~ saltyeleven

“Yeah I was initially leaning on OP being TA.”

“But the fact that she kept talking about for months after OP told her to stop makes this a subtle form of bullying and was right to take it to HR. NTA.” ~ 4csurfer

“She’s also repeatedly gossiping about OP during work hours and blatantly judging OP’s past and present personality traits.”

“This girl is definitely stuck in a high school dynamic.”

“And that only flies in corporations where the entire culture is also immature and unprofessional.”

“OP needs to keep HR’s focus on the fact she is gossiping about OP at work, and not on the specific subject of this round of gossip.” ~ Lycoris

“I agree about the hostile intent bias but commenting about how someone was in high school for MONTHS is not normal.”

“So even OP has bias there is something wrong with the new girl.”

“People gossip in the office yes but usually about present events and don’t drag out what happened 10 years ago so often and for so long.”

“So full NTA and finally someone here who went to HR.” ~ National-Platypus144

“I’m not sure in what universe you think it’s okay for someone who isn’t the friend of someone to walk around and bring up their high school past, especially at work.”

“A good friend? Maybe to probably not.”

“Someone you didn’t even know? 100% No.”

“NTA and she did the right thing, no ‘but barely.'”  ~ AvadaCaCanteven

“NTA. At all. I don’t agree with the ‘barely’ part here.”

“She was feeling uncomfortable.”

“Talked to the person making her feel uncomfortable in a reasonable way.”

“Said person dismissed her feelings and kept on doing what was making her uncomfortable.”

“So she goes to HR.”

“HR speaks to the person (logical).”

“Person freaks out on her and escalated the situation.”

“I think OP is well within her right to make a second report to HR that the coworker called her an a**hole for this.” ~ SeaSystem5110

“But if we take the story at face value, didn’t this girl basically refuse to let go of high school by constantly talking to co-workers about OP in high school?”

“Then when reported gaslighted OP about not letting go?”

“OP literally said she decided not to do or say anything because she acknowledged people change.”

“Frankly there is a bunch of people from high school I would not be thrilled about working with.”

“But it was a long time ago and I can manage to be professional without mentioning how people were kinda shitty as kids.”

“The woman in this story needs to grow up.”  ~ jassi007

“She’s gossiping and making comments about you.”

“You politely asked her to stop, because it makes you uncomfortable. That’s fine.”

“She decided to continue despite now knowing you’re uncomfortable.”

“That’s no longer ignorance.”

“It’s malicious. So you’re NTA.”

“If she confronts you again, remind her that you asked her to stop, and she chose not to.”

‘If she continues, you will continue to update HR on the progression in your collegial relationship.” ~ JemimaAslana

OP had an update…

“A few people have criticized me for not giving more details of what she’s said and instead using the comments, but I honestly didn’t have space in the post to go into details.”

“I have detailed an instance to a client in one comment and will detail one more…”

“At the pub after work, someone brought up a sex toy (this is actually somewhat relevant to our work and not too unprofessional, I promise).”

“I mentioned I had the sex toy (again, promise this isn’t as unprofessional as it sounds).”

“The person sat next to this girl heard her gasp and then laugh to herself.”

“The coworker asked what was up, and she replied ‘Oh nothing, it’s just so weird, oh ignore me…'”

“‘Just if you knew what she was like before you’d understand why it’s funny…. oh nevermind.'”

“I couldn’t hear any of this.”

“The coworker told me because he interpreted that as her making a dig that she couldn’t imagine me being sexually active.”

“I hope that makes sense that she never says anything too bad, but it’s usually the context that makes it so.”

Well OP, Reddit gets where you’re coming from.

At least HR has a record.

Hopefully you and your co-worker can come to an understanding.

A peaceful work environment is the healthiest.