Girl’s guide to getting the guy at work

We all know that the workplace is a minefield for sexual tension. Where else do you lock up people of the opposite sex for eight hours a day, and tell them to talk with each other but not touch? It is unnatural, and ever since men let women into the workplace, we have been adjusting.

It is totally normal to have a crush on someone at work. And it is totally normal for people to tell you not to act on it. And it is totally normal to throw caution to the wind. According to Helaine Olen, author of the book Office Mate, more than fifty percent of the population is dating someone from work.

So if you're going to do it, here are some best practices for getting the guy:

1. Flirt verbally rather than nonverbally
According to research reported in the Journal of Psychological Science (via Live Science), men are not good at reading nonverbal cues. They mistake a friendly smile as a sexual overture, for example. But researchers found that men also missed nonverbal signs of sexual interest: “When images of gals meant to show allure flashed onto the screen, male students mistook the allure as amicable signals.”

At work, the context of flirting is less defined than a science experiment, which means there will be even more missed cues. On top of that, if your office is full of knowledge workers, who are paid because they do a good job of synthesizing information, the missed cues will probably be even higher.

Why? Because research about Asperger's syndrome tells us how the brain develops its ability to read nonverbal cues. We know that children's brains learn this skill early in life. And we know that kids who seem to think like a young Einstein often have Asperger’s syndrome, where the side of their brain for logic, spatial abilities, and memorizing grows at the expense of the side of the brain for reading nonverbal social cues.

So it seems to me that the cluelessness of men when it comes to reading sexual overtones is actually on a spectrum, and the more extreme their abilities are in the high-IQ side of the brain, the more extreme their inability to read nonverbal sexual cues will be. (And this explains why the conversation about this research on the geek-genius blog Slashdot is so spunky.)

2. If you know he's interested, play hard to get
If you know the guy is interested, make him work to get you. Live Science reports that the male need for the chase is so strong that it even happens in lab mice—given the choice of two girl mice, the boy mouse goes for the girl mouse who is more difficult to conquer.

And we know that both men and women do not take relationships seriously if there's no chase, because, according to Cosmo magazine, only 3% of couples who have sex on first dates end up getting married.

So you are going to have to play hard to get at work if you want more from the guy than just a fling.

(Interesting side note about the chase: Most women intuitively play hard to get, until they find Mr. Right, and then men and women want to have sex—and violate societal sex norms—at the same rate.)

3. Don't make the first move if you are not the same age
Match.com reports that roughly 80% of both sexes are willing to make the first move. But when the man and woman are not in the same age group, men usually make the first move at work.

In a study of long-term relationships between older women and younger men, more than 95% of the men made the first move.

And research from University of Santa Cruz shows an almost institutionalized way for older men to make the first move is to initiate a productive mentoring relationship with a woman and then follow that up with a sexual overture.

So if the guy is your age, buy the book Office Mate, which is a handbook for making passes at co-workers. If the guy is not your age, play hard to get. And either way, remember that the average worker today changes jobs every eighteen months, so if things go bad dating at work, you'll find a new job soon enough anyway.

And in the end, the problem of figuring out if you want to be involved with someone at work might be harder than actually making it happen.

Posted in No image, Women
63 comments on “Girl’s guide to getting the guy at work
  1. mykel says:

    I really have a hard time with the senseless linking of unrelated (pointless!) statistics. It’s a halfhearted attempt to come up with new posts.

  2. nobody says:

    I really like the linking of statistics. It's a worthwhile attempt to raise posts above the status of conjecture and speculation.

    P.S. Girls who chase me are far more likely to get some than girls who play hard to get.

  3. Bill says:

    I seriously doubt that 50% of single people are dating a co-worker at any given time. Or else they are doing a darn fine job of hiding it.

  4. Kidderkat says:

    I also tend to disregard posts that contain the words “according to Cosmo magazine.”

  5. John Collins says:

    This is filler. You blog has some great stuff. My impression is that you are a complete asshole based on how you interact with your kids or rather don’t interact. I wish you well.

  6. Ian says:

    I don’t think 50% is dating someone otherwise every other married people in the office are cheating.

    I would think the 50% is refering to people who had dated co-workers, that probably would include the time people worked in retail & restaurant during their teens & college. (which has a higher chance of doing this). Although this is only my guess.

    Us guys are basically clueless on any cue/clue/signs unless it’s direct, clear & concise.

    Note: How you dress is not direct, clear & concise enough, since to guys that’s not a message direct to 1 person.

