Q: I accidentally swiped right on a coworker on a dating site and it was a match. What do I do now?
I was sitting at home last night and perusing one of those dating apps where you swipe right if you are interested in someone, and if they’ve swiped right on you as well you get a match. This particular app has a twist on it where if the match is a male/female pair, the woman has to speak first, and if they don’t speak within 24 hours, the match disappears forever.
As I was swiping last night, I was watching TV and my mind was only half on what I was doing. As a result, I swiped right someone who is a director at my workplace. He is a director over a team that analyzes sales and I work in a department that is in charge of making sure quality products get produced, so we do not work together but we do work out of the same office. There’s not a very good chance that he would have recognized me when he was swiping, but his department is one that I’m interested in applying to (and to make this more interesting, a position for a sales analyst has opened up recently).
So now I’m not sure what to do. Do I message him and acknowledge the situation and that it’s a bit awkward, or do I let the match expire without contacting him and hope that he doesn’t recognize me when I apply for his team?
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A: Nah, let it expire and pretend it didn’t happen.
Online dating has become so ubiquitous that you might indeed see a coworker or client on a dating site or app from time to time. The best way to navigate that is with the polite fiction that you’re blind to their presence there. That allows everyone to preserve their privacy in a realm where they probably want it and keeps real-world awkwardness to a minimum.
I’ve occasionally seen people argue for sending the other person a message within the app, saying something bland like, “Hey, fun to see you on here too” … but I wouldn’t do that. It puts the other person in a situation where they have to wonder if you’re hitting on them (it’s a dating app, after all) and, even if that doesn’t happen, it’s likely to increase the amount of awkwardness.
A polite blindness to their presence there is the way to go.
Q: How should I deal with a boss who constantly praises me in written performance reviews, but treats me like I am incompetent in person?
My boss will praise me on paper but seems to treat me as incompetent on a daily basis. Part of what I do involves training other employees, and she will crash meetings uninvited. Even for meetings she’s invited to, she stands right next to me and repeats everything I say. She’s not paraphrasing, she’s not making sure my speech doesn’t get overly technical; she simply repeats every word I say once I’ve finished.
If she overhears that someone has requested assistance or had a question, she’ll rush off after them once they’ve left my desk and question them about their problem and the solution.
Again: on paper, she’s all praise. During reviews, all praise. If there have been problems leading to this behavior, she doesn’t acknowledge they exist.
In the two years she’s been here, I’ve gone from loving my job to dreading it. My motivation and confidence have never been lower. Everyone else seems to get on well with her. Am I just being overly sensitive?
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A: No, that sounds horrible. Have you ever asked her about it and asked her if she’s open to handling things differently? That’s where I’d start. Say something like this: “Jane, I’ve noticed that you’ll often attend the training meetings I do with others and go over the topics that I’m covering with people, and also that you’ll often follow up with people after I’ve answered their questions. This makes me think you might have concerns about how I’m handling these situations. If so, I’d very much want to know so that I’m able to work on whatever feedback you have for me.”
If she says that she doesn’t have any concerns about your work, then say this: “That’s good to hear. In that case, would you be open to not stepping in during these things? It can feel like you’re signaling to others — and frankly, to me — that you don’t trust me to handle it.”