How NOT to fall in love with a co-worker
Office romances - don't do it!
How do you keep from falling in love with a co-worker? Yes, it can be difficult to not fall into a relationship with someone you work with, but no, just don't do it. Read on for tips and advice on how to keep your emotions and feelings in check when it comes to a potential office romance.
Do not find your co-worker attractive - If you find your co-worker's slight lisp adorable, or that little cowlick at the back of his head irresistible, you need to stop yourself and get a grip. Anyone you see regularly you will develop a familiarity with and an affinity for, it is human nature. That guy on the train, that homeless person on the corner, the waitress where you get the coffee every Saturday - all these people will become familiar enough to you that your body will respond when you see these people for familiarity sake alone. Your heart will quicken and your pupils will dilalate if you see these people unexpectedly somewhere else, and why? Because you are so familiar, your body has an automatic response. This is not love, it isn't even friendship. Studies show it is simply recognition. So that co-worker is just recognition or familiarity on steroids. Yes you may feel you know the co-worker intimately, but no don't act on this "feeling." Sorry, but you know the homeless guy intimately too, a little too intimately. You know when he has had a bath, and when he has not. And you are not in love with him, I think you get the point here. Keep those emotions in check, you are just office mates, nothing more so no need to read into this relationship. Keep it professional for everyone's sanity.
Do not find things in common to talk about - You may find that you agree on everything. You voted for the same candidates last time you went to the polling booth, you eat the same havarti cheese (dill, only with dill), and you just realized you both have the same telephone carrier so it would be convenient to call each other for free if you ever wanted to extend one of these long and thoughtful conversations you have been so fond of having over the watercooler (read: your cubicle, his office, or in the parking lot or elevator). Listen, go online to a free survey website and you will be surprised to learn you have something in common with hundreds if not thousands of other people. And you are not considering "kickin' it" with them, so don't even think about getting personal with a co-worker on the basis of commonalities. We all have something in common: there is only one "race" and that is the human race. Enough said.
Do not touch your co-worker/keep your hands to yourself at all times - If your co-worker is at the copy machine, let him or her finish before you go to the copier to retrieve your copies. Do not accidentally on purpose touch his or her hand as you hand him or her the copies. When you go to your co-worker's cubicle or office, do not sit down and make yourself so comfy right away. Knock professionally at the door to announce your presence, state your purpose, get the answer you need and get the heck out. People do work at work, so find a way to be one of this club and do some work. Don't go to your co-worker's office as a guise to ask important questions, fingering items on the desk, thoughtfully playing with the person's personal affects, or curly locks on the back of the collar. Just keep your grubby little hands to yourself. This goes for brushing up against each other in the elevator, going through doors which are held open for each other, walking up and down stairs, waiting in line at fast food restaurants or at the bank and when sitting in each other's cars on the way to a conference or to a business lunch. No touchy no feely is the rule, live by it.
Do not daydream about being stranded on a deserted island with your co-worker - One woman used to dream about her co-worker incessantly. She used to imagine they were alone, they had to live on coconuts and bananas, they had to weave thatched shelters and he had to take care of her by fishing in the ocean with a shoestring and a lanky bamboo pole. This woman kept her fantasy up until she found out ANOTHER co-worker had an amateur pilot's license. Then she promptly started daydreaming the same daydream about the second guy! Needless to say, how much work are you achieving if you are mooning over your co-workers all day long? Do not dream about co-workers. Do not imagine them undressed, undressing you or undressing themselves to techno club music. Remember, focus and you will overcome these unnecessary and unwanted fantasies. If you must daydream, figure out instead how to determine the current assessments and applicable milestones for the stakeholders on that project due next Thursday. Yes, I know, you will thank me later.
Do not buy your co-workers thoughtful gifts - Find a way to keep this promise to yourself, especially if the co-worker you are staring at lovingly actually makes more money than you do. Tell yourself, "Self, I don't want to spend money on anyone except myself right now." Trust me, your "self" will get it and not flounder on this one. Indugle your selfish streak and pamper yourself from time to time, spend the money on you instead.
Do not overanalyze the relationship with your co-worker - Do not feel that anything the other person does is a "sign" of his or her loving devotion to you. If he gives you a breakfast sandwich, don't take it as a diamond ring. Maybe he went to the fast food joint as they turned from breakfast to lunch, and they gave him a "two for" special to get rid of the extra food (instead of throwing it away). If your co-worker volunteers to help you with a project, remember you are on the same team, and this person is obviously the bigger person to want to get it right. Go with this but don't make a federal case out of it. It is probably already forgotten by the other person, so don't read anything into it at all.
Do not stand so close to your co-worker when you are talking to the person - Allow your co-worker lots of personal space. Do not stand close enough to smell the person's shampooed hair, baby powdered undergarments, or even tea tree minty fresh organic breath mints. Give the person a wide berth. If you are in the habit of standing too close to the co-worker, you will get the reputation for being weird at the least, and creepy at the best. If you can count the pores in the person's face, know what time the person probably shaved his whiskers that morning, see the persons's black roots (it may be time for a touch up at the salon), or stare at that person's crooked smile to see if the person is a closet smoker or not - then you are standing too close!
Do not stare into the co-worker's eyes from across the room - Do not make direct prolonged eye contact with your co-worker. In meetings, do not develop a secret simple comprehensive eye blink which will tell your opinion on any given matter. Do not label your co-worker's eyes hazel, then go to the mall to buy clothing to match the person's eye color.
Finally here is what you should never say to a co-worker under ANY circumstances:
"The next time there is an ice storm, come to my house to shower, I have a generator."
"My husband/wife doesn't understand me, so I bought you a mink stole (1960), tape recorder (1970), ipod (2007) or new gadgety digital handheld device (2011)."
After "how are you," let the conversation stay professonial at all times.
"Do you want to share a lunch/taxicab ride/season pass?"
"Are you an Aries or something else?"
So there you have it, so many reasons to not get too close to a co-worker. This advice also applies to the boss, supervisor, corporate manager, admin. staff, maintenance staff and anyone else you see regularly at work. Just remember to "keep yourself to yourself," and it can be done, so follow old Granny's advice and chill out with the co-worker.