If there’s one thing we’re passionate about here at DrAndyRoark.com, it’s how to stay happy- at work as well as home. We get lots of questions about how to maintain healthy professional relationships in various situations, so we’ve brought in an expert who knows a thing or two about getting along with people- our resident labrador, Dear Labby.
I work in a small hospital where I am often the only doctor there on any given day, so no matter who walks in the door I get to see them.
A couple of months ago a new client started coming in who was very friendly, but he almost seems too friendly. He’s always asking if I’m dating anyone (I am) and then sighing. He asked once for my phone number to call me with questions about his dog and thank goodness the staff refused, but it makes me nervous. They think it’s funny that this client has a crush on me. I’ve made it clear I’m not interested but that doesn’t seem to stop him from trying.
I’m not sure what to do since he hasn’t exactly done anything wrong, but there’s something that makes me just not quite comfortable. I’m fairly new so I don’t want to cause a ruckus with my boss over something like this, but I also would be fine never dealing with this client again. Am I wrong for feeling this way? Help!
–Unhappily Pursued in Poughkeepsie
Hm, this is a tough one. I mean, I love everyone because I’m a labrador, but I know you people aren’t always the same way. Sometimes a person just doesn’t want a slobbery kiss no matter how much you want to give them one, and I just have to respect that. So should he.
This is a challenge because technically this client hasn’t crossed the line, but something is setting off your sensors- either he can’t take a hint or thinks it’s ok to continue trying to pursue something more than a professional relationship even after you’ve made it clear you’re not interested. Just because you’re in a service-oriented industry doesn’t mean you’re obligated to accept bad behavior. You agreed to take care of his dog, not his relationship status.
The way I see it, you have a few options:
1 – Grin and bear it.
If the behavior doesn’t escalate hopefully he will get the hint and stop.
2 – Recruit the help of the team.
Ask the front desk to schedule him on days you aren’t there, or if you do have to see him, make sure another team member is always in the room with you. They can always run interference with something like, “Oh yes, I love Dr. Sweetie’s boyfriend! Have you seen his MMA trophies?”
3 – Be direct.
The next time he asks about your personal life, say, “To be honest I always try to keep my personal life at home. So about Bruiser’s ear infection….”
Obviously this advice isn’t meant for any sort of behavior that goes beyond the casual unwanted flirty behavior. If it escalates despite your best attempts, it’s time to bring in the boss.
Dear readers, if you have anything to add to how to handle unwanted attention, please do! I’m a sharing dog.