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Real Live College Guy: Is My Boss Flirting With Me?

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We all need a little guidance now and then, so whether you’re stressed about a fling gone wrong, a recently wrecked relationship or how to handle a stage-five clinger, Real Live College Guy Dale is here to help you navigate the college dating scene.

So there is this guy at my workplace and I really like him — but he has a girlfriend. When I found this out, I was okay with it; I mean, there was nothing I could do about it, right? But we got talking, and he was the one who initiated the conversation even though he is the vice president at the organization and I am just a new recruit. He remembers small details about me and keeps complimenting me, and there is constant flirting between us. I am thoroughly and absolutely confused. What does he want from me? –Workplace Woes in Wyoming

Wyoming,

Simply said, you’re toeing into some really morally iffy (bordering on potentially disastrous) territory here.

First, workplace relationships may not always be banned, but in my experience they are generally frowned upon, especially between employees at a lower level and those with authority. Before you get caught up in the possibilities of an office romance, step back and realize the potentially damaging impact it could have. How will your coworkers see it? How will it influence your actual job? What happens if things take a turn for the worse and you still have to work together?

Second, even if you two are flirting in the workplace, he has a girlfriend, and that’s something that needs to be respected. How would you feel if some woman your boyfriend worked with was constantly flirting with him? Moreover, what does him acting like this behind his girlfriend’s back say about his character?

I can’t tell you exactly what he wants, Wyoming, but you’re right to be confused. You’re in an extremely precarious position here. He’s in a position of power and you’re the new girl, so if you flat-out deny his advances, then you might be on the receiving end of some unfair punishment. At the same time, if you continue the games, then you could potentially damage the personal and professional lives of everyone involved.

I think you should move on from his attention and, basically, ignore it. You’re there to do a job, not get a boyfriend. Friendliness is fine, but don’t give into the flirtation. If he asks you what’s wrong (or anything along those lines), tell him that you’re not interested in pursuing anything with him and that you’re there to work. Hopefully he can respect your decision, but I can’t make any guarantees. Worst-case scenario? If he doesn’t reel it in a little, consider going to HR to file a sexual harassment report.

Good luck, Wyoming.

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