How to Flirt at Work to Get Ahead

Flirting is a basic and fundamental form of social interaction that, despite the best efforts of managers and policy makers, is a daily part of most work environments. People flirt at work to find love, to get promotions, to pass the time, and sometimes because they just can't help themselves. At best, it's an innocent way to build positive relationships and have fun with coworkers, but at worst it's an unwelcome and offensive means of making people feel uncomfortable and harassed.

But science shows that when done right flirting can raise self-esteem, boost energy levels, and even improve job satisfaction; so whether you're looking to land a big promotion or find true love, we have tips to help make it happen.

How to flirt to get ahead in your career

Flirting effectively in a professional environment really amounts to mastering the art of making people feel connected and good about themselves without crossing the line to something much more personal. Here are a few key secrets of professional flirting courtesy of Forbes.

  • Smile and make eye contact to show that you're engaged and interested in what the other person is saying.
  • Build positive rapport by making light jokes and having an overall cheerful, friendly, and open demeanor.
  • Ask colleagues personal but career-related questions, like how they got into the industry or whether they've ever dealt with a particular challenge, to help you feel closer.
  • Flatter by complimenting successful projects, ideas, and even clothes or hair as long as you genuinely mean it. Be careful not to "play favorites" or lay it on so thick it seems insincere.
  • Touch sparingly on the lower arm or hand to emphasize a point and connect.
  • Put your best self forward and show that you're a confident professional by wearing stylish and fitted (not tight) clothes that flatter your figure but don't show too much skin.

Office romances: Tricky territory

Put a group of people together for eight hours a day five days a week, and attractions are bound to spring up. Office romance is a tricky thing, though, and how you handle it can affect not only your personal life but also your professional reputation and livelihood. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, employers are seeing an uptick in lawsuits from workers who claim they were fired in order to head off a possible discrimination case. The litigious environment is making many companies extra cautious about workplace relationships.

If you do choose to pursue an office relationship, be sure to educate yourself on your company's HR policies first, keep your behavior professional at all times, and keep any romantic flirtation strictly outside the office.

Absolute workplace flirting nos nos
  • Don't make people uncomfortable. If the other party is not reciprocating or the flirting feels awkward, abort mission immediately.
  • Don't use touch too frequently or anywhere other than on the lower arm or hand.
  • Don't dress provocatively or push the limits of professionalism by wearing clothes that are too tight, too high, or too low-cut. And keep makeup subdued and traditionally sexy fashion statements (like animal print) to small accessories only.
  • Don't behave seductively (licking your lips, looking people up and down, bending over, etc.).
  • Don't target specific individuals for frequent compliments or attention.
  • Never flirt in writing, over e-mail or IM (it's never really completely deleted).

Next:Weak Economy is Killing Off Office Romances >>

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