It’s that time of the year again! That being said, let’s take the time to talk about the special relationships that may happen in workplaces. Here’s a scenario:

You are fresh out of college, working in your new job and out of the corner of your eye, you catch a glimpse of an intern. They also look over and then you two briefly make eye contact – at that point you feel all tingly inside.

Let’s pause here. At this point three words should pop up in your head: “DON’T DO IT”. Dating in the workplace is a very serious issue, and it can have very serious consequences if not handled carefully.

Assume you let that feeling pass and you quickly resume your work. Throughout the day, however, you seem to always find them in your sight during times that are most convenient: when you’re at the water cooler, at your lunch break and, even during short trips to the printer. It would almost seem as if they are intentionally trying to bump into you.

Now you’re always constantly thinking about them. Why do I keep seeing them? Are they trying to talk to me? Do they like me? Am I awkward? Maybe I have something in my teeth? But at the same time, your confusion makes your attraction towards them even stronger. You know that dating in a workplace can be very tricky, but yet again, you only live once.

Let’s say it all goes “wrong”: you both catch each other in the break room and start chatting over coffee and the next thing you know, you guys are getting dinner on Valentine’s day. First of all, congratulations! Second of all, you dug yourself into a big hole. If you do find yourself in this situation, here are a few do’s and don’ts of dating in the workplace.

  1.  Do take the relationship seriously – As mentioned before, dating someone else in your workplace can be a minefield. You have to make sure that you two aren’t publicly displaying affection and distracting other employees and yourselves. Your supervisors may even react if they suspect anything that could slow down productivity.
  1. Don’t let the relationship get in the way of your work – relationships are complicated, believe me. There are many things that may happen that can affect your mood and productivity. Relationships can have a lot of up and down moments but the thing you have to make sure is not to let them happen during work, or else be prepared for a lot of awkward staring from coworkers or being called into the boss’s office for a little chat. Having a partner is a nice thing, sure, but don’t let them affect the thing that is giving you the money that feeds and shelters you.
  1. Do tell your supervisor – Notice how I didn’t put this first? I’m not going to lie to you, having a secret relationship can be fun and exciting, but there can be a downside. Depending on the company contract you signed, there is a high chance that they have a policy for workplace dating. If you get caught going against that policy, be prepared to face the consequences. If you want my suggestion, I would say keep it a secret until you are both ready for a serious relationship, but make sure you don’t linger in the dark for too long.
  1. Don’t openly tell your coworkers about your relationship – you should be aware that the workplace is basically an adult version of the playground in the sense that rumors can spread like wildfire. The worst thing you want is a seemingly innocuous comment mutating into a destructive buzz that will likely hinder the productiveness in you, your partner, and your fellow coworkers. I can’t say what your supervisor will do, but I can assure you it won’t be pleasant.
  1. Do remember that breakups are difficult – As cliche as it may seem, people seem to forget that breakups are a thing and that they hurt. And what’s worse is that you still have to see the other person at work the day after…

There are plenty of more situations where you would need to watch yourselves, but who am I to tell you how to date. Go ahead, enjoy that Valentine’s Day dinner.