  7. Gene Shiau says:

    Why don’t the early commenters like this post? I mean, Penelope is funny when she writes these things! I got a great kick reading it.

    Can you imagine trying to strike a water cooler conversation with the opposite sex about this post? There will be plenty of drama! On the other hand, there are few women working as mechanical, electrical, or computer engineers. When they do, I am not sure that they won’t be taking the guys’ side on this issue. :/

  8. Mark W. says:

    This is advice at the intersection of work and life, correct? Anyways I see the reference to slashdot but is there any research on dating and relationships in the workplace with a bent to astrology? I have wondered about this subject since I have been told I fit my sign (Gemini) very closely which is good and bad I guess depending on the perspective. I doubt the geeks at slashdot talk about astrology and relationships in the same vein but I could be wrong. The workplace is a minefield for sexual tension as you say above. I think I lost some of my credibility in the workplace when I dated a gal there. We hid it since we worked in the same department. I often wonder how long it was ‘hidden’. Let’s be real here – people are not blind to the obvious.

  9. InMadison says:

    I’ve been in the working world for 8 years and have worked at places with no fewer than 50 people. I’m a Gen Y’er, and I have known of only ONE instance where co-workers have dated. There are sometimes married couples, but people in my age bracket (30 and under) still find office dating a no-no. On the other hand, the “office spouse” is very common amongst my demographic – we grew up having close opposite gender friends, so having that connection at work is natural, but all with boundaries. Point being – more than 50% dating at work? Where?!

  10. Casey says:

    100% of statistics can be manipulated – take all stats with a grain of salt.

    I always bide by the “don’t fish off your own pier” kind of advice. It’s much safer, especially if you like your job. My boyfriend (who I met through a friend) was going to apply for a job at my company, but we decided against it. Too much “togetherness” can be a bad thing.

    If you are really attracted to someone, hopefully it’s someone in a different department. Pursue it in a mature manner – games should be kept out of it.

  11. Anna says:

    Maybe Penelope meant, at one point or another, 50% of the population has dated someone from work. I haven’t read the book. I know I dated someone I worked with once, but it was only a fleeting high school romance. Penelope, having read the book, perhaps you can clarify?

  12. Heather says:

    I think InMadison is naive. Ask your e-mail admin what *HE/SHE* knows. You’d be surprised how many people use work email for the purpose of carrying on indiscretions and probably MORE surprised at which colleagues are doing it. Guaranteed. I think Anna is probably right, though. It makes more sense that 50% have dated someone from work at some point. Just my 2 cents.

  13. kchicago says:

    seems like there’s been some progress in the relationship between our heroine and her business partner. Or at the very least, some flirtations with the idea.

  14. Jrandom42 says:

    If Penelope is having issues with her Asperger’s son, it’s going to be really entertaining listening her tell us about interacting with an Asperger’s co-worker. I’m wondering how she’s gonna find the time for both, as well as her blog and business, in spite of having a nanny, house manager and cleaning service.

  15. david rees says:

    Asbergers tends to have pronounced effect on a persons ability to conduct subtle conversations with layered meaning (ie: flirting).

    I would have thought that being “that way” would make for a huge disadvantage in the dating arena.

    Perhaps I am wrong?

  16. Jrandom42 says:

    David, no, you aren’t wrong. Dating for an Asperger’s is like wandering drunkenly through a minefield blindfolded. You never know what you’re going to say, or even how you say something isn’t going to ignite a firestorm.

    The only reason I managed to date and get married was because the woman I married was a consultant helping the company I was working for hack together a 60 Terabyte SAN 17 years ago. She still knows more about replication, fiber channel, and data throughput than I ever will. It did help that she’s a fellow Asperger’s.

  17. blink says:

    I once read a review of Penelope’s stuff that 90% of it is great/insightful and the other 10% makes you squirm. This one is definitely a bit of a office-no-no for discussing (until you’re the one doing it), and I like the way you’ve analyzed it.

    I feel like you’re analyzes only skimmed over several really complex scientific ideas on how men/women relate though. The article wasn’t aimed at those but on intra-office relating, in which case I would loved to have seen more breadth in your cases.

    For instances dating on the same level vs dating above/below you. Or dating cross departments like HR and IT. Or key flirting methods across meeting room tables, etc.

    Great start of a curious idea though, looking forward to part II.

