Possible Perils of Flirting With the Boss

Contributor: Tamsen Butler
businessman smiling

Flirting with the boss is nothing new. As long as men and women have been in the workplace together, a certain amount of flirting has been occurring. Some say finding love in the workplace is the best possible place to find it. Others say that a workplace romance with your boss is just a recipe for disaster.

Flirting With the Boss

There are several normal, natural reasons flirting with the boss occurs. For instance, the boss is someone in authority. The boss is powerful, experienced, sometimes older and more experienced in life, and has earned the respect of his or her subordinates. Those qualities are naturally attractive. If being mentored by your boss, you may find more qualities about him or her that you respect and admire, creating an even stronger base for why you'd be tempted to flirt.

How to Tell if Your Boss Is Flirting With You

Any behavior hardly ever goes unnoticed in a workplace, so the people around you may be the first to point out flirting. Even if you are generally unaware when you're being flirted with, you may start to hear comments about how the boss favors you or how the boss seems to spend more time at your work station than necessary. Pay attention to these comments as they provide valuable insight from an outside perspective.

Signs Boss Is Flirting

When a boss is particularly friendly and attentive it can leave some employees asking, "Is my boss flirting with me?" The trick is to see if everyone gets the same type of attention from the boss. Does the boss take as much time with everyone else as they do with you? Be realistic in your assessment, though, since things that may seem flirtatious outside of the workplace (extra attention, encouragement, offers of lunch) might simply be "business as usual" at work. It's when you can't find justification for the extra attention or playfulness based on work then you may be able to confidently assume you're being flirted with. Does it feel like flirting? If yes, and if the boss doesn't make everyone feel this way, this can be a sign the boss is flirting with you.

Crossing the Line

Woman flirting with boss

Flirting with your boss can be fun, and the flirting can be very innocent. However, sometimes lines get crossed; the flirting is no longer innocent. For instance, if either you or your boss is married and either of you would be ashamed to tell your spouse about something that occurred between the two of you, it's possible that you're crossing that line of it no longer being innocent. When your conversations become sexually charged, it could potentially lead to something more serious than just "talk."

Risks in the Workplace

It is possible flirting with your boss can damage your reputation at work. With the way gossip flies in many offices or workplaces, you ought to be concerned with what's being said about you. Spending too much time with the boss opens you up to ridicule by your fellow employees. Granted, it's really none of their business; but, they can still cause you a lot of trouble with their comments and rumors.

Office Romance

Flirting with your boss could lead to a real office romance, but that isn't always ideal. Many office relationships don't last. There's a high level of awkwardness when the relationship fizzles, but you still have to see that person on a daily basis. Sometimes resentment is a result of a relationship gone wrong, and that's not something that is going to be conducive to a good work environment.

Unwanted Advances

There are bosses out there who will take advantage of their subordinates. Once that innocent flirting begins, special treatment may be awarded as a result. By falling into a situation such as this, you run the risk of allowing yourself to be taken advantage of for someone else's benefit. Another risk is that your innocent flirting may result in unwanted advances from your boss.

Company Dating Policy

Most companies - especially larger companies - have dating policies in place that dictate the behavior of employees regarding romantic relationships. These policies typically require professional behavior throughout the workday with no outward physical or verbal behavior between a couple in order to not make others uncomfortable. The stakes are usually raised when one of the people involved in the relationship is in a managerial capacity; not disclosing the relationship may be enough to get the senior employee of the couple fired. The important thing is to know the company policy regarding intra-office relationships and to follow the rules; note that some company policies simply forbid office romances. Allowing flirting to progress to the point of a relationship may spell trouble for your career or the career of your boss in this case.

Looking for Love in so Many Places

In this day and age, singles really have it made as far as the number of places and opportunities they have to find their soul mates. In addition to online dating and singles bars, there is speed dating, singles' church groups, and a wide variety of planned activities geared for singles. Online dating is becoming increasingly popular because you can really narrow down the specifics for whom you're looking. However, many find these opportunities are not for them and choose to look somewhere more convenient, like at work.

Flirting Is Natural

Human beings are wired to flirt with one another. That's a common fact and is accepted universally. When men and women are thrown together every day, flirting is something that naturally occurs.

Not Always Bad

Ultimately, you have to let your instincts and conscience be your guide. Numerous couples attribute their relationship to a boss or subordinate working relationship first. It is also very possible flirting with your boss is all it will ever be. It can create a bond between you and your boss that enables your working relationship to function in such a way that your teamwork is essential to the success of your department or company. It can make work more fun. It can lighten long working hours. As long as it does not negatively impact the professionalism at your workplace or make you or anyone else uncomfortable, flirting with the boss can break up the monotony of the work day.

Possible Perils of Flirting With the Boss