office workers flirting

Ladies: all the guys at work think you want to sleep with them

Elizabeth Bromstein|

A friend recently came to me and told me her married boss, with whom she’s quite friendly – was acting weird.

“I’m not sure if he’s about to start hitting on me or not, but I think he might be,” she said.

She wondered if she should do something, though what exactly that might be, she didn’t know. I told her she was jumping the gun, and to wait it out — it was probably nothing – and only if he started making moves should she then do anything, which might be as simple as giving him the old “Thanks but no thanks.”

Interestingly, though, it seems it’s possible he may have gotten the wrong idea about their relationship.

This is according to a Forbes article that referenced research on male/female friendships.

The study found that, among men and women in platonic friendships, the man was significantly more likely to think that the female party was more interested in him than she actually was. Furthermore, it didn’t matter whether she was involved in a romantic relationship or not. His opinion on the matter was not affected. Forbes neatly extrapolated from this the obvious and amusing conclusion that all the men you’re friendly with at work are all getting the wrong idea.

So, you know that guy you have lunch with and hang out with at office functions? I believe the current term for it is “work husband,” which is supposed to suggest a platonic but close relationship that lives at the workplace. Well, forget the “platonic” part. He thinks you want to have sex with him.

To top that off, other research shows that women are not always unwilling to sleep with superiors to improve their position, so to speak.

According to the Harvard Business Review, a study by the Center for Work-Life Policy showed that sponsorship is key for women who want to rise out of what they call the “marzipan layer,” the layer just below top management. The study also showed that some women were willing to sleep their way to that sponsorship.

“No matter how high achieving, an upper middle-level female executive will fail to find career traction unless she is sponsored by a powerful senior executive — who, more often than not, is male and married,” wrote Sylvia Ann Hewlett.

What’s an ambitious gal to do? Fifteen per cent of women surveyed at the director level said they had had an affair with a married man in a senior position, while 34 per cent of executive women said they knew a female colleague who had. Moreover 37 per cent said that those women had advanced in their careers because of it.

What does this say to those guys who think all the ladies want them? That, in some cases, they might be right, particularly if they’re in power positions – though they might not be aware of her motivation.

It’s distressing that women still feel they need to sleep their way to the top, though one would have to be particularly obtuse not to see how it might be easy to be tempted. Here’s hoping you can find some other way of getting there.

I’m guessing, meanwhile, that my friend’s situation will blow over.

In other office romance news:

Workplace romance is alive and well this Valentine’s day, according to a new study that polled more than 200 employees around the GTA. The study found that more than half have had a crush on a coworker at some point in their lives, while a quarter had dipped their toe in the office pool, so to speak.

The survey found that 56 per cent admitted to having had crush, while 24 per cent said they’d had an office romance. That makes sense. You spend a lot of time together. If you’re single, the clothes are bound to come off sometime, right?

Just be careful you don’t ruin your reputation at work, which can easily happen, particularly if one of you is in a superior position.

And gents, take note: the women around the office just aren’t as into you as you think they are.

Category: Career Dilemmas, Life At Work
  • David Gay

    Hmmmmm. Not all men are like that. I’ve worked with and for women. When I go to work, whether full time in the past or currently in part time gigs while unemployed now, my work is all that matters and I get the job done with no distractions.

  • Matthew

    It really depends on the guy. I have never had any issues working with
    females Colleges at any of my workplaces. I certainly never felt that any were
    flirting with me or anything.

    I realize some men are as described in this article, but I have found women
    that act the same way. i.e. I have had women who assumed I was flirting with
    them and asked to go out when in fact I was just asking them to help me on a

    Things have been improving a lot in workplaces, so I feel that an article
    like this does more damage than good. All it does is cause suspicion and make
    people assume things that might not be true. The last thing I want is for a
    woman in a lower or superior position to think that I want to get her clothes
    off all the time.

    As for women sleeping with men in senior positions in order to get ahead. I know a quite a few women who are in very good positions who have not required sleeping with some guy to get ahead. In fact, I do not know a women who has slept with a man to get ahead in life. It is hard to get ahead in life in general nowadays. I know several fellow college graduates from 2 years ago (male and female) who are still without full-time jobs. I myself am currently without work and seeking employment. I do not intend on ever sleeping with someone to get ahead though. I do not hold anything against women who have done this. I am sure there are still workplaces that are very poor and do not support women in senior positions and sleeping with a male in a senior position might be considered necessary.

    Overall, stop generalizing Workopolis! I used to really enjoy your articles,
    but lately I feel as though they just keep on reinforcing stereotypes and make
    people paranoid in the workplace.