Office romances are nearly always a bad idea. As the rather crude phrase puts it, ‘Never dip your nib in the office ink.’ It’s best to keep personal and professional lives as separate as possible, as they tend not to mix well. But with the influx of many celebrations over the next few months – Halloween, Bonfire Night and Christmas – there are many opportunities to get close to your colleagues. If you’ve got your eye on someone at work, this is the time of year that things might start to happen…
In some ways it makes perfect sense to go for people at work – you spend so much time with them you get to know them well. Plus, you’re bound to be compatible with them on some level as you share a profession, or at least a place of work. This may be the reason why these kinds of attachments are so common. There are many other ways to find compatibility – using an online dating site such as eHarmony UK, for example. But sometimes office romances are inevitable.
While it may not be a good idea to get involved with a work colleague, if you do, here’s a bit of guidance on office romance etiquette:
Keep it quiet
It may be best to keep your romance as secret as possible in its early stages and before you know where it might be leading. Other people at work, particularly those in senior positions, may not be pleased to learn about your attachment and could begin to monitor your professional performance more closely as a result. Also, be careful who you confide in, as juicy gossip can spread quickly if you let your secret slip to the wrong person.
Keeping a secret also means making sure your behaviour at the office remains normal. Subtle flirting, hints and kisses in the photocopy room will not go unnoticed. Therefore, make sure you can control yourselves at work and act the same way around each other as you did before. If you find this difficult, it might be best to avoid each other as much as you can while at the office.
Keep it casual
Make sure the relationship is moving slowly and try to keep a casual interest in it, especially at first. The worst part of an office romance is the break-up, should it occur. This could seriously affect your performance and the general mood in the office, especially if you were deeply involved with your colleague. There may be potential for the romance to blossom into a long-term commitment, but don’t rush into anything and make sure you both feel the same way.
Keep an open mind
Dating for professionals is complicated even if you don’t work in the same office. Careers have a tendency to disrupt personal lives. However, if you find yourself seriously in love with someone you work with, you may need to turn this on its head and make a career move to save both your working and romantic lives. When you enter into one of these relationships, keep in mind the fact you may have to move jobs in order for this to work, particularly if you end up getting married.
Take some time to think before your office parties this year – an office romance could be a lot more complicated than you might think!