Shitting where you eat.
February 10, 2012 6:48 AM   Subscribe

I made the very classic mistake of sleeping with a coworker and now trying to pretend nothing happened. What is the protocol for this, because I have suspicions she is breaking it. Medium-long post.


I slept with a coworker 3 times at my small company over the course of November and December last year. I have been at the company for 1.5 years and it is her first job out of college. She is very flirtatious with everyone at work, which I found to be pretty bold for someone just starting their career.

During her first two months there, she would aggressively pursue me while I was dating someone else - asking me out to get a drink after work almost every week for a month (I'd decline, "Hey, I'll have to take a raincheck but I'll see you at the group happy hour friday", etc). She would also text me and chat with me online every day, all the time, extremely mundane things like "I'm sooo hungry!" or certain inside jokes we shared.

When things ended with the person I was dating I decided to take her up on her offer for drinks and, almost like clockwork, hooked up afterward - confirming my suspicions that she wasn't "just being friendly" when she flirted at work. After we slept together we discussed that this needs to be very casual and very private. I agreed to this. I am all for casual relationships. We go on another "date" the next week and hook up again.

What I didn't realize that to her, "casual" meant getting together solely on her terms and me feeling like a complete idiot if I dared make my own move. The next friday I texted her after work (she still texted me every day) to see if she wanted to hang out she would say really strange excuses like "you don't want to come here, my roommates boyfriend is over and he's really weird"...and when I'd say, "oh, well if you're trying to get out of the house you're invited to come out with me and some friends" she'd just flat out not respond, then text me the next morning "hey sorry, I fell asleep really early!" (at 7:30pm?).

She did the same thing the next week when there was an organized happy hour and I asked if she wanted to hang out silence, then, "I don't know what I'm doing afterward," then she tried to change the subject to something work-related. I figured, okay, obviously what happened was a one time (er, two time) thing and I'm making an ass of myself now - if she were interested she would have said Yes, simple as that. When I left that happy hour early because I made other plans, she texted me "leaving so soon?" and when I said yup, she said "oh. are you going home?" I told her I had other plans. I was extremely confused as to why she was texting me.

The next weekend she texted me and asked what I was up to that night, and I took it as an opening and said, "nothing, want to go out"? She said sorry, she has others plans. I was confused - what was she doing, testing me to see if I'd ask her out? I decide that this is obviously over, time to move on.

Except after another group coworker happy hour the following week (it is now a month later), she sleeps with me again, this time very spontaneously. I offered to drive her home thinking I really was just giving her a lift and she invited me inside afterward. We go to work the next day and pretend nothing happened.

The same cycle continues - I try to initiate things again a few times, she declines (without being straightforward in any way, of course). The last straw is when she invites me out at a bar in my own neighborhood, then "forgets" to call me or check her phone when she gets there - basically flat-out flaking on me. Maybe she was afraid I'd try to initiate something. At this point I decide I'm done being flirty with her at work, responding to her mundane texts, gchatting, etc. It's over. She's not into it. Time to just go back to being coworkers. This was about a month ago.


Except it's not over - it's been about a two months now since anything physical happened, and she still texts me all the time. She tries to gchat me when she's bored at work ("I'm sooo tired"). I ignore them, and she has noticed. And even despite investing in a good pair of headphones, she STILL comes over to my desk, pulls up a chair and says things like "Hi! Whatcha doin!" or if she sees me casually chatting with another coworker about non-work stuff, she'll find a way to butt into our conversation. It's gotten to the point where she mockingly says things like "HI ANONYMOUS!" or "ANONYMOUS IS IGNORING MEEE" in a patronizing, jokingly over-excited way when I walk by her desk or pass her in the hall. The worst part is, we work at a very small company (20 people, no real HR) so there is no avoiding this. We even work together as a team on a certain project.

Sometimes I give in to this type of flirtatiousness - I'll try to stay stoic and professional, but will end up giggling along with her by the end of our interactions because I can't help it. But I don't want to. It's getting to the point where work is becoming dreadful, because of her. I want to set boundaries with her, but am afraid it would seem really out of the blue for her and immediately make things more tense than they should be.

