This month we are focusing on the workplace and how to succeed in business, but there are plenty of tricky situations in the professional arena. One of them is office romance. Is it always a bad idea? Can it end well? We asked our resident GuyTalk expert, Will Wilson from Major Onions, for his opinion! Here he breaks it down for us, with accompanying imagery from some of our favorite TV office couples…
OFFICE ROMANCES: A few tricks for dating in your trade
We’ve all been there before. A couple of overly-lingering desk visits, a few overly giggly laughs at bad jokes, and one two many cocktails at the company happy hour, and all of a sudden you’re messing with corporate cupid.
Relationships at the office are a tricky business, but when you’re working with people your age for 40+ hours a week, there’s bound to be some sparks.
My advice? Avoid them. Friends at your place of work are a great thing to have, but relationships tend to get messy or even worse, awkward. There’s a whole world of people you don’t work with for you to fornicate with or fall for, so why risk the wrath of an HR meeting?
But I know how it goes. Sometimes you just can’t avoid the hot new hire in accounting and want to take the plunge, and for that, I salute you. Here’s some tips to keep things going smoothly if you can’t avoid the itch.
Keep it off the radar
If you’re starting off an office romance, one of the first and best lines of defense is keeping it to yourself. Loose lips sink (relation)ships and nobody loves gossip more than coworkers. The louder you are about your relationship in the office, the more people are likely to bother you and your significant other.
Don’t make it weird
There’s no quicker way to tip people off to a little aforementioned secret romance than by making things weird. Avoiding the person, making frequent walks by their desk without saying a word, or responding to their name with a confused, “Who?” are all perfect ways to make it obvious that there’s something going on.
Saying you should ‘act natural’ is an understatement. You should act exactly how you would towards any other coworker—attractive or not—and keep things between you two between the sheets.
Retain your independence
If you start having some adult sleepovers with your corporate crush, you may be tempted to do so during the week, resulting in a simultaneous awkward walk-in. Or maybe you have after dinner plans and decide to leave together. Do this a few times and people won’t be able to resist putting two and two together.
But even if you’re not trying to keep things under wraps or the secrets already gotten out, keeping your independence is more than that. Depending on your office partner for everything from grabbing lunch to venting issues can begin to limit your pool of resources and make you seem like you’re not a team player with the rest of the office. It’s important to make sure that you’re still your own employee at work and make your own career.
Don’t be a team player
If you can’t resist an office romance, try to keep it away from your immediate circle of team members. Not only is it annoying to have two members of your team giving googly eyes to each other, but it’s also beneficial for the couple to retain distance.
Couples never need an excuse for another fight, least of all over things at work. You don’t need these disagreements at work to spill over into your time off. Plus, a little bit of separation between the two of you allows you to talk about things at work and get a response from a neutral party—almost like they were someone you DIDN’T work with. Hmmm…
Company comes first
As with every relationship, it either last forever like in some sappy romance novel, or it crashes and burns and puts both sides back on the market. But if it crashes with a coworker, a lot of that fallout can spread like poison to affect your workday. Keep in mind that you still have to be looking out for yourself, especially in your career. And if you reach a point in your relationship where it’s either love or livelihood, make sure you pick the one that’s best for the long run.