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    Not sure if this is the right forum but meh.

    I'm working as a personal assistant - I basically help people with everyday stuff. It's mostly old disabled people but one of my clients is this 17-year-old autistic kid. Last week, 5 minutes into our first meeting, he asked me whether I have a boyfriend. He seemed to have fun around me and when I left he said that he liked me. Yesterday he followed me on Instagram and sent me a friend request on Facebook (he follows six people and has two friends). Then he tried to call me (9.30 PM on a friday evening) and on the third time I answered, and he just asked what I was doing etc. I was polite but ended the call pretty quickly by saying that we'd meet when I have my next shift with him. Today when we met he started talking about beauty competitions and said stuff like I was beautiful and could win one and I was the best assistant he has ever had etc. When we were in the library he started looking though my Facebook friends and said he'd send friend requests to them too (for god's sake) but luckily I managed to stop him before he started. (Now I definitely regret accepting his request.)

    So things are starting to get a bit inappropriate. And I'm not sure what to do. I've made it pretty clear that I'm not interested but he doesn't seem to get it.

    On the one hand, not much has happened yet and he might just get over it. (Or it could be that he's not even into me and I'm interpreting all this wrongly but I highly doubt it.) My employer doesn't like picky employees and also this kid has apparently had a hard time finding a long-term assistant he'd like so I'm reluctant to just stop working with him. On the other hand, I'm worried about letting things get any further, for his sake and mine. I don't want him to become obsessed with me and tbh he seems like the type who might. Has anyone else been in a similar situation? Any ideas about what I should do?
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    Sounds like a very tricky situation you are in!

    I would say first, it would probably be best to remove him as a friend on any social media profiles. This might be tricky of course because this may hurt his feelings, but from a professional point of view its really not appropriate. I work in healthcare myself and I would risk disciplinary action befriending any of my patients on social media. Don't be hard on yourself for accepting him in the first place though, this is just a learning curve and you had the best intentions but you might be right in feeling that this young man might become a little obsessed and stalker-ish and its not worth the risk of allowing him access to your personal life. Its also not in his best interests and the longer he has access to you on social media, the more engrossed he may become and more difficult the situation may become if things escalate further which it sounds like it is.

    Do his parents know that you are friends on social media? Of course, they might not mind either way as they want to see their boy happy and having you as a friend, but your employer may not be so welcoming of this. Your working relationship with your clients is a lot more intimate then say that of a teacher and their pupil, but either need dealing with in a mature and professional manor. Social media relationships with vulnerable adults or children is not appropriate.

    Either way I think you are aware of this and you want to make things right for both of you, so I would consider having a chat with your client and explaining that being friends on social media isn't the right thing and that unfortunately you'll have to unfriend him whilst you are working together. Tell him these are the rules of your job and explain this to him before you unfriend him and then do it straight after. Also tell him that calling isn't allowed either out of hours.

    On the positive this will help you to re-establish your working relationship together, and after this if any of his behavior gets more inappropriate you might have to tell your employer. You have to safeguard your client and yourself. You need to do everything within your power to re-affirm that you're a carer, not a love interest. At the same time these kinds of fantasies and obsessions are normal too, but they just need guarding and treating with sensitivity without things getting out of hand. Things probably won't get out of hand, but in order for you to prevent any issues you have to take away his access to your social media.

    If he keeps calling you, perhaps mention this to his parents and just say its a little intrusive and you would rather he didn't. Maybe if his parents know they can help control the situation too and deter him. He definitely needs reigning in!
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    (Original post by Moonbrains)
    Sounds like a very tricky situation you are in!

    I would say first, it would probably be best to remove him as a friend on any social media profiles. This might be tricky of course because this may hurt his feelings, but from a professional point of view its really not appropriate. I work in healthcare myself and I would risk disciplinary action befriending any of my patients on social media. Don't be hard on yourself for accepting him in the first place though, this is just a learning curve and you had the best intentions but you might be right in feeling that this young man might become a little obsessed and stalker-ish and its not worth the risk of allowing him access to your personal life. Its also not in his best interests and the longer he has access to you on social media, the more engrossed he may become and more difficult the situation may become if things escalate further which it sounds like it is.

