Home Career Advice 3 Awkward Office Situations And What To Do When You’re In Them
3 Awkward Office Situations And What To Do When You’re In Them

3 Awkward Office Situations And What To Do When You’re In Them

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When you think of an office, what’s the scenario that you imagine? Do you see hardworking people doing their duties from 9 to 5, or do you simply hear the clicking sound of keyboards? What about the harmonious relationship between the management and employees? Do you sense that as well?

Related: 4 Tips For Avoiding Conflict In The Workplace

It is the picture of an ideal work environment that makes employees productive. However, there are some awkward office situations that are out of your hands, and the only thing you can control is how you react to them.

Awkward Office Situations

Avoid the drama that particular office relationships can cause. Read on to find out what you can do when you find yourself in any of them:

Your boss becomes “touchy-feely.”

The Scenario: You just finished presenting your proposal in the meeting room, received a resounding applause from your colleagues, and a slight tap on the shoulder from your boss. Inspired to do better, you return to that little cubicle of yours and continue doing the monthly report your boss asked you to do. You are so focused that you didn’t notice that he’s looking at your monitor. He leans forward, tells you that it’s not the way to do it, and types it for you—all the while enveloping you in his arms.

You are already feeling uncomfortable, but you just let him be since you still think it’s harmless (plus, he’s your boss). The next day, he asks where you live so he could drop you off. It leaves you puzzled—it’s not yet late and also, does his wife know?

What You Should Do: In this situation, trust your instincts. He and his unnecessary advances can manipulate the situation and make you look like you’re flirting with the boss. Don’t wait for him to cross the line and say no to his invitations unless you’re with your co-workers. If he’s really persistent, request a transfer to a different department. You can’t compromise your image and you don’t want to create problems for either his or your family.

Your office relationship with a colleague turns into romance.

The Scenario: You’re eating lunch alone in the pantry when your office crush enters and asks if he can join you. This guy is someone you’ve been eyeing for months now because you think he’s cute and has a good sense of humor. You thought that this will be the first and last time you’ll be spending alone time with him but after several days and weeks of having a quick, small talk while making coffee, he finally asks if you can have dinner after work—just the two of you. Everything went by so fast and now you’re officially dating an office mate.

What You Should Do: There’s nothing really wrong with having a relationship with an office mate, even if he’s from the same department. It becomes wrong when it affects your work. Are you so in love that all you can think of is him? Don’t forget that you have a pile of paperwork that needs more attention. Also, in case you decide to part ways, stay professional. It’s hard but you should have known the perils of office romance before engaging in one.

The rumor-monger’s fishing for the latest ‘news.’

The Scenario: A colleague is having trouble with the task assigned to her, and you decide to help her out—that’s how your friendship started. You encourage each other whenever you are both stressed-out. Soon, you were able to talk not only about the latest rom-com flick but also share some tidbits about each other’s personal lives.

After a while, you find yourself working with a different team in your department. It’s your first time to work with them and you don’t know anything about your new teammates except their name and job description. To build rapport and teamwork, they invited you to go out after work. But instead of asking details about you, they were asking if your office BFF is seeing another man.

What You Should Do: During the forming stage, it’s normal to tell them interesting facts about you that can strengthen the team’s bond and for them to gauge your ability. However, it’s not an excuse to gossip about someone else just to talk about something in common. If you have to answer, just tell them you don’t know even if it’s not believable.

It’s hard to find real friends in the workplace, but it’s harder to have enemies. Gossip can backfire, so beware of the things you say. Avoid divulging secrets and stay with generic topics.

Can you relate to any of these situations? Comment below to discuss your office concerns and how you dealt with them, whether they’re listed here or not.

This post was originally published at an earlier date.

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Eunisse De Leon Eunisse De Leon is a writer aiming to help businesses become successful through strengthening their teams. She's also interested in Asian culture, music and animal welfare.