Most of us spend forty or more hours per week at work, so it’s understandable how intimate relationships can develop in the workplace. What is not so clear and simple is the courting and maintenance stages of dating a co-worker. Courting a co-worker can be fun, but tricky at the same time. It’s fun because a heightened level of interest develops; not about your job, rather it’s about the attraction. Now you look forward to going to work, you take more notice in your work appearance, and it makes your work days seem a little less stressful. It’s like having a high school crush all over again. You start to play this game in your mind that today may be the day a move is made, and this applies to men and women alike. Having an interest in a co-worker, or knowing a co-worker is interested in you, puts a little pep in your step at work. It’s all fun, but then it’s a matter of transitioning from subtle eye-contact and small-talk to actually ‘making a move.’ How do you show a co-worker you’re interested without crossing the line of sexual harassment? What if your co-worker rejects you, how do you maintain a professional relationship? It can be a tough transition because once you enter into that territory, there is no turning back.
I can think of more cons to dating a co-worker, than pros. I wouldn’t say it is be my ideal dating approach, but we can’t control who we are attracted to. We can, however, control whether or not we act on our attractions. So think before you act and consider all possibilities first! Consider the outcomes of a casual or serious relationship developing. How would you handle either outcome? Furthermore, he/she may not be interested at all, or very interested. Are you really prepared for these outcomes as well? It is so important to think about these scenarios because your workplace is your livelihood. Your livelihood is what pays the bills, keeps food on the table, and clothes on your back. The last thing you want to do is make a rash decision, especially in regards to dating, that can effect you professionally and financially. You don’t necessarily have to dwell on the pros and cons of dating a co-worker, but definitely think about it. If you decide to take a chance, then here are three crucial steps to courting a co-worker.
Step 1) Discover Relationship Status: You want to know his/her relationship status before you ‘make your move.’ You don’t want to ‘put yourself out there,’ to get rejected by default. Remember there’s no turning back. Sidenote: I know this step only applies to the select group that actually care about a person’s relationship status. If this doesn’t apply to you, then skip step 1 and proceed to step 2. (Lol)
Step 2) Befriend Him/Her: Friendship is the best way to show interest in a co-worker without crossing sexual harassment boundaries. Friendship allows you to get to know the person, which will then allow you to assess what he/she is looking for. Developing a friendship doesn’t have to be hard either. Start with small-talk, then lunch, and before you know it, you’ll be on your first date.
Step 3) Keep it Professional at Work: Office gossip is definitely a No-No in the courtship of a co-worker. You should discuss the importance that personal conversations and dates should remain private. Your fellow co-workers are going to talk anyway, so don’t give them something to talk about. It’s also important that conversations and behavior at work remain strictly professional. What you do on your lunch hour is between you and your co-worker, but at work keep it professional.
A healthy workplace relationship is attainable, but you have to be tactful; for the sake of your job and your budding relationship. Be very careful when mixing business with pleasure.