How The 'Office Goggles' Phenomenon Causes People To Fall In Love With Their Co-Workers

There may be a logical explanation as to why office romances are extremely common.

co-workers flirting at the office baranq / Shutterstock

It's no secret that sparks tend to fly in the hustle and bustle of office culture. The terms "work husband" and "work wife" have emerged to reflect the blend of professionalism and romance that can develop between work colleagues.

However, a woman named Molly coined a specific term to describe the circumstances that cause a work romance to happen in the first place and the dopamine rush that accompanies spending hours upon hours with the same people every single day.


The 'office goggles' phenomenon causes people to fall in love with their co-workers.

"We've all heard of beer goggles, but now let's talk about office goggles," Molly started her TikTok. The term "beer goggles" refers to when someone has been drinking and finds that people are more attractive than when they were sober. She likened it to being the same for office goggles, just without alcohol and adding the workplace into the equation.

Molly explained that there's always that one person in the office who you wouldn't look twice at if you'd seen them outside of your job, but for some reason, under the fluorescents of an office, your brain tricks you into thinking they're way more attractive. 




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"I don't know what it is, I don't know whether they put something in those water coolers or there's some kind of weird subliminal effect," Molly remarked. Or, she added, maybe this happens because people are spending 40 hours a week, every week, with the same people, and it's some professional version of Stockholm syndrome.

To combat this, Molly advised that the next time you're out for after-work drinks with some of your colleagues and you start believing that "Jack from the tech development team could be the love of your life," take a few seconds and consider if this Jack person would be someone that you'd go for if you saw him on a night out. Molly insisted that nine times out of 10, the attraction is only because you have "work goggles on" and can't see past that.


Most people have had office romances with someone they work with.

According to a poll by LiveCareer, three in four people have had a romantic relationship with a co-worker. While most people were aware that office romances often take a bit of a dive when they begin to sour, 76% of those surveyed said there is nothing wrong with dating a colleague, and 71% said there is nothing wrong with dating a manager. 



Just like Molly mentioned in her video, people tend to spend a significant amount of time with their colleagues in the workplace, sometimes more than they see their friends and family. This prolonged proximity inevitably means the development of close relationships, and while they may start as strictly professional and platonic, romantic feelings have a way of creeping up on people.

On top of it, there is a thrill of engaging in an office romance, especially because they're quite taboo and frowned upon. Many companies even have strict guidelines in contracts that employees sign upon being hired, where interpersonal relationships with colleagues or managers are strictly forbidden and can result in immediate repercussions.


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Dating and relationship expert Gabriel Brenner told Business Insider that collaboration in the workplace, whether that's a joint project, team building exercises, or networking events, can also bring people together. While Angelika Koch, a dating and break-up expert for the Queer dating app Taimi encouraged people to consider several things before pursuing romantic feelings with someone they're working with.

"The first thing to consider is the consequences," she told the outlet. "Every intimate relationship has its struggles. If you form a romantic relationship with another individual, and you begin to struggle in the relationship, then it will bring up problems within your workplace because you won't be able to get the space you need from your partner."



Not every workplace romance will turn out like Jim and Pam from "The Office," and there are serious complications that can occur, including a risk of sexual harassment claims as well as conflicts of interest arising.


Sometimes, you can't help when romantic feelings develop, as your heart doesn't care a single bit about workplace culture. Still, it's important to strike a balance between personal emotions and professional conduct so that nobody feels uncomfortable while just trying to do their job.

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Nia Tipton is a Chicago-based entertainment, news, and lifestyle writer whose work delves into modern-day issues and experiences.