How to Date a Co-Worker

Got a crush on the office hottie? Think he or she might be crushing you, too? Great, this could be the start of something fabulous -- provided you don't screw it up! You may know the rules for dating someone you met at the grocery store or the gym, but there are totally different rules at play when it comes to dating someone from the office. Ignore them and you could lose a lot more than just your heart if everything goes sour. The following tips are meant as a general guide for dating a co-worker. Keep them in mind before you start getting down with the guy or girl in the next cubicle.

Rule #1 : Know your fraternization policy

Some companies don't let colleagues fraternize, and it ain't because they want to see you star in your own Shakespearean story of unrequited love -- it's because many office romances end badly, and companies have learned their lesson. Some people manage to get around these restrictions in their own way, but at least be aware of whether or not your company has the right to fire you if they find out you're getting down with the stockroom girl.

Rule #2: Know if they've dated a co-worker before.

Don't date a colleague until you've sussed their inter-office dating history. Have they dated anyone else? How did it go? Did they get nasty and childish when it was over? Were there problems with other co-workers because of it? How did the boss react? You don't want to date anyone who, say, photocopied their ex's knickers and sent everyone a copy with their morning email.

Rule #3: Know if any co-workers are crushing on them.

Are you crushing on the office hottie? If so, other co-workers may be doing the same exact thing. I'm not saying you should avoid dating a co-worker if this is the case, but use commonsense and don't flaunt it in front of men or women who can cause inter-office snippery behind your back. And if your boss happens to be one of those people, rethink the plan!

Rule #4. Take it slow.

Don't take your co-worker home for a drunken romp after the office Happy Hour and then proclaim your engagement to your co-workers the next morning. Just because you're in love with the office hottie and he or she goes home with you, doesn't mean they're going to change their Facebook status to "In a relationship." In other words, don't do anything that could prove embarrassing or awkward later (erm, like sleeping with someone at the office whom you barely know!)

Rule #5 : No PDAs

Unless you work with a bunch of hippies, or adult film stars, don't be all over each other at work. This is annoying to most people and will not make you popular. It also makes you look very unprofessional (unless you are an adult film star) and could cause the boss to have reservations about you. Act professional whilst in a professional environment.

Rule #6 : Don't bring your issues to work

If you do wind up in a relationship with a co-worker, do not bring your issues into the workplace. If Adam doesn't take the trash out every week, don't start nagging him about it at work. If Eve spends too much money on makeup every week, don't bitch at her while she's trying to write her presentation. Save these things for home, because no one in the office cares!

Rule #7 : Know how you'd handle a possible breakup

Before you get involved with someone you work with, have a nice long sit and imagine yourself dating, getting seriously involved and then breaking up. What is that going to mean for your career? Will you need to get a new job because you can't cope with being around them? Will getting a new job be bad for your career? Think these things through, because career is sometimes the only thing that keeps us going through bad breakups and you don't need two major life disasters in one go.

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