Dating a coworker can be the best and the worst thing in the world. On one hand, you get to spend a ton of time with them and see them in a professional setting—which can be really inspiring—but on the other hand, you also risk your professional reputation.
Many different workplaces actually ban dating a coworker because it has the potential to disrupt the work environment. However, for those places that DO allow coworkers to date, you still may want to take things easy.
Hazards of dating a coworker
There are a lot of reasons you wouldn’t want to date someone you work with. They could distract you from your work, give you a certain type of reputation around the office, and you could potentially run the risk of being fired for inappropriate behavior at work.
This could also lead to you being fired or not getting the promotion you really want. These reasons are why some people choose to keep their love life completely separate from their work life and just not date a coworker.
The dos and don’ts of dating a coworker
If you choose to throw caution to the wind and date a coworker anyways because you just want to follow your little heart, more power to you! But there are more than a few things you should be aware of if you decide to do so.
You’ll want to watch out for these crucial dos and don’ts of dating a coworker to ensure your reputation stays respected and never run into issues at work!
These tips help save you a ton of trouble if you end up dating a coworker—believe me, I did!
#1 DO keep work at work and home life at home. Don’t intermingle your work and home life. Don’t go to their office and ask them what they want for dinner or nag them about getting the yard work done this weekend or something silly.
You should always keep your personal life and work life separated even if you two work together. Maintaining that level of professionalism helps others see you in an appropriate way. Otherwise, they’ll start acting strange if you’re only talking to them to discuss relationship matters.
#2 DON’T bring your arguments to work with you. This one is VERY important. As much as you should keep your home and work life separate, you may still need to discuss something personal at work.
However, NEVER bring a personal argument into your workplace. Never walk in fighting or go into their office and argue about something that you’re fighting about.
This is extremely unprofessional and exactly why companies have policies against dating coworkers.
#3 DO let your boss know you are dating. It’s really important for your boss to know you’re dating a coworker. As much as some may advise you keep it quiet, your boss should know.
It may strike them as a surprise at first, but if you’re honest with them they will understand and even see you in a professional light for having come clean. This helps them when assigning you to travel or certain projects, as well.
#4 DON’T make it a huge deal. Don’t walk around whispering with people about how you’re now dating a coworker. It isn’t a big deal, and you should keep it as not a big deal.
If you start making a big deal that you’re dating a coworker, it can ruin your reputation within the business. Maintain a cool exterior and after mentioning it to your boss once, don’t bring it up again.
#5 DO treat them like any other coworker. Just because you’re dating them doesn’t mean you should treat them any differently. In fact, you should treat them just as you would treat any other coworker.
This means you can’t just agree with them because you’re with them. If you disagree on a matter in a meeting, be sure to let your voice be heard and don’t hold back simply because they’re your significant other. This helps others realize you’re putting work above the relationship.
#6 DON’T show any public displays of affection. Never do this. I don’t care how alone you think you are, you’re more than likely never alone. Don’t show public displays of affection when you’re at work.
First, it’s probably against some sort of policy the company has. Secondly, it just looks inappropriate and unprofessional. If you want to maintain your respect at work do not show any affection while at work.
#7 DO discuss how you should handle it if your relationship doesn’t work out. This is always a possibility even if no one wants to think about it—because that’s now why you get into a relationship. You start it in the hopes that it’ll work out forever.
Nevertheless, discuss how you would act and how to handle the situation if the two of you ever did part ways. Make sure you make a plan for work and how you would tell coworkers and your boss. However, always remain respectful and professional at work no matter what happens.
#8 DON’T talk about your relationship with any of your coworkers. You may want to gossip and chat about cute things that they do for you or what they got you for your birthday, but just don’t. To keep work and home life separate, you can’t be talking all about them all the time.
Other people start to feel as though they know them better than they do. Or they might even lose a little respect for you AND them depending on what you talk about. Keep other people out of your relationship. That’s what friends are for—not coworkers.
#9 DO make work a priority at work. When you’re at work, work comes first. I don’t care what anyone says or what you must do, just make sure when you’re at work that you’re putting all of your work responsibilities first.
You should act just as you would if you weren’t dating someone you work with. You should enter the building and go about your duties in a manner that suggests you aren’t even dating a coworker.
#10 DON’T ever have sex at the office. NEVER EVER, EVER DO THIS. This may be a big fantasy many people have, but it’s absolutely off limits no matter who you’re dating—but especially a coworker.
You need to maintain respect and professionalism while you’re at work, and you can’t do that if you ever sleep with your significant other while you two are at work. Even if you think nobody will know, you should never do this at all