Keys to Mixing Work and Romance
Maximize your chances for personal and career bliss with these three keys for making workplace romance work.
The experts can warn you until they're blue in the face: Beware of office romances. But there that special someone is: So cute, such chemistry, so nice—this could be the love of your life, or at least the romance of your week. You don't want to just say no, but are you at grave risk of one day getting fired, sued or both? No guarantees, but here are five ways to maximize your chances of enjoying a workplace romance and surviving to tell the tale.
Be honest with your prospective partner
If you're only looking for a quick fling, don't make long-term-relationship noises in your efforts to seduce. That candor is always important, but especially so in the workplace. If you imply a possible wedding-bell future and then after a hot date or two suddenly cool off, let alone start flirting with another office mate, you're asking for big-time reprisals. Remember the old saying, "Hell hath no fury like a woman (or man) scorned"?
Keep it quiet
I know, I know. When you're in love, it's tempting to tell everyone in the office. That's a mistake. From then on, the two of you will be under the microscope. It's even dangerous if the two of you are peers. For example, if you're seen helping your sweetie out with work, someone else who also needs your help may go to the boss and complain you're playing favorites.
"But," you protest, "the chemistry between us is so obvious that everyone already knows we're having a relationship." Chances are, many coworkers don't know. They're wrapped up in themselves; they're not monitoring the vibes between every twosome who walks by. Other coworkers may suspect but can't be sure. If you confirm your relationship to just one person, chances are the whole office will know within 24 hours. And it takes just one disgruntled coworker to make your life miserable. Until it's time to send the wedding invitations, keep the relationship to yourselves.
Actually, the office is a pretty darn good place to meet a romantic partner. Unlike in a bar, where you pick mainly on impulse and an alcohol-impaired chat, at work you get to see more of what a person is really like. So you're more likely to find your valentine at the office water cooler than a barstool.
Just follow these rules to reduce your risk and then focus on having a great time. Being in love is wonderful -- take it from me. I had an office romance and lived to tell the tale. In fact, I married her.