How to Handle Your Intra-Office Crush
That new person in the office is cute, has a great sense of humor and is just all-around somebody you’d like to get to know better. And that may be the key about crushes — we can develop crushes on people we don’t know very well, and true romantic relationships require a deep understanding of each other. Intra-office crushes are normal but can have negative impacts upon productivity and office life. Here’s how to handle the situation.
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Don’t Assume Your Feelings Are Reciprocated
First things first: don’t make anyone uncomfortable. This is important even if you’re not the boss. (If you are, you’re likely to find that you’re not allowed to date your colleagues in the first place, but we’ll get to that in a minute.)
It’s easy to lose perspective when you spend a lot of time with a person. Remember that connecting over work might make you feel close to a co-worker, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you should pursue a relationship outside of the office.
Love vs. Infatuation
There is a big difference between the infatuation we feel toward our crushes and truly falling in love with another person, faults and all. Simply remembering this may be helpful. We only see some sides of another person at work, and sometimes that is a polished and professional side.
The way to really get to know another person is to spend personal time with him or her. But, should you?
Some offices have rules about employee fraternization, others do not. Check your employee handbook to see if there’s anything written about workplace relationships. Most fraternization policies forbids people from dating their boss, but there could also be rules against dating someone in the same department as you.
If it would not be breaking the rules to go out with your co-worker, consider how the relationship may be perceived around the water cooler. The knowledge of a romantic relationship may cause others to perceive that you and your crush are giving each other preferential treatment. Even if you don’t have a say in your crush’s salary, you don’t want to be perception of unfair treatment in any of your office decisions.
Also, a workplace needs to be comfortable for everybody who works there. Flirtatious behavior may seem harmless to some, but highly offensive to others. You don’t want to the subject of another’s complaint.
Be discreet. Behave in a professional manner in the workplace. Don’t make a point of making personal plans together in earshot of everybody else. Instead, either make personal calls on your own time or use personal email to coordinate dates with each other.
Your co-workers may notice that the two of you are fond of each other, but avoid making a show of it. And whatever you do, do not gossip about your new relationship with your co-workers.
Take it Slow
Remember, an office crush is just that — a crush. If you jump into a heavy romance, you may fall hard, and your co-workers will notice. You will also be unable to get away from your former paramour when you work together. A fast relationship and hard fall may jeopardize your job.
If you enjoy a dinner with this person, make another date, but take it slow. Get to know them before you decide you are “in love.” You may discover your crush is not so perfect, and you may start to lose interest. Either way, taking it slow leaves you more able to continue to have a comfortable, working relationship regardless of what does or does not develop.
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