One piece of advice many people will tell you when it comes to love in the workplace is: Don’t let it happen to you! This advice is futile. It’s asking someone not to fall in love with anyone. And many workplace relationships have stood the test of time.
Before getting involved, a person needs to think about what could happen. Couples who meet in the workplace may not think about the consequences of a failed romance.
Breaking up with someone you dated in the workplace isn’t like breaking up with someone you met at a lake, a nightclub or anywhere else. In the workplace you will probably see that person everyday, even if you don’t want to. If you don’t believe this, try an experiment.
Pick out someone you see almost everyday at work. It’s best if you pick someone you just see or maybe say,”Hi,” to once in awhile. (This way you won’t have a friend at work wondering why you’re not as sociable as you normally are.) Then try dodging this person for a week. You will quickly learn how hard it is not to see someone, even someone you don’t have ties with, at work. You’ll find yourself looking for “safe zones” – places you feel this person won’t be.
It becomes even more difficult if the other person doesn’t want to break it off. Going to work at a place where you may have loved to work will become your worst nightmare. And with sexual harassment laws being as they are, if you’re the one who doesn’t want to break it off, you could find yourself in a situation you wouldn’t wish on anyone.
There is also good news. The workplace can be a good place to meet someone, if you don’t rush into it by letting the “love webs” in your brain get the best of you. Where else can you observe someone almost everyday for most of the day? You can learn how this person reacts to pressure, to being told what to do, how quick tempered he/she is, if he/she is lazy, what type of language he/she uses-along with a host of other things. You will hear what your coworkers think of this person, too. If more than a couple of coworkers say this person is a real jerk or anything else you don’t like, don’t let the love webs override this. Be cautious. Even if this person doesn’t act that way around you, which he/she probably won’t if he/she is interested in you.
Taking your time is the key here. Don’t worry about losing this person to someone else. He/she will wait it out if he/she is truly interested in you. If not, this person probably isn’t the person for you.
If you get asked out before you feel you are ready, let the person know you are interested but you don’t feel you know him/her well enough. Don’t let him/her give you the, “How else are we going to get to know each other if we don’t go out,” spiel. Point out the fact you work together and that makes the situation more complicated. Tell him/her you don’t want to end up hating him/her because things didn’t work out and bring up the fact working together under those circumstances would not be a joyful experience. Never just say, “No,” unless you are not interested. Only a fool will risk losing his/her job for sexually harassing someone by asking him/her out after being given a direct, “No,” the first time.
Of course, after all your careful observing and listening to your coworkers, the relationship may still not work out. But chances are, by taking your time, you made a friend before you started dating and you will probably be able to be friends afterwards. This will make things easier, but not easy, if there’s a breakup.
So if you’re interested in someone at the workplace, keep in mind it’s never wise to rush into things. Observe the person, listen to what your coworkers have to say about this person and don’t let your feelings get in the way of making a sound deduction.