I often get asked “where’s the best place to meet someone special?” and I tend to say that the office is an ideal situation. After all, you can really get to know someone who you work with before taking the plunge – their reliability, honesty, integrity, punctuality, dress sense, teamwork and even their drinking habits.
However there are certain rules that you need to remember if you’re about to dive head first into an office romance. Some future thinking is required, and a clear understanding about how you’re going to run things is vital to avoid creating hell in the office place.
1) Research the HR policy
First up you must do your research into the HR policy at your workplace regarding intimate office relationships. If it’s okay – then you can jump right in. However if there’s a clear policy against this, then it’s not worth the risk. You’re better off with one or both of you leaving so that you can start up a romance without the threat of legal action.
2) Agree on a break-up plan
I realize that this might sound weird, but you need to discuss how you’ll handle things if you break up and continue to still work together. I know you’re about to go forward with this romance, but there are consequences to doing this that you need to talk about. Be grown up about this conversation, consider how you’re going to deal with the fall out in a practical sense if you don’t end up together long-term.
3) Don’t air your dirty laundry
You have to have really strong clear boundaries throughout your office romance. That means being on the same page about dealing with conflict. Under no circumstances do you want to be arguing with each other or expressing your hurt and resentments in front of everyone in the office. Bite your tongue or walk away if you have to, but don’t bring your relationship issues into the workplace for everyone to see.
4) Hold back on the PDA
There’s nothing more embarrassing for your fellow work colleagues than watching the two of you engage in a deep extended kiss! Cringe! So be really aware of your physical affection with each other around the office. Hold back on any PDA and treat each other as respected colleagues with no inappropriate touching.
5) Avoid inappropriate texts/ emails
It will be very tempting at times to send your new partner messages throughout the day to express your desire for them. Be cautious! It might seem like a great idea at the time, but they might fall into the wrong hands and things could get embarrassing very quickly. So think before you click – and limit what you send on work phones, computers and lpads.
6) Keep work performance high
One of the easiest ways to keep the focus and gossip off your developing office romance is to maintain very high work standards. Make a point of meeting deadlines, being punctual, contributing as a team member and going that extra yard for others so that your work standards are the main talk of the office.
John Aiken, Findsomeone’s dating and relationship expert, as seen on the hit TV 3 show Married At First Sight. He is a best selling author, appears regularly on TV, radio and in magazines, is a clinical psychologist and runs a private practice in Sydney, is a sought after speaker, and offers intensive couples retreats. (www.johnaiken.com.au)