The dos and don’ts of dating a colleague

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Dating a colleague

Whether you’ve fallen for the boss or been making eyes at your desk mate, check out our top tips for avoiding awkwardness when dating a colleague

The most common cliché is that of the boss with his secretary but there are many other examples of work-based relationships, from the snog at the Christmas party to getting frisky in the supplies cupboard. Work-based relationships aren’t always superficial and it is almost inevitable that at some point in your career you’ll develop a crush on someone at work. Here are some tips to help make sure you don’t end up wanting to resign if dating a colleague doesn’t work out.

Do:

  • Concentrate on building a good working relationship first – see how you cope with decision making, conflict etc. in the work environment
  • Study them as a person – do they have qualities you admire or is it just a physical attraction
  • Make sure the feeling is mutual and avoid making a pass at someone who isn’t interested – at worst  it could lead to you being accused of sexual harassment or at best come across as a bit of an office sleaze and liable to being gossiped about
  • Consider how the company would view a relationship between you two and reconsider if it could jeopardise either of your positions
  • Remember a crush is just a crush and many of them will pass of their own accord if you don’t act on them
  • Arrange to discuss any chance of a possible romance away from the office
  • Play the tape forward and ask yourself how you will feel if it doesn’t work out or you get rejected
  • Accept a no as a no and don’t push, persuade or try to cajole someone into changing their mind if they don’t feel the same way
  • Try and maintain professional standards at your workplace no matter how strong your feelings are – this will help avoid you getting into trouble with management
  • Give things time to develop – if you have a crush that lasts longer than about three months then it may be that you are developing a deeper connection with someone
  • Ask yourself if you want a partner who you share your whole life with? They could be with you for eight hours a day at work and then again when you get home – are you the sort of person that would thrive on this or not?
  • Be discreet and never discuss the details of your dates with other work colleagues

Don’t:

  • Go straight to a colleague with your feelings – talk it through with someone away from the situation first
  • Drop hints, come on too heavy or make lewd remarks about someone’s appearance
  • Conduct your relationship on company time
  • Tell your other work mates if you ask someone out or if a colleague asks you on a date – don’t boast about your pulling power or make fun of someone else attempts
  • Start dating a colleague who is already in a relationship
  • Flirt outrageously at work, it can be embarrassing for people around you both and will leave you feeling a bit red faced if nothing comes of it
  • Have sex on the first date – or first few dates – it is harder to get out of a relationship with someone you work with as you can’t just not call them so you need to be absolutely sure you both want the relationship to continue before you get physical
  • Use your  expense accounts for dates
  • Use the company in-house email systems for personal correspondence
  • Mistake a passion for a shared project as a passion for each other –  if you are working for long hours towards a shared goal it may seem that your colleague is the only person who understands you but that isn’t necessarily the basis for a lasting relationship – will you both be taking your work home with you?
  • Share your feelings with your colleague when you have been drinking – you will probably regret it in the morning

By following these simple guidelines you will conduct yourself in a dignified and professional manner while dating a colleague and give any possible office romance the best chance to flourish without it compromising your work.


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