Ah, the rush of indulging in a little office romance—living dangerously is fun!
We all love to do something wild every once in a while, it helps to create a little excitement, and if you are single, hooking up every once in a while can help you understand what it is you want out of your partners sexually.
The initial experience is always great, unexpected, wild, and unforgettable (in a good way, hopefully). The problem usually comes after the fact, especially if you happened to have hooked up with a co-worker.
There are many reasons that a lot of companies have safe-guards in place to keep employees from fraternizing. If things go wrong, it can create a pretty uncomfortable working environment.
- Relationships can be distracting, especially if one or both of the parties involved is immature.
- Sexual Harassment
It happens more than you may imagine, and can cost you a career that you spent years working to build. One would hope that the hook up was worth it, because if not, well…
- Potential Retaliation if the relationship ends
So you woke up next to a co-worker (if you made it out of the office, that is), and realized that you probably either made the worst mistake of your life, or you may have found your soul-mate. If you are the latter, for either, discretion will have to be a priority. When you meet somebody that you are crazy about, the last thing you want to do is be discreet, but when you find love in a professional environment you have to think like a grown up, which means considering the aftermath if things do not work out.
Rules of Office Romances
1. Be Discreet
Office gossip is like wildfire, it spreads quickly and is impossible to tame. Speak to your partner, and make it clear that you want to keep things quiet, at least until you are sure that the relationship is going to be more than a fling. You don’t want to put your career in jeopardy over a fling.
2. Take the Time to Really Get to Know Your Partner
Any red flags should be cause for a quick, well-planned escape. Make sure that you are spending more time talking and less time under the sheets. Sex can be a great distraction from the things that matter most, and the last thing you want to do is share a bed with a co-worker for weeks or months, only to realize that the person is not a great fit for you. The office romance is complicated enough as it is!
3. Plan Ahead
If you know that the relationship is something you would both love to explore, and have a long term trajectory, make time to discuss how you will communicate at work. What are you both comfortable with? Depending on how close you work by each other at work, avoidance may be impossible, so make sure that you have had a serious discussion about workplace behavior. Remember that you are opening your private lives up for scrutiny and gossip from your co-workers, how will you act after your first disagreement?
All these little things matter, so make an effort to have a grown up discussion beforehand, in order to avoid awkward situations at work.
What about those who prefer to pretend the hook-up never happened?
Well, the best way to do that is to avoid getting yourself in the situation to begin with, but things happen, and damage control may be your only option. Here are my tips for surviving the (hopefully) forgettable office romance.
1. Do Not Avoid
At least not initially, instead, reach out and discuss how you will both handle the situation maturely.
The hope is that the other person was very mature to begin with. Make it clear that you prefer to keep what happened between the two of you, and reminding he/she that it can affect their career and reputation just as much as it can affect yours should be clarified.
2. Do Not Be Rude
No matter how much you regret what happened, your priority should be making sure that everything ends amicably. Try to avoid making the other person feel insulted, simply clarify that you value your career and would prefer to stay friends in order to stay professional.
Everyone is different, and being rude or intentionally hurtful can bring the worst out of other people.
3. Deny, Deny, Deny
Deny for as long as possible, dodge, and distract as much as possible, for as long as possible. Don’t share with other co-workers, because your work bff probably has a work bff that she trusts, too!
4. Keep Working Hard
Do not change your pace at work. Keep working hard, do not let your nerves, or fears change the way you have always done things. The more you change about your routine, the more attention you will draw to yourself.
This goes without saying, but try to avoid hooking up with your married co-workers. The last thing you want to do is find yourself in that kind of a s**tstorm.
Despite the excitement of a great hook-up, making sure that you are not doing so close to home or work will protect you from unnecessary drama and consequences, so do choose your sex buddy wisely!