How Not to Deal with Business Associates

By Paula Santonocito

Single women themselves are guilty of perpetuating the myth that a woman alone has aspects of her life on hold.

How do you dispel the myth? Make it known that you have a solid base, whether you rent or own your home. Participate and become known in the community where you work and/or live. Take an interest in local events.

By coming across as settled, you come across as stable, which translates to responsible—and able to take on additional job responsibilities.

Coming across as insecure because they are singleistas. There are times when even the most grounded and confident single women feel out numbered, which can make them feel out of place.

Take a company party that includes spouses or partners, for example. What happens if you’re not currently in a relationship?

It requires a solid sense of self to mingle single while most other event attendees are coupled. Still, you can pull it off.

It helps to remember that it’s a work-related event. It can also help to realize that you’d rather attend alone than with a reluctant partner, which a few of your coworkers may have in tow.

Not setting appropriate boundaries with married male coworkers. In the course of your career, men with whom you work will be attracted to you. And a number of these men will be married.

Although friendly interaction with married male coworkers can be harmless, it helps to be alert to potential situations that may arise. The leering leech is easy to detect and avoid; the nice guy going through marital difficulties who is looking for a female pal for friendship and possibly more, however, can catch you off guard.

If conversations with a married male coworker make you uncomfortable, let the person know, in no uncertain terms, that you value him as a colleague and friend (if you do), but that you aren’t interested in that kind of relationship.

Playing the single parent card too often. Single mothers do have challenges in their efforts to balance work and other aspects of life.

If Suzie has a school event or Joey has an afternoon Little League game, as an only parent, a single mother wants to be there. Likewise, a single mom has fewer options when a child is home sick from school.

Be that as it may, companies have businesses to run and cannot offer countless days off. Nor can they take into account every employee’s circumstances.

Life often throws you a curve ball, whether it’s in connection with a Little League game or something else. If you’re a single mom, you’ll likely have more than a few times when you need time off. It’s therefore wise to save personal and vacation days for such unexpected events.

It helps to also remember that although you are a single parent, other parents have responsibilities to their children. And your childless coworkers have family members—parents, siblings, and others, who at times require their support.