How to Deal with a Flirtatious Colleague

Andrew Moran
Andrew Moran

Business and Finance Expert

Flirtatious Employee

Flirtation is very common in the workplace. After spending five eight-hour days together for several years it can create the illusion of desires and adoring feelings for certain employees. Unfortunately, office flirtation, no matter how innocent, can lead to flirtations with career suicide. It should be avoided at all costs.

To the professionals who have to endure flirtatious acts from colleagues or bosses, it can be rather uncomfortable, distracting, stressful and irksome. A flirting co-worker’s incessant notes, constant touching and persistent compliments regarding your looks can make the work place a toxic place.

Despite your obvious body language and general disgust of their actions, they will not relent for whatever reason. Therefore, you have to employ a number of measures in order to make them cease from always flirting.

Here are five ways to deal with a flirtatious employee at the office:

1. Outline your concerns about their behaviour

If all of the hints do not work then, your best alternative is to be open and honest about their disrespectful behavior. Schedule a meeting during a break and outline your concerns about their flirtations. This can be done by making a few things clear to this person:

  • You are a professional, and you’re not interested in starting a workplace affair. 
  • You are not attracted or interested in the individual whatsoever. 
  • You believe it is wrong to launch a relationship at the office.
  • You may report their behavior to management if it persists.

2. Do not enable their actions

Sometimes the worst thing you can do exacerbate the problem is to enable this behavior. You may feel that acquiescing may diminish the level of flirtations, but it does quite the opposite. This means that you should refrain from going for lunch with them, heading out for dinner one night during the week, thanking them for a massage or allowing the colleague to make inappropriate comments.

3. Make yourself unavailable at all times

Each time the flirtatious employee inquires about your off-time, always make yourself unavailable. For instance, if this staff member asks you out for dinner on a Saturday night, tell them your busy. Or, if they ask if you’d like to accompany them to the pub after work, respond with "I’m terribly sorry, but I’ll be extremely busy tonight." Hopefully, after a while, they’ll get the hint.

4. Share photos of your significant other (even if you don't have one)

Oftentimes, a person may stop their flirty nature once they realize that the man or woman they’re interested in has a significant other. Therefore, one way to deter any further flirtations is to share photos of your significant other, which can include placing a picture of them on your desk or showing your co-workers photos of them doing something funny. If you do not have a significant other then find a fake photo.

5. Report their flirtations to the boss

If all of these steps fail then you may have no other choice but to report their behaviors to upper management, your boss or human resources. Two things will happen: the individual will be given a warning, or they will be let go. Flirtations can resort to sexual harassment, and businesses do not take too kindly to that type of behavior anymore.

Overall, it’s always best to stay clear of any workplace romances. Whether you’re interested in some at the office or someone is interested in you, do not proceed any further. A lot of these office relationships end in disaster, and they can seriously derail your career path. The office is a professional environment and should be treated as such instead of an episode of "The Love Boat."

Have you had to deal with a flirty colleague or boss? Let us know how you handled it in the comment section...