What do I do? How do I interpret her behavior? How do I respond?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (36 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Well, she has kept her boundaries with you at first. Now, that you're hip to her game she wants to reel you back in. She's playing you, homie.
posted by InterestedInKnowing at 6:59 AM on February 10, 2012 [12 favorites]

You probably just need to keep doing what you're doing only much more consistently. Ignore her texts (ALL of them -- maybe tell her you downgraded texting plans and they cost you $$ now?), be friendly and professional with her at work (when she pulls up a chair to chitchat with you, smile and tell her you're really busy on a project and don't have time to chat), and wait for her to move on to something more exciting for her. The only way to get out of the "push me, pull you" game where one person is only interested when the other person isn't is to stop playing the game altogether.

If being strictly professional with her and avoiding personal situations doesn't work, you may have to consider sucking it up and dealing with the consequences of your actions by finding a new place to work. It sounds like you've learned your lesson, and this situation isn't great, but you can always move on if this woman refuses to get the hint.
posted by Kimberly at 7:01 AM on February 10, 2012

At this point I decide I'm done being flirty with her at work, responding to her mundane texts, gchatting, etc. It's over. She's not into it. Time to just go back to being coworkers. This was about a month ago.

Did you tell her it was over? That this stuff that led to your casual thing ended bothered you? If not, tell her what's what.
posted by inturnaround at 7:08 AM on February 10, 2012 [13 favorites]

I'd work it like clockwork. Have a plan for how you'll graciously handle it each and every time. The same way--how are you, etc.

Slowly reduce the amount of time you interact with her, very, very slowly.

BTW these types of people are crazy and have driven generations of men and women insane.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:10 AM on February 10, 2012 [7 favorites]

You are not acting independently, everything you are doing is in reaction to her. What do you want?
posted by headnsouth at 7:11 AM on February 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

Focus more on what you want and how you feel. You speak a lot about her and how she acted and how strong she came on and how odd she acts now and so forth, when the real issue for anyone in this kind of situation is to get clear on how they feel and act in accordance with that. Frankly, it sounds to me like you got really into her very quickly and she confounded you because she didn't automatically jump into girlfriend mode. Well, that's her prerogative, I'm afraid. People use other people for sex and attention, unfortunately, without having any serious intentions all the time, particularly in their teens and twenties. (And, for the record, if you didn't want this kind of issue at work, you shouldn't have slept with her, simple as that.)

If you don't appreciate being strung along, don't play. Don't laugh with her at work. If she tries to bait you into interacting with her, ignore her. Don't roll your eyes, don't shrug and make eye contact with someone else as if to say, "Wow, Mandy is just so weird, amirite?", don't respond in any way, just stay on task and don't acknowledge her childish baiting. Ignore text messages, IMs, e-mail, everything. Don't pretend like she doesn't exist when you see her at work, but don't give her any more consideration or attention than any other co-worker. She's no more or less present to you than Sheila down the hall or Randy who works in the parking garage. Now might also be a good time to take on a little extra work, just to have something to really focus on other than this annoying little dance.

She's young and attractive, and she's using her sexuality to get her way. Film at 11. For you, this means take the high road, put it in the past, and stop attempting to figure out what's going on in her head.
posted by TryTheTilapia at 7:13 AM on February 10, 2012 [5 favorites]

OK this is how I read this, to me it sounds like she's the one being casual and acting like she did before, you said she is flirtatious with everyone. You took her up on her offer of a casual relationship then would text her when she was out on other dates or and the like and got annoyed when she made excuses. So she was too casual and now you're annoyed and would like her to stop being flirty with you. I'd just tell her that, say you are uncomfortable with a flirty relationship now you guys are no longer having a casual relationship and would she mind being more professional. In her mind, I'm willing to bed you had a casual relationship, it ended but as it was casual so hey if you hook up again that's fine too. Let her know, just tell her you are not comfortable with it, she'll move on to another person.
posted by wwax at 7:16 AM on February 10, 2012 [8 favorites]

I might be reading this wrong, but it seems like you might be into her. Like, really into her. Otherwise you would maintain your boundaries by just not sleeping with her. Cutting her off completely from friendly conversation at work? That is going really far and seems to be coming from a place of genuine hurt. She sounds more like an impulsive flake than any kind of game-player, but man those impulsive flakes can hurt.

So, okay, casual didn't work for you, and that's fine. It happens. Maybe now I'd say try to be friends, actual friends, instead of this weird no-contact thing you're trying (it is weird because you are in a small workplace and are allegedly still friends.) If that's not going to work then you need to ignore 100% because if you only respond part of the time, it's intermittent reinforcement which only serves to make the behavior more entrenched.

