An office romance can be problematic in many ways. It could detract from the quality of your work and create an uncomfortable environment for you and your colleagues. If it goes wrong, it could also lead to disciplinary action from your employers, such as a suspension or the loss of your job. You can prevent the possibility of these things happening if you avoid an entanglement from the start.
Some employers allow office romances but most formally discourage it, especially relationships between upper-level personnel and their subordinates. You could check your employee manual for written policies about intimate interactions at work. Your employer might also include information on how to deal with undesirable advances. You can seek additional details from human resources personnel.
Your friendly nature could be considered encouragement for a romantic relationship. This is especially true for people who are affectionate. A professional demeanor can discourage advances or control a friendship that shows signs of becoming intimate. Avoid flirting with your coworkers or bosses, limit your conversations to work-related subjects and keep all physical contact on a professional level.
Minimize Social Interaction with Coworkers
It’s common for coworkers to have lunch together or meet for after work events, such as happy hour at a bar. These are opportunities to get to know each other better and develop friendships. If you’re worried about a friendship developing into a romance, you can refuse these invitations. Limit after-hours activities with your coworkers to office events and only those that are required. Have a social life away from work to make this easier.
Keep your personal life private and separate from your work life. Exchanging details of your life with a work buddy could lull you into a sense of comfort and closeness. Such feelings, if mutual, can lead to a romantic relationship.
Discourage Apparent Interest
If a coworker appears interested in you, it’s up to you to discourage it. Refuse any advances, invitations or gifts and avoid being alone with the person. If the behavior persists in spite of your lack of interest, state your opinion clearly, but politely, in unmistakable terms. Any continued attention from this person after your statement borders on harassment. You can report the matter to your supervisor and the human resources department.