What to Do If You’re Thinking about Dating a Co-Worker



Most executives probably cringe at the thought of romances blossoming among their office workers. But it happens, right?

Yes, the reality is that it happens a lot. If you’re ambitious, my recommendation would be against it for a multitude reasons – starting with how it would adversely affect your career with the company.

An office romance could adversely impact your love interest, as well, and there are possible repercussions for the morale of your co-workers.

But if you must date a co-worker, here are precautions to take:

stockimages romance1. Check your motive

Think objectively and ask yourself some questions:

— “Why do I want to date the person?”

— “What’s in it for me — good or bad?”

— “How will it affect my love interest?”

— “How will it affect my co-workers and office morale?”

— “What will happen if it doesn’t work?”

2. Review your organization’s rules

Before you do anything, check your company’s rules about dating peers.

Such policies were written to prevent problems such as those that occur when office romances go sour, to avert conflicts of interest if one of you has access to confidential information, or when jealous when one person in promoted and the other isn’t.

3. Consider the standing held by you and the other person

If one of you is subordinate to the other party, it can impact the morale of each of you, your reputations and the morale of your co-workers. And when a person dates a boss, confidence and productively will likely go south.

4. Disclose your relationship

If it appears the two of you is becoming an item, you’re advised to disclose your relationship to your boss or your human resources department.

If there are complications and your organization handles it well, there’ll be a solution. For example, one of you will be transferred.

An office romance could adversely impact your love interest, as well, and there are repercussions for the morale of your co-workers.

5. Keep it professional

You’re much better off, if you date outside your department. And it’s good idea for both of you to be peers, not a boss-employee relationship. Legal complications can likely arise if you date your supervisor – or vice versa, if the romance ends.

6. Honor boundaries

Both of you need to observe boundaries. Again, keep it professional. If you don’t, serious complications will arise with an adverse impact on office morale.

If boundaries aren’t observed, typically what happens is the two people become affectionate. They disappear in unexplained absences. If they argue, it adversely affects co-workers. When they split up, one or both people are hostile and refuse to speak to one another.

7. Stay objective

Don’t show favoritism to the person you’re dating. When it comes to discussion of ideas, overcome your bias and don’t make knee-jerk decisions favoring your friend.

By the same token, if the two of you disagree, make a commitment to agree to disagree diplomatically.

From the Coach’s Corner, here’s a potpourri of career tips:

36 Tips: Develop Confidence to Win an Office Tug of War — For people lacking in self confidence, winning an office tug of war is easier said than done. Unlike leaders, they unknowingly give away their power. One sign is whether you’re winning hearts and minds at work. For instance, in the event of disagreements, are you able to persuade others?

Checklist to Build Self Confidence for Career Success — Everybody occasionally struggles with self confidence. But some people have continuing low self esteem. Their lack of confidence serves as a big obstacle.

Millennial Manager: Earn Respect, Get Results with 6 Tips — It can be tough to manage baby boomers. Not because they’re difficult workers. Your learning has just begun. Remember a lot of baby boomers know they have more experience than you; perhaps even in management. Maybe even in your job.

Make More Friends at the Office with 6 Etiquette Tips — In many companies, good etiquette is nonexistent and office co-workers fail to make friends of one another. Lack of trust and turmoil is seemingly evident everywhere. You don’t have to like everyone, but it’s best to be respectful, and assertive versus aggressive. That makes for good office relationships.

7 Steps to Convince Your Boss to Give You a Different Job — Do you feel as though you’re a round peg in a square hole? Or vice versa — a square peg in a round hole? You might think you’re in the wrong job. Perhaps you are. Is it a case of being over-qualified or under-qualified? Or do you want a promotion?

“My only relationship policy is, don’t bring your dirty laundry to work, no sex on company furniture and don’t let it affect your work.”

-Paula Graves


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Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.






Seattle business consultant Terry Corbell provides high-performance management services and strategies.