Dear Dr. Christine,
Why does a lesbian boss who I ride with to work once but will not answer my email invite for dinner? She knows I am a lesbian also, and she has never made any moves on me, but she seems to like being around me and tries to be around me often at work so I cannot understand why she is treating me this way. I am beginning to think that is just her personality and she is this way with everyone. Why won’t she just say “yes” or “no”?
What’s going on in Wyandotte
Dear What’s going on,
Sorry to disappoint you, but it sounds like you have a good boss! She isn’t dissing you at all! She’s not giving you mixed signals or setting you up for hurt and failure. You are lucky to be employed at a place where you can be out, and your boss can be out, and there isn’t any harassment, sexual or gender or any other way. It sounds like your boss has appropriate professional boundaries, not hitting on you, but letting you know she likes working with you. It sounds to me, like she is treating you correctly as an employee, even though you share a commute. And you both get to save money commuting together! It sounds win/win, as long as you don’t take her professional distance as a deliberate slight against you. I have worked with people who got involved with their bosses, romantically and sometimes just as close friends, meeting for dinner outside of work. Recently, one employee lost her job due to the conflicts and tensions that created on the team of other employees. Being on closer terms with your boss may lead to you learning things about her personal life, or she learning about yours, that makes commuting and working together awkward or difficult. And if she shows favoritism with you, due to the commute generating a closer relationship, it may cause all kinds of problems with your other colleagues. Accept her professional boundaries, be gracious and friendly, but don’t look for problems where there are none. If you change jobs, and she is no longer your boss, she might have a change of heart. Until then, be glad you have such an ethical boss!
Let me know how the relationship is going as you both explore, identify and communicate your non-negotiables. Take care, Christine C Cantrell, PhD, LP