When your boss asks you out...

Question: I’ve always had a good and perfectly professional relationship with my male boss but lately, he has been dropping by my desk for long chats and asking me personal questions like what kind of flowers I like. Yesterday, he asked me out for dinner. I do enjoy working with him but it is purely because of work. What should I do?

Answer: Poor thing! Being asked out on a date by your boss is one of the toughest stuck-between-a-rock-and-a-hard-place situations one can get into.

Now let’s put it all in perspective – it seems that you are uncomfortable with the situation, after all the office is a place where you have been hired to work and not canoodle with your superior. So how are you going to get out of this sticky situation without offending your boss?

Just say no – the quickest way is the most direct way. Simply tell him that you are not uncomfortable with the idea of going out one-on-one with him after work. Highlight how inappropriate it would be and stress that you do not want to change anything about your current working relationship. Check if there is an office policy that restricts employees from dating each other and use it to your advantage effectively. It is also important he also assures that you declining to go out with him will not change the working relationship.

Lie – your boss probably assumes that you are single and ready to mingle. If you do not want to embarrass your boss by directly rejecting him, a roundabout way is to say you have a boyfriend. Showing your unavailability usually kills off all hope.

Act blur – now, if you are not really sure your superior harbours other intentions, veer on the safe side by being clueless. Express your interest in having a meal with him by stating how great it would be for team bonding and suggest lunch instead with the whole team or other colleagues. If he attempts to ask you out again, pull the same stunt until he gets tired and hopefully gets the idea.

Go to a higher authority or Human Resource – in the event your boss continues to badger you for a date or even comes onto you more aggressively, inform either your superior’s boss or your HR department. This could be escalating into a case of sexual harassment and you need to make sure someone in authority is aware of what is happening.

At the end of the day, keeping your professional working distance with your boss will dash any unrequited romantic hopes. If he continues to engage you in long chats, always change the subject – if it is personal – and bring the conversation back to a work topic. Always let him know that you mean business!

What other ways can you think of? Share with us in the comment box below!

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