He can’t complain to HR about this ‘matchmaker’ … she is HR!

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in Your Office Coach

Question:  “Our HR manager recently asked if I would be interested in dating another employee who is also single.  I told her that I have no interest in asking this woman out. I am a mid-level manager in a small company, so having a social relationship at work would be very awkward. It makes me uncomfortable that an HR person is trying to plan my social life.  Should I tell management about this or just hope that the subject isn’t raised again?” —Concerned

Answer:  Your overly chummy HR manager clearly doesn't understand the boundaries of her role.  HR people should not pry into employees’ personal lives, much less encourage romantic encounters.

However, this matchmaker may not have a professional human resources background.  In small companies, owners often designate an untrained but “people-friendly” employee to handle personnel tasks.  

Relaying your concerns upward could put an end to the HR manager’s social engineering. On the other hand, if she’s well-connected politically, it might also harm your own career. So before lodging a complaint with management, weigh the benefits against the risks.

If you’re approached again, clearly state your position on workplace romance. For example: “I know that you’re trying to be helpful, but I have a personal policy against dating coworkers.  I just don’t believe in mixing work with social relationships.”  A firm refusal should dampen her desire to fix you up.

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