How to Remain Professional When Things Fizzle with a Co-Worker

Falling for a co-worker is not uncommon. Spending time in the same work environment automatically gives the two of you something to talk about. As you see each other on a regular basis, proximity also plays a part in your developing feelings for a colleague. But what do you do when something that was once sweet turns sour?

Generally when co-workers get involved with each other, the story goes a little something like this: You begin by flirting. Sparks fly. You try the casual thing to avoid heightening the drama. As usual, one or both of you develop more intimate feelings for the other. This casual thing quickly turns into a serious thing. Then just as quickly as this whole thing started, you realize that going out with a co-worker just isn’t going to work out. Now you are left to face the embarrassment of seeing your ex-boyfriend slash co-worker at work. How do you deal?

Keep things professional

Limit your interactions to be about work-related matters. This means leaving whatever issues the two of you may have at your front door and not bringing your personal life into work. If he or anyone else you work approaches you to talk about what happened, kindly respond with, I’m sorry, I’m really busy with my duties right now. I’d appreciate it if you didn’t ask me about this at work. You are there to do a job. Don’t let your private life jeopardize your professional one.

Play dumb

Things are only awkward if you make them awkward. So instead of trying to confront past events, pretend like nothing ever happened. Why open old wounds? In fact, why even acknowledge that those wounds exist? Just go about living your life and working your shift as though the two of you have always just been colleagues and nothing more. This will alleviate the discomfort of the situation and help you avoid any awkward conversations waiting to happen. If both of you can agree to bury the topic, you will feel more at ease around each other and it will be easier to restore your relationship (at least in front of your other co-workers whom you don’t want sticking their nose in your business anyway).

Rise above it

As with most workplaces where even the most remotely interesting events occur comes the issue of gossip. People, especially the people you work with, love to talk about you when you’re outside of earshot. Rumours might circulate about your recent romantic fling. People may begin to perceive you differently and you may hear things being said about you that you don’t like. The best thing you can do in this scenario is to pretend like none of that bothers you. Don’t succumb to their childish behaviour. If you retaliate, you will only fuel their chatter. But if you refrain from reacting to their comments, they will get bored sooner or later and things should return to normal within the next couple of weeks.

Learn from it

Ever heard of the saying Don’t shit where you eat? Well, now that you know why that saying was first invented, don’t get involved with another co-worker. Unless you relish in the drama and enjoy being the centre of every negative conversation, look to pursue your next romance outside of your work place.

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Tags: break-up, co-workers, Relationship

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