Rachel, this guy talks dirty to me
The writer, a media rep, wants to knows how to make him stop
November 2, 2012
At one agency I call on as a media rep I find myself dealing with a middle-aged buyer who goes out of his way to use language that makes me ill at ease and crosses over all borders of decency. It's not that he's coming on to me. It's more like a dominance thing, intended to keep me in my place. We are able to do business but I feel I need to stop this for my own sanity. But at the same time, I don't want to do something that will destroy the relationship entirely. Your advice? Sign me Tired of It All
You most definitely need to put an end to this, and frankly you should have done it a long time ago.
He is unprofessional in his behavior, to say the least. He's also a jerk and a petty bully who's using his position and the power that comes with it to compensate for inadequacies one can only begin to imagine.
You need to straighten him out first. Second comes what effect it may have on your business relationship, which, let's face it, doesn't have much going for it at this point.
You could go over his head to his boss but my guess is that his boss already knows about the problem and chooses not to put a halt to it.
There's a lot of weird thinking out there when it comes to the business of negotiating, and many believe using such underhanded tactics is perfectly acceptable.
Your best approach is to confront the problem head on the next time he begins to use language you find offensive.
Just blurt out exactly how you feel:
"Excuse me but I find that word offensive and I'm asking you to not use it in my presence."
"Please, I don't use that sort of language with you, and I don't want you use it with me. This is a business discussion, and that language has no place."
See how he reacts.
He may well apologize and clean up his act. You can hope for that, certainly.
But there's a chance he will attempt to laugh off your objections.
If that happens, get up and leave.
Walk out, and on your way out explain that you will not call on him again if he can't learn to behave himself.
He will likely be surprised at your response — bullies aren't used to being stood up to — and that may be enough to stop him for good.
But if he persists, go to your boss and explain what happened.
Then leave it to your boss to get in touch with the bully's boss and work things out. Neither side is going to want to end the business relationship over this person's behavior, and they will not let it happen.
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