Let’s face it. We live online. Sometimes it’s for fun, but many times, business demands it. Gone are the days of the 9-5 work schedule. Blackberries, iPhones, location based apps and other technologies have made us available 24/7. But while your boss may love that you answer emails at all hours of the night, it can make dating tough. Excusing yourself from a first date to take a work call isn’t ideal, and your friends probably frown on tweeting from their wedding. So by staying connected, you may actually be distancing yourself from the world. Which makes it hard to secure a second (or first!) date.
Unless, of course, you find a partner who understands the way you live and work. Who won’t be bothered by the clacking of a keyboard in bed. But where do you find such a specimen? Easy. At work! What once was taboo is far more accepted, and honestly, expected. So feel free to mix business with pleasure–in moderation, of course.
The trick to making it work? Using digital technology effectively to help maintain a stable work/life balance. Trust me, it can be done. My husband and I met at work. Then we got married, tweeted our vows and wrote a book together. So we know that your soulmate is most likely sitting in the next cubicle, and how to walk the fine line between flirting and stalking online.
A Few Ground Rules
1.) Keep It Casual. Start with office hour lunch excursions, or in-person talks instead of email. Establish a professional friendship before you try for more. This give you an easy out if the conversation stalls, while also allowing a chance to find out what interests you have in common outside of the office.
2) Friend First, Facebook Later. Don’t immediately start adding them on Facebook, Twitter, etc. Ease in with LinkedIn, a professional network, and an IM chat program. This allows for comfortable chatting without stares from coworkers. And when you do add them to Facebook? Do a quick check of your Privacy Settings to make sure they don’t see anything you wouldn’t post on the conference room wall.
3) Safety In Numbers. For your first after-work outing, enlist the help of fellow colleagues and make it a group thing. Look for a fun happy hour spot nearby, and don’t bring friends from outside of works. And above all else, know your limits. Getting too drunk this early in the game is not a good idea.
4) Make Your Move. But tread lightly. By now you should be able to tell if they like you or not, so it’s time to set up a real date. Plan it for a Saturday somewhere away from the office to really distance yourself from coworker gossip and work associations. But don’t feel like work talk is completely off limits. It’s a safe subject you can both relate to–just make sure it’s not the only topic of the night.
5) Don’t Bring The Office Home. Yes, you got together because you spend a lot of time together at work and both understand the way today’s digital world works. But beware of bring too much home with you. Try not to argue over client demands or quarterly projections at home, and don’t argue over who’s on dishwasher duty at the office.
Hopefully these tips will help you navigate the tricky waters of dating a coworker. Want to know more? Vote for my panel as SXSWi. My former coworker and current husband, Dan Zarrella, and I will be sharing stories and offering advice on how to turn a professional relationship into a personal one without driving yourself (or your coworkers) crazy.Comments (0) Read More >