If you’re like every other workingwoman (or man) who is dedicated and hard working, your commitment to work makes it nearly impossible to meet anyone outside of work. You’re probably not just a nine to five worker – you’re that successful someone who works extra hours and weekends, and is trying to get ahead to be successful. And you know what that makes you?
Both men and women are attracted to people who are confident, passionate and focused, with interests and areas of expertise. Who wouldn’t be? Think about it and there isn’t an easier, simpler or more convenient place to meet them than at work.
Date at Work – But Work at Dating
Even though it’s often advised against, dating people you work with makes practical sense – after all, we spend so much of our lives in the office, there’s often no other way or time to meet anyone else. But you have to be extra smart about your choices, and take special precautions if you’re going to venture into an office romance.
Water Cooler Gossip
The one overriding warning worth heeding–the one that should dictate all of your actions and words–is this: People talk. No matter how friendly your co-workers are, or how tight-lipped the object of your affection seems, secrets are almost always spilled, one way or another, whether accidentally or intentionally. Translation? Say nothing and do nothing that you do not want everyone else to know about. This means no chit-chat with the girls at the water cooler about his size or performance, and no pillow talk with him about how much you hate your boss, and can’t wait to take over his or her job. There’s too much at stake, like your livelihood to take risks, and there’s too much to lose, like a potentially great love, not to give it a shot.
The Rules About Dating Co-Workers
1. Don’t mix business and pleasure on company time. Agree to date out of work hours, but don’t turn a business lunch into a romantic lunch.
2. If you’re a supervisor or employer you must stay fair. Don’t give someone you’re dating better work or pay, and don’t punish someone you’re breaking up with by giving him or her worse work or pay. Otherwise, you may find yourself on the receiving end of a lawsuit.
3. Make sure he or she is actually single. If they’re not — then keep personal remarks at work limited to sports, the weather and the kids. Don’t gripe or listen to gripes about a spouse. “I’m sorry, I’m not comfortable talking about your wife. I want to keep our relationship all business because I value us as co-workers,” is all you need to say and do.
4. Don’t Boast. Your co-worker boyfriend or girlfriend may look like Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie, and you may be so pumped up that you’ve got a hot date with the hottie — but keep your feelings to yourself — and your friends outside of work. Work gossip is inevitable, but you must practice good behavior by keeping the water cooler talk to work and the weather.
5. Don’t Make Out At Work. Keep all affection outside of office parameters. It is okay to meet at the office, but don’t smooch at the office.
6. Don’t Have Love Spats At Work. If things weren’t great the night before, don’t bring your disappointment to your staff meetings . You will have to practice wearing two hats — even if you’re mad, don’t be odd to their comments at the Monday morning meeting and act out your frustrations at work.
7. Do Put Rumors To Rest. If you hear gossip, don’t fuel the fire by denying the truth. Everyone finds out that you’re dating eventually. While you should not announce your relationship, you can say, “Yes, we’re dating. We’re both single adults and we’re working very hard to keep our social life separate from our work life.” And smile.
Both dating and working are natural parts of life, and it’s natural to become attracted to people you work with. If you’re both single and available, go for it! But be impeccable with your behavior and your work. You’re going to be under more scrutiny in this relationship than you would be if you were dating someone you didn’t work with.