Dating A Coworker: The Dos and Don’ts

Do you have a soft corner for a colleague, and the next obvious step is that intriguing office romance? Before you go all in, test the waters with the help of our workspace dating guide.

Written by Ashwathy Vijay

On May 30, 2023 – 10 minutes read

Office Romance A Territory that Should be Tread Carefully - feature

Romance can blossom anywhere, even in the workplace. But unlike other love stories, office romances tend to attract more attention. They’re a popular topic both in real life and on-screen, especially in K-dramas where office romance is a prominent theme. Shows like “Her Private Life,” “Business Proposal,” and “What’s Wrong With Secretary Kim” illustrate the allure of dating a coworker, while also addressing the challenges that come with it. Whether you’re open about your relationship or prefer the thrill of a secret romance, there are both positives and negatives to consider.

Dating a like-minded person who understands your schedule and work can be a blessing, but keeping your love life separate from work can be challenging. That’s the basics, but there’s a lot more. So, in this blog, we will take you through everything you need to know about dating a coworker. From do’s and don’ts to pros and cons, we want you to know it all and determine if office romance is your cup of tea. 

Let’s get started! 

Are There Any Rules Of Dating A Coworker: Do’s And Don’ts? 

When it comes to love, there are no rules. But office romance is a bit different. When you take love out of the comfort of your personal space and put it in a professional set-up, there are certain rules that you need to follow. So, let’s look at the do’s and don’ts of dating a coworker. 

Are There Any Rules Of Dating A Coworker: Do's And Don'ts? 

Do: Say No To Favoritism 

When you date a coworker, you must draw a clear line between your personal and professional life. In a workspace, you have to act rationally and free of any biases. You cannot favor your other half under any circumstances and make biased decisions even when they are directly involved. You can never put your partner’s interests over the interests of your workspace. 

Don’t: PDA At Office Premises During Office Hours 

Love can bloom in the workspace, but you must keep the associated PDA out of it. There is a certain etiquette that you need to follow while at work, and office romance can potentially breach this said decorum. Don’t behave like those every gross couple does. So, you have to behave with your partner professionally, whenever at work, and make sure your other coworkers don’t feel uncomfortable by your actions.

Do: Keep Personal Tensions Out Of The Workspace

Sometimes dating a coworker can become a conflict of interest. Even if it is not all sunshine and rainbows in your personal relationship, you cannot let that hamper your professional one. You must act professionally and not let personal tension ruin your professional relationships. 

Don’t: Secret Meetups 

If you are dating a coworker in a different department, you might want to sneak out at times for a rendezvous. But that is quite unprofessional, and if you get caught, it might hamper your reputation. 

Do While Dating A Coworker: Check Office Policies On Dating 

While we live in the 21st century, there might still be some companies that have policies governing office romance, if not against it. So, make sure you are in sync with them if there are any. 

Don’t: Make It Weird 

When you date in a work set-up, you might get uncomfortable in each other’s presence while trying to maintain a professional demeanor. But behaving weirdly will make it uncomfortable for those around you. So, act as you would normally do and release the tension. You have to be extra cautious of this point if you are dating your coworker in secret. Trying to hide it too much might work against you and disclose the nature of your relationship. 

Don’t: Date Your Superiors Or Subordinates 

We are in no way saying that you should only date someone from a similar standing in life, but when it comes to office romance, it is better to keep it that way. Why? Because when you stand in different places on the professional ladder, certain uncomfortable scenarios might arise. If you give out a performance review in favor of your partner, other employees might mistake it as favoritism, and any tensions at work might translate into your professional relationship. 

Don’t: Hide Your Relationship 

It’s better to come clean about your relationship than hiding it and having your coworkers find out about it from other sources. We understand that when you are unsure about the relationship in the initial stages, you might want to keep it a secret, but once you are sure, it’s better to tell them and reduce the awkwardness. 

Is Dating A Coworker Common?

You might never have dated someone in the office before, but that doesn’t mean dating a coworker is uncommon. You see a coworker every day; you sit with them, exchange ideas with them, and share your laughter and worries, so falling in love with them is not a long shot. While professionalism says otherwise, an office is where two like-minded people could meet, develop a connection, and fall in love. The office romances in popular fiction are not a figment of someone’s imagination but a reality you can see at every corner. And no, we are not simply throwing an assumption, but it is a fact proven by several surveys. 

For instance, 

  • A survey by disclosed that 58% of employees had dated their colleagues. 
  • Over 19% of employees have had affairs outside their marriage/relationship. (this is not ideal in any scenario but is indeed a sad reality)
  • Another survey by showed that over 18% of employees have engaged in a casual relationship with their colleagues. 
  • In a recent survey, 72% said they would try workspace romance if given a chance.

These stats prove that office romance is not an exception. So, if your heart wants, go for it but treat it carefully so as not to break any professional rules. 

Dating A Coworker: Is It Unprofessional? 

Now addressing the elephant in the room: is dating a coworker unprofessional? There is no straightforward answer to this question. It depends upon several factors, including your company’s dating policies, the nature of your relationship, and if you are letting the romance come between your professional obligations. 