  18. sja says:

    as is the case with much of what penelope blogs about, i admire her for saying what often goes left unsaid.

    if you want hard data on a soft topic, good luck wading through that quagmire. all i know is that people have to meet each other to date, and sometimes that happens in an office. any practical tips on where to go from there can be taken as you choose, but i for one appreciate the candor.

  19. C says:

    The “play hard to get” advice is dangerous.. there’s a good chance that while you’re playing hard to get, another girl who isn’t into such games will jump him at the next office social event ;o)

    Some guys find the “play hard to get” thing a bit childish too.. you’re either interested or you’re not, keep it simple! A chase is only fun if there’s an end to the chase!

  20. One Who Reads Critically says:

    My ex-boyfriend sent me the link to your post a year ago and said that I should read it as a young woman trying to build my career. I really enjoyed your posts about happiness, career, and graduate school. I often mentioned your posts to my friends, especially one about what makes people happy and why the relationships we have with people around us matter more than the money that we make. I look up to you as someone who is honest, and more importantly, someone who writes about something that has the potential to contribute and enhance the lives of the people that read ur blog.

    I think you should stick with your advice about how to make a good blog and stop writing like you work for Cosmo. No one takes Cosmo seriously because it’s filled with useless tips on how to be a successful/happy woman written by obviously clueless women. Plus, excessively citing statistics and books will not make your post a good one.

    Dating, especially for people that are not too charming or confident, is always a struggle. Reading a book by someone you endorse is not going to help the situation but rather a waste of money and time.

    Why not suggest people to be approachable, friendly, and be an active listener?

    Most of the time, when I see people fail to gain the attention of the people that they crave, it is mostly because they are too busy getting others to be interested in themselves.

    I like you and your blog, but I am not naive enough to buy into the random facts that you filled on this post.

    Sincerely,

    One Who Reads Critically

    * * * * * *

    Your advice to “be approachable, friendly and an active listener” is great. For people who can do it. One of the points I was trying to make here is that some people are absolutely unable to do that. Not because they are selfish or stupid or uncaring, but because their brains don’t work that way. And there is a spectrum of abilities in this arena. So it might be good for us to learn how to identify what is causing someone to be unapproachable or a poor listener. Some of those people might be great to date — if you can get past your expectations that everyone in the world should be “approachable, friendly and an active listener.”

    Penelope

  21. Super Zoe says:

    I love this post! It IS about work. So many of us spend so much time at the workplace that we are much more likely to meet a potential paramour there than at a bar or a party. It is realistic to address the attendant relationship issues that are attached to the workplace.

  22. chris says:

    WAAAAY back in the early 90’s I worked at a company that was heavily staffed by singles in their late 20’s early 30’s. The company peaked at about 150 employees. I know of at least 3 marriages among my colleagues, and 4 more marriages that were result of friends of colleagues meeting. 10 or so kids born, countless dates/romances. (I ‘dated’ 3 guys during my tenure.)

    Dating at work happens. And sometimes it works out. Might as well figure out how to be good at it.

  23. Irina says:

    Great post. I love that you’re not afraid of discussing “squirmy” issues in your blog. And yes, many statistics can be manipulated, but it does not mean that we cannot use them when arguing a point. We just need to examine the evidence closely, with a grain of salt, and draw our own conclusions.

  24. ascian says:

    I think for a lot of Gen-Ys there are boundaries – it’s cool to date people who work with you, but not people who work closely with you. I met my partner at work… but he works in a different team that I don’t have much interaction with.

  25. Clay Collins | The Growing Life says:

    And make him pay for shit and invest in you and get him wrapped around your pretty little finger.

    Also, kick him to the curb every once in a while just for good measure.

    –Clay

  26. MariaMH says:

    I am not sure I had much to add to what Penelope has said, because it has been a while since I have done any of her suggestions! But I do have some advice. Almost 18 years ago my husband and I started dating when we worked together. We actually got to know each other more away from the office while involved in a bicycle club. I had learned from a previous dating experience (i.e. the hard way) that it could be dicey. So we made a pact. We told no one and continued to act professionally at work (we did not work directly with each other but we did each work with some of the same people). Only the man who ended up being the best man in our wedding knew and he kept our secret too. We had been dating for over a year before someone “caught” us holding hands while walking through the parking lot of restaurant. We were comfortable enough with our relationship at that point to be able to handle questions and teasing okay and it died out pretty quickly. Even though we were “outed,” we still continued to be extremely professional at work. It allowed us to be comfortable and also everyone we worked with to be comfortable around us. One thought, if you are flirting at work, it may make the other people you work with uncomfortable.

