Dating In The Workplace
In Bosses, Colleagues & Clients By stacymorgan

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Why you should adopt a “hands off” policy with coworkers, and what to do if you can’t. 


Interoffice dating is taboo in all workplaces, and strictly forbidden in some.  Dipping your pen in the company ink can cause discomfort all around and lead to some serious fallout, including termination. 


Why Office Dating is a Bad Idea

1) How many relationships have you had that lasted forever?  Exactly my point.  Relationships at work are in fact MORE likely to end in a breakup than conventional dating.  The stress of seeing each other at work can be a deal breaker.  2) When the inevitable fallout happens it will be stressful and uncomfortable for you and everyone else at work.  3) Dating at work also means that your private life doesn’t stand a chance of staying private.  Why? Because gossip flies, dear friend.  4) Imagine how difficult it would be to maintain your dignity when Mr. or Ms. Thought-they-were-the-one spills the details of a certain private face you make to all your co workers. 5) Not to mention the potential for sexual harassment claims from either party after a heinous breakup.


How to Avoid Dating at Work

1) If you do happen to feel a small spark for a colleague, keep your office behavior in check.  This means avoid flirting, and no suggestive banter either.  Your office behavior should be strictly professional.   And if someone tries to take it further, you should just smile and keep it clean.  2) If you feel you may be tempted to pursue a co-worker, avoid situations that might further any existing romantic tension.  Groups lunches and especially happy hours, for example.  Off-site social occasions make everyone feel a little more relaxed.  Adding alcohol to the mix can mean you will act in a way you never would have in the office.  3) Overall, if you do become further tempted, ask yourself this, “would I have ended up alone forever if I had not met this person?”  In all likelihood, the answer is a resounding no.  Hookups are completely not worth this kind of hassle.

What to Do If It Happens

If you are unable to heed my advice, and likely the advice of your friends, family, and anyone else who knows you, then proceed with extreme caution.  Even if dating at work is not forbidden by your company, you still need to be discreet.  Even the most subtle of acts - a shared look here, standing a little bit too close there, or, always conveniently leaving for lunch at the same time.  All are still noticeable by the sharp-eyed office gossip queen, and you can believe rumors will start flying. 


If after all these words of caution, you truly, honestly feel that you would like to try out being a couple together, then have a heart to heart about the situation at hand.  Make plans to work out the “incognito” status you’ll both be entering.  No one wants to let a soul mate slip away.  And if things do pan out, you can always find another job.

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