    Do his parents know that you are friends on social media? Of course, they might not mind either way as they want to see their boy happy and having you as a friend, but your employer may not be so welcoming of this. Your working relationship with your clients is a lot more intimate then say that of a teacher and their pupil, but either need dealing with in a mature and professional manor. Social media relationships with vulnerable adults or children is not appropriate.

    Either way I think you are aware of this and you want to make things right for both of you, so I would consider having a chat with your client and explaining that being friends on social media isn't the right thing and that unfortunately you'll have to unfriend him whilst you are working together. Tell him these are the rules of your job and explain this to him before you unfriend him and then do it straight after. Also tell him that calling isn't allowed either out of hours.

    On the positive this will help you to re-establish your working relationship together, and after this if any of his behavior gets more inappropriate you might have to tell your employer. You have to safeguard your client and yourself. You need to do everything within your power to re-affirm that you're a carer, not a love interest. At the same time these kinds of fantasies and obsessions are normal too, but they just need guarding and treating with sensitivity without things getting out of hand. Things probably won't get out of hand, but in order for you to prevent any issues you have to take away his access to your social media.

    If he keeps calling you, perhaps mention this to his parents and just say its a little intrusive and you would rather he didn't. Maybe if his parents know they can help control the situation too and deter him. He definitely needs reigning in!
    First of all, thank you so much for answering. I really appreciate it and this was so so helpful.

    Yep it's really hard to see the appropriate boundaries in a relationship like this! I mean, I'm starting med school in September and I'd never befriend my future patients on Facebook, but for example I'm teaching this kid maths and taking him to the library and doing other "friend-type" things, although obviously this has gone too far. I wrote this yesterday after my shift, and two hours later he called me again and started telling me something about his mom. I said pretty abruptly something like "I'm in the middle of something but I'll see you next saturday". He seemed a bit embarrassed but later in the evening he tried calling me again - I didn't answer. You're definitely right about having to unfriend him on social media and telling him that calling me isn't ok. I think I'm just going to not answer when/if he calls again before next saturday.

    Unfortunately I don't think telling his parents would help. His family are immigrants, and although the kid speaks my language pretty well, his parents don't speak either my language or english properly and when I've seen them I haven't been able to communicate with them properly. It's ok though - I got a bit freaked out about the situation yesterday but I think it'll be fine. I just have to establish boundaries and be strict with them. He might get upset but it's the right thing to do.

    Thanks again so much!!
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    (Original post by StationToStation)
    First of all, thank you so much for answering. I really appreciate it and this was so so helpful.

    Yep it's really hard to see the appropriate boundaries in a relationship like this! I mean, I'm starting med school in September and I'd never befriend my future patients on Facebook, but for example I'm teaching this kid maths and taking him to the library and doing other "friend-type" things, although obviously this has gone too far. I wrote this yesterday after my shift, and two hours later he called me again and started telling me something about his mom. I said pretty abruptly something like "I'm in the middle of something but I'll see you next saturday". He seemed a bit embarrassed but later in the evening he tried calling me again - I didn't answer. You're definitely right about having to unfriend him on social media and telling him that calling me isn't ok. I think I'm just going to not answer when/if he calls again before next saturday.

    Unfortunately I don't think telling his parents would help. His family are immigrants, and although the kid speaks my language pretty well, his parents don't speak either my language or english properly and when I've seen them I haven't been able to communicate with them properly. It's ok though - I got a bit freaked out about the situation yesterday but I think it'll be fine. I just have to establish boundaries and be strict with them. He might get upset but it's the right thing to do.

    Thanks again so much!!
    It will be fine

    It sounds like you are doing so much amazing work him, keep it up and with your kindness you will make an amazing medical professional

    I see with the parents yeah! That would be difficult to explain to them! Your main port of call is your employer should anything get out hand!

    Another thing I would say is keep a note of everything that is going on. Just write down when hes called, what hes said with dates and times. Keep a diary of everything. This might not be necessary but I guess its just a precaution in case you need to refer to it if you do need to report something.
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    I think you already know what to do. The boy you are working with is clearly infatuated with you. Because of his condition, he might not see what he is doing as highly inappropriate.

