How to reject your coworker's advances

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How to say no to your coworker

When a coworker asks you out it may be flustering when you don't know what to say and don't want to be rude. Here are some response you can give in this awkward situation.

If your coworker says: We should hang out sometime!

You can say: Yeah, let's invite the whole team (or so and so).

If he says he meant for only you two to hang out, you can say that you think it is best to keep the relationship professional (make sure to use 'I' words focus on your feelings and not them- so they don't feel attacked)


If your coworker says: Can I have your number?

What you can do: First, politely inquire what he needs your number for (he may just be asking for work reasons). If his reasons are for texting you to 'hang out' or other outside work purposes you are not comfortable with, you can say: I am sorry, but I don't feel comfortable with giving my number out.


If your coworker has your number and now keeps texting you

What you can do: Pull them aside at work (it's more personal than texting) and tell them that you would appreciate if they contacted you only for work related things.

If your coworker hits on you and makes you uncomfortable

What you can do: Say something along the lines of "when you [the action that bothers you], it makes me feel [uncomfortable or any other description of how you feel]. Next time, can you please [an action you would like to see instead or say can you please stop.]

If they continue to do it, ignore it and don't give a reaction while acting professional. If it crosses the line to sexual/plain harassment make sure to contact HR and keep track of all the actions your coworker has done that has been inappropriate as proof. Keep note of the date, time or any written sexual or plain harassment as well as detailed interactions. Do not wait to notify HR or be afraid to. You should feel safe at your job.

Other tips to do at work

  • At work, try not be alone with this coworker during breaks. Try to always be in a group, so there is no opportunity for one on one pressure.
  • Be professional! Don't be rude, do not gossip or discuss the coworker, do not flirt and stay composed.
  • Do not lie. If you get caught in the lie, it looks bad on you and can tarnish your relationship with that coworker more than it would have if you were direct. The best way to go is being direct but polite.
  • Do not be afraid or feeling like it is mean. If you say yes, just because you didn't want tension or would feel bad- rethink that. In the end, you will be uncomfortable and the longer this goes for the more awkward it may become. Don't let it get that far, nip it as soon as you can.

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