Romance 101 courtesy of Dunder-Mifflin.
Over the years, NBC's comedy The Office has contributed much to pop culture and office morale, popularizing "that's what she said" jokes, introducing the encasing of desk supplies in JELL-O and giving a whole new meaning to office antics. But while we were guffawing at Dwight's quirks and cringing at Michael's horrifyingly gauche comments, we were also watching one of TV's most long-awaited courtships unfold, courtesy of Pam and Jim. And let's not forget Michael and Dwight's own dysfunctional pairings since the series' 2005 debut.
Frankly, there are a number of love lessons to be gleaned from the employees at Dunder-Mifflin Paper Company. Here are our favorites:
5. Don't ignore the small red flags.
In season one and two, Pam was stuck on a one-way street to an unhappy marriage. Throughout the episodes, we learned that her fiancé, Roy, checked out other women, didn't help cook and tried to dictate what Pam could or could not do. Isolated, these issues appeared to be small and solvable with a little more assertion on Pam's part. Compounded, anyone could see that they make a largely inconsiderate and boorish husband-to-be. 12 Relationship Red Flags
4. Stay your distance until the other is ready to move on with you.
Early in the seasons, Jim's flirtation with Pam often went too far—getting too physical at the dojo, making harsh cracks about Roy. These moments made Pam back off and the budding lovers retreated into their signature awkward silences. Being too forward too soon means running the risk of becoming the "other" man or a throwaway rebound. Or did we forget what happened in season four with Dwight's botched plan to secretly marry Angela without her knowing? Women Really Do Like Nice Guys
3. You should be equal partners in your relationship, regardless of difference in job titles.
In season four, we were giving a short glimpses into Jan and Michael's domestic life. She controlled the finances, forced him to sleep on the couch and even made him get a vasectomy. Basically, their former work relationship mirrored their current love relationship. Dating superiors is generally not a good idea, but if love must conquer all, don't let the work dynamic sneak into your love life. Both partners need equal say regardless of how your resumes and salaries compare. Combining Work And Love: Is It Possible?
2. If your heart is truly set on one person don't distract yourself with others.
Pam and Jim went through this chronically until season three, and mostly it was Jim's own doing. In earlier episodes, he began dating Katy, the handbag salesperson. Later, it was a long drawn out affair with Karen, another Dunder-Mifflin associate. Diverting your attention to other love interests sends the ultimate mixed signal, especially if it happens in the presence of your main love. (See also the Dwight-Angela-Andy love triangle.) 10 Quick Ways To Size Him Up
1. Sometimes, "friends first" is the best way to go.
Men dread the "friend zone," but we believe that it can be the best relationship real estate to occupy. If the chemistry is truly there, sparks will happen naturally. It can develop over a simple favor such as getting a bag of her favorite kind of chips or collaborating on a joint prank. As Pam's friend first, Jim established trust before they became an item. So when she was ready for a relationship again, he was in the perfect spot to take part in the fireworks. 4 Signs You're More Than Friends