Dating a coworker is one of the trickiest situations in the workplace. There is no telling when you suddenly like someone or someone catches your eye in a way that no one else does. If that happens to be one of your coworkers, things get a little complicated.
When you think of asking a coworker out on a date, it could be because they have just newly arrived and you liked them instantly. Something about their personality and looks attracted you enough that you want to ask them out.
On the other hand, you might have been working together for months or even years. But only recently have you discovered their fun and the playful side behind all the official formality. As you start talking more about work and bonding over meetings, you also get to see another side of their personality that interests you, and thus, you want to get to know them better.
Whatever the situation, there are several things to keep in mind before you consider dating a coworker. You do not want yourself or your object of interest to become the center of office drama. Being mindful of certain things will keep a lot of problems at bay.
Is Dating a Coworker a Good Idea?
Whether you can date your coworker depends significantly on your office policies. Some workplaces have strict rules when it comes to workplace dating. If you belong to one of those places where it is absolutely prohibited to date a coworker, then you should steer clear of asking them out on a date, no matter how much you like them.
If you really like the person, you should wait until one of you changes jobs and you are no longer a part of the same organization.
However, considering no such regulations in your office, you are free to ask your coworker out. You do not want to approach them in any way that might seem inappropriate. But it would be best to think about several things before doing so.
Besides, you must be absolutely sure that you belong to the same designation. Dating a coworker when they are junior or senior to you is a bad idea.
If you ask a junior for a date, they might feel obliged and forced to go out with you. They will feel their job would be at risk if they refuse and displease you. This will put you in a position of aggressor unwittingly, and you do not want your date to feel intimidated by you in any way.
On the other hand, asking a senior out on a date could have its share of troubles. If the date goes well, any work of appreciation that comes your way will feel like it resulted from partiality. If it doesn’t, then any criticism related to work will feel like a personal attack.
You will be treading a very thin line when you ask a colleague out on a date, so you must weigh all the factors carefully.
Bonus Read: 8 Key Qualities of Good Employees (Top Characteristics)
6 Tips to Ask Your Coworker Out
If you think everything works in your favor and asking your coworker out will not be a bad idea, here are some tips to help you make things smoother.
1. Always Practice
Always practice when you ask your coworker out. Remember, this is not a person you have randomly met on a dating site. Whatever the aftermath of the date may be, you will still have to see each other every day and work together.
Try your best to avoid any awkwardness. Phrase your proposition accordingly so that your coworker feels comfortable.
2. Keep it Casual
When you ask your coworker out on a date, please do not fuss about it the first time. Instead, try to be casual and ask if they would hang out with you after work for a drink or coffee. The fact that you are singling them out and not inviting a group is enough to convey that you are interested.
The flowers and black tie can wait for later once you have grown more comfortable in each other’s presence. If the first date does not work, you can avoid a lot of awkwardness later if things are casual.
3. Avoid Physical Contact
While asking your coworker out on a date or even during the date, try not to have physical contact. This could be interpreted differently, so avoiding gestures like patting on the back or putting a hand over the shoulders while talking is best.
You should also avoid trying to hold hands. Emote with your voice and eyes, and you will get the message across.
4. Choose a Busy Place
When you ask a coworker out, mention that you are asking them out to a busy place. So you could ask them if they would go bowling with you, attend a concert, check out a new café or visit a museum.
All of them are public places, and the other person is far more likely to respond positively. It will be like attending an activity together, and there will be no dearth of conversation. Avoid intimate places for the first date when asking a coworker out to prevent awkwardness.
5. Dress Well
While asking your coworker out on a date, dress well. Yes, you will probably be in your office attire, and the formals are good enough. Yet, make some extra effort, like putting on a new shirt or applying different special cologne.
Your coworker sees you in almost the same garb every day, so a hint of taking extra care while asking them out will work in your favor, and you can stay subtle the entire time.
6. Wait to be Alone
To avoid any gossip in the office, try to ask your coworker out when there is no chance of anyone else overhearing. Wait for the coworker to be alone around the coffee machine, during lunch hour, or in the lift.
You do not want the entire office to know whether they respond positively or negatively. It is best to keep things discreet so the situation does not become awkward due to unwanted attention.
Points to Keep in Mind While Asking a Coworker to a Date
While dating a coworker, there are some points that you need to keep in mind so that no matter what happens, it does not affect your professional relationship.
- Be careful not to gossip. No matter how close you are to some of your colleagues, do not mention the date. You have to remember that the person you are asking out may not be comfortable with this, no matter how close you consider your colleagues to be.
- Make your coworker comfortable in your presence. So do not ask them out if you do not frequently communicate otherwise. Try to speak to them about other things for a few days before asking them out.
- Do not be pushy while asking your coworker out. Be polite but also generate enough warmth to show you are genuinely interested in knowing the person.
- If your coworker tells you they will think about going out with you, respect that. Ask them again in about two days. That will show you are still interested but without being pushy.
- Always give your coworker the required privacy. Even if they said they would go out on a date with you, do not suddenly become too cozy, friendly, or intimate with them. Someone from the office is bound to notice, which could be awkward for both of you. Continue being respectful and polite throughout.
- If you do not find an opportune moment to speak to the person or want to keep it discreet, you can text the person, which is okay. Write the same thing you would ask in person but do not keep texting if they say no or do not answer.
How to Ask a Male Coworker Out?
If you are a woman who wants to ask a male coworker out, then it is alright for you to go ahead and take the initiative. After all, some men are shy, and even if they like you, they might not be confident to ask you out. So you can take the initiative.
How to Ask a Female Coworker Out?
If you ask a female coworker out, ensure you are polite and warm. Do not put anything in your words that might come across as stepping over her boundaries. Workplaces take sexual harassment cases very seriously, so nothing in your behavior or words should make them feel that way.
How to Handle a Workplace Date Rejection?
Once you have asked your coworker out on a date, you will probably have to wait for them to answer. When they say yes, life can be fascinating when planning a date. However, chances are that they might refuse. And it is at such moments that you need to be in control of the situation.
Naturally, you will feel bad if your coworker turns you down. However, please respect their decision and do not let it ruin your professional relationship. Be mindful that your first responsibility is towards the organization. It would be best if you were graceful in handling rejection.
Hence, do not engage in any kind of behavior that might suggest that you are retaliating because your coworker turned you down. Do not sabotage their work, do not badmouth them, or do not hinder their daily routine in any way.
In fact, continue being nice to them, and it would be great if you could become friends, as that would take away a lot of the awkwardness. If the person refuses to go out with you, then do not pursue them because that will lead to difficulties.
Also Read: 5 Signs Your Coworkers Are Jealous of You (How to Deal With it)
You cannot help who you start liking; if it happens to be someone at your office, things could become trickier. However, if you keep your emotions in check, then this could work just fine.
Even if the person had no intention of going on a date with someone from the office, they would probably go out with you, impressed with how well you approached them.
Consideration is everything; you could end up having more than an office romance if you go about it. Ensure that you are careful before bringing your personal and professional life together, and all should be well.