Dating at Work

Dating at WorkLadies, what are your thoughts on dating at work? Have you ever dated a coworker? What do you think are the rules for dating officemates? With Valentine’s Day coming up, I thought we’d have a nice open thread about the pros and cons of dating at the office. (For those of you already happily coupled, let’s hear how you met, whether at the office or beyond!)

For my $.02: I never dated a coworker, although I had crushes on a few of them over the years — at the time I was very worried about being viewed as someone who saw the office as a dating pool. Looking back, this was probably silly — in Big Law so many people churn through the lower ranks it’s almost like another grad school, and there are always more people to work with if a relationship ends poorly. Indeed, I know several happily married couples who met as coworkers at BigLaw — although all of them kept it a secret, even from good friends, until the relationship was pretty serious. (In fact, a number of readers noted in our last open thread about dating at the office that they had dated at work, and discretion was the name of the game, as well as paying attention to the “don’t date assholes” rule that, you know, is a pretty good one for dating in general. I also agree with the other little rule that readers noted in that thread, though: Summer associates or interns should not date at the office.)

As for how I met my husband — I went through a phase where, fighting my introverted ways, I said “yes” to pretty much any activity that would take me out of the house. For about a year and a half I went to political fundraisers, soccer games, and trivia nights — and I also joined museum groups like the Young Lions (at the New York Public Library) and the American Museum of Natural History’s Junior Council. And just when I was about to give up my little “dating project,” I met my husband. We met at a friend-of-a-friend’s birthday party in a bar on the Lower East Side; Mr. G also did not know the birthday girl well and in fact had to be dragged to the party (by our future best man!). Our circles really didn’t intersect at all, so it’s really lucky that fate took us both to that party.

All right, ladies, over to you — have you dated at the office? Share your stories (and your rules)! If you’re happily coupled, how did you meet your partner, whether at work or beyond? 

Psst: we’ve also talked about finding time to date when you’re busyhow to date a really busy guy, and how to date someone with more time or less money

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Dating at the Office: Working Women Share Their Stories

dating at the office2017 Update: We still stand by this advice on dating at the office – links have also been updated. You may also want to check out our more recent discussion on dating at work 

We’ve talked about dating a wee bit on here, but something we’ve never talked about is dating at the office.  (Disclosure:  This author has no experience with it personally).  Still, it happens frequently — a study by the American Management Association found that two-thirds of managers and executives say it’s okay to date someone at the office, and 30% have done so.  We’ve certainly known (and respected) folks who dated people at the office — in fact, a lot of those people wound up marrying that co-worker.  So what are the rules for dating a co-worker with dignity?

(Pictured:  Linda Lee Johnson Claddagh Ring, available at Barney’s for $3200. Update 2017: It’s sold out, sadly, but you can always get a great claddagh ring at Etsy (affiliate link).)

We thought we’d throw some suggestions for the single ladies amongst us — readers, please chime in.

What to Know About Dating at the Office

  • Do not view your office as a dating pool. It doesn’t matter how big the company is, or how many floors or offices it has — word will get around, and it will hurt you professionally.  There should be a chance for the relationship to be a fairly serious one — do not just “date” a co-worker for a “distraction.”  If you happen to really like someone you work with, let your feelings develop naturally, and let the relationship progress naturally.  (We might also advise that if you’ve already dated someone at the office and it ended, then you should be very, very careful about dating anyone else at the office, lest you be seen as someone who does view the office as a dating pool.) [Read more…]
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