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Coworker's flirting is getting on my nerves


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Old 2nd December 2011, 11:26 AM   #1
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Coworker's flirting is getting on my nerves

I am a female in a male dominated field and in engineering. Sometimes I come across some weird personalities, or men that expect to flirt all day. Maybe when I was in my early 20's I enjoyed that kind of attention but I don't now. There is a guy who sits across from me in a cubicle, married and in his 40's that has been trying to flirt with me. His personality is the kind that wants attention a lot. Mine is not. I like to make jokes and be a little social, but I tend to be serious about my job.

I had become friends with him a little so now I feel bad that I am feeling this way, but I feel like his behavior is disrespectful. He has done this a few times and I ignore it hoping that he will get a clue, and he just won't stop.

He stares at me, and then makes a "pop!" noise with his mouth to get my attention. It sounds the same as when you put your finger in your mouth and "pop" it out. If I look, he turns his head like he did nothing and smiles.

On Monday I had a deadline (we all did) and was really working my b*tt off. He could see this, but obviously didn't care. I put my headphones on, and he kept trying to make the popping noise even louder until he finally gave up. Then he sent me an IM and said "hey what's going on?" I told him that I was working and helping my boss with something and told him I couldn't talk. But then an hour later he tried to talk to me again. It really irritates me that he expects me to drop what I'm doing and pay attention to him like a two-year-old that needs attention from his mommy. And he doesn't want to talk about work. He just wants to shoot the breeze or flirt.

He obviously is not going to stop making those popping noises at me even though I have given him NO positive reinforcement. The behavior is weird and gets on my nerves. What can I say next time he does it? I feel bad because I had become friends with him a little, but he's really p!ssing me off.

It's p!ssing me off so badly that I want to snap at him, but obviously I can't do that at my job!
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Old 2nd December 2011, 1:47 PM   #2
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I also work in engineering, so I can envision your scenario vividly...

Your best bet is probably to ignore him completely. If he ups his level of pestering you, you might want to be forward with him about saying that you are really busy and don't have time to talk with him.

I have a female co-worker who I am in a somewhat similar situation with. Many times she'll be talking AT (as opposed to with) me while I'm trying to get work done or word an email/report just right. I once had to just tell her that I was too busy to talk, which was pretty effective for a while. I doubt that this guy will suddenly just stop his behavior for good, but if you're assertive and consistently ignoring him, he should (assuming he's a somewhat normal person) back off eventually after enough iterations.
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Old 2nd December 2011, 2:14 PM   #3
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Zone him out by ignoring his behaviors as much as possible. If he approaches you, I'd emphasize that you want to maintain a good professional relationship, but that his repeated interruptions are distracting you from work that needs to be done and that he needs to stop. Don't apologize or argue (obviously you know the latter); if he defaults to acting defensive or claims that he's only teasing, just be clear and firm, and keep the headphones on.

I'd also stop responding to any IMs that aren't work related.

Last edited by O'Malley; 2nd December 2011 at 2:17 PM..
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Old 3rd December 2011, 4:11 PM   #4
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Doesnt sound like hes flirting with you at all, but it just sounds like is annoying. "Please dont pop at me like that, its annoying and distracting, and I dont appreciate it while Im trying to get my work done." That should put him in his place. If hes not your authority, there shouldnt be any reason to be so cowardly about someone you already know. He obviously thinks its ok, and he always will since you dont SAY otherwise. He's an adult, dont worry about hurting his feelings, you wont. You will just be teling him to leave you alone, and theres nothing wrong with that. Unless you liek the attention.
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Old 5th December 2011, 11:24 AM   #5
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I am not as patient or professional. I would probably turn around in my chair with an exaggerated eyeroll and say "What?!"
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Old 5th December 2011, 5:50 PM   #6
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Do you work for the same boss? If not ask your boss to talk to his, hopefully his boss will pay closer attention to him and that should slow down the interruptions.

One thing that bothers me, is you say he is married? Why are you allowing his flirting? That would be a big no no to me. Be friends, talk ****, but stay respectful of your marriage, and of me. You may or may not be responding in a way he thinks you are available. Men generally DON'T have GIRLfriends, especially if they are married. How would YOU feel if YOUR husband was behaving with one of his co workers in the same manner? Let that be your guide.....
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Old 5th December 2011, 6:19 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eddie Edirol View Post
Doesnt sound like hes flirting with you at all, but it just sounds like is annoying. "Please dont pop at me like that, its annoying and distracting, and I dont appreciate it while Im trying to get my work done." That should put him in his place. If hes not your authority, there shouldnt be any reason to be so cowardly about someone you already know. He obviously thinks its ok, and he always will since you dont SAY otherwise. He's an adult, dont worry about hurting his feelings, you wont. You will just be teling him to leave you alone, and theres nothing wrong with that. Unless you liek the attention.
I agree.

