Having good working relationships with coworkers is important and can contribute to a thriving team and business—but it’s important to know where the line is—or else it can be incredibly easy to accidentally jump across it with a two-footed leap… especially when you have no common sense about how to communicate with other people respectfully.
It’s not uncommon for coworkers, especially in the service industry and retail, to be incredibly close, bonded through mutual suffering and long, unforgiving hours, which often spill over into after-hours hangouts for decompression. Although initially and largely positive, these relationships can begin causing issues in the workplace when personal history and relationships start to cross workplace boundaries.
This is where stale and canned corporate culture comes into play, ensuring that there are safe and predictable ground rules in which workers can communicate and conduct business. Sure, it might be lacking personal flair and warmth, but that’s the nature of the beast…
This manager shared his experience with Reddit’s r/AITA subreddit, wondering whether or not he was in the wrong for a situation that took place between himself and his assistant manager in front of the rest of the team.
The Original Poster (OP) shared that he manages a fast-food restaurant and has a good personal relationship with his assistant manager, Sophie. They often joke around and prank each other, and when it’s quiet, Sophie writes fanfiction on her phone. After once asking her about her writing, the OP decided to later try and find her writing, remembering the line that she had shared. He discovered that the main character, who was based on Sophie, falls in love with a character based on him, and the story gets—well… graphic.
After falling victim to another one of her pranks at a get-together, the OP decided to “prank” Sophie back by reading the fanfiction out loud at a party… but Sophie became upset and ran out. She began not showing up to work afterward, refusing to answer any calls, and the OP is wondering whether or not he is in the wrong for his “prank.”
Readers largely voted that the OP was in the wrong for the situation at hand, with some noting the line-crossing emotional nature of their relationship, wondering if the OP’s wife was aware of how close the pair were, especially since Sophie is potentially thinking about crossing the line. Others still voiced how unprofessional it was to write such content at work, though these responders also felt that the OP was ultimately in the wrong.
The OP later shared an update, giving a resolution to their story and sharing what had happened since.
See these below, with the original thread being followed by the update, which starts at item 16.