It’s bound to happen. At some point in your career, you’re going to be single and attracted to one of your coworkers. If you’re lucky, they will be single too! So you’ll start toying with the possibility of asking them out on a date. But you’ve never had to navigate the tricky world of office dating before. It could be potentially high-reward (hello office soulmate) or high-risk (the ever-present coworker ex). So should you or shouldn’t you? Before you take the plunge, consider these office dating do’s and don’ts:
DO read the policies. Checking your employee handbook may sound like the least romantic way to start an office romance, but it’s the smart thing to do. There’s a good chance your company has at least a policy or two when it comes to office dating. The most common restrictions involve not dating your boss (stick to your coworkers, not your superiors) and whether or not you have to eventually disclose an office romance to HR.
DON’T make it weird. Remember that whether your coworker agrees to a date or not, they’re still going to be your coworker. Respect their answer either way. You want to avoid making your coworker feel uncomfortable by pushing the idea or acting unprofessional after you ask. Persistence can quickly turn into harassment from your coworker’s point of view.
DO be casual. The best coworker first dates are low pressure. Try hanging out with your coworker love interest on a friend level first to feel out potential romance. Ask them to coffee or drinks after work. Best-case scenario, you both realize there’s romance in the air and you decide to go on another date. Worst-case scenario, you just got to know a coworker a little better! No harm, no foul.
DON’T add to the gossip mill. This goes both ways. Whether your coworker rejects you or you have an amazing date, respect their privacy at work. Don’t assume that they won’t hear that you’re trash talking them after their rejection or talking about the amazing fireworks that happened when you kissed. While the person you went on a date with may be a coworker, you still want to keep your personal life personal.
Is it worth it? There’s a reason you have friends who say they will never date someone from work. On the other hand, you probably know people who found their perfect match at the office. The bottom line is to remember that you’re going to have to interact with your coworker love interest no matter what happens. Make sure you’re prepared for either scenario, decide if it’s worth the risk, and cross your fingers that it all works out!