Not as easy as swiping right or left?

It’s great when you get along with people at work (could be a co-worker or boss): have an open relationship with easy communication, ability to share what you think is best for the business, feel supported in your ideas and empowered to take action. Fostering those kind of relationships takes a leader interpenuer and establishing value in what you offer (which is very attractive).

But there are times where relationships between someone at work start off with the right intentions and then slowly become uncomfortable because of a potential one-way attraction. This sort of sticky situation can often jeopardize the relationship, the business and most significantly your job. 

Signs to look out for:

  • Does your co-worker, boss, or client compliment you every time he/she sees you? When they notice a new hairstyle or outfit and they compliment you, that’s totally nice.  But if they’re consistently giving out compliments like condoms at a health facility, then I would say that there’s a strong possibility that he/she may be testing the water with you. TAKE A MENTAL NOTE…
  • A little hands on with you (touchy feely, hugs that last longer…)? If you don’t like getting hugs or they touch you and it doesn’t feel right, be up front and let them know by simply saying you’d rather stick to hand shakes.
  • Share too much of his/her personal life (rocky at home with his/her significant other)? Looking for advice, someone to “lean” on and hear them out.  In the workplace, relationships that turn into friendships are mutual and as long as you’re FEELING comfortable with hearing about someone’s personal life they have not crossed a line.  It’s when you DON’T feel comfortable and need to pay close attention to a boundary being crossed.
  • Is his/her reputation known for being flirty or dosche? Water-cooler talk will reveal any warning signs you need to be wary of. People in the workplace will evaluate and share about others in the company, pick up on the stories and if there’s a trend, you got an answer.
  • Listen to your gut! Do you “feel” like their covert energy around you is sexual? This one I don’t have to elaborate on, trust yourself and if you feel it then you know.

Boundary setting with co-workers

This is important when gaining respect for yourself and creating professional boundaries at work. Keep personal experiences to minimal; FULL ON details of your dates, sex life, heartbreaks, stalkers… no need to share information with co-workers immediately (#TMIintheworkplace).  As time goes on and relationships are built, personal life situations will be shared with trusted colleagues.  If he/she is REALLY curious and keeps pushing for information consider it a red flag, no respectable professional needs to know your personal love life unless you’re willing to share.

What to do and how to take action in order to protect yourself and job…

Be very clear in your communication when  asked about your dating or home life. If they ask more questions and they want details, simple say in an assertive way,

“I feel like my personal life shouldn’t be part of our work discussion, my request is we focus on _____________ (whatever project, task or work situation is needing attention).”

Be aware of your body posture and how you communicate, make direct eye contact with your shoulders rolled back and head high, hand on hips or folded. This body posture will help create a boundary to not f*ck mess with you 🙂

Worst Case Scenario: 

If the situation gets to be too much or they ignore your direct requests, then go to your HR and report them with incidents and documentation. HR has a responsibility to create a safe working environment and you should never have to feel uncomfortable while trying to be productive in the workplace.

Exceptions: 

Sometimes love does happen in the workplace and if the feeling is mutual then boundaries are set at the beginning in order for the relationship to have a chance. For example, getting transferred, quitting or going to HR and letting them know before the rumor-mill knows.

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