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Engaging The 'No' Word


Just say no. Are we talking about drugs? No, we’re talking about firmly turning down that date at the office or factory. Sure, the biggest thing you two have in common is your employer. But the next biggest thing you two will have in common is: everyone’s in your business.

And what happens when the romance ends? You’re stuck with leftover regrets. That’s why it’s best to turn down that boss or coworker for dates. Explain to him: it’s not personal. Really, it is personal. But don’t tell him that, because you must protect yourself from him, from other coworkers and from Human Resources.

You may ask yourself: why look out for Human Resources? Coworkers talk. Illicit affairs at the office draw unwanted attention. Human Resources is paying attention. Even if you don’t immediately report sexual harassment, your boss may turn the tables on you and report you as the harasser.

But how can that be? If you’ve dated the coworker or boss, HR will fault you for the messy I-don’t-want-to-date-you-anymore breakup. Now you’ve bruised your boss’s ego.

He intends to destroy your reputation. And your coworkers will help the boss because your coworkers will be left with only two choices: lose their jobs or destroy your credibility. It’s that simple.

For example, a woman called Sidney contacted me recently. She stated that she went on two dates with the boss then dropped him. Although he didn’t fire Sidney immediately, he dogged her at work by casting aspersions on her and docking her pay.

He even excluded her from office meetings in which she was the sexual subject. This is disturbing because Sidney never slept with the boss. After kissing him, she decided his kisses were too sloppy and unromantic. So she pulled back. And he hit back with disparaging remarks about her.

Although Sidney admits she was a fool for blurring the lines between work and romance, she failed to understand that her boss made a pre-emptive strike by slut shaming her, even though she’d never slept with him. She realized too late that the boss executed a power play to prevent her from disparaging him.

But Sidney never engaged in kiss and tell. In fact, she hadn’t mentioned her boss to her best friend, because deep-down, Sidney knew her best friend wouldn’t have approved of dating in the office.

Now Sidney works at a new employer. After a few coworkers asked her out, she calmly but firmly said no. It didn’t matter that she may have met her match. It only mattered that she didn’t blur the lines of work and personal. What would you do?