Dos and don’ts of dating a coworker

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Dating at the office is risky and complicated. However, if you keep certain tips in mind, it can be less complicated. 

Do fictional couples like David and Patrick from Schitt’s Creek, Jim and Pam from The Office, and more make you think about having a relationship with your colleague? Or have you ever found yourself attracted to a coworker? If so, you need to keep certain points in mind before approaching them because a wrong move can not only cost you your job but also impact your mental health. 

Adults spend a third of their lives in the office, so feeling the spark or connection with a colleague is common. However, dating a coworker can disturb office etiquette and create challenges because personal life mingles with professional life. Also, the chances of things getting messy increase. 

Therefore, to prevent personal and professional life disturbances, check office policies about dating a coworker and keep the do’s and don’ts in mind. If your office has a strict rule of not dating a colleague, refrain from it, as it might negatively impact you and your partner.

Related: Got Dating Anxiety? Don’t Worry! Here’s to Finding Anxiety-Free Love

Note—No legal or federal laws say office romance is illegal. However, if your company has policies regarding such relationships, get to know them before pursuing them. Also, ensure that the relationship is welcome and mutually agreed upon. Otherwise, it can be considered illegal sexual harassment.

The do’s of dating a coworker

There is nothing wrong with dating a coworker, but there is no harm in staying cautious, as you are in an office environment, and others are, too.

1. Talk about the worst-case scenario.

The first few weeks of any relationship are full of excitement and charm. The fun you both have together is quite enticing. You can’t get enough of each other, and you can’t keep your hands off one another.

You feel like spending more and more time. Everything just seems like a dream. But when the person you are dating is your coworker, you should talk about what will happen if things go sideways. You can start the conversation by asking questions like:

If, at some point, one of us is not comfortable in this relationship, how will we proceed? 
Can we stand together in the same room if we break up and things don’t work out?  
Will we be okay staying in the same company? 

This will give you a better understanding of things. You both will be able to understand whether you are serious or whether this relationship is worth the risk. This will save you from being the center of gossip and from changing jobs. If you know things might not work, you can take a step back, as it is easier to end the relationship in a few days than after a few months. 

2. Talk to your boss if you are serious about this relationship

Talking to your manager makes the relationship official. It’s not that your boss is interested in your personal life but because of ethical and legal ramifications. Some companies have strict policies about coworker dating that require disclosure of relationships.

Hence, talk to your superiors when you are dating and serious about the person. It will help prevent conflicts of interest in the future. Also, you won’t have to worry about people accusing you of unfair benefits from the relationship. 

3. Have a life outside the office

When dating a coworker, you must ensure it is not your only common interest. Many people enjoy complaining about their managers to coworkers and talking about clients and work. This feels quite right when done in the office. But if you keep on doing this on your dates or when you are not in the office, things might not work.

You need to ensure you have common interests beyond office talks. You both like spending time with one another and without the office talks, you have other interests. You both can maintain your friendship and interests. You both can spend time together without talking about the office. But this doesn’t mean you will stop hanging out with other friends.

Since you will already be spending a lot of time with your colleagues, ensure you never compromise on maintaining your own life. Enjoy some time apart, and get excited to see each other when you reconnect. 

Related: Workplace Anger: Tips On How To Deal With An Angry Colleague

4. Make some ground rules as early as possible

On our first date, we discussed how dating a coworker can be a bad idea and end poorly. If things don’t work, we will stay the same at work and will not interact differently. Certainly, it wasn’t the only date we went on. As we have decided to take this relationship ahead, let’s set some ground rules: 

There will be no display of affection in the office.
We will not talk about our relationship in the office. 
The personal and professional relationship will be kept separate. 
We won’t work in the same department and will not arrive and leave the office together.

When such smart rules are implemented, you can pay attention to your work and relationship.

5. Pay attention to other coworkers

As your relationship grows, you will get closer to the person. However, there are chances that the interactions you make with them might not sound professional, so pay attention to this. Flirting or talking inappropriately will not help. Also, showing physical affection, such as holding hands or kissing, is not right.

Unprofessional things will make others feel uncomfortable or like a third wheel. Pay attention to others around you, don’t you, and wallow in your romance. Do your work, keep office etiquette, and keep the relationship out of the office. 

6. Don’ts of office romance 

Seeing and working with the person you are in a relationship with is exciting, but this doesn’t mean you can behave the way you like. There are certain things that you and your partner should refrain from doing. 

7. Don’t move in rush

If you have been working together for years, you might feel like you already know a significant part of the other person, but that’s not how things work. You only know the professional side of the person. Take out time to understand them. Spend time with them outside the office when the person is not in an office suit or under the observant eye of HR.

Observe how they act and react to things. Date them casually for a much longer duration before committing. Once you are an office couple, don’t rush to settle with each other or reach a significant relationship milestone.

You might want to move faster, but to avoid a fallout or a breakup, try to understand how things are between you guys. What is the common interest you have? Take time to understand that you both are compatible and only then will you hit the major relationship milestone.

Related: How to Deal With a Breakup? 7 Healthy Ways to Get Over It

8. Don’t attempt to hide the relationship

Once you have disclosed your relationship to your boss or your HR, you might want to keep it under the sheets, but that won’t work. Offices are place for gossip, meaning they will talk about what’s happening. When these rumors get out, things might also not work out between you. Therefore, instead of hiding, mention to a few individuals around the office that you are dating.

Be transparent and clear, explain your relationship, and make them understand that this won’t affect your performance. People will talk about your relationship for some days, but slowly, they will move on and realize nothing suspicious is happening. 

9. Don’t treat the office like it’s your dating place

Office romance might sound fun as you meet new people. Also, the potential of meeting a partner increases here. You can meet with the potential partner secretly. But this shouldn’t mean you can pick up dates at the office. If you have been in a relationship with a coworker earlier and you broke up, try to avoid dating other people in the office.

Dating different people in the workplace ruins your reputation, as people cannot respect you anymore. Also, it will be distracting for others. The workplace environment will suffer because of you, and things will be complicated. Keep a dating pool outside the office to save yourself from this stress. 

10. Going through an office romance?

Once all the details of office romance are figured out, you have disclosed your relationship, and you have a plan to move on, it is important to focus on your office behavior. How you portray yourself as a couple in the office says much about your professional ethics. You are probably too infatuated with your partner, but that doesn’t mean that whenever and wherever you get time, you will get close to your coworkers.

You will hold hands, or you will kiss them. Also, the lunch hour is not your date time. If you are eating in a group, make it seem about something other than you guys. Keep work and your personal life seperate.

This doesn’t mean you keep a distance, but you should be able to differentiate between your professional and personal life. This will help you and your office crush to date and have a casual relationship. Also, you can understand whether or not you want to take it to the next level. These steps will prevent you from losing your job or getting hurt. 

The post Dos and don’ts of dating a coworker appeared first on Calm Sage – Your Guide to Mental and Emotional Well-being.

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