  27. GenerationXpert says:

    Oh please, people. If you don’t meet a guy at work, where do you? At the bar? That’s great, because most drunk guys pick the girls they put moves on based on their brains and personality.

    My husband and I met at work. Most couples I know either met in college or in a work-related situation. People in the same field tend to have a lot of similar characteristics and interests. For instance, my husband and I both love inappropriate humor and we ten to be loud. But we met at a journalism job and journalists are often loud and inappropriate.

    I think that Penelope is just saying that if you are a woman and interested in a guy at work that it’s okay to pursue it as long as you don’t do it like an idiot.

    * * * * * *

    I’m going to take this time to write a little ad for GenerationXpert’s blog
    http://www.generationXpert.com

    . I love the comments she leaves on Brazen Careerist. And her blog is fun. She doesn’t always agree with me, but when she disagrees, it is with such candor and spirit that even her complaining about me makes me happy.

    -Penelope

  28. Shefaly says:

    @ Penelope: in the responses to an earlier post (Startup Skill, April 2), some readers had wondered aloud if the whole Ryan H thing was a precursor to a possible relationship. With the last point in this post, I think you must make those readers very happy!

    The reality of life is that things like relationships – especially if one wants to make it last – cannot be reduced to 3 or 5 points ‘how to’. This post sadly does read like an article from glossies aimed at people who cannot think for themselves in a situation that requires great tact. After all, things can go horribly wrong too and then both one’s work and one’s life would need to be restructured.

    @ GenerationXpert: I think there are other – and more neutral – occasions in life to meet people apart from work and bars. What about friends and family introducing people? What about active hobby groups such as hill-walking where nobody is likely to be drunk? What about voluntary work?

    If someone is so keen to find a mate, thinking creatively is probably the first requirement. That is also a skill that will keep the relationship going for a little longer than relying on ‘3 steps to relationship nirvana’ might.

  29. Gordon says:

    I think you need to get out more Penelope…and get meeting real people…your are searching for something and it shows in your writing…get back to what you love doing and move on…mates and all that stuff will come…have some fun…interesting post…I am of the mindset…I don’t chase at work…it causes to many problems…talking from experience…and one who broke his own rules and paid for it…

    at least you have guts and determination…and I admire you for that…and start twittering more..I look forward to seeign your twitters as well as your bloggins
    Slainte
    Gordon from the deep North East of England

  30. Bally says:

    Following on from Shefaly’s point, if we indulge in some (outrageously tenuous) psychoanalysis we could just interpret this whole post as Penelope sending a message to Ryan:
    1. ‘Flirt verbally’ – isn’t blogging the way GenY verbalizes? The flirtation in the post is probably too subtle for Ryan to get though. Still, that was probably well covered by the earlier anal sex discussion.
    2. ‘Play hard to get’ – as in ‘Ryan don’t be put off that I’m playing hard to get…it’s only because I read Cosmo’
    3. ‘95% of the time younger men make the first move’ – this needs no further explanation. And Ryan should need no further invitation :-)

    Joking aside I think this post addresses an issue that has long being ignored because of fears of harassment/discrimination suits. It is ridiculous to put a mixed group together and then prohibit any form of personal relationships from happening. I do agree that relationships between a powerful party and a weaker party should be avoided because of the potential for abuse. But I don’t agree that, for the sake of avoiding liability, companies should take measures to prevent their employee’s from pursuing their human nature and human right to a relationship.

  31. Maggie says:

    I know I don’t have to tell you this but don’t listen to the haters.

    I am married to my former boss. I didn’t think about it at the time but reading this I definitely realize I followed all those rules without thinking about it.

    One last rule I would suggest is be prepared to leave your job if you decide to date someone at work. In my case it was because we were tired of hiding it (in a 15 person office) so I left–but had things gone the other way and not worked out with us I probably would have left because it would have been too weird to have to see and interact with him all the time. (he wasn’t my boss anymore at that point).

  32. genwhat says:

    “And we know that both men and women do not take relationships seriously if there's no chase, because, according to Cosmo magazine, only 3% of couples who have sex on first dates end up getting married.”

    You can’t say we know this based on this statistic, there are other reasonable explanations.

    Can Cosmo magazine enlighten us with the percentage of couple who don’t have sex on their first date who end up getting married?

