Boss Is Very Friendly And Single!

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about friendly attractive boss:

I have a boss who is very friendly to me, even flirtatious at times. He’s single and attractive. I like the attention, but I’m not sure if it needs to continue as it’s causing me stress. It’s been going on for 5 months & he hasn’t asked me out – maybe because he’s my boss, maybe not. There’s been lingering eye contact, winking at me, taking & holding my hand or arm, lightly rubbing my arm, occasional hugging & kissing my cheek, nothing too invasive.He often comes by to chat, but never once has asked me out, not even to lunch. What’s going on & what do I do? He is transferring to a different department soon, where he won’t be my boss anymore, but he will still be working with me infrequently and I will still see him daily. I would prefer my e-mail address remain anonymous, but would like a personal reply. Thanks.

Signed, Got Friendly Boss

DearĀ Got Friendly Boss:

It is natural to be attracted to someone who expresses the kind of attention your boss has shown, but it is unnerving because that is not the business of business.Single or married flirting with a subordinate is bad business. You are stressed because this boss’ physical contact in a place of business is out of bounds. Why? Not only because it makes you nervous wondering if he is really interested in dating you, but out of bounds because such sexual communication and/or contact can result in sexual harassment charges should you make them.

Apparently, you have not resisted his flirting or touching and have liked his attention. Yet you find it stressful because you are uncertain about this boss’ intentions. You also should be stressed because such actions in the workplace is not part of your job description or the service that you are hired to provide.What to do? It is time for a brief candid conversation with your boss. Tell him you know that his personal attention and your acceptance of it is not part of your job and stress you. Make it clear to this boss that you are there to work, not to be winked at, flirted with eyes, touch hands, rubbed, hugged or kissed even in a friendly way. Say that you have failed to resist this kind of attention and voice your uneasiness because he is boss. Be pleasant but firm. Avoid giggling and such tag lines as ending a statement with “What do you think?” or “Maybe we should stop this.” Say that even if he is transferred such actions are henceforth unwelcome. Also say, that you reserve this kind of attention for outside of the work setting and not with a boss.

This kind of conversation need not be lengthy. It would help if you put in writing what is written in this paragraph and if this conversation does not stop his flirting, give that written statement to him in writing. If he is really interested in you, he will ask for your phone number and will contact you outside of work. Does this make sense to you? Feel free to let us know what you do and its consequences after a few days. Our signature WEGO refers to the collaboration needed to work together with hands, head, and heart. It does not mean flirting.

William Gorden