Before even getting into different ways you can tell if you boss is flirting with you, ask them. That can be a loaded question, but knowing what someone is thinking is not easy.
Next time your boss displays the behavior you think is flirting ask, are you flirting with me? It does not have to be accusatory. Just by mentioning that you thought that was against the rules should give you your answer.
#1 How does your boss behave with everyone else? If you can’t tell if your boss is flirting with you or if they are just personable, take a look at how they interact with the rest of the staff, both male and female.
You can also ask a trusted coworker if they have a history of getting friendly with employees. This helps you navigate the situation. If your boss asks everyone their weekend plans and teases them, they may just want to create a laidback atmosphere. [Read: Clearly noticeable signs of attraction through body language]
#2 Do you feel singled out? Are you the only one getting this treatment? Does your boss give you time off or ask you to work one-on-one? This may indeed be flirting. More often than not if you feel like it is, it very well maybe.
That does not necessarily mean they will act on the flirting or take it beyond an in-office wink here and there. If you are the only one feeling like you’re being flirted with, you probably are. From there, figure out if you want to carry on with it or keep things strictly professional. [Read: The absolute 10 worst people to have a one night stand with]
#3 Ask your coworkers. Now you do not want to be known for starting rumors at work, but asking around helps you figure out the extent of this questionable flirting.
Have other people you work with noticed your boss’s flirty ways? In my experience, if your boss flirts with you, they probably make it a regular thing. Doing a little recon helps you see if there is a pattern.
#4 Do they text you after work hours? If so, this is not normal work behavior. Unless you are a personal assistant, and your boss needs their iced latte or suit for an event. This is probably flirting, even edging on inappropriate.
If these texts are solely about work, you have every right to tell your boss that you would like to keep work during the hours you are being paid. But if they are texting you about your plans, family, or literally anything personal, it is flirting.
#6 Do you get extra benefits? If you’re wondering how to tell if your boss is flirting with you, keep an eye on any special privileges you’re getting. They may offer you the most coveted projects, vacation time, or flexible hours. This could be due to your awesome work ethic. If you haven’t seen anyone getting these perks, this could be a form of flirting.
Be careful with this one. A boss who promises these perks or benefits may be expecting something in return other than your required work.
#7 They ask you out. Grabbing lunch together or getting drinks at a local bar after work could be totally innocent. But once again, if you are the only one your boss takes the time with off the clock, flirting may be the reason. [Read: Subtle hints that say if they are being flirty or nice]
#8 Does your boss buy you things? It is one thing for your boss to surprise everyone with bagels or give you a cupcake on your birthday. However, if your boss gives you treats or bonuses, this is totally flirting.
Do they bring you desserts or have flowers waiting for you on your desk when you arrive? What about a gift on Valentine’s Day? If it is anything but a branded pen or gift card to Starbucks, this is likely special treatment.
#9 They make work not about work. If you boss is in a meeting with you and continuously changes the subject to your dating history, recent break up, or even comments on your wardrobe, that is flirting.
#10 Does your boss make physical contact? Hand shaking, a hug at the Christmas party, and a nudge in the copy room may be totally innocent.
If you have a crush on your boss, you may want to know if you can flirt back. First find out the office rules. Is it acceptable to date or be involved with a coworker? There might be different rules for an employee ranked higher than you.
Whether technically flirting or not, if anything your boss does makes you uncomfortable, you need to speak up. You may feel fearful of putting your job in jeopardy or being a snitch, but if you feel uncomfortable it is likely others do to.
Before talking to human resources or anyone else at work make it clear to your boss that whatever behavior is making you wonder, is unacceptable. If they rub your shoulder, compliment your looks, or even call you honey or sweetie, professionally say I’d rather just focus on work.
From there, if the situation progresses you’ll want to go to human resources or someone that doesn’t answer directly to your boss. You may want to make a complaint or possibly be transferred. But you should not have to deal with being hit on at work if you don’t want to be.