How To Stop Your Boss From Hitting On You

Carrie at Vogue

Have you ever been in a situation when you know in your gut that you are the target of misplaced admiration? For instance, a surprise comment from someone who you consider to be a good friend who is actually dating your best friend, or your best friend’s ex – (he having broken up with her), or a colleague who makes inappropriate advances, or worse still, your boss, who leaves you thinking “How can I deal with this and not risk my promotion?” Something doesn’t feel right and you know it is wrong to encourage these flirtatious advances.

Last week, we looked at the highs and lows of the office affair and why not go skinny dipping in the company ink if you and your colleagues’ feelings are mutual?

But many of our readers experience some uncomfortable encounters in the workplace. While we would assume that only women fall victim to a vulture-like boss, men also become the prey of the female predator boss. We have devised three common scenarios to help you recognize your situation and customize your solution.  If you find yourself in this type of situation, here’s how to stop your boss from hitting on you:

Unrequited Flirting

The Signs: appreciating your work, complimenting your office style, noticing differences in your hair-style, greeting you as you pass by or dropping by your desk just to inquire how you are doing.

Solution: This is the kind of flirting that seems innocent. It makes you feel great, ignites your good humour so why stop it, right? Wrong. The flip-side is, that firstly this person may genuinely be trying to pursue you. This sort of casual flirting left unchecked can lead to more serious and intense advances. If you think your boss’s motives have objectives not appreciated by you, respond to the flirting with a dismissal or denial saying “I am just doing my job”, “My boyfriend picked this out for me”, “Sandra did most of the work on this project” or “This is exactly what I am paid to do”. Make a statement like this with confidence and authority. Say it matter-of-factly, and omit the smile. This way you will leave no room for your boss to reply to your statement or persist with this line of conversation!

Persistent Predator

The Signs: trying to find an opportunity to talk to you alone, trying to get you out of the office for a date, attempting to increase social interaction with you, inquiring about your interests or hobbies, inquiring about the status of your relationship, seeming curious about your dating preferences, wanting to know more about your after-office life, etc.

Solution: For better or worse, these sorts of advancements clearly show that your boss is genuinely interested in getting to know you better. If these actions are unwelcome and you want to curb your boss from hitting-on you, begin by denying politely any requests for a date or a social meeting. Do it politely, but firmly. Avoid answering any personal questions directly. If your boss still continues, move to the next step – mention the boyfriend/girlfriend. The truth of the existence of your significant other is irrelevant. For example, answer the question “So what plans for the weekend?” with “I don’t know, I will have to check with Tom.”

Inappropriate Innuendoes

The Signs: Requiring that you stay late after than anyone else, persistently calling you in his lyre for one-to-one meetings, invading your personal space by trying to get physically close to you, cornering you during lunch hours or in the elevator, passing blatant remarks or comments about your appearance, favouring you with perks and expensive gifts to make you feel compelled or obliged to submit.

Solution: This boss has only physical needs and gratification on his/her mind. Hot pursuit is probably the worst kind of thing any boss can impose upon an employee or sub-ordinate. It is distasteful, disrespectful, and can border on harassment, if not amount to harassment. You will have to be more determined while dealing with this kind of flirting than the previous two. Tell your boss in clear words that nothing on the lines of what the boss has in mind is ever going to work out between the two of you.

If you are committed or are dating someone, you can call upon your significant other to intervene. If you are single, you can get your best friend to help you. Seek out the employee welfare cell in your company or institution if you feel you are not able to handle the situation in this manner. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Use all your resources and if necessary take legal advice as this may cost you your job or your job prospects in addition to your self-esteem.

Have you experienced one of these scenarios, or is someone making you feel uncomfortable at work? Let us know who you overcame your situation.