How to Handle a Crush on Someone at Work
If you’ve watched Hulu’s original streaming comedy Crush, you can relate to the magnetic pull a crush can have on your life. Especially at school or work.
Workplace crushes happen. There's nothing wrong with them, on the face of it.
However, there are many wrong ways to go about handling those feelings. Learning what to do and what not to do when you're in that situation can help you protect yourself from losing a job, a future job recommendation, friendships and self-respect, not to mention protecting you from potential accusations of sexual harassment.
Examine Your Feelings
Before even considering how you're going to handle your feelings for a coworker, take a minute to assess what, exactly, those feelings are.
Are you just superficially infatuated with a coworker because of a perfume or cologne they wear, because they remind you of someone you used to know, because you're bored or lonely?
Or, are you developing genuine feelings for aspects of the person that lie beneath the surface—their intellect, their passions or interests, their talents or skills, their empathy or sense of humor, etc.
Gleaning whether you're simply infatuated with a coworker and not developing genuine, deeper feelings can help you decide whether it's worth the risk to both of you to somehow act on them.
Remember, just because you're feeling some sort of way about a coworker, it does not mean you have to act on those feelings. That's a choice, and only you can make it.
Research Company Policy
What is your employer's policy on in-office relationships? Some companies don't care what their workers do in their off-work time; others care tremendously, while many more don't care whether you and a coworker are in a relationship but rather how you handle yourself at work in light of that relationship.
The bottom line for you is: will you get in trouble if your employer discovers you and your fellow employee are pursuing a romantic relationship?
If so, do you really want to risk losing your job for this person? And, perhaps more importantly, do you really want to put that person you supposedly care about at that same risk?
Consider the Repercussions
Think about what could happen if you and a coworker start dating and something unexpected happens: such as if one of you loses interest or cheats with another person. How will a breakup affect each of you on the job?
And, what if one of you gets laid off, fired or transferred? How will that affect your relationship? Will you be prepared to back off, if that's what's called for?
For that matter, consider the repercussions of letting your feelings be known only to have them rejected. How will that affect your working environment? Will it make it uncomfortable for you and the other person, not to mention your mutual coworkers?
Will it affect your job performance? Will you feel compelled to transfer to a different department or quit your job altogether?
Again, will you be prepared to back off?
Take It Easy
If you decide to pursue your crush and let your feelings be known, take it slow. Play it cool. Instead of straightaway confessing your feelings or asking your crush on a date, for example, perhaps start with some light flirting. Get a feel for how reciprocal your feelings may or may not be.
Does your crush ask you questions unrelated to work or remain open and receptive to you asking them such questions? Do they seem to favor you, or working with you, over your fellow coworkers?
Keep in mind, however, that, even if your crush has similar feelings for you, that doesn't mean they necessarily feel as comfortable as you broaching or exploring those feelings; therefore, be sensitive to your coworker's possible feelings about office romances generally, independently of their feelings for you.
Bring it Outside
Just because the two of you met and became interested in one another at work, it does not mean you need to pursue that interest on work premises or during work hours.
While you're at the job, stay professional. Then, if the two of you want to meet up afterward, by all means go for it.
If you can keep your work life and personal life separate, many employers won't blink an eye at the relationship because they can see it's not affecting their business.
Along those same lines, while you're at work, focus on your work.
The worst way you can handle a crush at work is to let it affect your on-the-job performance. If anything, you should be paying extra attention to your work while handling your inner office crush knowing your mind is already distracted.
Protect yourself from yourself by giving your work the extra care and attention it requires to continue performing at an equal level or greater as you've been performing prior to the crush.
Make sure your boss has no reason to claim that your relationship with a coworker is interfering with your ability to perform your job to the expected standards.
There's no shame in falling for a coworker. It happens all the time, and the reason is because most people's lives are spent between home and work; for many of us, there are very few other places to meet a potential partner or mate.
What matters is how you handle those feelings. And, to handle your feelings in the healthiest and most responsible manner—for yourself, your crush, your coworkers and your employer—you ultimately must be prepared for any possible outcome.
If you haven’t seen Crush, you can find out more about Hulu + Live TV on HotDog.com.