In This Chapter
^ Putting space between yourself and colleagues ^ Dealing with strangers ^ Losing unwanted admirers rn Occasionally finding that your new best friend, colleague, or ^^ flirtation is actually very annoying can be disappointing. Worse still is when you find out they're actually pretty clingy and resistant to your polite efforts to let them down gently.
Most people have both the ability to tell when a relationship -romantic, work, as friends, or otherwise - isn't quite working and the sense to know when to walk away. Even if the object of your flirtation doesn't have this ability, then letting that person down gently is normally perfectly possible (see Chapter 11). Other people, though, can be clingier and more of a pest - whether they realise it or not - and just don't seem to get the message. People like this interpret your politeness and lack of obvious rejection as a positive reinforcement that you're actually enjoying their company and are keen to spend more time with them.
When someone lacks the degree of social etiquette that most people have, it can create an uneasy and unpleasant atmosphere with that person, so you need to spell out clearly what your feelings are towards them. Setting clear boundaries and being direct with someone isn't always easy, but helps you to deal with the problem. This chapter gives you ways of doing this in various flirting situations.
Although lots of flirting goes on in the workplace, it's never a good place to have an unwanted, clingy admirer, because you could potentially be stuck with them until you change jobs.
Several effective strategies for dealing with such a person in your workplace are to:
✓ Introduce them to someone who shares their interests or has something in common with them.
✓ Arrive at meetings last and sit out of eye contact with them.
✓ Pretend to work on something urgent until their lunchtime is almost up so that you have your own space during your lunch hour. This also cuts down the amount of time you both spend in the same place.
If the person giving you unwanted attention really won't get the message, tell them that you're not keen on fraternising with other people from the office. Remember, though, that this strategy only works if they don't see you hanging out with any other co-workers.
Unwanted admirers have a way of creeping up on you but in a bar they're quite easy to deal with. Try these lines for getting out of sticky flirting situations when you're out on the tiles:
✓ 'Excuse me, I just need to pop to the loo.' Make sure you finish your drink first, as you won't be returning and it'll be a shame to waste it.
✓ 'I'm supposed to be meeting a friend here; I'd better just go and look for them, as they're on their own.' This strategy doesn't work well in small bars, so consider pre-programming in a text from your friend saying they'll be with you in five minutes and then send it to yourself. Make your excuses and leave.
Networking events are great for a bit of flirting. Beware, though -you can find yourself the centre of attention for people who are so pleased they've found someone to talk to they'll stay welded to your side. With a bit of strategy on your part, however, not only are you able to extract yourself from their company, you can also benefit from the situation.
Ask them who are the most interesting and influential people that they know here and if they can introduce you to them. When you've got your introduction to the big cheese, return the favour and introduce your admirer to someone you know, then excuse yourself and get back to the big cheese. That way, you can both potentially benefit from having made each other's acquaintance -they've introduced you to someone and you've returned the favour. You can then get on with the business of networking with people you do actually want to be around.
Alternatively, you could try taking them to get a coffee. Lots of jostling is usually going on and you'll either be parted or a natural interruption of other people talking to you over the coffee table will occur. This gives you the opportunity to engage your new target in animated conversation and hopefully encourage the person you want to get away from to do the same - with a different target.
Unwanted attention in the street can come in all shapes and sizes -someone wolf-whistling at you, a pedestrian brushing up against you as they sit down beside you on a street bench, or someone out on the town and under the influence, attempting to flirt with you as they walk between bars. At best, the unwanted attention can be irritating; at worst, it can be worrying and sometimes dangerous, especially if you're on your own.
No matter in what form the unwanted attention arrives, good manners and civility cost nothing, so rather than end up in a slanging match with them while they try to block your path or jog along the pavement with you, look them confidently in the eye and say very firmly 'I'm spoken for'. If they try and engage you in conversation, keep repeating the same phrase. Put some distance between you and them, preferably moving to the other side of the street rather than have them follow behind you, and make your way purposefully to somewhere you feel less intimidated by their behaviour, such as a crowded bar or street. Looking confident is king because the person is less likely to continue to bother you, seeking a weaker target instead.
