5 Tips for Asking Your Coworker Out — Without Getting Fired
Memos and meetings are hardly the makings of an epic romance, but according to CareerBuilder, about 30 percent of office workers do date a coworker at some point — and many of those relationships lead to marriage.
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, we thought we’d look into how exactly one might navigate the sometimes murky waters of office romance. Read on to learn how you can turn your coworker into something more, while still protecting your career.
Don’t focus on the physical: The line between asking a coworker out and engaging in sexual harassment is unfortunately pretty thin, and even well-intentioned invitations can often be taken the wrong way. To ensure that nothing is misinterpreted, keep your focus off of anything physical when asking your office crush out. For example, rather than saying “I think you’re beautiful/handsome/hot and would like to take you out,” instead say “I find you really interesting, and I’d like the chance to get to know you better.” Not only will this help you avoid charges of sexual harassment, but your crush will likely be more flattered when you compliment their personality over their looks.
Start with groups: Remember back in middle school, when kids would go on big group dates rather than coupling off? It turns out that this innocent practice might help you with office dating as well. Suggesting a group outing with several coworkers will help keep the pressure low, and allow you and your crush a more organic way to get to know each other. And if you fear rejection from someone you have to see in the office everyday, this is a good way to ask them out without really asking them out.
Know company policy: Many companies have rules about management not dating subordinates, disclosing serious relationships, and not engaging in displays of affection in the workplace. Chances are you were given some sort of handbook or code of conduct when you were first hired at your current job. Now is a good time to review the section on office relationships, so that you can be ahead of the game should things turn serious with your office crush.
Don’t date your boss: It’s easy to develop a crush on your direct superior, especially if you admire their work. But unless you value your potential relationship over your entire career, it is probably best to keep this crush a secret. Most companies frown on it, and every accomplishment (or setback) you have at work will be tainted by the question of whether you truly deserved it.
Avoid alcohol: Alcohol and other judgment-inhibiting substances can help you loosen up and have fun on a first date, but they can also make you say or do things you might later regret, and that regret can increase tenfold when a coworkers is involved. Until a strong level of trust is established in the relationship, try to avoid overindulging.
With a little forethought, careful wording and smart decision-making, dating a coworker is not only possible — it could be truly rewarding. Good luck asking your office crush out this Valentine’s Day!