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How to Deal with a Flirtatious Co-Worker

You're not exactly sure when that nerd in Accounting started thinking it would be okay to drop by your cubicle 15 times a day, but—Oh, no!—here he comes again!


  • Step 1: Don't flirt back Make sure you're not sending mixed signals. If you originally thought you were just being friendly and now realize he might have gotten the wrong idea, change your behavior around him immediately.
  • Step 2: Play dumb Refuse to play along. If Smitten leers at you and says, "Is it hot in here, or is it you?" say you'll ask maintenance to check the air-conditioning unit.
  • Step 3: Don't play along Meet any attempts at humor with a stony stare. When he persists, look puzzled and say to your coworkers, "Is he trying his flirting techniques on everybody or just me?"
  • Step 4: Use body language Use your body language to tell Smitten that his advances are unwelcome.
  • TIP: When Smitten stops by to chat, answer all his questions with a "yes" or a "no" so there are lots of long, awkward silences.
  • Step 5: He's not your type Go out of your way to let him know exactly what your type is—and how he doesn't fit it.
  • Step 6: Talk to his friend Innocently confirm with his best friend in the office that he doesn't like you. Say you hope you're imagining it, but you worry that he might be flirting with you—and of course that would be inappropriate and unwanted.
  • Step 7: Tell him If he still can't get the hint, tell him kindly but firmly that his behavior makes you uncomfortable and you need him to treat you with more respect.
  • Step 8: File a complaint If Smitten persists, it's time to file a complaint and let human resources or his supervisor deal with him.
  • FACT: According to one study, women who are flirtatious at work win fewer pay raises and promotions—and make less.

You Will Need

  • An annoying office suitor
  • And a steely resolve to get rid of him

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