    The next time you see him, gently yet firmly him it's not okay for him to contact you outside of your shifts. Tell him it's unprofessional and you want to maintain professional boundaries.

    When he tells you compliments, do not egg him on. Do not reciprocate them. Just kindly ignore them by changing the subject. If you show him validation he will continue. Also, please remove him off social media. He is borderline stalking you. Keep a diary of any further incidences just in case. And good luck with med school.
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    (Original post by Moonbrains)
    It will be fine

    It sounds like you are doing so much amazing work him, keep it up and with your kindness you will make an amazing medical professional

    I see with the parents yeah! That would be difficult to explain to them! Your main port of call is your employer should anything get out hand!

    Another thing I would say is keep a note of everything that is going on. Just write down when hes called, what hes said with dates and times. Keep a diary of everything. This might not be necessary but I guess its just a precaution in case you need to refer to it if you do need to report something.
    Thank you, that's so sweet! Yeah writing these things down definitely sounds like a good idea, just in case.

    (Original post by habeas.corpus)
    I think you already know what to do. The boy you are working with is clearly infatuated with you. Because of his condition, he might not see what he is doing as highly inappropriate.

    The next time you see him, gently yet firmly him it's not okay for him to contact you outside of your shifts. Tell him it's unprofessional and you want to maintain professional boundaries.

    When he tells you compliments, do not egg him on. Do not reciprocate them. Just kindly ignore them by changing the subject. If you show him validation he will continue. Also, please remove him off social media. He is borderline stalking you. Keep a diary of any further incidences just in case. And good luck with med school.
    Thanks so much!! I'll do those things.
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    First of all,
    If you're employed you should have been told about professional boundaries.
    This includes accepting people you work with, both clients and colleagues, in any forms of social media.
    People with autism have difficulty in reading social cues and understanding boundaries.
    Therefore you need to be firm and reinforce boundaries which you haven't done.
    You really need to speak to your employer who may have a word with him or his parents etc to just reinforce relationships are strictly professional.
    You need to block him on social media and I'd also advise if he needs to have your number, having a work mobile and a separate mobile.
    This helps to maintain boundaries when you're not working with him as you can simply turn a work mobile off when not working.
    Do record any inappropriate behaviour and report it as soon as possible.
    You're there as an employee but also as someone he'll look up to and will rely on to set examples.
    Many people with autism can struggle with relationships etc and they will mirror other people and copy behaviours etc that they see gain positive feedback to help them blend in so to speak.
    Please do ask for some training in autism or contact some charities etc for help and information in working with people with autism.

    Posted from TSR Mobile
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    (Original post by deviant182)
    First of all,
    If you're employed you should have been told about professional boundaries.
    This includes accepting people you work with, both clients and colleagues, in any forms of social media.
    People with autism have difficulty in reading social cues and understanding boundaries.
    Therefore you need to be firm and reinforce boundaries which you haven't done.
    You really need to speak to your employer who may have a word with him or his parents etc to just reinforce relationships are strictly professional.
    You need to block him on social media and I'd also advise if he needs to have your number, having a work mobile and a separate mobile.
    This helps to maintain boundaries when you're not working with him as you can simply turn a work mobile off when not working.
    Do record any inappropriate behaviour and report it as soon as possible.
    You're there as an employee but also as someone he'll look up to and will rely on to set examples.
    Many people with autism can struggle with relationships etc and they will mirror other people and copy behaviours etc that they see gain positive feedback to help them blend in so to speak.
    Please do ask for some training in autism or contact some charities etc for help and information in working with people with autism.

    Posted from TSR Mobile
    Thanks so much. It's really useful to hear this stuff - I didn't have any training and in my interview and contract my employer just said a few words on confidentiality etc.

    I've unfriended him on fb and I never followed him back on Instagram. Today he sent me both a text and an email wishing me a happy valentines - I didn't answer and will tell him that it wasn't ok during my next shift.

    Yeah I'll consider getting another phone - I'll only work in this job for six months or so but it could be useful in the future too. And I'll definitely read up on autism.

    Thanks again, I appreciate taking the time to answer!
 
 
 
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