Dating Mr. Manager – 5 rules for dating at work

Have you ever thought of dating someone in the office?

I handed him a document, as I frequently did, and instead of saying thank you without looking up, this time he smiled and winked at me. I could have just let it go and continued with my tasks. But I didn’t. I smiled back. A few days later we were at a bar littered with empty peanut shells, drinking cold beers and getting to know each other. The following week, someone spotted him waiting for me outside the building, and then us leaving together, and it spread like a virus through our coworkers. By Monday everyone knew. And I hadn’t said a word.

It seems wrong to date someone from work. Besides, there are plenty of other fun ways to meet people outside of the office. But given the majority of our days are spent in geographic proximity with our colleagues, sometimes it’s something that can’t be avoided in every company culture. In fact, my sister met her husband at work and I can think of at least 4 other married couples I know that met via their career. Recently engaged Mila and Ashton met on the job and so did these famous couples.

Despite the fact that it’s not encouraged, it could happen. While there are not any formal rules for dating in the office, one must definitely proceed with caution. So if you are thinking about going on a date with Mr. Manager, here are 5 things to keep in mind:

Rule 1: Allow yourself to break an unspoken rule

What if he made your life go from great to even better and you reject him only because you work together? You will never be able to find out unless you go out with him outside of work.


Rule 2: Stay sharp

Okay you’re throwing caution to the wind and have decided to go out with him, you rebel you! Now be smart about it. Don’t let dating him (or anyone, for that matter) get in the way of your work responsibilities.  You are always business as usual, 100% accountable at work.


Rule 3: Be as boring as a manila folder

Don’t talk about it. Do not discuss anything about him or your relationship with your co-workers. Not during (and if it goes south), not after, either. Do. Not. Discuss. Period.

Rule 4: Make a pact

Talk with your partner about how you are not going to talk about it. Communicate and make an agreement that you are both going to respect your relationship and not discuss it or the other person at work. This communication seems obvious, but you’ll both feel reassured if you discuss keeping your personal lives out of your business lives upfront.


Rule 5: Keep it classy

Sometimes it just doesn’t pan out. After I broke up with my work boyfriend – I won’t get into it, he just wasn’t the right guy for me [cough cough Rule 3] – he walked slash paraded through the workplace whilst holding hands with someone else. In most breakups, you can move on with your life without having to see or hear the other person. Not so in this case, Veronica Corningstone. So if you do break up, be a class act and don’t stoop to playing games.


This is not a comprehensive list; there are other insights we can share when it comes to an office romance. I only went out with a colleague the one time and that was ages ago! Have you ever dated someone from work? What did you learn?  Let me know! @kellymc247 #kellymc247



Office of Scientific Intelligence photo by JD Hancock

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Kelly Christiansen

A top columnist at MsCareerGirl, marketing guru Kelly Christiansen has 10+ years of strategic leadership experience and is a Senior Marketing Strategist on the Health Care team at Kahler Slater, an architecture firm in Wisconsin. An avid reader, runner, and recipe experimenter, you can follow Kelly on twitter @kellymc247

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