I Was Caught Snooping!

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about snooping:

I am so embarrassed. I have been getting along well with a co-worker, but recently her computer was left on and she was nowhere to be seen. I don’t know what came over me. I started checking her mail and she caught me red handed. She knows I was snooping, and I apologized profusely, but I feel so badly. It was a single moment of weakness, and I had no plans of doing it. It was a spur of the moment thing. How am I supposed to make this relationship not deteriorate? She said it was ok, but I could tell she was angry. What am I supposed to? I wish I had never done it. Please help.

Signed, Anon

DearĀ Anon:

Your description of your feelings sounded very sincere and it would be good to make sure your co-worker knows just how you feel about the situation. Being honest about how it was a moment of weakness, acknowledging your feelings, and stressing how you don’t want this to damage the relationship should be communicated directly to her. It may take time to rebuild the trust, but sometimes working through conflict productively can bring two people even closer together. If she is still angry, I would encourage a conversation about that to explore what made her angry so you can learn just how this breach of confidence made her feel. Apologies are important, but be sure you know just how this incident injured your co-worker so you know what you are apologizing for. Seeking and expressing forgiveness is symbolized by our signature WEGO

Guest Respondent, Ian Heisey