You know the risks of dating someone in the office. Will getting involved with this person give either one of us an unfair advantage or disadvantage at work? How will our relationship be perceived by our boss and co-workers? If we start dating and then have a difficult breakup, how will it affect our ability to work together?
But, when you’ve got a crush on someone at work, those worries can easily fall by the wayside. You see this person every day, in his or her element, doing exceptional work—pretty soon, that rational voice in your head gets quieter and quieter and the emotions become impossible to ignore. What should you do (besides, you know, check the dating policies in your employee handbook)?
If you’re finding yourself contemplating a workplace romance you’re not sure you should pursue, here are four things to keep in mind.
“Feeling” doesn’t mean “Acting”
It is okay to like someone—anyone, anywhere, any place. But liking someone doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to act on those feelings. You can enjoy a feeling, without ever having to act on it.
It’s not your feelings in control
Your feelings do not control you. If it feels like your emotions are taking over, that means that you’ve allowed intense feelings to build up for too long, like steam in a tea kettle. The good news? Once you release those emotions safely, they won’t rule you anymore.
There’s no need to feel guilty
You like my co-worker—but you shouldn’t! You know you shouldn’t be attracted to your boss, but you are—and you feel terrible for feeling this way.
Guilty thoughts like these are like pouring petrol on a fire. They’re dangerous, because you’re far more likely to do unhealthy and inappropriate things when you’re already feeling guilty.
Guilt distorts our ability to think clearly, leading to thoughts like: “What the heck, I’ve already made a mess of everything by falling in love with my married boss (even though no one knows), so I might as well pursue this.”
Enjoy the excitement
Having a workplace crush can be fun, exciting—and even productive! You might find yourself dressing more sharply, speaking up in meetings more readily, contributing to projects in a bigger way—all because you like the way that special someone’s face lights up when you’ve done a great job. Once you clear guilt out of the way, you can delight in the thrill and the sparks and shift into a positive frame of mind—one that will allow you to calmly consider the pros and cons of starting a relationship with your co-worker.