As much as you love your friends, unfortunately there often seems to be one who outstays their welcome, who wants to be more than just friends, or who doesn't get the message that you have a social life with other friends and don't wish to spend every waking moment with them.
If a certain friend is constantly texting, phoning, or emailing you wanting to know what you're doing, make a point of not responding to them immediately. Don't respond at all sometimes and always avoid responding to their questioning. Just because someone contacts you, doesn't mean you have to respond to them.
Try repeating the same line when declining their invitation to meet up, for example 'I'm sorry, I've got plans then'. Don't be drawn on what these plans are and just keep saying the same thing. Even the most persistent person will give up interrogating you when they realise they're going to get the same answer.
You may find treating your friend in this way difficult at first, but the sense of satisfaction from not having to explain your every move or include them in all your social activities far outweighs your initial discomfort.
You've met someone online and added them as a friend on Facebook. Then you become aware that they're following your every move and also, through you, those of your friends. You can rid yourself of a cyber stalker by removing them as a friend and adding them to your spam or black list so they can't email you either.
Don't forget to tell your friends who've added this person to their list of contacts about them, so they can't use your friends to continue spying on you.
SUNG/ If your cyber stalker remains persistent, contact Facebook or whichever social networking or dating site they're on and report them for inappropriate/antisocial behaviour. The site manager can then disable their account.
Pat had a friend who wanted to be more than just friends with him, and who was constantly texting him and wanting to know what he was doing and who he was doing it with. The friend's behaviour was innocent enough to start with, but she began getting agitated if she didn't hear straight away what Pat was up to, or if he didn't report his precise movements. If she noticed Pat's car wasn't outside his house, she'd text him to say she'd noticed and what was he doing. She tried to cosy up to Pat's new friends, getting their numbers and texting them too. Pat started to feel as though he was being constantly watched. Filled with resentment, Pat started taking longer to respond to her texts and, when he did, refusing to give his whereabouts. His clingy friend started to get the message and Pat didn't feel so powerless in dealing with her.
Sidelining a clingy friend can be very distressing but having to put up with them is even more so. Spot the signs early and don't become their obsession.
The office party provides the perfect venue for the person you've never even noticed before to make their move. You may find them following you around the room until they've had enough booze to give them just the confidence booster they need to cling to you closer than a nylon nightie. Try the following:
✓ Make sure you have a friend on each arm as a human barrier, so they can't get physically close.
✓ Introduce them to someone you think fancies them and leave them to it.
✓ Tell them you're seeing someone else or that you fancy someone else and don't want to jeopardise your chances by being seen flirting with them.
Being on the receiving end of unwanted, unshakable attention from someone at the gym can be most off-putting. Not only does this person ruin your workout, they add stress to a supposedly de-stressing situation.
Pick the strategy that suits you best to deal with the situation:
✓ Have a word at the reception desk and ask if this person comes to the gym at regular times - then avoid them.
✓ Do your workout back to front - if they're doing cardio, you do weights, and so on.
✓ Ask to have louder music in the gym or wear headphones.
✓ Offer one-word answers and tell them you're in a rush to get round as you're focusing on your workout or you're meeting someone afterwards.
Persistent telephone calls can be a real invasion of privacy. If an unwanted admirer obtains your telephone number - by fair means or foul - and begins to make a nuisance of themselves by repeatedly calling you, you need to nip the problem in the bud before it gets out of hand.
Being unpleasant isn't necessary; just ask the caller in a calm but decisive manner to stop calling you. If necessary, keep saying it over and over again. If the problem persists, tell the caller that you're going to report them to your telephone service provider, who can then help you to deal with the nuisance caller. You can also make use of services that display caller numbers on your phone and block certain callers and anonymous numbers from calling you.
Was this article helpful?