Flirting at Work is Common. But It Can Have Drastic Consequences
Keep it appropriate
Firstly, there is nothing necessarily unhealthy about enjoying a relationship with a work colleague that frequently strays into flirting. Appreciating someone’s company who is not your partner, while being aware of their physicality, is perfectly natural. Flirting is simply one way of getting through lengthy periods of less-than-stimulating activity in any working environment. The key is knowing that there most certainly is a line that should never be crossed.
So how do you ensure that your flirtation is never something that will cause you undue concern? It is never a good idea to have physical contact. If the person brushes your hair or strokes your body, then perhaps the time has come to politely warn them off. If you can joke continually even as they are trying to behave more amorously, then you are giving them the message that you are not taking their attention seriously.
If you share flirty moments in the photocopy room, then as soon as you come out you should broadcast what has just happened to any of your friends who happen to be within earshot. Again, this will have the effect of placing your flirting in the context of simply friends mucking about.
How would they like it?
If you sense that the person flirting with you is skating close to what you consider acceptable, then ask them how they would feel if their own partner was behaving in this way? By gauging their response you can determine exactly how they feel about their side of this connection. If they react by saying they wouldn’t mind what their partner got up to, then this indicates they might be having problems with their own relationship. If this is the case, then there is absolutely no way that you should go beyond flirting. In fact, this is more of a reason for you to begin winding down the activity.
Adopting a flippant stance can easily diffuse flirtatious behaviour. Whenever the flirter tries it on, all you have to do is laugh in their face, perhaps winking now and again.
Don’t drink and flirt!
When it comes to flirting at work, the most crucial rule of all is this. Never ever indulge in this kind of behaviour at official functions. When alcohol flows at Christmas parties or awaydays, that line of acceptability becomes seriously blurred. Sometimes it vanishes completely.
Excessive drink can eradicate the subtle overtones that flirting requires to function properly, replacing it with more lecherous approaches. At the lower end of this scale, people who get too physical under the mistletoe will be impaled by embarrassment on the Monday morning. At the far end, word will get out about infidelities, and what began with harmless flirting will have led to the demise of two previously concrete relationships.
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