Good luck.
posted by the young rope-rider at 7:18 AM on February 10, 2012 [12 favorites]

Ack hit submit too soon. If she then doesn't take the hint and keeps trying to get your attention then basically do what everyone else suggested, don't rise to the bait, keep everything professional yourself. Don't respond to IMs or anything that isn't of a professional nature all she is doing is making herself look silly, she's like a kid wanting your attention so ignore her and she'll move on and if not if it becomes a problem at work you were the one that acted professionally and didn't make it a big deal and that's what will be noted by co-workers and bosses.
posted by wwax at 7:20 AM on February 10, 2012

How do I interpret her behavior?
This sounds to me like a young woman who is exploring (and enjoying) the power that her sexuality gives her. In a purely social setting, this is annoying; in a work setting, it's toxic.

What do I do?
Simply stop interacting with this person.

How do I respond?
Politely, but firmly.
posted by ellF at 7:20 AM on February 10, 2012 [11 favorites]

You are way into her, and she is just sleeping around. Just be friendly with her and stop trying to hang out with her outside of work, unless you're just into random hook-ups.
posted by empath at 7:28 AM on February 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

Sounds like exactly what you said - she wants to keep the casual hooking up to her terms only. She's not going to be available when you want her to be - she knows what you're after; she'll be available when she wants to be. This is a control thing, sure. It's a don't-tie-me-down, don't-get-serious, and certainly don't-expect-anything-of-me thing. (Plenty of guys do this too.)

And it sounds like you don't enjoy this - maybe it's making you feel used or like you're not on the same level, since the only role you get to play is the reactor. That's perfectly valid.

Now you're a bit of a challenge since you've pulled back from her, so she might work it until you give in again. I'd say that's likely, actually. You can tell her how you feel, but be prepared for her not to take you seriously or to double-down on the flirting.

But don't be afraid to tell her you're not into it, and then, you know, you have to be not into it. Be professional, be friendly, be cool - and use it as a learning experience.
posted by flex at 7:36 AM on February 10, 2012 [11 favorites]

I might be reading this wrong, but it seems like you might be into her. Like, really into her.

I got the same impression, seeing as how it was 'over', and then you slept with her again.

If it's going to be over -- make it be over. No responses to any IMs or texts. Even if she comes up and says 'Anonymous is ignoring meeeeeee!', simply say 'Anonymous is trying to work'.

That is, of course, if you want it to be over. If you don't, well... you probably have to make it over, regardless. These kinds of politics in the workplace are Bad News. And I'd be quite surprised if you were the only guy there she was playing these games with.

As said above, be professional, friendly, but distant. Don't get sucked in. Flag and move on.
posted by Capt. Renault at 8:24 AM on February 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

She's probably equally confused about the signals she's getting from you. The protocol should be to have an adult conversation with her.

The impression your post left me with was that she victimized you or manipulated you, and she bears more of the responsibility for this mess than you do. Is this the case? If so, it's not going to help you clear up this situation.

The most straightforward thing to do would just be to stop sleeping with her and have a brief conversation where you explain this to her. If you want her to stop texting you/gchatting you at work, tell her this.
posted by MoonOrb at 8:26 AM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

This definitely seems like a cute girl who LOVES to play games and mess with a guy's head. However, it also sounds like the type of girl who wants something that doesn't seem to want her. Meaning...when you finally gave in and started dating her she pulled away because she already got what she wanted. Now that you're pulling away she wants you again. It's strange and cruel I know, but this is the way many young women are. Bottom line, it's unlikely that this will ever amount to a real relationship because she's not ready for it. You probably don't wanna be in a relationship with a girl like this because it's unlikely that she's a one women type of girl. Just my opinion. You need to stick to your guns with boundaries. Don't be mean to her but don't feed into her energy. If you need to have a specific talk then do it. Tell her, "Hey I think you're great but I'm not looking to pursue things between us. Let's be professional but please understand that anything beyond that is no longer possible." Or something along those lines. You can even tell her that you really don't want this to become a problem at work. Hopefully you've learned a lesson here...don't date coworkers. While many people have met their significant others at work, I'm a firm believer of the never date coworkers because when it doesn't work out it's going to really complicate things at work. But since it's too late for that, the best thing you can do is remain professional and try not to let this get in your way of doing a good job at work.
posted by ljs30 at 8:46 AM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

This is classic and cliche. I mean it's not even sophisticated manipulation! You have two choices depending on your level of Machiavellian make-up; neither choice involves you having any emotions for this person. Choices:

1) play her to get sex as often and as freely as you want
posted by spicynuts at 8:53 AM on February 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

Stop accepting invitations to inside after giving her a ride home.
posted by rhizome at 8:55 AM on February 10, 2012

Stop accepting invitations to inside after giving her a ride home.

