Dating and work. The controversy in that sentence fragment alone is enough to make us more nervous than seeing our office crush in the cafeteria.
If dating at work were a universal no, then Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez would have never been Bennifer, forever altering the course of our universe in frightening and unimaginable ways.
The fact that you spend 40-plus hours at work each week means your office just might be the only dating pool you dip your toe into on a regular basis. But before you go sending a link to your online dating profile to your entire office, you need to ask yourself whether this is a crush or a potential love interest. Yes, there is a difference.
Crushes are simply a fun, healthy way to get your daily dose of butterflies from an inappropriate source of male attention. As long as you don’t confuse nervous giggling at the copy machine for valid boyfriend material, it’s perfectly acceptable to break up the tedium in your day with some mild workplace flirting.
Is he my boss?
If pop culture and your innate common sense have taught you nothing else, you should know that this is the worst idea you have ever had. ABORT MISSION IMMEDIATELY.
Do I work with him directly?
Be realistic about how casual you’ll be able to act once you’ve seen him naked. Now, be realistic about how casual you’ll be able to act should he shatter your heart into a handful of jagged pieces. Decide accordingly.
Is my office cool with this?
Plenty of people have met the love of their life while sitting across from each other at a conference table or collaborating on a kick-ass PowerPoint (oh, romance), and plenty of companies are totally open to this possibility. Take some time to peruse your company’s relationship disclosure policies. If your office is less than encouraging when it comes to intra-office romantic collaborations, you’ll need to weigh the potential for true love against the potential loss of your job.
How private do I want to keep my private life?
Having a relationship with someone in your office opens you up to a new level of scrutiny usually only exhibited by your mother and grandmother. For some of your co-workers, the details of your new relationship would be worthy of the cover of your office’s own version of Us Weekly.
Uh, am I in love?
The bottom line is that love is love, whether you find it in a Burger King parking lot or in the accounting department while you’re turning in your expense reports. If it’s real, gut-punching, rainbow-puking, starry-eyed love, then get it, girl. Just make sure you talk to HR.