Some people pursue a sexual attraction in the work place and sometimes it can lead to marriage, others become involved in affairs (a quick fumble at the Christmas party) but the vast majority do not want and prefer not to be involved in a romantic relationship in the workplace. The reasons are as individual as the people who give them. And most advice regarding office romance will tell you to steer clear because office romances are such a bad idea – this kind of advice mainly focuses on the negative outcomes of office romances. And if you go into ANY kind of relationship focusing on the negative, it’s no wonder the outcome will be a negative one.
Personally, I believe that the workplace is a pretty good place to meet a potential partner. I know because I had an office romance and not only lived to tell the tale, I’ve kept him. Unlike bars where you get to pick mainly in impulse and alcohol-impaired chat, in the office you have natural opportunities to get to see more of what the person is really like – how he/she treats other people, how he/she organizes their space, how he/she holds up under stress etc.
But how can you tell if the person is interested in a relationship with you or just being a good colleague?
1. You are aware of his/her presence everywhere – He/she always seems to be watching you (extended eye contact, frequent glances, sits facing you in meetings etc) And sometimes what are supposed to be 10-15 minute meetings between the two of you frequently turn into 45 minute to an hour sessions.
2. He/she always finds some way to be physically close – This can be either very subtle or extremely “in your face” (literally!). It’s his/her way of letting you know “I am interested if you are”.
3. You “coincidentally” bump into each other every now and then – Forget about “coincidence” those “happy accidents” may not be so accidental after all. Even his/her “surprise” appearance at your favorite hangout is a signal that he/she’s trying to connect with you (but doesn’t want you to think he/she’s a stalker!). Take this as a positive sign and make the most of your next encounter.
4. He/she seems “overly” curious about you, especially what you do outside of office hours – What he/she is doing is trying to find out if you already have someone and how serious you are about that person. It’s interesting how most people who really feel strongly about someone are not put off by the mere fact that person may have someone else, especially if the relationship is not already serious. We humans are optimists by nature!
5. He she calls you after 10 O’clock in the night just to see how you are doing or how your day went. And then lingers on the phone (uncomfortable silence) before hanging up. Or may be he/she calls and when the two of you start talking, it’s sometimes into the wee-hours of the night. Wake up – that’s what people who are dating do!
If he/she’s single and you’re single, you may be a few days away from actually dating. Just don’t rush things, allow things to mature and progress naturally. Make sure you have done the following three things:
1. Checked your company guidelines regarding dating coworkers;
2. You have read the company policy on harassment and;
3. You have healthy emotional boundaries. It isn’t easy bringing together two areas of your life (work and a relationship) and a “broken heart” can be a severe emotional stress when things don’t work out.
I advice against accepting a job thinking it to be an unofficial dating club. Keep in mind that most people come to office to work not to look for love. Good luck with it!