The first rule of office romance? Relax. Internal affairs are increasingly common”and accepted.
A 2008 Globe and Mail poll found that 70 percent of respondents felt that dating a colleague didn’t violate office etiquette. But don’t hop onto the photocopier just yet: Workplace relationships are still fraught with potential minefields. Read on for the top eight tips for dating a coworker without losing your marbles”or your job.
1 “ Never date your boss (even if he looks like Don Draper). The power imbalance will always work against you: If you get a promotion that you absolutely deserve, people will still wonder otherwise. And if you’re the boss, never date one of your employees. (See Disclosure.) Lateral dating is always best.
2 “ Never date a colleague who is married or otherwise attached. (See Fatal Attraction.)
3 “ If you make the first move, don’t do it at the office. If he’s not into it, he’ll feel extra uncomfortable and you’ll feel ultra humiliated.
4 “ If you don’t want people to know, don’t tell a soul. Salacious gossip spreads like lightning, and no one wants to be the subject of giggly watercooler talk. Sharing the news also depends on how serious the relationship is”you don’t want to proudly announce your romance, only to have it fizzle out a week later.
5 “ Keep your relationship out of the office as much as possible. That means no googly eyes over cubicle walls or makeout sessions in empty boardrooms, no matter how hot and forbidden it might be.
Maintaining an aura of professionalism is essential”you don’t want anything to suggest that your relationship is negatively impacting your work performance.
6 “ Be discreet. You may want to tell your colleagues that your man has a butterfly-shaped birthmark on his inner thigh, but it’s best to save the steamy specifics for your non-work friends.
7 “ If you want to end it, break up outside of the office and don’t allow any possibility of getting back together. If he thinks he has a chance, the break-up will drag on and inevitably create more tension at work.
8 “ If he wants to end it, wear your best poker face. At home, you can wail é la Diane Keaton in Something’s Gotta Give, but at work, you must be the soul of discretion. (That includes no badmouthing, tempting as it might be.)
Your co-workers will be relieved that they don’t have to take sides, and more importantly, you’ll keep your dignity, if not your man.