Have you ever had the feeling that your boss likes you as more than just another employee?
Is this something that you’re dealing with now?
Perhaps you sometimes notice him watching you, or maybe his fingers linger on yours for just a second longer than usual when your hands touch as he hands you a cup of morning coffee.
This can be a tough situation to read — it’s hard enough to tell when a guy likes you when there’s no working relationship involved, but coworkers in 2021 need to tread lightly with matters of love and romance.
He might like you, or he might simply be a flirt who interacts with all women this way because that’s what he’s comfortable with.
It’s important to understand whether you’re just flattering yourself or if this person really does like you “that way.”
It can help you avoid a lot of embarrassment and even repercussions at your jobs.
After all, there’s a reason people say, “don’t date your boss.”
At the same time, love can be elusive, and who wants to give up the possibility of a great relationship just because he’s someone you happen to work with?
If you’re like most people, you spend more time at work than anywhere else, and it’s only natural that workplace attractions develop when people spend a lot of time together.
Let’s find out what some of the signs are that you can look for to help you understand more about your boss’s intentions. After that, we’ll discuss what to do about it.
(#2 may come as a surprise but it’s based on a hot new topic in relationship psychology).
1. They pay more attention to you and help you, even though you don’t need it.
If he’s paying more attention to you than usual, than other people, and than his own team, it’s more than a coincidence.
Humans are creatures of habit and when things take us out of that habit, there’s usually a really good reason.
Even though you feel like your boss trusts you and knows your work, you can’t help but feel as though they are hanging around a bit too much for their own good.
Offering to kick in on projects or bringing you into their circle of projects, you might be feeling as though you’re getting far too much attention.
Of course, this could be made worse if others also notice you’re getting more attention from the boss than they are; however, all you need to be concerned about is whether or not lines are being crossed.
In many workplaces, there are strict rules about dating coworkers, so it’s important to get clear on what’s going on here.
2. Your boss feels this powerful emotion around you
Even if you and your boss only spend time together at work now, if you’re making him feel a certain powerful emotion, then chances are your boss likes you romantically.
I’m talking about the hero instinct.
The hero instinct is a fascinating new concept in relationship psychology which claims that men are much more likely to fall in love with women who make them feel like a hero.
Do you let your boss step up to the plate for you? Does he feel like he’s protecting you (even in little ways) and helping you with your career? Is he your mentor as well as your boss?
Then chances are he has strong feelings of attraction towards you.
The simple truth is that men have a biological urge to provide for and protect women. It’s hardwired into them.
By making your boss like an everyday hero, it unleashes his protective instincts and the most noble aspect of his masculinity. Most importantly, it will unleash his deepest feelings of attraction.
And the kicker?
A man won’t fall for a woman when this thirst isn’t satisfied.
I know it sounds kind of silly. In this day and age, women don’t need someone to rescue them. They don’t need a ‘hero’ in their lives, especially at work.
But here’s the ironic truth. Men do still need to be a hero. Because it’s built into their DNA to seek out relationships that allow them to feel like a protector.
The hero instinct is a legitimate concept in relationship psychology that I personally believe has a lot of truth to it.
To learn exactly how to trigger the hero instinct in your coworker, check out this free online video by James Bauer. He’s the relationship psychologist who first introduced the concept.
Some ideas really are life-changing. And for romantic relationships, I think this is one of them.
3. You’ve received unnecessary gifts from your boss.
While everyone loves to be recognized for a job well done, a gift without any reason isn’t always received well.
If you’ve received a gift from your boss without any explanation of why you’re being recognized, it might be time to sit down and ask yourself what’s going on here.
This can be especially confusing if your boss insists that you are doing a great job and wants to thank you for your service, but others in your office are also doing a great job – maybe even a better job than you! – and aren’t being recognized for their service.
If you also like your boss and feel like something might be happening, you’ll need to prepare to have that conversation, rather than letting this go on for everyone to see.
4. Your boss is obviously flirting with you.
It’s so obvious that he’s flirting with you, it’s painful.
And whether you like it or not, flirting in the office leaves you open for criticism from other coworkers and could spell trouble down the road.
Still though, if you want to know for sure what’s up, the flirting will get you every time.
It’s not hard to tell when someone is flirting with you and if you’re getting it from all sides from this person, it’s probably a good indication that they are into you.
If you find that your boss is crossing the line between friendly banter and chit-chat to more sexualized or intentional conversations about the two of you, you can bet your bottom dollar, something’s up.
All you have to do is look around at how this person talks to others in the office.
