Tips for Dating a Coworker: Is It a Bad Idea?

Coworkers Smiling at Each Other

Yes, it is a bad idea. Dating a coworker sets you up for all sorts of weird drama and uncomfortable situations if things do not end up working out. It is not impossible to have a successful office romance or workplace relationship, but we highly advise against getting one going. You can end up putting a lot of stuff on the line, like relationships with coworkers and possibly the entire atmosphere of your workplace, depending on the size.

There are so many great ways to meet people these days. Why would you want to restrict yourself to your place of employment? If you had spoken to us a couple of decades ago (in a world without dating apps and online matchmaking services), we probably would have recommended dating a coworker just because your options would have been much more limited back then. But it’s 2022, and our official recommendation is to avoid dating your coworker at all costs!

If you are not completely convinced, we encourage you to check out some of our top reasons for not dating someone at your place of work!

#1: They Could Turn Your Coworkers Against You

If you have dated a coworker and then the two of you have an ugly break-up, it can really mess up the dynamics and feel of the office. This can get especially ugly if both of you have a lot of friends at work. It could force your coworkers to choose sides.

In an ideal world, workers would not let drama from their coworkers’ personal lives interfere with professionalism at work. But sadly, this is not always the case. Let’s say that your supervisor is close friends with the coworker you just broke up with. They could possibly take out their frustration with you by assigning you extra tasks or even micromanaging how you do your job.

#2: They Could Distract You From Your Job

Whether the two of you stay together or the two of you break up and go your separate ways, there is a good chance that the coworker you are currently dating or the coworker you just broke up with is going to distract you from the task at hand.

  • If you two are in the midst of an office romance, there are going to be distractions. You might take that longer lunch to spend more time together. There is flirtatious banter at the photocopier or the water cooler. And just the sight of them from across the office gets you all sorts of hot and bothered, making it hard to focus on your expense reports or sales numbers.
  • And it is even worse if the two of you break up and still have to work with one another. Now you are distracted by avoiding eye contact with them and planning how to get to the bathroom without going past their desk. You are distracted by wondering what they are saying about you to the other coworkers. Or you are mulling over the break-up in your head because the sight of them brings back all those feelings.

#3: You Are Stuck With Them

It does not matter if the relationship between you and your coworker ends up working out or if it goes south. If both of you remain at the same job, you are going to see each other ALL THE TIME. There is no escaping one another, for good or for bad.

Let’s say that things end up going really well in this relationship, and you discover that your coworker is your forever partner. Congratulations! Good for you! But there is a downside here. You will never have a break from one another. While there are some people who would see this as an ideal setup, there are also many who enjoy having downtime from their significant other. We would venture to say that this is the majority of folks. If you are looking for a successful, serious relationship at work, be prepared to spend every waking moment with that coworker!

On the other side of things, the relationship might not work out the way you expected, and now you are in the awkward position of working with your ex along with all the wonderful drama that comes with that!

Woman Tired of Listening to Coworker Talk

#4: You Could End Up Bringing Work Home or Home to Work!

If you are in a relationship with a coworker and you are also living together, you can run the risk on not being able to separate or compartmentalize your home life from your work life.

Perhaps there is a drama with someone at work, and that is all you can talk about with your partner when you get home. Perhaps that are times when the two of you should be getting out and doing fun or romantic things, but you go home after a long day at the office and just talk about how annoying the big boss is or bicker about the petty drama with Stacy in accounting.

The entire basis for your relationship is rooted in the place you work! You need to have a life outside of the office goings-on.

Then there is the chance that you and your partner got into a fight at home or there is some sort of crisis or drama in your family. It’s possible that you both head to work and bring all the baggage and emotional duress of your personal life into the office! That can kill the atmosphere of a workplace and bring morale to an all-time low.

#5: Jealously Could Rear Its Ugly Head

If you are dating a coworker, you are naturally going to see them interact with a lot of other people at work. So if you are also a jealous person and you happen to work in a place where there are a lot of other attractive people, this is a situation that could drive you absolutely nuts!

While we feel that it is best not to let jealousy get the best of you, our best bit of advice in this situation is to simply not date a coworker in the first place! If you are so jealous that your partner cannot have a conversation with someone about work-related matters without you getting paranoid, you are better off dating someone outside of your workplace.

#6: Your Coworkers Might See You Differently

Some people thrive in their position at work. They are hyper-competent in that environment and display great prowess in all matters related to their job. And their coworkers really look up to them for that! But behind the scenes, they might not have the most exciting social life outside of the office, at least anything that matches their great strengths and abilities at work.

Dating a coworker could really change the way that people at work view you. The rest of the office gets a small peak behind the curtain of your life outside of the office.

For one thing, the coworker you are seeing could tell people at the office about what you are like outside the four walls of your workplace. Coworkers might also see you differently for dating a coworker, jumping to the conclusion that your social world is small and that you couldn’t find anyone else better to date.

If things do not work out in the relationship and the aftereffects of your break-up are on full display at the office, your coworkers can get a glimpse of how you handle relationships in your personal life. Whatever reputation that you had built up at work could be severely undone when you begin dating a coworker. If this is something you are concerned with, our best advice is to never date someone you work with.

#7: You Might End Up Vying for the Same Promotion

You could begin dating a coworker that is in your department, and at some point down the road, the two of you might be competing for a promotion! This could possibly put a strain on the relationship or could possibly create some resentment if things get too competitive!

While we highly advise not dating someone from where you work, we understand if you cannot help yourself. It’s ultimately your choice. If you must date your coworker, we just ask that you consider someone from another department so you can avoid this potential headache!

#8: Who Might Get Caught Up in Some Red Tape

Many workplaces have certain rules regarding office relationships. Some places ask that you disclose any relationship with a coworker with the company. And then there are certain rules for conduct in the workplace going forward, post-paperwork.

The bottom line is this: you end up in an office relationship, and you are going to be living under the microscope a little bit. You will have to be ok with scrutiny from the company.

And on top of all the bureaucratic red tape, you might have some busybody coworkers that keep tabs and a close eye on the two of you, looking for workplace violations. Unless you are good under scrutiny and restrictions, this is simply another great reason not to pursue a relationship with someone at work.