Office romance is most of the time a product of uncontrollable flames in the hearts of two colleagues working in the same office and this means it is not entirely a bad thing.
But the problem is that as honest as they come, they hardly work out. This is because once other colleagues know about that supposedly secret affair, you become the hottest topic for gossips.
Then different persons start to develop that annoying sense of right to know, right to tell, right to be told, right to advise or right to analyse what ordinarily is none of their business. But in spite of the sad tales of office romance ending in a disaster and leaving some people in pain, you can make yours work with these tested rules.
However, you do not need a combination of all the rules at the same time because no two relationships are same and offices also differ in setup and rules.
You just have to try them to know what applies to you:
1. First off, if you are the jealous or possessive type, you should stop reading at this point because office romance is not for you. No matter the setting of your office, you should not be seen being protective of your secret lover, else you will one day have to explain why what she does with other guys in the office matters so much to you.
You must learn to ignore other colleagues flirting with your partner. It’s hard but it is what it is.
2. Create the impression that you are in a relationship outside the office. It is harder to imagine you are cheating on that ‘imaginary’ partner you seem quite fond of but if they know you are not seeing anyone, it is easier to suspect you have “started dating” XYZ.
Just avoid that vivid gist that would make your colleagues demand more details.
3. You cannot be live-in lovers and the reason for this is simple – you can’t eat your cake and have it.
Anything that makes you arrive or leave office or colleagues’ parties together or makes you have your things in his car or makes him the one picking stuff you forgot in the office must be avoided religiously.
In any case, how do you explain a particular colleague knowing about every robbery, power-cut or newsworthy incident in your neighborhood?
4. You cannot defend or side with your partner when there are disputes in the office. Especially when there is no known corporate interest that you are protecting.
Someone like me would ask you what is in it for you? Let them fight their battles ALONE and play the peacemaker only when it is justified.
This rule also includes favoritism and lousy patronage. Let your partner earn the privileges or praises they get.
5. It is also not a bad idea to disagree with your partner once in a while, but the issue must be strictly work related else you make it look like you’re hurting over something else (which they will be interested in unraveling). Even if you have to discuss the issue ahead, it works.
I particularly feel it is brilliant when colleagues do not get the impression that you both have much in common. That way it’s harder to link you romantically.
6. Take this seriously. That thing that guys run into the toilet to quickly do…don’t even think about it! I mean no sex in the office, what if you get caught?
Except you are both just carefree players with some skyscraper-high libidos looking to just have a fling. Otherwise, if this relationship is worth protecting with rules 1 to 5 then breaking this one can ruin everything.
7. We all like to avoid being seen with the office aprokos but you cannot afford to be in their bad book or you become a target. This is the riskiest of the rules because it can backfire if not well managed.
It is recommended that you join in when colleagues are having GENERAL gossips about your partner but be CAREFUL not to be the one who knows more than everyone else.
8. An expert says it’s inevitable that you’re going to give clues about your relationship if you only hang out with each other. Avoid this by never meeting in an office with the door closed, and make sure to sit and mingle with other people at events.
Your monthly team bonding is about the team NOT for you to discuss with only one colleague all through the evening. Share the love so you don’t share the secret.
9. Because you cannot openly display affection in the office or have your intimate conversation, you most likely will do a lot via the phone. So, password your phone(s).
It is probably unethical in many offices for colleagues to get into your computer behind you but if you use Whatsapp web, you can easily be carried away and you never can tell. So, don’t leave your computer also carelessly.
10. Guys, I beg you, don’t get drunk when ‘hanging out with the boys’; and ladies, you do not need that ‘friend like a sister’ in your office.
Remember your right to remain silent, as anything you say can be used against you.
11. Social media can also give you away if you aren’t guided. You don’t have to like every picture she uploads, you don’t have to tag him in every post if you do not do same with other colleagues.
But if you know you have already succeeded in making him look like just a colleague, then feel free to tag him in posts where he is relevant or react to his posts that are obviously related to you.
12. Above all, you must know from the beginning where the relationship is going. It may seem awkward but it is better to do it because the risks involved are high.
There is this mutual distrust rule I learnt many years ago. It makes me expect less from everyone and anyone and you need it more when dating a colleague.
If it is a fling, be clear about it. You don’t want a heartbreak that will affect your job performance.