We all know office romances in movies can be downright steamy, sweet, and tempting. But when it comes to chasing one in a real-life office setting, you can get burned. This is particularly true because you will have to work with them every day, even after they have rejected your advances. If you don’t get an invite from HR, count yourself lucky.
Does this mean office romance is a NO? Not necessarily. You need to know the risks of dating someone in your place of work.
It would be best to ask yourself questions before acting on those mushy feelings in your belly. Will dating this person put us at risk in the office? How will colleagues and management perceive our relationship?
If we have a difficult breakup down the line, will that not affect our ability to work together?
But we all know it’s not easy to be pragmatic when feelings are involved. When you’re crushing on someone at work, those worries quickly fall out of the window. You see them every day, in their full element, being tempting — pretty soon, that voice of logic in your head gets quieter, and the emotions grow so big it’s impossible to ignore.
What, then, should you do?
An office crush leaves you in a complicated situation. There is no easy way to handle the situation. Shooting your shot could lead to personal hurt and a meeting with HR. However, suffering in silence is also not comfortable. A workplace crush can have negative effects, such as hampering your ability to concentrate on the task at hand. This can lead to a decline in your productivity.
Subconsciously spending time stalking your crush around the office while trying to come up with avenues for conversation messes with your priorities and puts your career at risk. You could also slow down the entire team because you find it difficult to work with a team member.
For a fact, it is impossible to stop office romance in its entirety. Reports show that about 60% of adults have had a workplace romance. These feelings hit us when we least expect it, leaving us helpless in our feelings.
So how should you deal with these emotions? Should you act on them? Should you discard them? How can you end those pitiful looks of desire across the boardroom? Before we answer these questions, have you ever wondered why we fall for colleagues?
Why We Fall For Colleagues
We’ve all been there — staying late with a colleague, working on some reports, and their shirts start to fit them really well out of nowhere. Then, that moment when they lean over you to get a better look at a document, you suddenly notice they smell nice.
Workplace relationships are a common thing. If you have a regular 9-5 job, you spend more active hours of the day with co-workers than your friends, neighbors, or even your partner.
When you add up all that time, and it takes, on average, 200 hours to become best friends with a person, it’s not shocking that many people form close bonds with their colleagues. On average, an adult spends a minimum of 1,680 hours per annum at work. Spending more time breaks down defenses between people faster, opening the gateway to a possible romance.
How to Pursue It or Drop It
First things first, you should not be afraid of how you feel. Neither should you be embarrassed by your emotions. You are not alone in this.
Let’s figure out what you need to do about those butterflies so that you’re not the reason the whole team has to sit through a Saturday afternoon seminar discussing inappropriate workplace relationships.
1. Check in on company policy.
You might want to dust off that staff handbook and consequence matrix. Learn whether or not relationships between employees are even allowed at your place of work. If it’s prohibited, do away with those feelings immediately; don’t risk your career (and that of your crush) for romance. If it’s allowed, maybe you’ll have a shot after all.
2. Watch out for the signs they like you
Now that you know you will not break the law at your place of work by dating try to look out for the signs your colleague likes you. This will give you a better idea of where you stand. Do you notice they find excuses to meet you too? Or do they give you that lingering glance during meetings? Do they start conversations with you often? If all the answers are positive, your crush on your colleague might be mutual.
2. Don’t throw caution to the wind
Do go about blowing those kisses across board tables. You might easily get a sexual harassment case on your forehead.
You have a lot to lose if things go south. This is the job through which you make a living, so don’t make rash decisions.
3. Become friends, then more
Most people don’t go straight from being colleagues to lovers. Start by trying to be friends and then more.
4. Say it with your body language
When you’re attracted to a colleague, your body should do the talking for you. This does not mean you should start flirting blatantly. Lots of eye contact and genuine smiles. Subtle signs – if they like you too, they’ll get the hints.
5. If you have been snubbing them before now, don’t suddenly start grinning like a wacko. Being over-friendly out of the blue can be scary and help you. Do not appear creepy!
6. Ask them out
You can ask them out now that you are friends and have had many conversations. By now, you should know their likes and dislikes. Take them to a nice place if you get a yes.
Remember, do not ask them out until you have established a friendship. This layer of friendship is for your protection in case they do not feel the same way about you. Be courageous and ask them to join you for the launch – Who knows, everything else might fall in.