Dating A Coworker: Is It Unprofessional? 
  • If your company has a policy against dating coworkers, then it’s unprofessional to engage in one.
  • Letting personal relationships interfere with the professional dynamics of your team is also unprofessional.
  • During work hours, your focus should be on your job. Allowing your relationship to impact your performance is a sign of unprofessionalism.
  • Showing favoritism towards a younger colleague when dating them is considered unprofessional.
  • Dating someone from the same team can create tension among other team members and lead to feelings of exclusion, which is why some companies prohibit office romances.
  • Sharing confidential information with your partner creates a conflict of interest and can be viewed as unprofessional.

Simply put, if you follow basic workspace etiquette, don’t let your personal relationship interfere with your professional one, and your company doesn’t have a rule against it, dating a coworker is not unprofessional. 

Cons Of Dating A Coworker: The Down Side!

What If You Break Up? 

Imagine breaking up with your partner and having to see them every day at work. That sounds awful, right? A sense of awkwardness will seep in, impacting not just you but your other coworkers as well. So, if you really want to date a coworker, make sure it is not out of a momentary whim. Only go forward if you are sure about it and wish to give the relationship a chance. 

You Might Become The Centre Of Office Gossip

If you are dating your coworker, people might gossip or spread rumors about you. Especially if you’re dating a younger coworker or if you are dating your boss. If you think such gossip can stain your relationship and impact your mental health, it is better not to engage in an office romance. 

You Might Get Fired!

Can you get fired for dating a coworker? If you are considering the risks of dating a coworker, this tops the list. But this point is valid only if your company has policies against workplace dating or if you breach any other company protocols in any way. Otherwise, dating a coworker won’t have such serious repercussions. 

Professional Boundaries Can Stain Your Romantic Relationship 

If you are dating your superior, you might get scolded if you do something wrong, and you might not take it well professionally. If you are dating someone from the same team and see them advancing quickly while you are feeling stuck, it might lead to jealousy. Competition is duly present in any workplace, but a romantic relationship doesn’t handle it well. So, your professional dynamics can stain your relationship if not handled well. 

Pros Of Dating A Coworker: The Bright Side!

You Get To See Your Partner Every Day!

Nowadays, we are all nearing our fate of becoming corporate slaves. We are so caught up in our professional selves that spending time with friends and family is a luxury. When someone asks why you aren’t dating anyone, how often have you said, “Who has the time for all that”? Yes, we are really busy and rarely have time for those dates, but you can always find the time for office romances. You can go to work together, get together for lunch or during breaks, and maybe go back home together after a date night. That’s indeed a pro of dating a coworker who stands tall amidst our busy schedules. 

Pros Of Dating A Coworker: The Bright Side!

You Can Achieve A Superior Level Of Understanding

A partner who grasps your hectic schedule, shares similar interests, comprehends your job and offers guidance when needed, or even a coworker could fulfill those roles for you. Working in the same office means spending over 8 hours together in the same environment, fostering a level of understanding that might not occur between individuals from different backgrounds. Just picture being able to vent about your work without worrying that your partner might lose interest – who wouldn’t desire that?

It Can Be Your Source Of Adrenaline 

From the office romances you might have seen on-screen, you already know how exciting it could be. Yes, we did say no to secret meetings, but hush-hush; that could be fun. Exchanging those secret glances, holding hands whenever you see a gap, or even just seeing them sitting across the room can boost your morale and actually make your workplace not just bearable but also exciting. 

FAQs: A Quick Glance On Dating A Coworker

1. Is it unprofessional to date a coworker?

It is unprofessional to date a coworker if it is against your company policies or if you let your personal life interfere with your professional relationship; otherwise, no.  

2. What is dating a colleague called?

When you date a coworker, it is called a workplace relationship or office romance, as popular culture calls it. 

3. Is it common to date a colleague?

Your boss or HR might tell you otherwise, but office romance is common. A survey by disclosed that 58% of employees had dated their colleagues at some point, and that’s more than half. We can clearly see the majority there. 

4. Is it common to fall in love with a coworker?

A coworker will have similar work commitment, ethics, and interests. Also, since you get to spend a lot of time with each other, in this timespan there will be a lot of probability of falling in love. 


That’s it for our personal guide on dating a coworker. Simply put, an office romance can be as good or as bad as you make it to be. It has both pros and cons; while it can become your source of solace, it can also hinder your professional growth. Ultimately, it all comes down to how well you can draw a line between your personal and professional space. So, you don’t have to refrain from experiencing the thrill of dating a coworker if you are ready to follow the rules and are confident that you can. But please go through your company’s dating policies to avoid personal and professional heartbreak. 

  1. Elsevier B.V.(2023).Workplace romance across different industries. Available at:

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Hi, I am Ashwathy, a girl you will find sitting at the edge of most conversations, listening in but seldom participating. I speak millions when I write and make up for the minimal syllables I utter on most days. So, if you read something I penned, that’s your window into my soul and your map on how my mind works. Read on to get a glimpse into my perspectives and for rants of a curious mind

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