MORE BLOGS: Blurt | Stuck in VT | Solid State

Seven Days Blogs: Mistress Maeve

« It Gives Good Aural | Main | America Voted — Come Out, Already! »

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Flirtation Faux Pas

31024925_1Dear Mistress Maeve,

I work in sales in a power tool company and have a happily married customer whom I have been selling to for over four years. Our working relationship has evolved into more of a friendship, and we like to tease and flirt with each other. Co-workers at our respective companies joke that we are “boyfriend and girlfriend.” Everything was going fine until last week, when we were making arrangements to attend a tradeshow together. I said that I would have to get a hotel room, but since he lives closer to the convention center, I innocently asked if he was going to get a room. He seemed to take my question as an invitation and started acting weird. He automatically shot back with, “Oh, yeah. I'll just tell my wife I’m stuck in traffic.” I was so mortified that I could only laugh nervously and quickly change the subject.

Our conversations over the last few days have been very uncomfortable, and his co-workers are being very distant over the phone, as well. Do you think I should bring it up? Above all else, I want to maintain the business aspect of the relationship. But I also don't want to lose my buddy.


Dear E.F.,

Let this be a lesson learned — it’s not usually wise to mix flirtation with business, especially if the guy’s married. While using your sexuality may help boost your sales, it could also start revving up the wrong power tools, if you know what I mean. And clearly it can also lead to uncomfortable situations like the one you’re in now with your client. You should rely more on your smarts and less on your sass; ultimately, business people will respect you more.

As for the mess you’ve created, request a meeting with him at his earliest convenience — in person, if possible. Pick a professional setting and wear proper business attire. Be frank and let him know that you feel he misunderstood your question about the hotel room. Tell him that while you value the “friendly” working relationship you’ve had thus far, you value his business too much to risk losing it. Let him know that you’re willing to make whatever adjustments necessary to ensure his comfort and his commitment to your working relationship. Hopefully he will appreciate your efforts to correct the situation and you won’t lose any sales over this.

I realize that you’re a woman working in a very manly industry, but it’s time for you to pull the plug on your power flirting and demonstrate what you’e really made of.

Saw blades and drill bits,

blog comments powered by Disqus
All Rights Reserved © SEVEN DAYS 1995-2010 | PO Box 1164, Burlington, VT 05402-1164 | 802.864.5684