If it were me, I'd offer her as many rides home as possible, but I'm self-destructive that way.
posted by empath at 9:06 AM on February 10, 2012 [3 favorites]

It doesn't have to be self-destructive, but usually is when you like the other person more than they like you.
posted by rhizome at 9:09 AM on February 10, 2012

I agree with others that you seem to be putting a lot of focus and responsibility on this woman. The phrase, "she sleeps with me again," jumped out to me because it's so passive. Not "I sleep with her," or "We slept together," but "SHE sleeps with ME."
posted by amodelcitizen at 9:27 AM on February 10, 2012 [16 favorites]

I don't really agree with some of the comments here that this girl is manipulative or using her sexuality in some head game thing. You don't describe how she's being flirtatious with everyone, and sometimes, some women, especially if they're young and pretty and have any sort of friendly out going personality will be construed as flirtatious no matter what - it's just their personality. Or, they're naturally flirtatious, but that's the end of it, so what. It's only a problem if you read into it, and that you're attracted back. Of course I could be wrong and she is explicitly flirting with the intention of getting that sort of attention to use and manipulate, who knows.

I would add that, considering she's the new hire, and the fresh grad, retrospectively the onus is on you to not have responded to this sort of behaviour in the first place.

Reading your post, if I look at it from her side, it sounds like: she's at a new office, it's exciting, she's a naturally open and friendly type of person keen to get comfortable at this workplace. There's a guy she's attracted to and have some rapport with (he always reponds to her messages, and talks to her). She wants to either make friends/sleep with/be romantically involved with said person, you (and it was probably the case back) - and then you guys hooked up. You can't really say she confirmed your suspicions that she wasn't just being friendly because she slept with you - you two slept with each other. She can say the exact same thing about you.

The rest of it, sure she can probably be more mature about this, but so can you. Maybe she just thought after you guys hooked up there would be more of a connection - maybe she just agreed that it should be casual private for works sake but doesn't really feel that way. In the meantime, you had still sent her mixed signals of attraction. If you don't like her texting games and that she flaked out on you, I'd add that, you can say you were just planning to drop her off at home, but the carry through of that sort of decision is that you would have declined to go in and not hooked up again.

So, given that, I think it can be said that you are as incoherent in your messages as she is. The resultant fallout...she probably think you are attracted to her, and you cave once in a while, so she just has to bide her time and keep nice until you do again. In the meantime the behaviour is escalating a bit for attention. I think you'd do well with a conversation to explain you were attracted to her, there were some mixed signals on all sides, apologize for yours, and say that you are not now attracted to her, and you'd like it if in the workplace you guys keep it professional.

Lastly, I hope you recognize some of your own personal responsibilities in this and have a lesson out of it too: it takes two to tango, it's not just her.
posted by joannqy at 9:41 AM on February 10, 2012 [9 favorites]

My favorite part is where your coworkers (in a small close group) have to watch this and listen to her full-volume pout that anonymous is IGNORING her!!!

Please, get this under control one way or another. Based on her age and obvious disinterest in being an adult, I recommend ending it and keeping it over.

Also, from the female perspective, you are not doing a thing for her professional development or the image of women in the workplace. I get a little snippy about that.Just a little hobby horse I ride.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 9:41 AM on February 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

Yeah, so you could just take the simple route and tell her "this needs to stop for both of our careers' sake".

But if that active idea generates too much anxiety, then get yourself passively friendzoned. Pay a little less attention to your looks. Act desexualized. You need to respond to her attempts at contact, regularly, or else she'll just keep trying to contact you (pavlovian attention seeking!); just make these responses neutrally positive.

I'm sure you can imagine a way to make yourself less desirable - and this begs the question, why haven't you? which then points to what others have been saying: you're obviously more invested in her than you can admit to yourself.
posted by MangyCarface at 9:52 AM on February 10, 2012

Sounds like she just wants to sleep with you. When she asks if you're going home, she wants to come with you. When she asks what you're doing and responds negatively every time you reply with something other than "staying home", she wants to have a private and/or naked hang-out session. When she turns down your attempts to ask her out, it's because she doesn't want to go out - she wants to stay in. When she responds negatively after you ask her to come out with you and friends, it's because she doesn't want to meet your friends, because she just wants to sleep with you.
posted by theraflu at 10:59 AM on February 10, 2012 [4 favorites]

I could be completely wrong on this, but for some reason, my first thought was: she's married. And she only hooks up when her husband is out of town.

