Dating A Coworker: 10 Must-See Rules

dating a coworker

Many of us have fallen victim to the idea—or the reality—of dating a coworker. Though the idea is often taboo, many companies do not dismiss the idea. It is natural and normal to fall for someone you spend up to 40 hours a week with.

Because business and pleasure are often better separate, however, we have some rules to dating a coworker. Good luck!

1. Don’t dismiss your feelings if you’re considering dating a coworker

This may seem like a funny rule, but many people miss out on a potentially life-changing relationship because of work. If you work at a disposable job—one that you do not necessarily care for—consider the fact that your feelings might be more important than your job.

I have been in situations where I cared more about someone than I cared about my job. I quit my grocery store position to work at a coffee shop when I started dating my first boyfriend. I was in college and my job was not my entire life. It was a solid decision.

If you are in more of a career position, leaving your job is probably not the most ideal choice. Don’t quit your job for love—just make sure you know all of your workplace’s rules when it comes to fraternization. Weigh out what matters most to you and make your decisions accordingly.

2. Your boss is off limits

Coworkers are fine, particularly if the two of you are on the same level or in the same position. Becoming romantically involved with your boss is almost never a good idea. Not only is it likely not allowed at your company, but it is not a very safe position to be in.

Dating someone in a position of power can lead to accusations of favoritism or bias. Beyond even that, there have been plenty of stories about bosses or mentors taking advantage of the people that work for them. Across the board, dating a coworker: probably fine; dating your boss: probably a mistake.

3. Do your research

No, I don’t mean Google search your new love interest. It is extremely vital that you research your company’s policy regarding dating at work. Even if you end up leaving your job to pursue the relationship, you want to do it on your own terms rather than as a reprimand. Often times, dating a coworker is allowed if you two present the situation to management. If this is the case, you are going to want to alert the right people before the rumor mill turns and you end up getting in trouble.

4. Absolutely no public displays of affection

We all love a peck on the cheek, a long hug, or even a squeeze on the shoulder. It is incredibly unprofessional to act out physically at work, even if you are in an accepted relationship. Public displays of affection can easily make your coworkers feel uncomfortable, not to mention it is just not appropriate. Save it for happy hour.

5. Not everyone has to know

If dating a coworker is allowed at your job, and you have informed the appropriate people, you do not have to let anyone else know. It is understandable if you feel like confiding in a few of your office buddies, but it is unnecessary to alert the entire company. Keeping your relationship out of the office (as much as possible) is for the best.

6. Use your cell phone to communicate

Many workplaces have different ways to communicate with one another—walkie-talkies, work email, work instant messengers—but it is vital that you stick to your cell phone for any personal messages. There is no reason to use the work email to plan a date night or to talk about anything that may seem unprofessional. Most often, upper management has access to all workplace communication. Don’t let your adult relationship seem unprofessional.

7. Broaden your conversation topics

Outside of work, it is easy to focus on the obvious thing you both have in common. If you and your partner leave the office to talk about work outside of the office, things may seem stale quickly. It is important to grow your relationship as a separate entity from your job. Find out what else you have in common. Get to know one another. The relationship will be better off because of it.

8. Spend time apart

Since you two are presumably spending a lot of time together—both at work and outside of it—it is extra important to give each other space. Though space is a great thing for any relationship, the coworker relationship definitely needs it the most. Giving each other room to breathe, having a guys’ night or a girls’ night, or simply spending the night apart from time to time can work wonders for your relationship.

9. Prepare for the break-up

Of course no one wants to think about breaking up if they are in a happy relationship. Unfortunately when it comes to dating a coworker, it is important that the two of you at least touch base on the potential event. Will he quit? Will you? Will you both? Will you two try to separate yourselves at work, or just try to be strong around each other?

The situation would be less than ideal—likely the reason most companies do not encourage their employees to date. Though we all hope our relationships work out perfectly, there are plenty of times in which they do not. Make sure you both have an agreed-upon game-plan if such an unfortunate event arises.

10. Be happy!

Hey, you’re in love! Or maybe you are getting there. Once you know the rules and your relationship has been approved, you can be happy about it. There is nothing terribly wrong with dating a coworker. Get past the slight judgment you may or may not receive and revel in your new relationship.

Dating a coworker can be tricky, but if you take all of the proper steps, you may have a really beautiful thing on your hands. Dating a coworker can also lead to a life-changing relationship, so try to relax and let yourself love.

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About the Author

Jessica Tholmer has a degree in English Literature. Jessica is a full-time writer for a small company, but she writes for multiple other forums. Jessica writes about love, life, and everything in between for HelloGiggles, though her work has been featured on Nerve, The Gaggle, The Conversation, and The Siren as well.

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