If you’re among the many who find themselves smitten with a co-worker, you’re certainly not alone. Work is where we spend most of our waking hours. It’s where we find success, failure, and friends, so why not love? But it can be dicey to pursue someone at work, when there’s so much at stake. Here, a few tips and tricks for navigating workplace romance as smoothly as possible.
Avoid a boozy work event hook-up
You’ve been pining for the woman who works in the cube three down from you, for six wretched months. You love her laugh, you have the same taste in music, and her legs refuse to quit. It may be tempting to wait until you’ve both had three margaritas at the holiday party to sloppily confess your love, armed with the kind of bravery only tequila can provide. Reconsider, my friend. The odds of you making an ass of yourself in front of her and/or your coworkers are very, very high. Asking out a co-worker should be done privately and soberly. Drink afterwards, either to celebrate or grieve (kidding…sort of).
Just preparing to see my crush at the July 4th company picnic… (image credit)
Proceed with caution
Most large companies are on high alert for sexual harassment claims. While a Say Anything scenario is romantic outside of the workplace, inside the workplace, it can be grounds for termination. So take your love interest at his word. No, he’s not interested in having a drink with you after work? Your response should be courteous and short–“Okay, no problem.” Move on. No pressing, no flower sending, and no vindictive behavior in future interactions with him.
Don’t be standing outside his cubicle with an iPod dock…
Most relationships don’t work out. Think about it, if you date five people and marry the sixth, your track record stinks (always happy to give you fellas a confidence boost). And that’s totally normal, most of us need many tries to find the right person. Knowing that, the odds that you end up with the person you meet at work are actually kind of small. So approach a possible relationship with your eyes wide open. Ask yourself–what will my work experience be like if this relationship doesn’t work out? Will I be able to remain professional and courteous? Will the other person? Thus….
Talk about it
…also be prepared. You have feelings for a co-worker, and she for you, you’ve decided to go for it, good for you, truly. The next step, before wine and Barry White, is a conversation to set ground rules. How will you behave at work while dating? Who (if anyone) will you tell about your relationship? If either of you is involved in mentoring/coaching/supervising the other, this is a good time to find someone else to step in and take over that role. If your company has a strict policy regarding disclosing dating in the workplace, you should have at least a part of this conversation in the presence of an HR rep.
Slow your roll, lovebirds. Reason first, romance second. (image credit)
Keep your hands to yourself
There’s nothing more delicious at the start of a relationship than that feeling of not being able to keep your hands off the other person. You just want to kiss him and hold his hand and run through a field singing, tra la la la! Yeah, don’t. No kissing, no hugging, no hand holding, no butt patting, no arm squeezing.
At work? Son, you gotta wait to touch the cookies .
About the Author: If you’ve got a question that needs the female treatment, chances are you’re not the only one who wants to ask it. Beth is our source for the answers. From opinions on men’s style to decoding the sometimes mysterious ways of women, she’ll take on a different question every Thursday. She also might provide an answer without waiting to be asked. That happens from time to time too. Click here to get to know Beth, then get in touch with her by sending your question to: firstname.lastname@example.org .