It’s not always what you’d expect.
We’ve all been there. You’re working long hours on an intense project and suddenly, the camaraderie you feel with a colleague somehow tips over into sexual attraction. You ask yourself if the attraction you feel is because you're both working your butts off or are you genuinely feeling a spark of love (or lust)?
Before you know it, you’re eating dinner together, since you’re both working late. Then you have a few laughs over the fortune cookie from the crummy Chinese place down the street. The next week, you leave work at the same time and walk to the E train together. A month later, after stopping together for a few drinks, you wake up in the morning next to that same smile that hooked you in the first place.
1. The Good
You’re cool. She’s cool. You're both adults and work approximately at the same level in different departments. So, you let the tryst happen. You ate, you drank, you laughed, you rumpled each other's sheets and you're both totally cool about it. Maybe she has a boyfriend who works in Boston. Or she’s playing the field and she sees you as a great guy she enjoys spending time with. You're not a stalker-nutcase and you respect her space, especially after you’ve done the deed. Or, maybe she just wanted some variety or to take the edge off and you were there.
Then again, maybe you two are meant to be. It does happen. I’ve had a few office flings in my time and one lady ended up living with me and it worked out just fine. We both found new jobs organically, but, at first, she wanted to let people know that we were an item. And I did not. My question to her was, “Can you tell me one good thing that will come out of sharing this with a gossip-crazed ad agency?”
That kept the lid on our relationship until I found another job. At that point, what other's thought didn't matter. We kept things cool and the relationship worked out. OK, there were a few awkward moments when someone made a lecherous comment about her in my presence, but no big deal.
2. The Bad
If the word is out at the office about you two, and you have a disagreement ... it sucks. Same thing if another person in the office or someone who works with your company has his or her sights set on one of you. Things can get sticky, fast. You don’t want your co-workers knowing your personal business. They talk, maybe out of boredom, but they will talk. And when they do, your colleagues will look at you differently, and maybe guard their own words when either of you is around, especially if you impact their job.
And you don’t want to have a tryst in the physical office space, even if your boss is an a-hole and you want to have sex on his couch, just so you have something to laugh about every time you see his smug face. So, tread carefully when the word gets out about your relationship. It can be used against both of you, and if you two stop getting along or breakup, things can get tricky.
3. The Ugly
This usually happens when one of you is the boss and the other a subordinate. Let’s say the boss decides that he or she has had enough fun. The subordinate gets dumped and all hell breaks loose. High stakes tension forms a toxic cloud in the office. Uncomfortable looks, emotional blackmail, and even accusations of sexual harassment are rampant. You know it happens, even if the allegation aren't true. People try to keep their jobs by playing this card, and it can work if the circumstances are set up the right, or should I say, the wrong way. This can become a messy situation and it impacts people’s careers. You want to keep things light with this co-worker to avoid things getting ugly at all costs.
So, should you let a office romance blossom or nip it in the bud?
As with all of your encounters with the opposite sex, do your very best not to let your sexual organs lead the way, especially at work. Common sense, paying attention, and being a respectful person all go a long way in avoiding office drama of the romantic kind.
Of course, because we spend so many hours in an office, many couples get their start at work. If that happens, act like a professional and don’t let emotions dictate your actions. Our primary reason for being in the office is for the job we were hired to do, even if it’s not much fun. That’s what we get paid for, so keep that in mind when that hot co-worker sashays past your desk every morning. I know, it’s easier said than done. Do your best and it will work out just fine.
This article was originally published at RobertManni.com. Reprinted with permission from the author.