It’s tempting to date a co-worker, especially if you work long hours and spend more time with your colleagues than with your friends. “There is something about constantly interacting with someone that creates kinship,” says Mirande Valbrune, an attorney and author of #MeToo: A Practical Guide to Navigating Today’s Cultural Workplace Revolution. “You realize you get along and you make each other laugh, and you do all these things that make people interested in one another.”
Valbrune suggests asking these five questions before you go on your first date with a co-worker.
What is my relationship history?
“If you’re the type of person who can say all of your past relationships ended amicably then maybe you can be more open to an office romance,” Valbrune says. But, if your relationships tend to have a dramatic and contentious ending, you probably want to steer clear of dating a co-worker.
What is my co-worker’s relationship history?
You should exercise extra caution when deciding whether to get involved with someone at your office, Valbrune says. Take the time to evaluate whether you are compatible. Ask about their dating history. Determine if they seem aggressive, possessive or needy. If the answer is yes, you might want to look for romance outside the office.
What is my company’s policy on office romances?
Many companies require employees to disclose a relationship between a supervisor and a worker so that the company can change the reporting relationship to avoid any actual favoritism or the appearance of favoritism, Valbrune says. However, if you are co-workers, the company might still recommend that you disclose the relationship but not require it.
What is our professional relationship?
Even if you’re peers, your work relationship might not be on equal footing. For instance, one of you could have more seniority. One of you could be a position with more status. Even if you’re on different teams, you might interact with each other. For instance, one of you could have the ability to influence the other’s assignments, workload or promotion.
Is this office romance worth the risk?
Think critically before starting an office romance, Valbrune warns, particularly if your company has rules against co-workers dating. “There are definitely benefits if the relationship goes well,” she says. “But you don’t want a casual hook up at the workplace.” It might not be worth the risk if there isn’t a strong interest that will lead to a lasting relationship, she cautions.
Credit: Forbes, Mirande Valbrune, Lisa Rabasca Roepe
Photo credit: Google