• Tue, Feb 14 2012

Co-Worker Conundrum: How To Ask Your Co-Worker On A Date

There are some seriously varied statistics out there, but a couple of years ago, The Wall Street Journal reported on a study saying that 18% of married couples meet at work. That’s a whole lot of employees who took the plunge and decided to ask out their co-worker.

Since Valentine’s Day isn’t exactly a paid holiday, unless of course you and your spouse own your own company, it’s possible that you’re sitting around the office today eating chocolates from your mom and considering Mr. Right. Who knows, he might even be down the hall working in the graphic department. Or maybe he’s scanning your browser history from IT. (Yea, you probably shouldn’t have shopped for bachelorette gifts at work…)

It’s natural to feel attracted to your co-workers. You guys share similar interests, at least when it comes to your profession. You have a basic understanding about their personality. (They’re always here on time! Haven’t you always admired punctuality?)

I might be a little biased in this whole discussion. After all, my husband and I met while working for the same alcohol distributor. Needless to say, there was plenty of liquid courage to help us calm our nerves before making the first move. I’m not going to suggest that you start boozing it up in your office, but here are a couple other tips for asking a co-worker on a date. After all, it’s a romantic month, who knows where a cup of coffee might lead?

  • Ask for their phone number, even if it’s on the company directory. No one wants to have that super awkward “Where’d you get my number?” conversation. Plus, who doesn’t screen their calls anymore? The best way to go is to ask if you can get a hold of them outside of work. It automatically separates your professional communication from a private discussion and gives your co-worker a pretty clear indicator of your intentions.
  • Use one of our Valentines! Um, who doesn’t love being complimented on their organizational abilities? It’s definitely a way to let them know that you’re interested in an office-appropriate relationship.
  • Don’t gossip. For Heaven’s sake, don’t tell everyone in your department that you’re kind of crushing on the cute guy in accounting. Starting the rumors early is kind of asking for trouble. And if your relationship progresses, you might not want all that chatter before you ever mention the situation to your boss or your IT department. The best office relationships are the ones that no one realizes.
  • Keep it casual. No joke, my husband and I’s first date was breakfast. It was as low-key as it could get. But, a super intense romantic evening that doesn’t go according to plan can lead to a really awkward next day at the office. If you have a relaxed date and then decide that things won’t work out, it’s a lot less stressful for everyone involved.
  • A little humor works wonders. When I was the office manager, part of my job was to count all the money that came in from our accounts. (In my state, alcohol must be purchased COD.) Part of that meant counting the cash from the strip clubs. Apparently, I made the most disgusted face ever during this process. So for Valentine’s Day, which is the day that my husband first asked me out, he brought me hand sanitizer to keep on my desk while I was counting ucky stripper money. It was the silliest little gift but it was so funny at the time. By keeping it light-hearted and fun, he considerably lowered the tension of asking me on a date.


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  • theboob

    This article in inappropriate…

  • Mollination

    @ “Theboob”: why do you say it’s inappropriate?

    I thought it was a cute article until the judgemental and naive part about “stripper” money. Just because you know the LAST place a paper bill has been doesn’t mean it’s the only place it’s been (i.e. your “grocery store money” could have just as easily lived in the hands of an “ucky stripper” at one point too), but beyond that your judgement was really disenchanting.

  • Annette Vaillancourt, Ph.D.

    I am curious about the statistic of how many of those 18% of marriages that start at the workplace end in divorce. Relationships that start with a clear violation of boundaries (that are there for a reason) are in for trouble in the long run.