How close is too close in a workplace

co-workersWorking with co-workers on projects, we can find ourselves bonding with them. As we are working long hours, texting everyone constantly on projects or to do lists that need to be completed. We can find ourselves in a predicament.
Since we are spending most of our time working together we can expect individuals to grow closer to each other. Relating to one another with our lives. Some interactions can, to some extend cross the line.

In some cases an individual can misconstrue the bonding. What do you do, how do you let them know it is not reciprocated?

You still have to work this person, but now you are feeling uncomfortable around them. But you must speak with them hoping they will understand. You are planning to have an honest conversation with them, letting them know you are not interested. In most cases the conversation will be sufficient, the co-worker will apologize and step back.The matter is closed.

Unfortunately in some cases, the co-worker will not understand but continue their quest. At that time speaking directly to your manager is the best way to handle the situation. The co-worker will be meeting with management and step back.

What happens if your direct manager is the one behaving inappropriately? Speaking with them directly will be the first option. If they persist, you need to speak with HR. It is not an easy task to do, you still are at risk, even if HR prohibits any retaliation to be at the mercy of that manager. In extreme situations you are transferring into a new department or leave the company

We all have free wills but no one should impose their will on others.

How do you keep situation like this from  happening?

While working with co-workers, try to keep your personal life private. Some individuals are going to be eager to interact with you or give you unwanted advice. Before you know it, they have inserted themselves between you and your significant other.

Something to think about is the way you dress. Dress business casual appropriately. What you wear outside of work could be misconstrued in a business environment by co-workers as an invitation. I have witnessed this on many occasions. If a skirt is a couple of inches above the knees, a line would form a few feet’s away, for a few individuals, hoping the person in the skirt would have to pick something up.

Sometimes being too helpful and kind can be construed by some individuals as an invitation, that perhaps you are interested in them and would like to see them reciprocate. This was never your intention, but here it goes, someone trying to come on to you. How do you tactfully tell them “to get lost”?

There is a fine line working together. But make sure when working in close proximity you are not sending, unconsciously,  mixed signals to the other co-workers.
You do not want to find yourself in an embarrassing situations that will requires you to justify yourself to your supervisor/HR but also to your significant other as well.

You do not want to be the focus of the gossips or being labeled based on misconceptions.