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How to reject a co-worker who asks for a date

Many people meet their significant other at their place of employment, but that doesn't necessarily mean you want to date everyone (or anyone) you work with. Unfortunately, there could come a time when you're put in the difficult spot of rejecting a co-worker who asks for a date.

If you find yourself in this position, here are a few steps you can take:

  • First, say thanks: By doing this, you prevent the person from feeling rejected and/or angry. From there, you can explain why you're unable to join them, such as because you're in another relationship.
  • Make yourself clear: One of the biggest mistakes you can make is stringing the person along. You don't want to give them false hope, such as by saying "maybe we can talk about it next week." Instead, be clear that you don't want to go on a date, all while remaining courteous and respectful.
  • Talk about your career concerns: If you're concerned that dating a co-worker will affect your career, don't hesitate to share your feelings on this. For example, many companies have rules in place to prevent supervisors from dating subordinates.

Even if you take these steps, there's no guarantee that the other person will stop pursuing you. In the most extreme cases, this can lead to sexual harassment, wrongful termination or workplace discrimination.

If the other person steps over the line, such as by sexually harassing you, don't hesitate to report them to the HR department. If their actions impact your employment in any way, you may want to take legal steps to protect your employment rights.

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