Of course, since you've been inside her apartment, you may have seen evidence that proves this wrong.
posted by MexicanYenta at 11:11 AM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

What I didn't realize that to her, "casual" meant getting together solely on her terms and me feeling like a complete idiot if I dared make my own move.

Okay, so she's interested in casually hooking up sometimes, but she wants to be the initiator. If you don't want to feel like an idiot, stop doing the thing that makes you feel like an idiot -- don't ask her out when she's consistently made it clear that she isn't receptive to being pursued. This isn't necessarily an invalid version of "casual," it just doesn't mesh with your preference for a two-way casual sex street. That's also fine.

It also sounds like she draws her line between "work socializing" and "her own time" very, very differently from you. She does sound immature. But consider that people compartmentalize their work lives and their social lives in all sorts of ways that might not make sense to others. For instance, it would be pretty odd for my fictional co-worker Clarissa from accounting to call me out-of-the-blue on a Saturday evening to ask if I want to hit the bars with her that night, just because we have a pleasant workplace acquaintance and do some friendly chatting over the specialty cocktail menu at a happy hour with a bunch of co-workers. But hey, both are freely-chosen social drinking activities outside of work hours including conversation about non-work subjects.

It's over. She's not into it. Time to just go back to being coworkers.

It sounds to me like you were always just co-workers, to her. Consider this interpretation:

- She wants to socialize and flirt with you at work. This has nothing to do with the sex.
- She wants to flirt with you at what she considers to be connected-to-work social settings. This is only indirectly related to the sex.
- She decides occasionally at this social setting that she'd like to initiate sex with you, her coworker.
- She does not want to date you. Date = make intentional plans to go out with you, during her own time, with a possible forecast of sex. (That thing you thought was a date was not necessarily a date in her mind.)
posted by desuetude at 11:53 AM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

I think your guys' view of casual is different and agree with theraflu above. She is defining casual as 'sleep together/don't hang out in public', you are defining it as...well I'm not really sure. Not so much sleeping together, more hanging out, meeting friends? Which can be considered kind of 'beginning of relationship' not 'casual'. If you want this relationship to be private and casual, you don't want to hang out in public and meet friends.

Also this "asking me out to get a drink after work almost every week for a month" is not an aggressive pursuit. She just started and asked you out what? Three times? That's not super crazy and could just be an attempt to make friends.

It kind of seems like you think you got played but I think you just have different expectations and/or experiences.
posted by hydrobatidae at 11:58 AM on February 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

Lesser Shrew: My favorite part is where your coworkers (in a small close group) have to watch this and listen to her full-volume pout that anonymous is IGNORING her!!!

Please, get this under control one way or another.

Yes, please, it's intermitantly cringe inducing and entertaining as hell for your co-workers! We all think noone notices our indiscretions ... trust me, they're watching, judging and commenting. For both your professional sakes, get a grip on the situation and start acting like grownups. Talk to her and get it over with so you can both move on and salvage some measure of dignity out of this.
posted by Allee Katze at 12:36 PM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Have you, you know, talked to her about this in the last two months? Something like "Hey, the hooking up was great but if you're cool being friends, maybe you can see that working professionally at work." Then you can stop this sort of childish dance you're doing with her.
posted by DarlingBri at 12:52 PM on February 10, 2012 [4 favorites]

What is the protocol for this, because I have suspicions she is breaking it.


At this point I decide I'm done being flirty with her at work, responding to her mundane texts, gchatting, etc. It's over. She's not into it. Time to just go back to being coworkers. This was about a month ago.

The protocol when you decide to "end it" is to tell the other person. Your account makes you sound like an incredibly passive person who is having all these things done to them and apparently can't make it stop, but it doesn't sound like you've ever actually communicated with this woman about anything. The responsibility for everything that is happening between you lies with both of you.
posted by oneirodynia at 1:16 PM on February 10, 2012 [3 favorites]

You probably do feel like you've already talked to her. I give lots of non-verbal cues that I expect people to pick up on. Like, "Can't they see I am ignoring them because I am uncomfortable, and they blew me off, and what do they want me to do, anyways?" But some people don't get it or evasive behavior is something they are drawn to or other reasons. There's no substitute for saying, "I'm sorry if I've been stand-offish at times, but x, y, and z is bothering me now. Do you think you could stop?" Then discuss from there.
posted by amodelcitizen at 1:37 PM on February 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

