Where do you clock more hours than time with your SO, family or friends? Where are you tossed into the pressure-cooker of unrealistic deadlines or a crazy boss? Who’s the best person to understand your job stress? I’ll bet the answers are:
3. Your co-worker
Those scenarios and answers are the perfect recipe for forming friendships and other intimate connections. When you spend eight to ten hours a day with someone in a close working relationship, you tend to buddy up. Working under stressful conditions also leads people bonding. It’s a natural next step for people to sometimes form crushes on their co-workers. There’s nothing inherently wrong with having a crush – they can be harmless.
Danger, Will Robinson!
(Many of you won’t get that reference, but I thought it was funny and it’s my post.) Although crushes on co-workers can be nonthreatening, it’s where they might lead that has the potential to enter the danger zone. “But I’m looking for a relationship,” you say?” But that guy really seems to be into me…” Well, let’s look at why that might be a bad idea.
· Unhappily married, on the prowl – It sounds so cliché, but that nice, sweet receptionist may want to hitch a ride right out of her marriage. Unless you’re up for embracing infidelity, don’t be the shoulder she cries on.
· Crush is not reciprocated – You may find Frank in accounting dreamy and not just because he expedites your travel expenses. But Frank may not have the same feelings.
· It’s illegal, stupid – Well, a crush or relationship isn't, but sexual harassment is. And the thing about sexual harassment, your definition may not be the same as your crush’s.
· Why mess up a good thing? – You have a great working relationship with the object of your crush, adding a romance vibe might just mess that up. It’s hard to work with someone who is actively avoiding you.
· Your boss will have a cow – Bosses worry about all kinds of things. Don’t be the person who makes it to the top of that list, “talk to Don Juan…”
So, if you have a crush or you are the crushee, what’s a grown-up way to handle it? If two unattached co-workers decide to form a relationship, that might work out. BUT, discuss the situation openly, set healthy personal/work boundaries and keep it out of other co-workers’ faces. Another tip - when you have a crush on someone, it’s best to be honest and address it. Ewww, really? Yes, be a big boy. If it’s not mutual, don’t go there. But if you're the crushee, let the person down easy. Explain nicely that you’re flattered, but that you find office relationships too tricky.
It probably goes without saying, but if you feel you’re being harassed or not safe, tell your boss or HR immediately.
Okay, rebuttal time. Let’s hear your arguments FOR office crushes!