Love in the modern world can find you in some of the most unexpected places. However, if you think that finding your mate at the office is rare, you may need to think again. According to Approved Index, 65% of all workers report that they have had at least one romance in the workplace. Nearly half of those polled said they had participated in two or more relationships that started at the office. Many office romances are successful. In fact, about one-third are long-term relationships or even lead to marriage.
In today’s culture, it’s important to consider things like dating ethics and workplace norms before you ask out the beauty who sits in the corner cubicle on the third floor. And, even though your mom may have warned you to not mix work and pleasure, meeting someone in the office is still a little safer than online dating for everyone involved.
Here are a few of our favorite strategies for navigating romance at work.
Know Your Company Culture
Some businesses frown upon workplace romance, especially if it’s out in the open. So, before you use your best pick-up lines, be sure to read through the company handbook. There may not be anything about dating in there, but you should look for rules about people in relationships who report to the same boss. You might also need to think about things like how challenging it could be for both of you to use vacation time on the same dates.
The other thing you need to think about when navigating a workplace romance is sexual consent. Make sure you know the definitions of sexual harassment and assault and how to steer clear of both. Always ask for permission before moving forward with any sexual advances. Be aware that consent can be withdrawn at any time, and just because she said yes last week, doesn’t mean that she can’t say no tomorrow. Having a thorough understanding of consent is critical to navigating any potential relationships in the office.
Think About the Invite
Deciding how to ask her out on a date should take a little forethought. Consider how she may perceive your advances and how you can be as clear with your intentions as possible. If you work closely, she may think you are just friendly or that you want to talk business after hours.
You may need to tap into your emotional intelligence (EQ) if you want to convey the right message. EQ is the ability to express your emotions. A man with high EQ is self-aware and understands his own feelings and emotions about the idea of dating a woman at work. He is also aware of social norms and what may or may not be appropriate when it comes to an office romance. Finally, men with high EQ understand how to manage relationships. This could mean the connection with your new love interest or the change in any relationships that might happen with other coworkers once they find out who you are dating.
It may be tempting to flirt in the breakroom or hold hands on the way to a staff meeting. When you’re at work, you and your new love interest need to remain professional at all times. After all, this is still a business, even if it did work better than any of the online dating apps you’ve tried in the past. Oh, and even though movies and sitcoms make meeting up for a workplace rendezvous look exciting, it’s not worth getting yourselves into disciplinary issues or even fired.
Remain Respectful if it Doesn’t Work Out
Unfortunately, not every workplace romance will end happily ever after. When you have to see your ex three or four times a day at the office, it can be downright brutal. But telling all your buddies all of the sordid details isn’t a good idea. Remain respectful and keep the private information to yourself. Just go about your business and try to focus on things like the quality and productivity of your work.
You may need to avoid places where you know she will be, at least in the beginning. If you know her lunch break is at noon, ask to switch yours to 12:30pm or 1pm. If you must interact with her, be as professional as possible, even if she isn’t. Don’t engage in nasty emails or side glances in the hallway. Remain ethical and pleasant, whether it is in the breakroom, colors for hallway, or in a meeting.
From Dating to Forever
If you happen to be one of those lucky couples who meet at work and never have to date again, good for you! You will still have some ups and downs in your relationship that you may not have had to deal with if you didn’t work so closely together. You can use these bumps in the road as an excuse to make dating fun again and boost your romantic connection. Even if your workplace romance doesn’t last forever, you can enjoy good company while it lasts. Just use these tips for navigating your workplace romances.