Make boss take the hint
My newly divorced business colleague keeps asking for my hot friends’ phone numbers. I think this is highly inappropriate. If things go badly, I’m stuck in the middle! I keep hinting that I don’t think it’s cool for him to put me in this position, but he doesn’t seem to be getting the message. Help. — Stuck
It’s so annoying when your colleagues leave their mind-reading helmets at home.
In such cases, there is a way to get your message across, and it’s by directly expressing it — in words. This is not exactly a mystery of the universe I’m revealing here. But like many women, you probably have a tendency to default to hinting and hoping for compliance.
This looks like a flaw in female psychology — until you hold it up to an evolutionary lens, as the late psychologist Anne Campbell did in looking at sex differences in assertiveness. Campbell explained that being direct — unambiguously stating what you want — can make another person angry and lead them to retaliate, possibly physically.
A woman who is physically harmed might not be able to get pregnant or fulfill her role as her children’s primary caretaker, making her a genetic dead end. So, women especially have been driven to protect themselves and their reproductive parts. Campbell believes this led to the evolution of female indirectness — not as flaw, but as a feature.
The thing is, the evolved emotions driving this behavior aren’t your master, and you don’t have to obey them. You simply have to be willing to pay the price of rebelling: feeling a little uncomfortable when you draw outside the evolved emotional lines. This just takes telling the guy “no mas.”
He’s free to look up friends of yours on social media and contact them there if he wants, but he needs to stop asking you for their numbers. You’re down with bringing in more clients, but you draw the line at acting as the corporate recruiter for his penis.