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Dating a Coworker: Can It Work for You?

Anna Hennings

August 24, 2009

3. The Perfect Balance – Continued

Don’t let your job get in the way of your relationship, but also don’t let your relationship get in the way of your job. Talk to each other, and discover what works for you in terms of balancing the two.

Remember: it’s probably part of both your job and the other person’s to communicate — perhaps frequently — with people you think are a threat. Jealousy happens, but business communication is just that — business. It almost certainly doesn’t mean he likes her.

Don’t talk about work after hours! Doing so will allow you to focus on your personal relationship when away from the office, and your professional one when at the office.

4. Quieting the Gossip

Unless you are the world’s best secret-keeper (hopefully you’re a bit more subtle than Megan’s fling who “whispered” things to her in passing), people are probably going to catch on. Every office has some serious gossip, right? If you want to avoid the murmurs, be upfront with your colleagues and with your boss. Assuming your HR department allows inter-company dating, it’s better to be open about your relationship and gain support from your coworkers rather than try to hide it, which could potentially create a hostile work environment.

5. Consult HR

If you plan on letting the cat out of the bag about your relationship, make sure you’re technically allowed to have one first. If your company has a policy that forbids them, you’re much better off keeping things under wraps.

6. Invest in Friendship

But what if it’s too late? What if you threw caution to the wind, had a fling with a coworker, and things didn’t end quite as well as you were hoping? Well, now’s the perfect time to dig down and remember the advice your mom gave you: Friendship is golden. Try to keep in mind all the good things that made you notice that coworker in the first place, and focus on the positive aspects of an ongoing professional relationship.

And if it’s at all possible for you, try not to dwell on what went wrong. Mooning over a relationship gone bad is what you do at home while eating too much ice cream and watching that tearjerker for the fifteenth time, not an activity to do at your desk. Take it from Jane, who learned the hard way:

A few months after I started working at a small internet company, I started dating a coworker. Things were going great for a few weeks — at least I thought so until he told me that things just weren’t working out, and he wasn’t interested in a long-term relationship with me. I took it pretty hard, and working together only made it worse. Seeing him every single day (boy, did I hate working in an open office then) reminded me over and over again about how much I missed him and how mad I was that he wasn’t interested. I eventually got over it, but it was really rough.

Like in business, and regardless of where your love life stands, you can benefit from heeding the advice of others and learning from their successes and failures. For the right partner, you can make a work relationship work. Just make sure you’re in it together. Teamwork!

As Beatrix would say, “My mom told me to ‘Never date anyone at work.’ I say, ‘Never date anyone at work unless you are in love with them and are best friends with them first.’”

Wondering if your relationship is worth promoting or doomed for workplace disaster? Take our Office Romance Quiz to find out!

Don’t Miss:
The Professional Woman’s Guide to Dating
Online Dating: Why and How to Do It

Poll: Have you ever been asked out on a date by a coworker?