If you’re getting special attention or feel like you’re being spoken to in a different way, that’s a good indication that they favor you in some way.
Recommended reading: 15 no bullsh*t signs a guy is flirting with you (and what to do about it)
5. Your boss may be attracted to you if he engages in significant eye contact
Prolonged and significant eye contact is one of the top indicators of romantic interest no matter what the context.
Your boss may not even be fully aware that he’s doing it. If you catch him looking into your eyes on a regular basis, chances are his thoughts are straying in the direction of romance.
Here are some things to keep in mind to tell whether your boss likes ou:
- If they maintain eye contact with you even after you’ve caught them, they might be interested.
- If their eyes consistently wander to your mouth, they’re definitely interested.
- If they look away quickly when you catch them looking, they might like you but they know it’s wrong.
- On the other hand, if they break eye contact with you and naturally continuing gazing around the room, they may have accidentally caught eye contact with you.
- If they tell a joke or say something funny, their eyes will glance towards you to see if you’ve laughed (if they like you).
6. Dinner and drinks are always on the menu
Another sign that your boss might be interested in you is if they invite you out for dinner and drinks.
Even if it is under the guise of work-related conversation, if you’re the only one getting the invite, your boss probably has more on their mind than the budget.
Before things go too far, take stock of your own feelings and get clear on what you want.
If you have no interest in this person but fear for your job, it might be a good idea to get some mediation help from HR.
If you do like this person and think there’s a real chance at a relationship with them, you two will need to have that conversation and navigate office romance.
Depending on the policies in your office, that office romance might need to be made public, or, you may find yourself dealing with a worse-case-scenario conversation: one of you has to leave the company in order for you to pursue this relationship.
Many difficult conversations will come from a sexual attraction in the office, whether it’s with your boss or not.
People need jobs and need to be able to go to work without fear for their jobs because of how they feel.
If you feel like this attention and special treatment is impacting your job performance or feel like you don’t want to engage in a relationship with your boss, it’s best to deal with it quickly, rather than let it go on for a long time.
There is no right answer here and only you can decide how to proceed.
7. Your instinct tells you they like you
While not as obvious, you need to learn to trust your gut.
When you work day in day out with someone, your instinct is actually operating off lots of subconscious signals that have likely lasted for a while.
You already know whether something is going on here or not and you’re just too afraid to admit it because then you’d have to do something about it.
Sometimes you just know when someone is giving you the eye.
And you can always monitor how they treat other employees to confirm your instinct’s suspicion.
Obviously, if they don’t give them any special attention as they do with you, then you know they probably fancy you.
If you notice that they treat the opposite sex in the same flirty manner, then they might just be a sleazy type of character.
That’s not fine, but it means that they don’t exclusively fancy you and just you.
8. He feels essential to you
Men thrive on solving women’s problems.
Does your boss help you to solve your problems at work (or even in life)?
Then chances are he sees you as more than a colleague or friend.
For example, if your computer is acting up, or if you have a strategic problem and need advice, do you seek out his help?
A man wants to feel essential. And he wants to be the first person you turn to when you genuinely need help — especially if you guys work together.
Although asking for your boss’s help may seem fairly innocuous, it actually helps to trigger something deep within him. Something that is crucial to him developing feelings of attraction towards you.
For a man, feeling essential to a woman is often what separates “like” from “love”.
Simply put, men have a biological drive to feel needed, to feel important, and to provide for the woman he cares about.
Relationship psychologist James Bauer calls it the hero instinct. I talked about this concept above.
As James argues, male desires are not complicated, just misunderstood. Instincts are powerful drivers of human behavior and this is especially true for how men approach their relationships.
If you want your boss to have romantic feelings towards you, then there are things you can do to trigger this instinct in him.
You don’t need to pretend to be anyone you’re not or play the “damsel in distress”. You don’t have to dilute your competence at work in any way, shape or form.
In an authentic way, you simply have to show your boss what you need and allow him to step up to fulfill it.
In his new video, James Bauer outlines several things you can do. He reveals phrases, texts and little requests that you can use right now to make him feel more essential to you.
By triggering this very natural male instinct, you’ll not only give him greater satisfaction as a man but it will also help to rocket your relationship to the next level.
9. They invite only you to late-night drinks
This one is as clear as day.
If your boss invites you (just you!) out for drinks, rest assured they want to talk about more than Monday’s meeting.
Going out after work only makes sense when the whole office partakes.
But if they zeroed in going out to drinks with you and no one else, then something is up.
