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Need Advice From TQCers! [Jan. 18th, 2013|05:26 pm]
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[blueskinjob]
So I just got invited by my ex-boss to a really awesome event next week.  I want to go because the event (inauguration-related, but not the official inaugural ball) looks really fun and it may be a great place to make some connections (since I'm looking for a permanent job right now).  The problem is, I'm about 80% sure he likes me romantically and I definitely do not feel that way about him.  I'm afraid if I agree to be his plus-one that he'll take it as a more-than-friends gesture on my part and make a move, which I really don't want to happen because I want to remain on good terms with him because I like him as a person and also want to be able to use him for a job reference.  What should I do????  It seems like it would be really awkward and presumptuous to tell him up-front that I only want to go as friends but I'd be worried the entire night that he was planning to make a move on me if I didn't say anything.  But I don't want to not go either!
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[User Picture]From: saikaro_x
2013-01-18 10:29 pm (UTC)

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Go. I might say something to him like, "This will be a great opportunity for me to network." so maybe he'll understand your intentions better.
[User Picture]From: bad_lcuk
2013-01-18 10:31 pm (UTC)

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If you want to be able to use him as a job reference, id be really apprehensive about going. If you do go, make sure you dress business-like and treat him 100% business-like, he should pick up the social standard pretty quick if hes not totally rude about hitting on you. I cant say to go or not because i have no clue what type of atmosphere that event is like!
[User Picture]From: blueskinjob
2013-01-18 10:34 pm (UTC)

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well it's basically one of the inaugural balls, but not the official one. it will be at night and there will be dancing, drinking, etc. and even though it's not a super-fancy one, it's definitely not something you'd wear business attire to so it's a hard environment to stay professional in. argh!
[User Picture]From: bad_lcuk
2013-01-19 02:48 am (UTC)

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Hmmmm to be honest then i would be really apprehensive about going. Id want to go to have a good time and drink and dance and be flirty and that would land me in a REALLY bad place with my ex-boss....because either hes expecting me to do it with him, or hes unhappy im doing it with someone else. I guess it depends if hes the type of person to adjust how he feels about you in a reference if you turn him down in any way, or if he will realize he socially cannot expect that and still give you a good reference. Your call! Some people feel bad when they realize they are hitting on someone of which they hold some power over (like a reference) so he may keep his cool, if hes a nice fellow.

(eta) the "turn down" everyone else is mentioning (explicitly stating youre going as friends before hand) is really good. Im not so good at that bit, but if its something youd genuinely enjoy you should really go, is how i feel. Ive missed out on so much because im too scared to say "ok, but we're just going as friends!" so please, do it in my spirit!

Edited at 2013-01-19 02:51 am (UTC)
[User Picture]From: rainbow_vagina
2013-01-18 10:32 pm (UTC)

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What are the reasons that make you almost positive that he likes you? If you feel awkward asking, try wording it in a subtle way, maybe.
[User Picture]From: blueskinjob
2013-01-18 10:36 pm (UTC)

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well, the way he acted toward me shifted after he found out my boyfriend and I had broken up. he was always friendly and nice, but he started getting a lot more so. and after we officially stopped working together, he started getting a lot more touchy-feely, not in a creepy way, but hugging and touching my back, etc. he also has kept in touch with me a lot more than most of the other people we've worked with. and a lot of my co-workers are convinced he has a thing for me. and now he's invited me to this party when he could've invited whoever he wanted.
[User Picture]From: rainbow_vagina
2013-01-18 10:44 pm (UTC)

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That sounds very awkward and creepy already. I would tell him how you feel about the event in a subtle way. You don't need this to worry about. It's his shit so let him deal with, and get over, it.
[User Picture]From: due27south
2013-01-18 11:29 pm (UTC)

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I wouldn't even go to repeat a touching-my-back situation. My bubble is pretty big though so.... but not worth "networking."
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[User Picture]From: rainbow_vagina
2013-01-18 10:48 pm (UTC)

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So lead him on but don't lead him on. What? Haha This confuses me and it isn't fair really. (What I think you're saying, not me being confused, that's fair enough)
[User Picture]From: heyfashion
2013-01-18 10:57 pm (UTC)

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TBH, in situations like this, I make up a pretend boyfriend. I would just casually say something like "I'll go, maybe somebody there has a job for me! Unless, you are inviting me as a date date, because I just started seeing someone..."

I know it might be kind of of cowardly, but it addresses the issue of making sure it's not a date without ruining your working relationship.
[User Picture]From: gainingvelocity
2013-01-18 11:06 pm (UTC)

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"If you can't find a real date, I'll go. That's what friends are for!"
[User Picture]From: rainbow_vagina
2013-01-18 11:22 pm (UTC)

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Perfect!
[User Picture]From: futurenurselady
2013-01-19 02:59 am (UTC)

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This is a great way to say it.
[User Picture]From: blueskinjob
2013-01-18 11:33 pm (UTC)

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well, perhaps i won't say anything specific/directed to him ahead of time, but i'll try and arrange it so i have to meet him there instead of him picking me up at home. and if he does try something/get too friendly i may just say that things are still really complicated with my ex (which is true, and we were together for a long time, and only been broken up two months) and i'm not in that kind of place but don't want to lose him as a friend. does that sound too patronizing? i really do want and need to keep on his good side bc of the reference thing since i worked for him.
[User Picture]From: boplenty
2013-01-19 12:09 am (UTC)

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It appears you are pretty sure that he is asking you out on a date. If you don't want to go out on a date, just say no. If you aren't sure, then you have no choice but to clarify the relationship as friends beforehand. gainingvelocity had a good suggestion, but frankly, I think no matter what this guy says in response, sounds like he is definitely trying to move out of the friend zone, and with dinner, dancing and drinks ... it will very likely end up awkward. Since I always avoid awkward at all costs, I'd just turn him down.

Think about it this way: if this wasn't such an awesome opportunity, i.e., he just invited you to dinner and a movie, how would you handle it? Don't let your lust for a good time get in the way of your good judgment ... 8-)