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Thursday, 19 July 2012 06:25

Do’s and don’ts of dating a colleague

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Since about a third of our time is spent at the office, it is not surprising that romance can easily spark between colleagues. At work, you are often surrounded by bright, driven people who understand your work stress and worries. Deciding whether to date a co-worker or not is extremely personal. There are no right answers.

However, there are some basic rules to keep in mind when dating someone you work with. 

Avoid conflicts of interest

If you or your significant other manages groups of people, conflicts of interest can arise no matter how careful you are. Even if you do everything perfectly, your company won’t want to deal with the inevitable complaints from people who see a situation differently. If you are your partner’s supervisor, talk to your employer about changing positions or departments if possible.


Even if you are not in a boss-employee relationship, you will still want to be sure to keep your relationship a private matter at work. However, keeping your work life professional and treating your significant other as you would do to any other coworker will go a long way towards ensuring that you don’t end up in trouble with the company.

Don’t reveal your relationship on social media 

Keep the relationship private. Your co-workers do not need to know the intimate details of your romance. No posting of information or photos about your latest love interest on Facebook or sending tweets about it. You never know who will see them.

Do set rules from the beginning

This means that you should both have a discussion from the beginning on how to conduct yourselves, what both of you want out of the relationship, and how to handle the situation if the relationship falls apart.

Don’t display physical affection in front of coworkers

There should never be any physical display of affection when in a professional setting. This includes kissing, hugging, hand-holding, or even staring at each other from across the room. These rules should be followed in the office, as well as at social work events.

Be professional even if it ends

Another downside to workplace relationships occurs when a love affair dissolves. You may still have to see or work with the person. You can’t vent your negative feelings in public, even if the person treated you badly. If the relationship fails, be professional and matured about it, In other words, no shouting matches.

Consider how it will affect your career

If you want to build a career at the company where you are currently working, take a pause! You have to ensure that people look at you as the awesome employee that you are and not think that you are only working in order to snag a husband, or that you are getting any preferential treatment because of who you are dating. Absolutely never, ever date your boss or anyone you’d want to give you feedback on your next performance review.  Even if it is someone at your level in another department, you still want to be known as “the girl, who is killing it in marketing” not “that girl who dates Dave in accounting.”

Know your drama level

You know how you are in relationships.  You know the level of contact you want, what you are looking for, you know how you deal with breakups. Now insert all of that into your work environment.  If you are super chill, perhaps go for it.  If you are the type who is going to throw a screaming fit because he forgot your two months anniversary, ask yourself if that is something you should be doing at the office.

Ensure you have an outside support network  

For some people this might not be a problem, but if you derive the majority of your social network from work, adding an office relationship to the mix can be too much –   your friends are at work, your boyfriend is at work, your work is at work.  Make sure you have some sort of non-work outlet for when you need to get away, because venting about work to your coworker who is also your boyfriend can become stressful.

Have an exit strategy

No one wants to think that things might end when starting a relationship, but in this case, you need to.  If things don’t work out, will you still be able to work with this person?  If you are the kind of person who can’t stand seeing an ex, then you need to ask yourself if dating a co-worker is worth your career.

Read 3367 times Last modified on Tuesday, 18 August 2015 17:52