Ask a Hot Mess: I’m falling in love with my coworker, what do I do?

Note: Scarlet Meyer is a writer and comedian. All opinions expressed on this advice column are her own, so definitely consult a plumber next time, Tina. Seriously.

Happy Tuesday everyone! Thank you so much for tuning back into my new favorite procrastination tool, Ask a Hot Mess! This week’s question is about coworkers. Specifically what to do if you start to fall in love with one. AKA every HR person’s worst nightmare! They write:

Dear Hot Mess,

I’m falling in love with my coworker, what do i do!?

Jim Halpert

Dear Jim Halpert,

It’s funny that you are asking this question because I’ve actually written about this before for HelloGiggles. Yes, Jim and Pam star in the article photo, and a gif included in the article. However I wrote this like a year ago, so here is my fresh, hot take. I’m going to assume that you can and want to do something about this love for your coworker. Not everyone is able to or wants to make that leap. I however think you do because you referred to yourself as Jim Halpert, and he was super romantic.

So let’s get to the nitty gritty. What is your workplace’s policy on dating? Do they have one? Most companies want you to disclose all romantic relationships to HR, while some companies don’t allow you to date co-workers at all. If you freelance and there is no HR (i.e. you are one of my many friends or acquaintances that works in the wholesome film industry) wait until the job is over before asking them out so you don’t make it weird on set. And make sure that if you ask them out it is not when you are drunk at the wrap party, because that is not cute. Regardless of where you are working, figure out what the policy is at your job and decide if the professional consequences are worth it to you.

Also consider your co-worker. Are you their boss? Do they depend on you for work? Would they maybe get the impression that their career would suffer if they don’t date you? If there is a weird power dynamic going on leave them alone, or at least until one of you moves on from the company. Also are you guys friends? Do you flirt? Do you hang outside of work? If you’re already friends who hang outside of work, just ask them on something that is clearly a date. Like Friday night dinner and a movie, just you two. If they say no or don’t seem interested just be cool and let it be. If you’re not really friends yet, take the step and ask them out for a coffee or lunch outside of work. Similarly, if they don’t seem interested, be cool. Don’t make their life suck just because they’re charming and work with you.

Remember, you’re an adult. If someone is interested in you they’ll do whatever they can to be around you more. If they’re not interested, they’ll be polite and dodge you. If you see someone dodging you, respect that they’re most likely not interested and let it be. The key here is to take things slow no matter what. You guys work together so you need to tread carefully. Never make someone feel pressure or trapped in any dating situation, but especially when you work with them. A person can avoid a bar, or a bookstore where an unwanted suitor hangs out, but you can’t really avoid going to work. For that reason I wouldn’t even worry about the professing your love to them yet. First see if you can handle a first date, and after that, maybe a second date. Love confessions can come later once you know more about your coworker’s feelings about you. (I.e. are they staring at you with longing, or are you just standing in front of some free office birthday cake?) A love confession out of the blue can feel aggressive if it’s not reciprocated, so when in doubt play it cool.

Workplace romances have a potential to get real weird, but there are also some good stats about them. In my previous article I learned that something like 30% of workplace romances end in marriage, which is a much higher percentage than regular relationships. So if you’re truly in love with this person, taking the plunge is a good bet. However, one last word of advice. If things get serious you’re looking at a partner that spends all work day with you, and then potentially all the rest of the day if you hang out after and all that good datey stuff. If you guys break up, that means you’d be seeing your ex every day for as long as you work at that company. So if that doesn’t scare you, good luck! You sound like you really like them and I hope things work out with Pam. If this all sounds too daunting, maybe think about downloading a dating app instead. But not Happn, because it will just match you with your coworkers all over again.


Scarlet, the hot mess

Got a messy question? Send it to Ask a Hot Mess and I’ll definitely get to it because it turns out most of the people I know don’t have many personal problems they want my help with? Weird right?

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Writer, comedian, professional awkward person.

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