It’s been chronicled that flirting in the workplace is like walking a tight rope. The line between an office crush and harassment allegations is thin due to the rise in injustice movements surrounding sexual harassment, both in life and at the office.
The problem remains: what exactly is flirting and how much is too much? If all parties involved aren’t on the same page, it becomes an issues — which is clear as day when flirting is analyzed from the male and female perspective.
New research published found that over one in four American men think flirting at work is appropriate, but it’s quite a different story for women. Ninety-three percent of women said they disagreed with that notion, according to a study published by Toll Free Forwarding.
The study, which spoke to 1,000 US works and 1,000 UK workers, wanted to see how communication differs between the two countries, which can be seen in the workplace.
The trickiness of flirting in the workplace
Keeping things professional shouldn’t be too hard to ask, should it?
Even with attention to issues that had previously gone unnoticed, it’s been argued that flirting in the workplace can pack some health benefits, even if one is hesitant to do so. A study found that flirting at the office can be beneficial due to its ability to reduce stress and even calm insomnia caused by workplace issues.
There’s a clear difference in perceptions for communication and what’s considered appropriate by both sexes. American men were found most likely to flirt, shout, or discuss sex in the workplace, while women are more likely to see negativity in communications.
Twenty-seven percent of men in the workplace said discussing sex is okay in a professional setting.
“Historically and currently, women have been the recipients of bias and discrimination in the workplace. One possible explanation for this gender difference is that women are more likely than men to be on the ‘alert’ for possible negative actions toward them,” said clinical psychologist Robin Rosenberg in a statement. “Being more likely to see a negative subtext (an “obstacle”) may help women better navigate around such obstacles. To use a different metaphor, it’s important to know where the landmines are so that you can step around or over them, but not on them.”
Let’s take a deeper look into some of the areas the study looked at.
Whenever a man hears “bless your heart,” many think it’s a compliment. Over three quarters (77%) of men said they take the phrase as a compliments, the same as if they were being told, “you’re sweet”. But for women dishing the comment, almost half (44%) said they use it as an underhand insult, similar to like “you’re dumb.”
Sarcasm and swearing
Sarcastic coworkers can give anyone a headache — and workers hate it.
Sixty-seven percent of American workers said sarcasm is unacceptable in the workplace. When it comes to cursing or using foul language in the office, 80% of American workers said it was also something that they frowned upon in the office, but if only your toxic boss could read this.
The truth behind the words
Female workers, has a male coworker ever told you that your proposal needs a “few amends”? If so, you’re in for a lot of tinkering. Forty-four percent of men surveyed said the phrase actually means that the project is awful and needs to be redone.
Just a little over a quarter of women said they understood this mean, but 74% of respondents said they interpreted it as few typos in the work.