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Bill in HR coming on too strong? Janice playing footsy under the desk? Yeee-up. We’ve all been there. Whether you underwent your first awkward dance of unrequited love in the third grade or your third year of college, you’ll notice that the rules of the game don’t change much from the sandbox to the cubicle. But hey! No need to suffer – Doostang’s here to spare every hopeless romantic a little heartache. Keep reading for a list of tactful approaches to the advances of your love-struck coworkers.
This is not a drill! And matters of the heart are of the utmost delicacy. In one fell swoop you can shatter a person’s dignity. It’s fairly obvious that when someone musters up the courage to profess their feelings or ask you out on a date, that no matter what your response, you need to be kind. More than this, when you are in the workplace you need to act professionally. It may be tempting to gawk at someone’s audacity, but if you laugh in their face or come back with a snide reply, you’re going to make the situation far more uncomfortable for yourself and for that other person. Remember, you work with this individual, so chances are you’re going to see them on a daily basis. It’s no fun having to time your jaunts to the water cooler or painfully wait to use the restroom in order to avoid having a one-on-one with said individual…because …well because this is what you were trying to avoid in the first place, now wasn’t it?
Yeah, maybe it was funny when socially awkward Frank with the taped glasses strolled in, proposing a night out on the town. But unless Frank mentioned a party bus, don’t go sharing the news with all of your office buddies. Doing so is disrespectful to that other person and has the potential to start nasty rumors. The workplace is a very small world, and things have a way of getting back to other people. Gossip is never a safe bet, and, more than this, it’s just plain unprofessional.
A little unsolicited flirting can be endearing sometimes, but when Cupid is launching an all out barrage of heart-shaped arrows your way, it may be time to take matters to a higher power. If you have already conveyed to a coworker that you are not interested and they still won’t take a hint, or, worse yet, begin treating you disrespectfully, you have every right to talk to a manager or Human Resources representative. Companies take sexual harassment very seriously, and you should report it the moment it becomes an issue.
While not necessarily a token of advice specific to the workplace, the golden rule of honesty is generally a good one to live by in any scenario. Picture this: Barbara approaches you outside the office kitchenette, asking if you’re free to join her for pizza Friday night. Don’t fib and tell her that you already have a girlfriend or you’re allergic to pizza, because when the GF fails to show up to company soirees time and again or you have to opt out of office pizza parties, you’re going to feel like a fool. Have the sense to tell the truth. How about, “You know, I’m really not looking to date anyone right now, I’m focused on my work.” Or maybe drop a hint like, “I’m not sure that Friday will work for me, but maybe you can come along with me and some of the guys in the office to grab pizza at lunch.” People will respect and appreciate you much more in the long run if you respect them enough to tell the truth.
Matters of the heart are tricky. And matters of the heart mixed with matters in the workplace can turn sour very quickly. So keep it sweet this Valentine’s Day, and implement a little tact into your office romance routine.
Your Secret Admirer (The Doostang Team!)