Should You Date a Co-Worker?
The thing about coworkers is that you see them every day. You pass each other in the hallways, exchange phone calls and e-mails hourly, and spend hours pouring over projects together. Face it - you spend more time with your coworkers than you do with anyone else. With this much exposure, it’s no wonder that so many people get the urge to turn a working relationship into something more. According to the psychology of attraction proximity increases physical attraction and thus people gradually want to start dating one of their coworkers.
But is this a good idea? In spite of your office infatuation, you’ve probably heard some advice against going down this road. Here are a few points you should consider.
1. Company Rules.
Some companies have specific regulations against coworker relationships. Most companies aren’t so formal about it, but may still frown on the idea even if it’s not prohibited in the company handbook. Other places it’s easily accepted, and you may even see the VPs of Marketing and Accounting together. Make sure you know the rules at your workplace, since you’d hate to endanger your job due to a quick fling.
2. Sexual Harassment.
Here’s another way to land in hot water. If the coworker you desire doesn’t feel the same way about you, then don’t be too forward or persistent, or your unwanted advances could lead to a charge of sexual harassment. Make sure your feelings are reciprocated before you proceed.
3. Shared Knowledge & Goals
When a physician’s assistant and an airplane mechanic discuss their jobs together over dinner, it’s like they’re speaking different languages. This is where coworkers have a big advantage. You understand your partner’s job and can discuss it intelligently. You know the lingo, the people, the behind-the-scenes office politics, and the looming deadlines. This shared understanding is a powerful connection.
4. Spending Time Together.
You spend so much time at work that a non-coworker may feel like they rarely see you. You’re out the door early in the morning, and get home tired after a long day. If you’re dating a coworker, they won’t feel like you spend all your quality time with other people. Even when you’re working late, night after night on a big project, they still get to see you. They’ll also understand totally when you say you’re working late again.
5. A Partner In Crime
It’s nice to know that you’ve always got somebody in the office who’s on your side. There’s someone you can talk to about your latest success, the department manager who’s causing you problems, or how to get your proposal approved. You can strategize, collaborate, or sympathize with each other.
What Happens When Its Over?
Most relationships don’t last a lifetime. You may have four happy months together or two years, but at some point, it’s probably going to end. This can be sticky if the two of you are still working together. How will you feel when you’re still passing each other in the hall, and spending hours together on projects? Ending a relationship is always painful, but with a coworker, it’s more complicated than ever.