    I started reading your blog because I wanted to see where you could go slicing the world into boomer, gen-x and gen-y. The answer has been sadly no where fast. I’ve laughed, cringed and shaken my head (Cosmo WTF) and for that I thank you but enough is enough I think.

    Maybe it’s a regional thing, or perhaps my typical male personality (somewhere on the high functioning end of the autistic scale like the majority of my sex) but I just don’t see the differences you identify as particularly evident or significant in the people I deal with.

  33. Laura says:

    Hi Penelope,
    A few points about your commentary regarding social cues:

    1) It’s “Asperger’s” not “Asberger’s”. I read in an earlier post that your son has Asperger’s, so it surprises me that you would spell it wrong. But I hate spelling nazis, so lets move on.

    2) You seem to have a weak grasp of the neuroscience of atypical development. I commend to your viewing professor Grandin: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bgEAhMEgGOQ

    It’s not nearly as simple as: more analytical skill = less social ability. The brains of autistics are uniquely wired to take in the world a different way. There’s a profound difference between a neurotypical person with strong analytical skill and an autistic.

    Yes, autism is a spectrum, but it’s defined by reference to specific diagnostic criteria that rise much higher than average level geekdom. For example, autistics have sensory challenges and difficulties regulating sensory data. An average geek does not. So you miss the mark when you collapse the two, or expand the spectrum so wide that it picks up those without sensory difficulties.

    3) It’s well documented that Einstein didn’t speak until age 5. This means that if he were on the spectrum, it would be autism, or high functioning autism, not Asperger’s.

  34. Laura says:

    oh yeah, and I meant to add, relevant to the central message of your post: aspies and auties often self-identify as asexual. If you buy into the stereotype perpetuated by movies like Revenge of the Nerd, geeks are the opposite. In my personal experience, the garden variety nerd is not lacking in that department.

  35. Flying Squirrel says:

    The point of magazines like Cosmo is to make you feel insecure and shitty about yourself so that you buy the products they are selling.

    You’re too smart for Cosmo!

  36. Dale says:

    Penny,

    As has become an all too common occurence, the central idea of your post is now lost.
    This post isn’t about autism, the distribution of startling new evidence on male / female relationships, or even the moral aspects of intra-workplace dating. It’s your opinion about how females should go about playing the game – in the office – to get what they want!

    How to catch a man at the office is not career advice – I don’t think. But, how to do so without losing one’s dignity, credibility, or job, definitely constitutes sound career advice.
    This post straddles the fence – as does many recent posts – in that good advice is mixed with some measure of “shock content” to create interest, and to generate conversation. My sincere wish is that readers use this as a beginning point in their examination of how to do the relationship thing at work. Read other articles on the matter, observe the environment you find yourself in, talk to trusted, smart people who know your situation, then act!

    So what if Cosmo is quoted, this is a blog, not a scientific paper, and to be honest, Cosmo pays alot of money for its research, so ignore the findings at your peril:)

    Just my two cents worth.

  37. Jim Eiden says:

    Maybe guys are missing the no-verbal queues on purpose as to avoid any potential sexual harrassment vincidents if the relationship does not work out.

    Men are now very cautious these days about work relationships. It can ruin a career, as well as a reputation and and deplete all of his assets if the woman decides she wants to file a charge whether it is warranted or not.

    Even a false accusation can cause serious and harmful repercussions.

    Now women wonder why men are unresponsive to their non-verbal queues at work.

  38. kristen says:

    it’s official.

    you’ve jumped the shark.

  39. Destiny says:

    I think it was a fun post and cleverly taboo. Everyone likes a little How To! :)

  40. Sean says:

    Kristen: “Advice for the intersection of work and life”

    Perhaps you missed that…

  41. elecspec says:

    Enough with the Asperger’s. Enough with the attempts by psycholoquacks and other intellectual mediocrities to Orwell true genius into some kind of a disease. The object of your affection is the rock star who ultimately keeps your company afloat. If he’s not picking up on your advances, it’s not because he’s mentally ill. It’s probably because he gets his kicks above the wasteline, and/or he’s terrified blind by the blowback stemming from a sexual harassment suit. But please, enough with the Asperger’s. There’s got to be better ways for the mediocre to make themselves feel better than to tear down or explain away the exceptional.

  42. Helaine Olen says:

    Hi all, This is Helaine Olen, the co-author of Office Mate. A few points:

    Yes, it is true that about half of all workers have dated someone they worked with at least once. Survey after survey after survey has confirmed this. About one in five of those dates lead to long term relationships. If you want to test the truth of this, start asking everyone you know if they have ever dated anyone they met at work.

