By Megan Broussard
It’s almost Valentine’s Day and you’ve probably got love on the brain. If you’re currently crushing on, seeing, secretly dating, or hooking up with someone in the office, you’re probably wondering if you’ve gone mental with all of the questions swirling around in your mind.
Am I putting my job at risk? Is this girl or guy worth the constant morning distraction and pressure to find something perfect to wear each day? How do other people handle matters of the heart at work? Does this relationship even have a chance to work? What if it backfires?
Whoa, ok, take a deep breath. I’ve been there, and I know exactly how stressed you must feel. But, it’s sort of exciting right? Sure there’s a chance it may not work out, but you’ll never know if you don’t try. Once you know for sure that your company doesn’t have a fraternizing policy, then you’ll want to do your best to pursue your feelings in the right way. Here are tips, real life stories, and stats to help you figure out your next course of action.
…That final piece of advice from Augustin is exactly what tops the list of inter-office-dating tips from Irene LaCota, spokesperson for international matchmaking service It’s Just Lunch. LaCota recommends:
“Keep quiet around others. Try to keep your relationship private as long as possible, especially during the early stages when you’ve made no commitments to each other. Otherwise, coworkers will scrutinize the two of you and fuel the office rumor mill.”
But, LaCota says, you must communicate with each other before your relationship gets too serious and discuss the rules of the “partnership” so neither of you will misunderstand the other’s intentions and be hurt.
“As a couple, develop speaking points so you both offer the same story when someone in your office asks about the two of you. Co-develop standards for how you interact at the office.”
She says that many a relationship has been hurt because one person tries to be discreet at the office and the other person expects some displays of affection.
“For example, the guy interprets a head nod as a brushing off when all the girl was simply trying to do was be discreet,” says LaCota.
“Keep it professional at all times at the office and on the road. Treat each other as coworkers at the office, and not as romantic partners. No revealing emails. No kisses over the cell phone. Give each other some space. You don’t need to be together all the time. In fact, you don’t need to be together all the time at the office. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. “
As for traveling together on business? LaCota says no matter what, “do not share a room together, in fact, don’t even enter the other’s hotel room. You never know who you’re going to bump into in that hotel hallway.”
And, I can only imagine the subsequent awkward conversation you’ll be forced to have. And, that my friends, is for a separate article.