"Hey coworker, I wanted to talk with you about our work relationship. Since we started hooking up I've felt awkward at work. I guess mixing hookups and work doesn't work for me. Anyway, I think you are a cool person, but I would be a million times more comfortable if we went back to a more professional type of interaction. So I'd like to just be formal-yet-amiable coworkers at work, instead of horsing around and gchatting and stuff. I hope you understand. Best, Anon"
posted by feets at 2:27 PM on February 10, 2012 [7 favorites]

If you only liked her as a casual thing there would be no more sex and you would behave professionally. It would all be over by now.

So you're saying one thing and thinking/feeling another. Guess, what, she might be doing the same thing!

You have absolutely no idea what she really thinks about you. No idea at all. Unless you actually talk to her about it - and even then she might lie. Because you work together, it's awkward. Human beings - we are messy.

There's another question you should read about men, women, and flirting - men see women as more flirtatious than they actually are if they want to nail them. Read it. Because all I get from her stuff is that she's lonely and being friendly and has had sex with you three times. Three times. Over two months. Which is nothing. It's so casual it's practically non-existent. But there's all this angst and drama in your head - because you have deeper feelings for her than you're letting on.

What is the protocol for this, because I have suspicions she is breaking it.

she sleeps with me again, this time very spontaneously. I offered to drive her home thinking I really was just giving her a lift and she invited me inside afterward.

Please, please, please get out of the habit of blaming other people for your own actions. Take some responsibility.

But I don't want to.

So for the love of god, don't. If you want to stop sleeping with her, stop sleeping with her. If you want to behave professionally with her, behave professionally. If you cannot do that, you leave.

Alternatively, you might want to have a conversation with her in which you tell her you like her and see what happens from there - but you might just find out what she really wants then.
posted by mleigh at 3:51 PM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Tell her you are over her, that you don't want to hang out/screw her, and you want to keep your relationship professional from now. If she persists you will report it as sexual harrasment (having checked the relevant guidelines for what constitutes this in your workplace).

Whatever you do, have a plan, and keep to it
posted by GeeEmm at 5:05 PM on February 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

I want to set boundaries with her, but am afraid it would seem really out of the blue for her and immediately make things more tense than they should be.

Which is pretty much what you need to happen, if you don't want this to contiinue.

What do I do?

Take some responsibility and go have a talk with her - you need to be clear that it's over (if it's over) and that you both need to act professionally and set some boundaries. You can only hope that someone who resorts to over-dramatic sighing and pointing out to others that you are ignoring her will listen to you and adjust accordingly. You can hope.

How do I interpret her behavior?

Stop interpreting it. Stop thinking about it. Why does knowing the reasoning behind her behavior matter? Do you want to have some sort of relationship with her still?

How do I respond?

Politely. Casually. Distantly. Don't engage with her unless you have to, don't talk to her outside of work, don't give her a lift home. Because you seem to have just slightly more common sense and self-control than she does, frankly, and it doesn't bode well for either of your job/careers. But you have an opportunity to learn from this:

-aside from not dipping your pen in company ink, you might want to have the "state of this union" talk before you go dipping in the first place.

-people who "boldly" flirt with "everyone" at work probably don't have discretion as their strong suit.
posted by sm1tten at 5:34 PM on February 10, 2012

How do I respond?

1) Ignore her. There are two scenarios. You keep doing your job. She walks down the hall saying "Anonymous is ignoring me". At that point, it's all about how you look.

If you look guilty, flustered, etc., she wins. Because she is being bubbly, outgoing, and fun, and you are being an asshat.

If you continue on with your life, confidently and happily, she will look like the damn fool she is.

2) Find someone else to play with for a while. Ideally not at the office.

She is text-book playing with you homie (as was mentioned).

When she asked you what you were doing and you said nothing, you thought you were saying "hey I'm free to hang out with you" and what you really said was, "Nothing. I am here if you need me. Go try something else and if it doesn't work, give me a call".

When she asked you to meet at the bar in your neighbourhood and flaked, she played you like a champion because that means she can treat you like poop and you'll still take her calls.

But you now know all of this.

So stop being distracted by the flattery of the young booty and the sweet taste of fruit you may have thought was long-gone. Go find someone decent to play with. Get absorbed in that, and let this little girl fuck her way out of a job.
posted by nickrussell at 4:44 AM on February 12, 2012

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