In an ideal world, you would never find a co-worker attractive, but as the beloved show The Office has shown us, working in such close quarters with someone, and experiencing all the same ups and downs, inevitably facilitates some bonding—and often, more than friendly. So, what do you do when you realize you could maybe/possibly/someday fall in love with a co-worker?
Flirt below you
Do not flirt with a superior. If ever they decide they’re uncomfortable with the situation, they could just find a reason to have you fired: problem solved for them. Or even worse, if things go sour, they can make your work life a living hell.
Remember, you’re all supposed to be professionals here. Speaking in a monotone voice, answering with one word and keeping eye contact short is acceptable and even commonplace. With that in mind, simply smiling a lot or keeping extended eye contact gets the message across.
Mix it in with work
If you saunter up to your crush’s desk for no reason other than to ask him what he did this weekend, everyone will be onto you. Pepper a joke into a work email to that person, or when you’re working on a project together, initiate casual chit chat when you’re waiting for files to load/paper to print etc.
Be of help
If you know your crush needs help with something work-related, offer to help. Cover for him if the boss is giving him heat. Send him notes on the report he missed. One of the main reasons office romances happen is because people feel bonded by going through the same trials and challenges, and helping each other through them. So make use of that.
Bring him a coffee/sandwich
Don’t immediately ask your crush to get lunch with you. Tell him one day you’re going to a café and ask if he wants anything. Once you’ve brought him something, he’ll understand you want to go a little above and beyond a work relationship, and he’ll feel guilty if you continue pickings things up for him: he’ll offer to come along next time, without you having to ask.
Start with co-worker outings
When you want your hang-time to move out of the office, start by initiating group drinks with other co-workers after work, and invite your crush along. This way, you get to know him outside the office setting, without letting him know yet you want to try to date (maybe you don’t know that yet yourself).
Then move onto non-work-affiliated groups
Remember, you do need to take things slow and be sure there aren’t any red flags or clear indicators things won’t work out before you establish any real dates. You’ve gotten to know your crush out of work, but now you need to test if he actually wants to be affiliated in any way non-work-related (because before, you went out for drinks with co-workers). Simply do this by inviting him to an event or party where nobody else from work will be. Now he knows he’s special.
Don’t touch at work
Do not, even in a friendly manner, touch your crush at work. This could not only get the two of you in trouble, but also just make him embarrassed to have everyone see that and wonder if something’s going on. Keep flirtation verbal.
Stay late with him
There’s nothing hotter than being all alone in the office together. If your crush has to stay late to get work done, you should do the same. Suggest you two order takeout for fuel. Suddenly, it will feel like a date, and you didn’t really have to plan it.
Finally initiate a date
Hopefully at this point your crush gets that you like him and will ask you out. But there’s nothing wrong with you being the first to ask for a one-on-one hang out. Now you’ve seen how he is around your friends and out of the office, and if you still like him, he probably still likes you. Ask him out.
Liven up your appearance
No matter what signals you’re sending, men read your physicality more than anything. If you’re wearing bland grey and black outfits, this could still say, “This is a professional place for me and nothing more.” Add a pop of color or fun jewelry when you can. This instantly makes you seem more approachable and willing to talk about non-work topics.
Get advice from him
In any situation, men love to help out/fix things/advise you. Whenever you need help, go to him. He’ll be turned on by feeling like he helps you.
Use Instant Messaging
Almost all companies have their employees on some Instant Messaging service so they can quickly communicate with someone across the office. But you know what else IM is good for? Emoticons. And once those are in play, your crush knows you have more than professional feelings for him. And you can get a great, playful rapport going on there.
Keep it to one person
Do yourself a favor and only date one co-worker at a time, and if that one doesn’t work out, wait months to pursue a new one. Word will get out you’re dating a co-worker, and if it’s too frequent, or too many, your boss will start to think you see the office as a singles bar and not a work place.