You’ve heard it before, “You should never date someone you work with!” But is it really true you should never “fish in the company pond?” Can you date someone you work with and have a good outcome? Well, if you have a secret workplace crush, you may be in luck. A great number of people have dated someone they work with and many have gone on to get married. The real catch is in making sure both people involved are comfortable with the situation at all times, both at work and away from work, and their jobs remain unaffected.
Proximity is a great elixir for budding relationships. When exposed to someone over time, you have the opportunity to get to know them in an unthreatening setting. There is no pressure for interest or an expectation of an outcome such and a date. As you get to know someone day-after-day, they can become more attractive simply because you begin to discover things you like or admire that at face value you may have missed. Also, working in the same environment or on the same project gives you something in common as well as many things to talk about. Work provides instant conversation starters without any pressure to be clever or charming (although these qualities will help if you are interested in your coworker!). Over time, you may even confide personal things to a co-worker and develop a connection or friendship.
When considering taking the next step, you may wish to think it over. Asking out a coworker has special considerations. Here are the top 5:
1. Does your company have a policy against it? If yes, reconsider or look for a new job.
2. If I ask my coworker out on a date and they decline, with it be awkward at work afterwards? Probably not. After all, it does not hurt to ask. But it is usually a good idea to take it slow and test the waters, like asking to go to lunch or a group event to avoid any awkwardness if the feelings are not mutual. If things gel from there you can see if you want to ask for a more private date over dinner or another solo activity.
3. If I go on a date with my coworker, but I find out I’m not into her/him, can we go back to the way we were before the date? No. Just no. Once you travel down this path, you may have no problem moving on, but things are likely to significantly change once you have dated, for better or worse. Consider first, before you ask for the date, if things don’t go well will it make your work life miserable or negatively affect your job in any way.
4. If I date a coworker that is my superior/subordinate can I be fired? It really is advisable to never date your boss or your employee. Why? Because it opens a great opportunity for sexual harassment law suits and in general, one of you is at a disadvantage in the equation. It will be difficult, if not impossible, to be impartial at review time after you have dated. Don’t do it. Look for a different person to date or a different job in the company or at another company if you are dead set on dating.
5. What if we begin to get more serious and my date tells our personal details at work? Guess what, it happens, and it happens often! It’s best to never talk about your personal life at work, but many people do. This is far more likely when everyone knows both parties. If you can’t keep it professional at work, think twice before dating someone there. What happens out of the office should stay out of the office!
One thing to remember is, neither a job nor a relationship last forever. They both have beginnings and ends. Consider your priorities. Does the person you wish to date add to your plans or detract from them? Is the job worth missing out on a potentially great relationship? Is the person worth losing a great job over? Decisions, decisions!
We want to hear your best and worst attempts at dating at work! Share yours in the comments section now.