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mX Column: Office Romances are A-Ok

Ever found yourself exchanging flirty glances over the water-cooler with a colleague? Signing off your emails to each other with a cheeky “xo” on the end? Sneaking out to coffee breaks together?

Office Romances are Common These Days

The office – you spend most of your waking life there. Australians, in particular, are at work an average 1855 hours a year. That’s more than any other country in the Western world.

Couple that huge chunk of life energy with the mere exposure effect and BAM, you have chemistry.

Was it love at first strategy meeting? Or did the attraction slowly grow with each trip to the photocopier?

In most cases it’s the latter – thanks largely to the mere exposure effect.

It’s a well recognised psychological phenomenon, whereby the more time you spend with a person, the more attracted you feel to them – and they to you – simply by virtue of being around each other so frequently.

So what better place to find a potential partner than the office?

True, once upon a time organisations frowned on office romances. These days, though, companies have to be more adaptable to cope with the number of relationships blossoming under their noses.

Most workplaces won’t frown too heavily on employees dating, but if you are thinking of knocking socks with a cutie two cubicles over, there are a few things to consider.

1. Be sure of what you want. The last thing you think of when starting up a new relationship is how it’s going to end, but being frivolous with a co-worker’s emotions or going on dates with someone if you’re not sure you like them is playing with fire.

No matter what happens, you’re still going to have to face them on Monday morning.

Before you get involved, ask yourselves what it will be like if you break up. Will you be able to behave as adults? Can you be professional? It sucks enough just breaking up with someone, let alone losing career-cred over the matter.

2. Your boss is off limits. It’s just not a good idea to get involved with anyone directly responsible for managing you and your role. That’s when the lines between work and private life get really blurry.

Plus, you’ll continually be the butt of office gossip as all your co-workers dissect how you’re getting “preferential treatment”.

3. No funny business at work. That includes hugs, hand-holding, kisses and butt-pinches. Absolutely not appropriate for the workplace, even if everyone already knows you’re an item.

Also, tempting as it might be, no sex on the desk.

Are you dating a colleague? Love to hear about all about it.

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Author |

Writer, dating columnist, wife, coffee addict, foodie, fashionista... Melburnian through and through. Muser, dancer, blogger, tweeter. Likes to get her head on telly now and again. Sleeper, dreamer, a sucker for romance. And of course... a cheap date.

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One comment for “mX Column: Office Romances are A-Ok”

  1. Posted by Using the Mere Exposure Effect to Your Dating Advantage | $30 date night | Date Ideas, Marriage & Romance Blog | May 13, 2010, 5:29 pm

    [...] wrote in my column a few weeks back about the theory behind Office Romances and why they are so prevalent these days. The idea is that the Mere Exposure Effect dictates your [...]

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