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Attracted to Someone at Work?

Finding someone attractive at work is common. What to do about it is tricky. Let’s assume you are emotionally available and attracted to a person at work who is attracted to you. Should you jump in or think about how to do it in a way that preserves your job, at least. Let’s strategize.

The first thing you want to think about is emotional availability. Is he or she available? If the answer is yes, the next big consideration is what would happen if the relationship ended? Would you be able to continue working with or in the same place as this individual? If the answer is no, you’ll need a plan if the relationship fails. In other words, be prepared to leave or transfer in your job if the risk you’re taking doesn’t pan out. I suggest you know and decide this ahead of time.

Another consideration is how the two of you will behave in the workplace while this romance is going on. Other co-workers will probably become aware of the relationship unless the two of you are quite good at hiding the intensity of what you’re feeling. Little indications of attraction are inevitable. Bigger ones should be avoided given their potential to distract the two of you as well as co-workers from doing your/their job.

In fact, focus and concentration are key to job performance and the easiest functions to disrupt when romance intrudes on the job. Keeping our on minds on work is vital. My recommendation is to communicate about this necessity with your romantic partner and reach some agreement on how the two of you will act in each other’s presence while at the job.

Of course, there is the potential inquiry from superiors as to whether or not a relationship is taking place. Do you lie, distort the facts (another lie), or omit a response (another lie through omission), or simply tell the truth and let the chips fall where they will? Personally, I like the truth approach, not that I would look for any opportunity to make an announcement, in fact I might avoid that possibility, just when cornered I think it’s best to come clean.

Perhaps, a low key response with no traces of excitement, conveying the impression that it is possible to “fancy someone” and still be able to do your job. The rest is on a need to know basis, if you know what I mean. This reassurance is exactly what upper management people need to hear when trying to figure out if an intervention is necessary for the sake of the business.

Lastly, it pays to be aware of the contemporary pitfalls when people of different status meet and are attracted to each other in the workplace. Like an administrator and an employer. The power differential becoming a factor that could negatively influence the course of the relationship. This can get complicated.

People of different status are in their roles at the workplace but equal in their personal lives. If the relationship fails, it is imperative that hurt feelings are not expressed as anger in the form of making power moves on the individual with less status. This takes a measure of maturity and good character to realize both of you took a risk to get involved and that has to be respected if and when it’s over.

Work consumes such a big part of our lives, it makes sense that love could show up at the job. It just takes an extra step to think about and care about what happens if and when it comes to an end. Unlike many other situations where people meet and entertain love, romance initiated in the workplace will leave a relationship to negotiate if and when love leaves.

Of course, it is still possible to meet your soulmate at the job. I met my wife on a job interview and married her six years later.

Comments welcome/Dr. Thomas Jordan

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Dr. Jordan

Dr. Thomas Jordan is a clinical psychologist, certified interpersonal psychoanalyst, author, professor, and love life researcher.

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