Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Office Romance

A friend of ours works for a huge corporation that requires her to attend company-wide meetings every few months or so. She keeps meeting this guy there who works in a different office, and they’ve really hit it off.

She figures that, because they work at separate sites, it won’t be one of those things where they’re walking down the hall together and everyone starts gossiping as soon as they pass.

When work consumes three-quarters of your waking hours, it’s tempting to multitask. Why go on dates when you can meet one in the office?

We all know people who’ve had successful office flings. But we also probably know more people who’ve regretted the holiday party make-out. It may have worked for Jim and Pam, but remember what happened to Michael and Jan?

If the relationship goes sour, you’ll be left, in the best-case scenario, feeling a little awkward, and possibly worse. Breakups and relationship drama rarely make people respect either party, and if your coworkers are on the receiving end of any rants, it’s not going to reflect well on you.

He may be great at fixing your computer, but that doesn’t mean he’ll be a perfect boyfriend. Your chances of sustaining a successful relationship are probably no greater than they would be with a friend of a friend, and the foaf isn’t going to blab to your boss. So why take a huge risk for the same rate of return?

It’s hard in DC when happy hours and co-workers night out seem to be the norm, but there’s a huge difference between drinking with and dating your colleague.

That’s why, if you absolutely must, you have to start off as friends. And then become good friends. And then—and only then—are you ready to let him take you to Ray’s the Steaks.

You might be able to puke and rally in AdMo in front of your cubemate without worrying that the whole office will know about it on Monday, but chances are you two didn’t start off doing shots of tequila. You probably went to a few happy hours, exchanged phone numbers, started hanging out, really hit it off, and slowly built the sort of trust and mutual respect that means you can talk to her about leaving your job.

That’s a good litmus test for your potential coworkerboyfriend. If you trust him enough to talk about career ambitions beyond your current job, you’re on the right track.

Going back to our friend, this is why it’s actually probably a better idea to date guys in the same office. The Philadelphia office is only an e-mail away, which makes the distance less of a shield and more of a barrier.

What kind of relationship, realistically, develops between two people who live a few hundred miles apart? And getting to know each other beforehand is a lot harder if you can’t really hang out. You’re more likely to end up as a weekend bootycall road trip than the serious girlfriend.

There are plenty of guys that you don’t work with, which means there’s no reason to date the ones you do.

1 comment:

  1. I date a coworker because I referred him to the company. I probably work for the same corporation as your friend.

    Totally not a big deal, I say go for it. You'll never see him if you don't want to.