Your co-workers: you spend hours with them every day, converse with them over coffee, work through problems together, and share inside jokes and office secrets. Sounds a lot like a relationship. And when a co-worker just happens to be an attractive, single member of the opposite sex, a relationship can seem like a logical next step. But before you dive into an office affair, perhaps consider a couple things:
Shared Interests: Imagine you had someone to interview your romantic prospects and vet them for you, weeding out the ones who need not apply. Well, in an office relationship, that’s exactly what you have: a narrowed-down pool of candidates with whom, in theory at least, share similar passions and interests.
The Gradual Romance: Often the best lovers begin as friends, and a relationship with a co-worker allows you just this kind of space. You begin as strangers, you get to know one another slowly, and with no pressure. You also get the added bonus of seeing how they deal with challenges, failure, and success before getting involved with them.
The Break-Up: No one wants to begin a relationship thinking about its demise. But in the case of dating an office mate, the possibility that things could get ugly is very real. A fight is no longer an excuse to make up: it can turn into an all day living hell that affects not just you, but the people around you and, worse, your productivity.
Time Together: Imagine if, instead of arriving home each evening to your partner, worn out and tired, you got to spend the better part of the day with them. Sneaking amorous glances, sharing good moments, and commiserating about office drama. Sounds quite nice, doesn’t it? But every silver lining has a cloud, and this time together might not look so good on that day (or days) when all you want to do is have a little space and a few hours away from your significant other. It could all just be an add-on to the daily stresses of work.
Productivity Pitfall: You have your sweetie on hand all day. What could be better? Not much, you say, but have you seriously considered whether you can focus on the job at hand with that kind of distraction? This is more of a problem in new relationships, when things are still hot and heavy (and delightfully distracting).
It’s obvious that there are both pros and cons to consider before you hook up with a co-worker. If you do decide to take the plunge and make the relationship work, there are somethings you can do to make it easier on both of you, and your colleagues. These include, sitting down formally with your boss and explain the situation, limit the PDAs in proximity to the office, set the rules ahead of time, and enjoy the benefits of an office amour.
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