Dating somebody from work is notoriously regarded as a bad idea. From worrying about coming across as unprofessional to wondering what will happen if you break up – dating at the workplace can bring a unique set of challenges. But is it really such a bad idea?
“If you think about it – it’s quite obvious you’d end up dating somebody from work,” my friend Charlotte tells me. She reminds me that it’s only natural she’ll share a lot of common ground with her colleagues. In a world where we like to believe opposites attract, Charlotte believes the opposite. But even Charlotte has a rule – she’ll only date a colleague if they’ve already decided they’re quitting. It’s not only that she hates the idea of seeing an ex regularly after they break up. She worries the team dynamic would change. Will she be criticised for taking his side during a meeting? Would they be tempted to bring work arguments home?
Open communication paves the way
My friend Harry, on the other hand, is the complete opposite. He started dating his girlfriend three months ago and last week he managed to get her an internship at his company. The prospect of living, commuting and working with the same person excites him and he doesn’t see them breaking up anytime soon. They did, however, have an open conversation about how they would handle any issues they may face. They both put their cards on the table and decided together what is acceptable and what isn’t. Apparently, chatting too much on the commute, isn’t!
What’s right for you?
My personal inclination when in a similar situation is to politely thank the person and explain I’d much rather keep my significant other as part of my personal life. As much as I like the people I work with, I need to be able to switch off after I leave the office. What’s right for you? Workplace relationships don’t have to be a bad idea. It all boils down to being aware of the possible pitfalls and communicating well when challenges arise.