It doesn't sound like flirting. It sounds like he's one of those annoying jackasses you find in every workplace. He thinks he's so interesting and funny when he's not.

I would tell him to leave you alone. Do it every single time he does this to you. Be assertive. I know it's sometimes easier said than done.

You might want to read the book "No ******* Rule: Building A Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn't". It's a great resource...
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Old 7th December 2011, 10:55 AM   #8
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Flirting wasn't the best word. I think the annoying jackass was the best description. I think being assertive and saying something is going to have to happen.

I keep ignoring him and then he eventually IM's me and says "Hey what's going on?" it's like he refuses to be ignored. And that irritates me further.
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Old 7th December 2011, 12:43 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by goodthingscome View Post
Do you work for the same boss? If not ask your boss to talk to his, hopefully his boss will pay closer attention to him and that should slow down the interruptions.

One thing that bothers me, is you say he is married? Why are you allowing his flirting? That would be a big no no to me. Be friends, talk ****, but stay respectful of your marriage, and of me. You may or may not be responding in a way he thinks you are available. Men generally DON'T have GIRLfriends, especially if they are married. How would YOU feel if YOUR husband was behaving with one of his co workers in the same manner? Let that be your guide.....
Funny thing, my boss knew he is like this and when he was moved to sit next to me, my boss told him up front not to pester me. Apparently he is known for this stuff. He told me "I put the fear of God into him." apparently it wasn't enough.

As for the second paragraph, you got the wrong idea here. I'm not flirting with this idiot nor am I a GIRLfriend.
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Old 7th December 2011, 1:06 PM   #10
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Ask your boss if you could be moved to another desk, because you want to be able to fully concentrate on your job, and are having trouble getting distracted from your job because your coworker is continually seeking attention from you. That should solve the problem and will let your boss know that you value being a productive employee and want to do your job well. I worked at a company where there was one man and five women. The women (not me) continually tried to engage this guy in conversation and sought attention from him. He asked to be moved to the isolated area so he could concentrate on his job, and the boss willingly took his feelings into consideration and moved him. Problem solved. I also had a boss at one job that was extremely annoying, in that every time I walked down the hall to make copies or get supplies, or have a break, he couldn't help but to distract me for no reason and call me into his office when he saw me walk by. He had no reason for this, it was just annoying. He wanted attention all the time, and it was hard to just do my job because he was always there bothering me. Hard to be productive when someone is bothering you all the time. He also had the habit of looking over my shoulder all the time. Very annoying. When we moved to larger quarters, I purposely asked to have the desk at the end of the hall (so that I could be able to work without the constant unnecessary distractions).
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Old 7th December 2011, 1:50 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goodthingscome View Post
Do you work for the same boss? If not ask your boss to talk to his, hopefully his boss will pay closer attention to him and that should slow down the interruptions.

One thing that bothers me, is you say he is married? Why are you allowing his flirting? That would be a big no no to me. Be friends, talk ****, but stay respectful of your marriage, and of me. You may or may not be responding in a way he thinks you are available. Men generally DON'T have GIRLfriends, especially if they are married. How would YOU feel if YOUR husband was behaving with one of his co workers in the same manner? Let that be your guide.....
Why are you blaming the OP for this guy immature behaviour? it is not her fault if he obviously have no work to do and constantly tries to get her attention. I really hope when she does go to her boss that her boss doesn't have that same blaming attitude. Somehow ignoring him won't solve anything,just as she wrote,he's like a Two-year old that needs attention,he hasn't grown up. His behaviour has nothing to do with her giving any 'signals' the OP tried to be friendly but he cant take a hint.

My advice is to talk to the boss,maybe this guy needs more work to do and needs to get her desk move somewhere else because of this disruptive behaviour. There are strict rules that concerns the workplace.
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Old 7th December 2011, 2:21 PM   #12
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Next time he Pops ..dont turn immediately. Finish what you are doing and then turn and say to him: " Hey, Ive been meaning to give you a heads up. That noise you make? That thing you do? Its gotta stop." Then smile, look patronizing and tell him "Really". Then turn away and continue working.

He is behaving like a child. Sure, he is a nice guy. But he is a child and will be A-OK with being treated like one. He wont even notice. Just ne the grown up to his child.

When he repeats the behavior...Dont turn around. Simply state: "Joey, we talked about this."

I know. It sounds like a ridiculous remedy to a professional problem. But it works. And once it is established that you are a grown up he will probably begin to act like a grown up too.
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Old 7th December 2011, 2:52 PM   #13
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I'm with 2sure on this one. He sounds like a 5 year old. This is not cute, flirty behavior, this is just annoying and has to stop. Tell him in plain, simple language that the noises he is making have to stop.
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Old 8th December 2011, 2:27 AM   #14
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Just be honest and tell him that the popping noises he does really bothers you and it's not funny.
Handle this yourself first and see how it goes. If he continues then talk to your boss so you can move your desk somewhere else, away from him.
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