Ah, new love. The joy! The wonder! The passion! The way your heart beats when you lock eyes. The way your face turns red when he sits next to you. The feeling in your stomach when she says your name. How he walks. How she talks. The spark, the flame, the fireworks. The sneaking around, the rumors, the blackmail. Wait, what? Meeting that special someone is amazing, but what happens when that special someone happens to be your coworker. Is the age-old adage true? Don’t sh*t where you eat, or can you develop a meaningful, lasting relationship with your office fling?
Here are some words of advice before you make a mistake that costs you your professional career:
Take it slow
Shakespeare, Billie Holiday, and Beyoncé have all described the feeling of falling in love to being drunk – it can be quite intoxicating! Just as a drunken mistake can lead to a morning of regret, your heart can lead you down a path of embarrassment – so it’s important to pump the breaks! You may want to send your love interest a flirty message or email. Don’t. There’s always a chance of sending that googly-eyed emoji to the wrong colleague, and then you’ll have some explaining to do. Concentrate on the task at hand, and 5 o’clock will roll around before you know it! You’ll have plenty of time for canoodling then.
No relationship is perfect. You’re bound to have disagreements from time to time. Don’t attempt to work things out at the water cooler. Focus on your work, and leave the arguments for home. Make sure you and your partner are on the same page when it comes to solving quarrels. As is the case with any relationship, it is important to set boundaries, respect each other’s space, and establish expectations. Not only will this help to maximize your productivity, it will also minimize office gossip.
End things amicably
No one likes to think about a relationship ending before it begins, but you should consider the possibility. Unlike relationships that fizzled out in the past, you don’t have the option of deleting your ex from your life. You’ll still see them every day, and you might need to interact with them occasionally. Remember, there’s such thing as a good break up. Stalking, name-calling, and hard feelings are going to get you in trouble – or worse, canned.
Know the policies
Many offices have policies that forbid a romantic relationship between two coworkers. If you’re considering getting serious with someone you work with, it’s worth checking the company handbook first. All it takes is one complaint about office PDA, favoritism, or productivity loss to send you packing. Proceed with caution, especially if you are getting involved with a manager or superior. The consequences are greater when it comes to dipping your pen in the company ink.
We spend a majority of our time at work. Dating a coworker isn’t as uncommon as you may think, so you shouldn’t feel like you are doing anything wrong. However, if you are going to get intimate, it pays to be smart about it. You were hired to do a job, not to fall in love. Keep your head on straight, keep it on the down-low in the beginning, and avoid preferential treatment. Healthy, loving relationships at the workplace are possible – just look at Jim and Pam in the TV show, “The Office.” While fictional, these two lovebirds are testament to that fact that you can sh*t where you eat.