You might say that you two get along great, but it still isn’t common practice, especially when it is just the two of you.
10. They send you random check-in texts
If you’re getting a random text from your boss to see how your weekend is going or how the birthday party was or how your movie night went, there’s more going on than meets the eye.
Lines are being crossed and whether or not you want to cross them is up to you, but this is a sure sign they are into you.
If the texts aren’t about work, then you can be sure that they are into you.
11. They get personal about their life
He might tell you something that he isn’t sharing with other people because he trusts you and feels safe around you.
They might tell you something big about the company or their personal life and they want your insight.
Do they ask questions to show they are interested in learning more about your personal life, or are they talking about their personal life… non-stop?
Keep in mind that if they are continually talking themselves up about life outside of work, then they are probably trying to impress you.
12. They are trying to show you the power they yield at work
They’ll tell you about your promotion opportunities or hang them over your head in some way to get you to talk to them.
They’ll probably give you “vertical praise”. This is praise about your work where they are talking from a position of power.
It’s very condescending and you’ll notice if it happens to you.
What they’re trying to do is come from a position of authority so you can recognize that it would benefit you to suck up to them.
This isn’t cool, but if you need confirmation that they are into you, watch how they treat you about your work.
13. They rock up in new fancy clothes at work to impress you
If they suddenly look good, it’s probably not just you that notices.
If they have been wearing new clothes or dressing differently AND they’re doing some of these other things like talking to you more, telling you things, or inviting you out for drinks, it’s because they want you to notice them. And their new wardrobe.
14. They seem to have confidence in you (for things way outside of your job description
They are always asking for your opinion.
They don’t just tell you how it’s going to be around the office, they look for your insight and want to know what you think…even if it’s not part of your job description.
15. They are constantly giving you gifts
One last thing: if they have given you a gift, whether it’s a new office, or something more personal, there’s a motive behind it.
The question is, what will you do about it?
They’ve given you all the signs.
You might be thinking the same thing they are: I can’t make a move because we work together.
So it’s best to just hash it out in conversation and decide how to move forward together.
It impacts both of you – and your coworkers – so think about the bigger picture as you decide what to do.
There’s no right or wrong answers in love… only in the office.
So if you’re into them too, figure out a way to make it work for everyone.
16. Your boss may be attracted to you if he goes out of his way to ignore you
Although this flies in the face of reason, a boss who’s attracted to a coworker is very likely to be aware that acting on his feelings could cause serious complications and may even negatively affect his career.
It only makes sense that he’d try to keep his attraction undercover.
17. Your boss sings your praises to others
Bosses who find themselves attracted to others in the office may go out of their way to not shower you with compliments, but they might not be so circumspect when you’re not around.
If coworkers constantly tell you that your boss talks you up, it could mean he sees you as more than just another employee.
18. Your boss may embellish your future with the company
If your boss brings up your future with the company more than what seems usual or necessary, he could be thinking about your future with him instead — particularly if his predictions seem to be coming from behind rose-colored glasses.
19. Your boss makes excuses to be physically close to you
If your boss often hangs around your desk and otherwise finds reasons to be physically close to you, it may be a signal that he’s attracted to you.
20. Your boss finds ways to work one-on-one with you
Unless you’re the only person in the office with the skill sets necessary for the types of projects your boss takes on, finding ways to work one-on-one with you may be a solid indication that you’re the object of his romantic interest.
21. Your boss asks your office friends about you
If he asks your office friends about your personal life, particularly if you’ve got a boyfriend, it’s extremely likely that he’s got designs on you.
At this point, it may be wise to put the brakes on any growing attraction.
22. Your boss laughs at your jokes a little too loudly
Laughing too loudly at your jokes means that he’s seeking your attention and approval. You can test this out by telling a few jokes that simply aren’t very funny
23. Your boss speaks to you outside of the workplace
Those who work at the same office frequently live nearby, and it’s not at all unusual for coworkers to exchange brief pleasantries when they run into one another outside of the workplace setting.
However, if he seems to want to prolong the conversation behind a simple and polite hello, he may be hoping to get to know you on a personal level outside of work.
Keep in mind that your boss may have no intention of becoming romantically involved with you even if you were to give him the green light.
You may be simply in the running for what’s known as an “office wife.”
These types of work relationships typically do not involve romantic liaisons and can actually be quite productive when expectations are clear to both parties.
Having a work husband means that you’ve got a colleague whom you can trust to have your back and who can help you in your career by playing ally and advisor.
