Finding Love In A Hopeless Place

By Madge Slack

Have you ever gone around asking people how they met? I have. Most of them answer college. According to data compiled by Facebook analysts, 28 percent of people went to the same college as their spouse. Meeting your one true love seems like it could get tricky once you graduate.

There are the usual ways — you can go to a bar and hit on a stranger (assuming you drink and bars are your scene), you can stalk the cute guy at the coffee shop and hope it doesn’t freak him out too much or you can go swipe right — yes, Tinder. Dating apps seem to be hit-or-miss. You either find the love of your life one swipe in or you go on a series of horrific and hilarious dates until you give up and swear it off forever. Meeting someone with similar interests who is attractive, not a bum, not a jerk and preferably isn’t a serial killer is a tall task, but you can actually meet them through work.

It’s a pretty small percentage of people nowadays who meet through work, but the funny thing is it seems to be the most successful. The Washington Post reports a steep decline of people meeting at the office from around 21 percent in 1990 down to approximately 10 percent in 2009. Other polls report current office power couples at 12 percent. However, couples who meet at work are more likely to stay together than couples who meet any other way. So while it’s risky, and things could get ugly if things go south, dating at work might just be the way to go.

If you work together you have at least one thing in common. You probably have similar interests and maybe even studied the same thing. You also have a shared peer group in your coworkers.

Dating at work is still tricky, and while we would all like to think mature adults can end a relationship without throwing things or a fit, that isn’t necessarily true.

Everyone says you are supposed to keep your work and personal life separate, but that isn’t always realistic. If you move to a new city to start a job or have just graduated, your coworkers are the only people you know, and they’ll be your first friends. Over time you might meet some new people, but your coworkers — the people you kind of have get to know — will always be there. With companies doing retreats and team building activities, you are going to have to bond and once the bonding starts so does the flirting. At that point lay some ground rules:

Be Smart

Don’t just hook up with someone in the office for a fun one-time thing. Hookups don’t work when you see the person every day. Either be serious or leave it.

Don’t be Too Serious

Dating isn’t life or death, even though it can make you want to tear your hair out. Start out trying to be friendly and then see if anything comes of it. Don’t just stare at your coworker from across the room or gossip with your friends as soon as you think they are out of earshot. Talk to them or don’t; no one likes the office creep.

When It’s Done, It’s Done

Office couples may have the highest likelihood of happily ever after, but that doesn’t mean it’s a guarantee. Go into it accepting that you might break up and you can’t throw a fit and never talk to them again if you do. We are all adults. So act like it.

Date Laterally or Departmentally

Sleeping with your boss is not the best idea. If you are going to fall in love, look for someone on your level or in your building, but maybe a different department. This way you can have a romantic lunch rendezvous, but still focus on what gets you paid.

Don’t Be Someone Else

You should never do this, but especially not when dating in the office. They work with you. They know what you’re like and see how you act. Don’t suddenly put on airs.

So good luck, because dating sucks. We have all been at the table with the person we just can’t connect with trying to think of a non-cheesy escape strategy. Luckily, that isn’t every date. The best way to go is honest and open with a side of charming, and you’ll do just fine.

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