Coworker [W] keeps hitting on me [M]. How do I tell them to stop?

A reader writers: 

I started a new job about 4 months ago, and while it is going well, some drama caught me off guard. One of the directors, my boss’s boss, has taken a liking to me. Now, before you think ‘oh poor me’ let me explain that it took me a long time to get this job being in a mountain of debt, so I can’t afford to lose it. Currently, I am in a relationship and to complicate matters, she is married with a kid. 

It got out of hand when she started texting me. On Slack we have our numbers posted as emergency contacts so I guess that is where she got it. Our conversation started work related at first, but she kept relaying to non-related work subjects in which I didn’t respond to. Now, my partner is asking questions since she sees a coworker or boss’s boss is blowing up my phone. I don’t want to be housebreaking, I already got enough drama going on in my life and I need this job! How do I tell her to cool it without hurting my chances of promotion? – Adam

Hey Adam, 

Nice to read that you don’t want to become a homebreaker! It’s pretty simple to stop this, break the cycle. Relationships are very similar to dancing (an example of a book that uses this analogy). There are certain responses that cause the other person to respond. Hence, you can change your actions to break the cycle. In this case, you can stop responding positively when she gives you attention. However, this will warrant another person from their end which will probably be, well, negative. 

I hope she isn’t manipulative and tries use your lack of responsiveness against your company position. However, it’s best for you to stop responding in ways that make her think that you appreciate the attention. Imagine if her husband finds out? Those will be a lot more complex situations that you are signing up for. 

So simply, change your actions, stop being responsive, and the relationship dance will change.

I hope things cool off for you!

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Jeff Butler

Jeff Butler Internationally respected speaker and consultant, Jeff Butler helps bridge generational gaps between Millennials and companies looking for their talent and patronage. Butler has quickly built his reputation as a memorable presenter with tangible solutions for attracting, retaining, and engaging Millennials as employees and customers. Within just the past three years, he has spoken at two TEDx events and multiple Fortune 500 companies such as Google, Amazon, and LinkedIn.