It happens to many women and can happen at any stage of your career. A man sets his eyes on you and while you initially set appropriate boundary or limits, he somehow seems to make his way into your personal life. Then, as quickly as he appeared, he seems to disappear – often leaving a trail of tears or anger.
While it has not happened often in my own career, there have been one or two situations that left me upset at myself for not vetting a particular individual well enough. So when this almost happened again a couple of weeks ago, I intentionally sought out the information needed to make key personal and business decisions. It only took two weeks and I was able to do so because I did not take this person’s words seriously and waited to collect enough data on his behavior.
In this day and age of social media, men may find you in professional networking groups, on LinkedIn or follow you on Instagram. Their intentions may be good ones in the beginning. Their interest is peeked and they seek you out. You may get a ton of validation on particular posts, a loyal following and then a chat message appears or you receive an email.
That’s where you really need to start paying attention.
He will be kind, supportive and offer all sorts of compliments. He will begin the process of luring you in with his words and promises of a close friendship. He will say that he appreciates you and your work. Before you know it you are either meeting him in person or chatting via video chat.
While not all of these situations are red flags in the making, it is necessary to understand how to spot red flags early on so that you can protect yourself – especially if you are either highly sensitive or very compassionate. Narcissistic men are much more likely to contact you in the way described above and are highly attracted to women who are compassionate and kind. The last thing you, as an ambitious woman, need in your life is a man who makes several attempts to steal away your emotional well-being and disrespect your professional life.
What are the Red Flags to Watch For?
1. When you speak to him, do you feel like he is really interested in you or is it your job, position or your public image that excites him?
You may need to dig deep in yourself while you speak with this person. If you feel like you could get up and leave and he would be still talking – that’s a major red flag. Many sensitive individuals will also find themselves feeling sleepy or tired. If you are drained after speaking with him, it is a red flag.
2. Does he
make promises and not follow through within a few days?
These men are notorious for saying they want to date you or take the relationship to a more personal level only to disappear a week later. This hot and cold behavior is a major red flag and you can easily see it within the first few days. If he says he is going to connect you to his friend, watch to see if he actually sends the email. His behavior is always more important than the words he uses.
3. Does he
treat you with the proper level of respect personally and professionally?
As kind and compassionate as we are, we as women sometimes let men cross boundaries more than we should. Check in with yourself about whether you feel respected after you speak with the person or not. Take the time to really listen to yourself. If you find yourself rehashing every little detail about him to your friends that is a red flag and a sign he may not be emotionally available.
4. If you bring up a point about his behavior or an opinion that he does not like, what is his anger level?
Can he have an adult conversation or does he immediately defriend you on all social media? This a major red flag. Participate in your common professional network and purposefully and professionally disagree with him in public. If he cannot handle your professionalism and throws a temper tantrum, you will have the answer you need to simply move on. Do not be afraid to also ask colleagues about his professional reputation.
If you are unsure what to do, continue to set boundaries around your professional relationship. If he continues to push against your boundaries, you may need to find a stronger way to tell him to stop. Consult with colleagues or other trusted advisors to devise a strategy around the situation. You want to act professionally and not impulsively.
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