These relationships generally develop naturally over the course of time, however, and rarely begin with one party expressing romantic feelings for the other — they’re primarily about workplace dynamics rather than personalities.
If you’re convinced your boss likes you, here’s what to do about it
While it’s flattering to learn that someone has a crush on you, it can be downright awkward to learn that the person who has a crush on you is your boss.
And while you might benefit from their attention and adoration for a while, if things don’t work out in the end or if you’re having an argument, this could really cause your work life to take a hit.
Of course, nobody goes down this road thinking they are going to hurt each other, but unless you’re in it for the long haul, having an office romance with your boss just has bad news written all over it.
So what do you do to avoid those awkward feelings and finding yourself in a situation you don’t want to be in?
Here’s our best advice.
1. Be Honest and Upfront (Sort of)
Even if your boss isn’t actually coming on to you, you want to set clear and focused boundaries about the nature of your relationship and let them know that you like to keep things professional.
There’s no need to bring up whether or not they like you or that you think they like you, which could be uncomfortable and potentially damaging to your job — this is the unfortunate part you hear so many people talk about.
So rather than risk getting hit where it hurts, try taking a direct, yet subtle approach to let them know where you stand.
You don’t have to walk up to them and tell them you’re not into it.
Instead, you can slip in statements about work relationships and how you find them inappropriate or how you worry about how it makes the parties look when someone dates their boss.
It’s not ideal but you’re still being honest and upfront about where you stand without embarrassing them or causing an issue between the two of you.
2. Make it About You and Not Them
If your boss comes on to you and you’re not interested in pursuing a relationship, try to take the reigns and let them know that you are really focused on your career or family.
Let them know that you don’t think you could dedicate the time to being the kind of partner they clearly deserve.
Again, treading lightly because this is your boss we’re talking about and they (unfortunately) have a lot of power over you, but nowhere does it say that you should be made to feel uncomfortable at work, especially about romantic relationships.
If it’s not for you, focus on why it’s not for you and don’t make it about them.
If your boss persists or insists that you should date or be together, it might be a good idea to get someone involved to help mediate the conversation in a better direction.
The last thing you want is your boss holding this over your head as a way to get what they want.
3. Be Honest with Yourself
Here’s the thing: you might like this person as much as they seem to like you, but you gotta ask yourself if it’s worth trying to have a relationship with this person.
While we like to believe in the idea of soulmates and one true loves, the truth is that there are literally billions of people on the planet who would be as good – if not better – for you.
But we tend to focus on a small pool of people and are more likely to fall in love with those we spend the most time with.
That doesn’t mean they were the best person for you; it just means they were the person you liked the most out of all the people you’ve met so far.
And when you put things into perspective like that, it becomes easier to walk away from something that could end in bad way for both of you.
And if that doesn’t help you look the other way, consider this: marriage is on the decline, divorce rates are up and only a small percentage of relationships actually last as long as we think they do.
Is it worth it to go down this road when the odds are against you?
Normally, yes, it’s worth it to date and see where things will go, but we’re talking about your boss here.
The odds of it working out are not as good as you think they are and, ultimately, your career could be on the line.
It’s difficult to know that you want to be with someone and have to make a decision not to pursue that relationship, but in the end, it could be the best thing for both of you.
If you find that you do want to go this route, you and your boss need to be very clear about what you both need and want and how this will all work.
You can’t just play it by ear. It’s not just your lives that are impacted by this decision: it’s the lives of all the people you work with as well.
Take it one step at a time, tell the people who need to know, and do your best to keep work and life separate.
Because the majority of workplace romances don’t work out, it’s recommended that you proceed very cautiously if you’re interested in this guy.
Be honest with yourself about the possible outcome and make sure that you’re willing to accept the repercussions should the relationship should hit the rocks at some point in the future.
As a general rule of thumb, avoid getting involved if at all possible unless you’re fairly confident that this has long-term relationship potential.
At the very least, office relations will be strained for a time in the aftermath of a failed romance between two coworkers, and worse-case scenarios include damage to reputations within the industry and the derailment of once-promising careers.
If returning his romantic feelings isn’t in the cards, it’s time to start drawing some firm boundaries that signal your disinterest.
Hopefully, you can nip this thing in the bud before it becomes an obstacle to doing your best work.
Most guys are pretty quick to get the message when a woman isn’t interested, but if he’s younger and socially inept, you may need to be blunt with him.
No matter what path you ultimately decide to travel with this situation, keep in mind that very few people have ever regretted taking a discreet, professional approach to emotionally charged workplace conditions.