    A few other notes. Flirting is flirting, but we advocate that when you are moving in for the actual date, make it verbal. This way there are no misunderstandings. We also suggest you try to ask outside of the office, if at all possible. After all, do you want your colleagues to hear a rejection?

    As for playing hard to get, we found that most office couples do have a “hard to get” period. But it’s rarely deliberate. Most folks are unsure of the others intentions/don’t want to put their job at risk/otherwise hesitant to get involved with someone at work/you name it. But however unintentional, it serves the same purpose. There is no greater aphrodisiac than unavailability, whatever the motivations.

    As for sleeping together on the first date …the Sex in America studies of the 1990s showed that the longer you knew someone before, um, intimacy, the more likely you were to actually end up with a ring on your finger.

    If folks want to ask me questions, go ahead. I’ll check back later and respond.

  43. finance girl says:

    no, don’t do it!! There’s just too much to lose. If you really like someone at work, just be their friend for, oh good couple of YEARS so you are SURE you are not going to make a complete FOOL out of yourself.

    I have seen this totally backfire on people (dating at work).

    Just don’t do it.Unless of course you want your productivity to take a nosedive, for people to gossip about you, and for you to do/say indiscrete things (oh yes you will, you don’t think you will but you will).

    If someone is “the one” trust me they will still be available after the two of you become friends and get to know each other for a significant amount of time.

  44. Sidney says:

    Here is where the misinterpretation of the 50% statistic comes from. Penelope writes:

    “more than fifty percent of the population IS dating someone from work”

    Helaine clarifies:

    “Yes, it is true that about half of all workers HAVE dated someone they worked with at least once”

    You see, grammar does matter.

    Oh, and Sean, if you cannot recognize when a bloggers schtick turns into parody, maybe you need to lay off the kool-aid.

  45. e says:

    The discussion on Slashdot that you link to has some good points at the beginning, but it quickly devolves into guys complaining about women’s social behavior. According to them, whenever a woman talks to a man, any friendly behavior is “too flirty”, and any flirtatious behavior is “maybe flirty, but not flirty enough!” In particular I am referring to this thread: http://entertainment.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=504424&threshold=3&commentsort=0&mode=thread&cid=22911340

    When a man interprets any interaction from a woman as “flirty”, no matter what her intentions are, then what’s the point of her trying to interact with him at all? It’s almost as if he is then saying “If you’re not interested in me sexually, I have no reason to talk to you.” I realize that this discussion is about dating in general and not specifically related to dating at work, but I think there are some tricky ideals at play here.

    Penelope, I’ve been reading your blog for some time and I would be interested to read your thoughts on how a woman can AVOID causing a man to think she is sexually interested in him, in a professional environment.

  46. e says:

    Helaine, I missed offer for questions before I wrote my comment (above), but I would be interested in your thoughts on the matter as well.

  47. John Feier says:

    Thanks, Penelope.

    The ladies need to be more assertive for sure.

    I think you got an earful from me already, so I think I’ll leave it at. :)

    John

  48. Helaine Olen says:

    e, that’s a really good question. What we found when was that the vast majority of office mates had been friends for months — if not years — before taking the relationship to the next level. There is no fool-proof way to determine if someone is interested in you or not, but one thing that ran through many of the office dating stories we heard was that the folks had many, many opportunties to be alone — coffees, lunches, drinks after work, you name it — before anything happened. So we said that if you are having a problem getting your intended alone to ask them out, that might well be a sign that they are NOT interested in you. Does that help?

  49. e says:

    Helaine,
    Thanks for your response, but that’s not exactly what I was asking. I meet a lot of people in my line of work, and I would like to be friendly and personable, but I don’t want to be perceived as “flirting”. I work in a very male-dominated field, and I have noticed that women who are perceived as being very flirty are not often not equally respected by their male coworkers. I realized that it’s kind of the opposite of what you wrote about in your book, but I figured you might have some ideas or guidelines to share.
    Thanks again for joining the discussion!

  50. Jrandom42 says:

    E, often there’s an edge to the “flirty” girl, in that it’s frequently perceived that the “flirty” girl is using her charm to get the guys to do her job for her, because she can’t do it herself. In a number highly technical fields, this is the basis for the lack of respect I think you are referring to. If you can show your technical skills and solve problems, the respect will come. After that, the friendliness will follow.

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