In the course of a conversation with the Administrator of Bob's department, clarifying their conversation at the conference, it came out that Emily, a colleague of Bob's at the college, had been forwarding their emails to his Administrator with snarky commentary.
Until he was excluded from a group happy hour and dinner at the conference Bob had considered Emily his friend. He enjoyed conversations with her in meetings in her office and over drinks at group happy hours. He thought she was a nice person but his Administrator, clearly speaking for Emily since everyone knew they were close friends, was now using her emailed comments to show that Emily has not been Bob's friend in the past even if she had acted friendly towards him, and is telling him now that she will never be his friend in the future.
The Administrator continues and says that both him and Emily felt forced to attend the happy hours and lunches that Bob has been organizing for their colleagues. He says they have fun once they get there, but sometimes they feel like Bob is making them go.
The Administrator describes Emily as almost a hermit who hardly ever leaves her office and he has had to work on her, coerce her, and encourage her to come out of her shell. The Administrator says he's put in the time to become her friend, and Bob hasn't, so Bob doesn't deserve to be her friend.
The Administrator tells Bob that Emily doesn't want to spend any more time with him so he should stay away from her, don't talk with her, and to stop inviting her to group lunches and happy hours. Just leave her alone.
Bob agrees that Emily's behavior of forwarding snarky emails to his boss is clearly not a friendly act of a colleague at the office. Since she does not want to be his friend, Bob agrees to stop inviting her to group happy hours and lunches, to keep away from Emily in the future and not to try to talk with her in meetings or in hallways. If that's what she wants, that's what he'll give her. Bob promises to minimize his contact with Emily from now on.
Soon after the conference the Administrator reminded Bob through his Director to follow his department's email policy and when emailing Emily he should cc her department's top Administrator (the Provost), and her immediate supervisor (the Director-who-hates-Bob).
That day Bob answered via email a question asked by Emily and he cc'ed her management as his Administrator instructed him to do. Let's just say Emily was not happy about that.
"Whether you’re on a sports team, in an office or a member of a family, if you can’t trust one another there’s going to be trouble.”
― Stephen M.R. Covey, The SPEED of Trust: The One Thing that Changes Everything
The Administrator told Bob that the Director-who-hates-Bob thinks Bob is "trying to steal her friends" -- perhaps meaning Emily, specifically.
Could it have been the Administrator was projecting his own feelings onto the Director?
Do you think the Administrator told Emily to stay away from Bob?