When you spend so much time at your workplace, there is a 90% likelihood that you will develop office romance towards some of your colleagues.
But if you are sure you do not want to let these entanglements get in the way of your career, there are a number of ways you can be safe from office romance.
Keep it professional
The first step to avoid unwanted office romance is through keeping your office conduct professional.
By so doing, you will have developed and clearly marked your boundaries. However, when a few or just one stubborn colleague (as is expected) won’t respect your boundaries, here are other measures you can employ.
With boundaries, you could decide on simple issues as making it a concious decision of yours to never be alone with the person you are attracted to or is attracted to you.
The other is to make a decision of never going out with colleagues unless it is a company event that everyone else will attend.
This way, you will control awkward situations where you feel nagged by a co-worker.
Keeping the boundaries
While making decisions in your decisions may be easy, following up on your decisions is where the road meets the rubber.
As such, you should invest double
How to politely turn down advances
For instance, if someone invites you out for a drink and you’ve decided that’s one of your boundaries, say, “I appreciate the invitation, but to keep my work relationships professional, I don’t go out alone with colleagues in situations like that.
“On the other hand, if it’s you just don’t want to be alone, invite other coworkers along when someone you’re attracted to invites you.
Discuss boundaries with the person you’re attracted to.
Sometimes, you just need to acknowledge the elephant in the room. If you spend a good deal of time with one person at work because of traveling and schedules, you may just need to acknowledge that attraction with each other and establish boundaries you’re both comfortable with.
For instance, you could say, “I think we’ve both noticed we have a certain chemistry between us. I hope it’s not just one-sided. However, I think we need to lay some ground rules. For example, I have no problem with some flirting, but I wouldn’t consider having an affair because I think it would get too complicated. What are your thoughts?”
Remind yourself of the issues with romances.
Workplace romances can be tricky. Anytime you date someone at the office, you’re opening up the potential for drama and post-breakup emotional fallout. Consider what would happen if a relationship or fling went south.
Ask to switch as needed.
If you need to, bring a potentially problematic situation up with your boss. If you think something could develop between you and a coworker, you could ask to switch teams or work with other people, if possible.
You could say, “Is it possible for me to work less with John? I just feel like there’s a bit too much chemistry there, and I don’t feel comfortable working on his team.”
Treat everyone the same.
At work, it’s your job to get along with everyone. That doesn’t mean you have to like everyone, but you should be able to have pleasant conversations with everyone in the office.
If you’re nice to everyone (and treat everyone equally), you’re less likely to encourage individual romances.
In fact, if you find yourself attracted to someone, the best approach to take is just to treat them with the same respect you treat everyone else.
Socialize after work with other people.
You spend a good deal of time with your colleagues, so it’s natural that feelings may develop at times.
However, one way to fight those feelings is to spend after hours with other friends when you can, as that can help you realize that there other people in the world.
You don’t have to exclude your work friends, but having other friends outside of work will give you some perspective.
Skip the flirting.
You don’t have to be absolutely cold to people in the office. However, you also don’t have to engage in flirting, where you giggle, touch a person’s arm, or lean in when you talk to them, especially if you feel attracted to them. Instead, keep your conversations and interactions professional.
In fact, some companies consider outright flirting a fireable offence
Drop a few hints.
If someone at work is giving you unwanted attention, you can try to drop a few hints to get them to back down.
For instance, if they are always asking you to have drinks or go out for dinner, you can always have another commitment.
If they come around to your desk too often, you can say you have too much work to chat. Try to subtly place the emphasis back on work.
For instance, if the person comes up to your desk and lingers, you could say, “I’m sorry. I’m really busy today, and I don’t have time to chat.”
If you’ve given someone hints that you aren’t interested and they haven’t taken them, it’s time to be direct.
Tell them that you are not interested in having a romantic relationship at
Also, discuss any behaviors you find inappropriate.
For instance, you could say, “I don’t know for sure if this is where you’re going, but I’d really like to keep my relationships at work strictly professional. When you ask me out for drinks, I get the feeling you are interested in something more. It has nothing to do with you, but I never pursue romantic relationships at work.”
Read up on your company’s sexual harassment policy.
If you’re getting unwanted attention, it’s important to know where your company stands on the issue.
Read your company’s policy before bringing the issue to a manager, as you’ll be able to couch the issue in terms that the company uses.
Bring the issue to your boss.
For example, you could say, “I’ve made it clear to John that I’m not interested in him romantically, yet he keeps asking me out. I think that falls under sexual harassment after reading the company’s policy. Can you help me deal with this issue?”