Workplace romances are becoming more and more common. After all, it is the place most of us spend most of our waking hours and often times we see our coworkers just as many hours as our family and friends, if not more. Relationships formed with co-workers however, have traditionally gotten a bad rapport with sexual harassment cases on the rise. Most office relationships often end badly because of the pressure of mixing business with pleasure. But, this doesn’t have to be the case! Dating and Relationship Coach and Director of Operations for the Mars Venus organization, Melanie Gorman,outlines five ways to find a romantic happy ending in the workplace.
Try not to be so tough
Some women are repelled by the thought of a needy man, so they are very careful not to need a man themselves. They will loudly acknowledge that they are self-sufficient and may act overly aggressive or even indifferent in response to a man’s interest. The way to get a man’s attention at the office might initially be with your confidence and responsible nature, but remember not to take it too far—too much self-reliance can be a turn-off. If you’re going to date at work, you have to remember to turn off the power-woman role when you’re out on the town and your date is trying to impress. His attempts may come through in more stereotypical ways like opening your door and treating you like a lady and if “Miss I-Don’t-Need-a-Man” shows up, it can be a real turn-off. It also sends out the message that you’re difficult to make happy.
Know your boundaries
If you’re climbing the corporate ladder, the pull of power can be oh-so-enticing, but when it comes to dating at the office, stick with your “own kind.” Dating the boss is the fast track to disaster. Whether the relationship works out or not, others in the office will question any favoritism or promotions that seem to come your way. On the other hand, if the relationship fails, you’re stuck in an office with a higher-up who knows entirely too much about you and could have the upper hand over your future. Likewise, if you’re a supervisor, stay away from getting involved with those on your staff. Your authority can be compromised quickly if you’re known as the one who “preys” on the underlings. If your office has human resource policies against dating a coworker, it’s best to respect those policies if you want to keep your job.
Do not pursue a man more than he is pursuing you
A man will be less likely to commit if he does not get to develop a vested interest in his pursuit. In the work world, many women may claim that they’re merely “doing their job” when they regularly drop by his office to talk shop, email him throughout the day, or sit together in the break room. While it’s important to let your interest be known and it’s ok to flirt at the office, (within reason) don’t spend your days in search of excuses to make contact with your love interest. He’ll pursue when he is ready and leaving the ball in his court will allow you the necessary room to pace the relationship.
Just because he’s physically attracted to you doesn’t mean he’s prepared to pursue a relationship
The two of you may flirt every morning by the coffee pot but try not to assume that there’s more to the situation. Remember that flirting over coffee is not the same thing as being asked out on a proper date. In addition, try to not confuse an after-work happy hour with a date. If he wants to take you out, he should ask. Flirting at the bar after work is not the same thing as having a one-on-one event to get to know each other. And remember that alcohol inhibits us all. One too many in front of your coworker can send the entirely wrong message and loose lips do sink ships!
Finally, have fun at the office while keeping things in perspective
Flirting at work can be a great way for many women to test their ability to attract men. Most people spend an average of 10 hours a day at work—that’s 50 hours a week. Rarely, if ever, do people have that kind of time to explore finding potential mates each week. If you are someone who is not sure about what you want from a relationship, or you have traditionally not had many suitors, consider putting on your dating game face at the office to help you get comfortable with the whole process of dating. Bad relationships, unresolved past feelings, and simple pessimistic thinking about dating can lead to results that mirror your attitude. Instead of waiting until you actually have the time to properly date, use your office environment as a practice ground to be the woman you want to be—smile, flirt, enjoy the company of the men in your office, and let them pursue you if the chemistry is mutual. The point is to practice, practice, practice so that when Mr. Right walks into your life you’re able to attract him to you. It’s a myth that good relationships just happen; be proactive in your life and you’ll find it much easier to attract people who are compatible with you.