Forbes Magazine says: “Of those who have dated a coworker, 42 percent said they had an ongoing, casual relationship; 36 percent said they had a “random office hookup;” 29 percent had been in a serious, long-term relationship; and 16 percent had met their spouse or partner at work.”
Love is a battlefield. And love at the office is a war zone. Here are 10 signs that your suspecting office romance is on the offense. Knowing them will gear you up.
1. Intentions & Statuses
This can be trickiest part. Romance comes in all forms because of everyone’s varying intentions. She’s taken. He’s married. She’s his boss. He’s her work husband. They work in different departments. They work in the same cubicle. Before assessing any of the other factors, it’s important to understand this part foremost. Is it simply because of the thrill of something forbidden? How about pure lust? Is it a throw at the office’s social/political environment? What are his or her potential motivations to seduce you? And finally, would you like this person even if he or she didn’t work where you work.
2. Rapport and Familiarity
It’s important to at least get along with your colleagues. Unnecessary friction at the office will slow down an otherwise efficient and productive workday. So of course, rapport and overall good morale is expected. To tell the difference between just colleagues and something more, you really need to pay attention to frequency and proximity. Sure, he could ask you,” How you’re doing?” one day, without a thought, but if he asks you consistently every day or even multiple times a day, there’s room to question. Also, watch how close she is to you throughout the workday. Does she kind of always linger at your desk? Or she leaves and arrives almost always near the same time you do.
3. Body Language
There are exhaustive lists of what body language signs women and men display when attracted to someone. But I think the main indications to look out for are ones demonstrated by your co-worker’s eyes, voice, and posture. She will look at you way more intensely without breaking eye contact. Shifting between eyes and dilation is hard to miss. Blink rate, batting, and staring. His voice will sound softer when talking to you. Soft as almost a lover’s whisper. His voice might even boom sometimes just so he can grab your attention. It certainly depends on the context but frequent changes in pitch and tone are very strong indicators. And finally, examine posture. There will be minimal distance between you two. No longer will you be in that normal “professional” physical proximity bubble. Leaning in, brushing shoulders, and knocking knees.
4. Emphasis on His/Her Personal Life
When you have an office crush, the last thing you want is for him/her to continuously think about work and think of you exclusively in that realm. She will try to break out of that office role as much as possible. She’ll mention her hobbies and invade the typical workday with tons of detail of over what she did that weekend or what she did at home. Sometimes, personal life can be used as an effective gauge for the suspecting seducer to test your interest. He’ll mention his plans of going somewhere in the near future and only hope you’ll be interested to join him. And lastly, there will be some more personal discussions. Sharing of personal goals/news, asking for opinions/help, venting, teasing, and making inside jokes.
5. Some “Push-and-Pull”
In the course of this office romance, maybe one party might think they’re catching too strong feelings or alternatively, another party might feel suffocated by another’s presence. Either reason is a good sign because it’s an indication of influence on the other person. As a reaction to this influence, they might act out on attention-seeking behavior or simply try to avoid the other person altogether. It can happen subconsciously and consciously. If it’s happening though, and quite noticeably, something’s up. Calling out on the other person, missing meetings, and coming in extremely early/late.
6. Variances in Mood & Appearance
If you say something negative towards them or happen to be quite critical, they take it way too personally. And might displace their emotions to other people and their work. If you say something positive to them, they perk up and show their best colors and might even brag. Pair the fluctuations of mood with fluctuations of appearance and you got a sure-fire sign. Watch closely both how fast and how intensely they change as well. Did he suddenly clench his fists? Why did she crumple that copy so melodramatically? She’s wearing bright lipstick today. He’s wearing cologne tomorrow.
7. Interaction with Other Co-workers
A good measure of reading your co-worker’s feelings is well, other co-workers. They are reflections of what should look like a purely professional relationship. They can serve as objective comparisons. Pay close attention to how the suspecting crush treats you and treats others. Sometimes, they might use the other workers as a good cushion to get to you…He might be frequently talking to your cubicle neighbor simply so he can get brownie points. Other times, they might use other co-workers to attract your attention or make themselves be perceived as approachable.
8. Surreptitiously Flirting
They’ll flirt with you just at that edge. Just substantially enough to make you question, but not explicitly enough to call on it. Verbal and non-verbal. Lots of “accidental” and truly accidental touching which include: brushing arms, knocking knees, and guiding hands. Verbalized excuses paired with “accidental” touching are even bolder moves; This means smiling and saying “I didn’t mean to bump into you, there.” And when it comes to verbal flirting, there will be a lot of underhanded compliments that imply some sensuality like, “You’re so fit” or “Your voice is so rich.”
9. Love Triangle(s)
If the work crush ever gets overcomplicated, then multiple parties will pile up. With more complicated feelings, more complicated clutter will follow. Maybe he’s in a relationship that’s long-distance. She’s on-and-off with her ex. Maybe they just want to make you jealous. Throw some more co-workers into the mix and you have a high-stake office romance brewing.
10. Receiving/Giving A Little Extra
Way long after the work day, if you’re thinking about them, their behavior, about your behavior, that’s enough to suspect. This could range as something as mundane as him getting you that favorite cup of coffee or as elaborate as helping you shift that deadline so you can get another project done to as something as simple as that killer smile or that misty, solemn stare.
If your suspecting office beau displays all or most of these signs, it’s a sealed fact that there is something more than professional going on. Just trust your intuition. If things feel a little extra, a little like everything is an oxymoron, then yeah, you have a very apparent office romance under your nose.
Sarah Suhaimi practices 명음 by day and the art of dark chocolate bar swindling by night. She is currently working closely with a local Pittsburgh non-profit that serves sex-trafficked victims, Living in Liberty, as a volunteer and grant proposal writer. She founded the Southeast Asian Student Alliance (SEASA) at her university, and, as well, the "Offer Islam Campaign." Her works vary from prose to poetry to articles. Her published works include, ‘The Home of an Immigrant’s Daughter’ in the Art Catalogue for the 2012 Dublin Biennial, Dublin, Ireland and ‘Hidden Beauty Reveals Itself (Intellect Vs Instinct)’ in the Art Catalogue for the 2011 Florence Biennale VIII, Florence, Italy.