How to deal with unsolicited flirting at work
Unwanted attention can make life awkward, especially if it is in the form of unsolicited flirting at your workplace. Moreover, if you are a woman then the odds are already tilted against you. Here's a quick guide on how you can survive this apart from hiding your face in a paper bag at work.
Talk to them clearly
At the first couple of instances where you feel that a colleague might be making advances towards you, the best mode of action is to address the situation and communicate with them openly about your interests (or lack thereof). It will most certainly be a little awkward, but it will save you from a lot of other, possibly more awkward, situations in the long run.
The problem, however, will arise if the person does not seem to respect your wishes or decides that they will be persistent in their pursuits.
Being the classic angry-faced colleague
Picture Detective Rosa Diaz from Brooklyn Nine-Nine, remember that face? That is what you need to imitate. Maybe even try to practice having permanently furrowed eyebrows in front of the mirror.
The benefits of this include having to speak with less people against your will, and avoiding painful pleasantries at all times. While your behaviour is in no way responsible for unwanted attention, you could help steer the attention away with a cold shoulder and a deadpan face.
Creating a make-belief authoritative figure
Let it be known that you are not interested in any other relationship dynamic beyond what the jobs asks of you. However, that may not be a message received as easily since most people tend to ignore a woman's wishes unless it involves another authority figure.
As problematic and unfortunate as that may sound, if you are really looking to avoid a clearly uncomfortable situation without any further confrontation, this might be a good solution for you. The best part is that this the "authority figure" in question can quite literally be anyone, ranging from a parent to a guardian.
Being a self-acknowledged whistle-blower
Letting everyone know of your work ethic and how vocal you are about your opinions related to them may help. You should also be expressive, and make known that you communicate your thoughts freely. Meaning, that if anyone were trying to act weird, they would be forced to think of the repercussions of everyone finding out.
If push comes to shove and the person still decides to pursue you in a manner that makes you uncomfortable, share it with people instead of keeping it to yourself and suffering in silence.
For individuals in such a position, I hope and pray that things get easier on you. However, if things get too bad and the person just doesn't catch a hint, it is in your best interests to seek assistance from authorities and HR executives. After all, that is what they are there for.
Till then, I'm rooting for you.
Bushra Zaman likes books, art, and only being contacted by email. Find her at [email protected]