You see this person almost everyday, you work on projects together, you sometimes even eat together. It’s only natural that you start to think of this person as more than just a co-worker. Oh, the dilemma of office romances. Should you, or shouldn’t you?
Sometimes, the temptation is just too strong. If you are falling for someone at work and have taken things to the dating level, you’re definitely not alone.
According to a 2011 study by CareerBuilder.com, 38 percent of workers surveyed have dated a co-worker at least once, and 17 percent dated co-workers at least twice in their careers. It seems the industries with the most office romances are hospitality, financial services, transportation and utilities, information technology, and healthcare.
Why is this phenomenon occurring in the workplace? Well, there’s just something about the familiarity you build with this person. Simply associating with them often makes them more attractive and makes you think about them more. But there is also the fact that you both work in the same industry, meaning you have similar interests. You were bound to be at least friends, right? And if you are friends, you might start to think, perhaps we could be more than just friends.
But if you are contemplating whether to date a co-worker, take a step back and think about things seriously. While you can think of plenty of reasons to date this person, there are plenty more reasons not to. Here are some reasons why you should never date a co-worker.
- Things May Not Work Out. This is a biggie. Just imagine if you date a co-worker once, twice, or many times… perhaps you two even get serious. If things don’t work out, do you really want to face this person every day and be reminded of that failed relationship?
- You May Get Fired. Depending on your company’s dating policies, it may be against the rules to date someone else in the office. Check with Human Resources to be clear on what’s allowed.
- You’ll Be Tempted to Life/Keep Secrets. Especially if your company doesn’t allow dating co-workers, you may be tempted to just do it anyway. It feels even more exciting at the thought of sneaking around for a forbidden romance. It begs the question–if you have to lie about it, are you really that in love?
- Your Work Performance May Suffer. If you are dating someone at work, that person will become a big distraction. When you are supposed to be making calls or writing reports, you’ll instead find yourself day dreaming or randomly stopping by your significant other’s office.
- It May Make Things Awkward For Others. When people find out you two are dating (and believe me, they will find out, whether someone tells them or whether they notice your body language), things may get weird. If you two are open about your relationship and even flirt, others will get annoyed and may think badly of you. They may even accuse you both of favoritism. You definitely don’t want to deal with that mess.
- You May Have to Choose Between Work and Love. It’s hard to balance work and love anyway; but if you work with the person you are dating, it will be even harder to separate the two. You both may have different expectations about how you should act towards each other at work, or you may get offended that your date is so focused on work while at the office, that you don’t feel the romance anymore. In the end, it may be better to not mix the two at all.