This is a safe place. We aren’t going to judge you for hooking up with Paul from the IT department. His thick glasses are kinda cute… in a geek chic way. Maybe. I mean, you know that you probably should have eaten lunch so that those glasses of wine didn’t go straight to your head. You don’t need us to tell you that. Does everyone know that you left with Paul? Well yea. You kind of announced it to the room. But seriously, no judgement.
Now that the office party is over, we’re going to move past this little incident. It’s time to strut during that walk of shame and hold your head high (high enough to avert all eye contact). Now, we need to get back to work.
You know what to do in this situation. Get in to the office extra, super early, so that you won’t run in to anyone as you grab your morning coffee. Tackle a huge, time-consuming project that make you much to busy to be distracted by petty gossip. Kick butt, take names, and who gives a shit if you hooked up with anyone?
Until, of course, you’re computer seems to be having a stroke and you need to ask Paul from IT for help. When this happens, we have a few pieces advice. Not that we’ve been in a similar situation or anything.
- Man up. You can’t ignore a person forever, even in a large company. Even though your natural instinct might be telling you to ignore, ignore, ignore, you’re going to have to face the music. You and Paul (or whoever) are two consenting adults and you didn’t do anything wrong it all. It’s really just the office tension that’s making this whole thing awkward. So dial his extension and get on with your job.
- KISS. No, you’ve done enough of that. I’m talking about that obnoxious acronym that your Introduction to Business professor used incessantly. Keep it simple, stupid. There’s no need for a long, drawn-out explanation. You don’t need to attempt awkward small talk or begin a sentence with, “About that…” You’re at work, time to deal with professional issues.
- Clear up loose ends outside of work. If you feel the need to discuss your ill-fated hook-up, do it outside of work. Grab lunch or meet for drinks at the end of the day. You two can discuss whether either of you is interested in pursuing a relationship or clear the air on a number of things, like, “Hey, I think I left my favorite black bra at your house, do you mind looking around for it?”
- Never apologize. You’re a grown woman who made a grown up choice. There is absolutely no reason to say you’re sorry over and over again. If you behaved out of character, the best way to show that is through example at further social events. If you enjoy a casual hook-up and had fun with Paul, awesome! Though I suggest separating business from pleasure a bit. Either way, you made a choice and now it’s done. You don’t need to feel guilty about it.