Dating a friend and coworker

Psyched because the lady of your dreams told you she’s single?Not so fast: “You have to understand what that means,” says Bartell.Some companies ban office romance outright, while others ban dating among direct colleagues, such as superiors and juniors (and teammates).You should consult your employee handbook, and if that's not clear, ask your HR department directly.“Disclosing the relationship and following the rules may potentially protect you and/or your partner from issues related to sexual harassment,” says Rebecca M. D., a professor in the College College of Business at Frostburg State University who studies workplace relationships.If there are no corporate hurdles standing in your way, the first thing you need to do is find out a stranger’s relationship status. While a ring on a finger is an obvious indicator, photos on someone’s desk or workspace can also be a big clue a person is taken.(Remember: that's what they're there for.) If you’re not careful, flirting could get you in real trouble, or even be considered sexual harassment.If things progress between you and a colleague down the line, be sure to speak up about your relationship if it’s what your company requires.

Instead, simply start talking to the person while you’re waiting for coffee, when you pass each other in the halls, or at the beginning of meetings.

In between finding out what movies they saw this weekend or how long their commute is, you’ll usually learn their relationship status.

Build off of that friendship: “If it’s someone at work, you need to come pretty far in the platonic part of the relationship before it turns romantic,” says Bartell.

You can't just walk away and not see that person again.” Ready to make your move? Plan it for the next day or a few days later and make it a sit-down restaurant (no, your go-to sub shop doesn't count).

That way, it’s a date but it’s nothing too intense, she says.

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