I am a woman who works in a fairly large government organization, which is predominantly male. I maintain good working relationships with my coworkers by being friendly, but not personal (usual chit chat stuff) as I need to speak to people from other teams often to obtain assistance for my team. I am having an issue with men (mostly older) who misinterpret this as being too friendly.

This has happened twice but it is the second time I found most inappropriate. What happens is one day a week I work in our city office. I have an acquaintance I bump into the kitchen and we talk about our lunches or sometimes there are after work drinks for the department (I am not in that department but I have gone twice).

Today he messaged me using the instant messenger we use and told me where the drinks were located. I said if I went I would have to leave at 6pm for something. He then asked if I wanted to go for drinks with just me and him. I flat out said no. This is not even a friend, I didn't even know his name.

The first situation was a vague friend in another team telling me about his trip to Japan with his partner. He then invited me to go with them. I said that would be awkward but he looked offended.

Should I shrug this off? the drinks thing I found very odd as I barely knew this person and it will make things uncomfortable now, though luckily I barely work there. I cannot think of anything I can improve to discourage this, I do not flirt and even my clothes are boring things men would wear.

closed as unclear what you're asking by HorusKol, Masked Man, Mister Positive, gnat, Richard U Jul 21 '17 at 12:22

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    Simply stop responding if he is constantly messaging you and inviting for unwanted meeting etc. – Helping Hands Jul 21 '17 at 6:12
  • What is the problem you're trying to address? How to better handle these unwanted invitations? Or how to deal with the people you think you've offended? – HorusKol Jul 21 '17 at 6:13
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    I don't think you're wrong for declining these invitations - but I think there may be something about how you expressed yourself in these situations that could have been done differently. – HorusKol Jul 21 '17 at 6:16
  • I distinctly maintain professionalism - I never talk about my personal life whatsoever, for all these staff know I could be married. Most of our discussions revolve around what we are having for lunch or what we are doing on the weekend, if its not work. The only other way I could change how I express myself is to not talk to people at all in the lunch room. – user74331 Jul 21 '17 at 6:40
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    While these people may have meant nothing by it outside of being friendly, even if you've never been flirty with someone, they might still find you attractive or simply likeable. People commonly establish personal relationships (either romantic or not) in the workplace, so it's not as outlandish for people to see if you'd be interested in a relationship outside of work as your question seems to imply. If you're not interested, simply make that known politely, but I don't think there's ever any way to prevent people from ever approaching you for a friendly chat or an invite to a social event. – Cronax Jul 21 '17 at 9:03

A simple sentence:

No, thank you.

This is both polite & straight to the point. You don't need to elaborate on reasoning. You're there in a professional capacity, not a personal one.

People will get the hint.

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