Make boss take the hint

The Morning Call - - GO GUIDE - Amy Alkon

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.

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