Most work places are full of guys, and chances are, if you’re not currently with someone, you may have noticed the potential of one or two of your co-workers.
On the other hand, you may also have seen the warnings out there about getting involved with someone you work with.
While there are downsides and pitfalls, dating someone you meet at work can also work out very well (and it’s a very common way for couples to meet each other these days).
For one, you don’t have to go anywhere special to find your guy, join a dating site, or try to get men to approach you while you’re out. You’re in an environment where it’s natural to get to know men during the course of your work and a relationship can easily develop over time.
Even if you have no contact with the guy you have your eye on, there are bound to be plenty of opportunities for getting to know him at work social events or through others in your place of work who do work with him.
Of course, not all dates will be with someone who works in the same office/workplace. You might have regular clients or customers who ask you out, but the concept is pretty much the same. The main difference is that you might not see customers as much as you would co-workers, but other than that you can probably apply most of these points to either type of date.
So if you do get asked on a date while at work, or want to date someone you like there, what are the things to keep in mind?
Know When Not To Date
Most companies allow dating between employees but not all, so know the rules before you agree to anything. Are you allowed to go out with co-workers, clients or customers? Are there any such restrictions at all? If you could get fired for dating, don’t do it. It’s not worth the risk of losing your job.
Also, whether it’s in the rules or not, stay away from your boss or manager, as well as those who report to you. This is something that is frowned on pretty much across the board.
If you think you’re falling in love with a guy you know you should not date, and you work in a large company, it may be worth applying for move within the company so that your career is not affected by your love life (and vice versa).
Keep Things Discreet
Never get affectionate during work time. You don’t want to flaunt your dating to the whole office or give the impression that it will affect your work in any way. Public displays of affection (even mild terms of endearment) can cause those around you to feel uncomfortable.
If things don’t work out, you’re less likely to be the subject of gossip as most people will feel that you were private about dating, so you can expect privacy when you’re not dating anymore.
If he’s not a coworker, but a customer you met at work, have him understand when it’s an appropriate time to come and see you. He needs to understand that while you’re at work, you need to focus on that and can’t be seen flirting or chatting when you’re supposed to be getting things done.
Don’t Mix Work And Pleasure
If casual dating develops into a relationship, you’re going to need to draw a very clear line between your relationship at work and your relationship outside working hours.
Don’t spend dates bringing up situations at work any more frequently than you would with someone who doesn’t know your company. Leave work where it belongs and have fun on your dates otherwise you (or he) may feel like you never get away from it.
While at work, stay professional and then let your hair down after work is done. Don’t think about having sex at your workplace or do anything that could jeopardize your job. And don’t discuss your relationship problems or issues with co-workers. Neither they nor your guy will thank you for that.
Don’t Meet For Lunch Every Day
In the first flush of romance, you might be tempted to spend as much free time as you can together. But it’s best to give each other space and keep up with your regular working relationships.
If you usually have lunch with your co-workers, suddenly giving that up could lead to gossip and resentment. Besides, you might have too much of a good thing too soon, if you spend all your free time with your new love interest. Have lunch together no more than once or twice a week and see him after work instead.
Don’t Be Secretive
While you want to be discreet, it’s not a good idea to try to keep your relationship entirely secret. If you’re not breaking any rules, making it some big secret will end up making you look foolish as, more often than not, people will know without you saying anything.
Even if it’s not required, let your boss know if you move past the dating stage into a relationship, assuring him or her that you will be entirely professional and won’t let it affect the quality of your work. Then prove that by staying focused on your work at work.
You don’t necessarily need to announce your relationship to the whole office, but at the same time don’t spend your time denying it or trying to prevent anyone from finding out. Tell one or two close co-workers and no doubt the word will get about anyway.
If It Ends
The worst thing about being in a relationship with someone from work is that there is no escape if you break up. You’ll be forever running into him during working hours and it will make it much harder to move on. Whether you break up with him, he breaks up with you, or it’s mutual, it will be awkward for a while. Just try to stay professional at work – the same as you did when you were going out – and you should manage to keep things together (at least in public).
If things are too painful, you may feel you need to get a new job, but don’t rush into this too quickly. Take time to weigh up your options. Decide what’s best for your career in the long term, not just what seems sensible for getting over the hurt you feel more quickly.
Over to you? Have you ever dated anyone from work? How did that work out? Please share in the comments below