I’m a big believer in the old phrase “don’t shit where you eat,” or, for those of you who aren’t familiar with the idiom, not dating your co-workers. At my old corporate job on the East Coast, a girl I worked with for a few weeks on a project seemed to develop feelings for me (or at least seemed to be flirting with me — though I could be mistaken) and at the time I worked very hard to rebuke her invitations to hang out outside the office as politely as I could. That’s usually a very good move especially in a formal office environment where tact and cordiality is critical to your career path and keeping a genuine reputation.
I moved out to the West Coast and now work for a small (though growing extremely quickly) tech company where I get to wear jeans to work. Most people in the office are also very friendly with each other, frequently hanging out outside the office. And, as is an office tradition, we often have several rounds of drinks in the office on Friday afternoons while catching up with outside teams. It’s actually a really fun way to work, especially when you work really long hours and weekends, it’s nice to work out with the people you also like to spend time with.
So since I’ve started, the office has grown to nearly 400 people — like I said, we’re growing from a small tech start-up to a pretty good size now. So there are a good amount of people I don’t see very regularly. To be fair, there are now more people in the office than there were in my high school class. A few weeks ago, I ran in to a girl on our HR team and we ended up running out for a drink to kill time until we met up with others from our office for a co-worker’s birthday party. I learned a lot about her background. She’s very smart (which I like), artistic (which I like), thoughtful (which I like) and very cute (which I like, but I’m going to pretend I always look for inner beauty first, regardless of whether or not it’s true). She has great taste in music and occasionally laughs at my terrible jokes.
We ended up spending a long time together that night. In fact I think we probably hung out alone for a good 4-5 hours before meeting up with a crowd from the office and sticking close to each others sides throughout the rest of the night. Of course, after hanging out for what was then 6 or 7 hours, we had a lot to drink. And, on impulse, I kissed her. She didn’t exactly resist, in fact she seemed to encourage it. We were both drunk, but I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t developed something of a major crush on her throughout the night. Moreover, I can’t deny my heart wasn’t absolutely racing the entire time I spent with her after getting to know her.
I walked her home and we kissed several more times on the way to her place. To be honest, I think partially (or perhaps entirely) due to her drunken state I think we could have gone “all the way” that night. But I was sober enough to push back a little bit. I don’t like having one night stands, especially when a girl is drunk and possibly making a decision she wouldn’t want to make when she was sober. I’d rather “earn” that with a girl through trust and hopefully mutual feelings. I walked her to her apartment, said goodnight and literally ran home out of excitement.
That was actually three weeks ago. Two weeks ago, we hung out again a little bit but we were both exhausted. Though we did end the night with a kiss again. Last week she was busy. Now it’s Friday and I’m not sure if I should ask her out after work again or not. If this wasn’t a girl from my office, I’d schedule something on Wednesday. But because I work with her, I have no idea how to handle it. Perhaps luckily perhaps not, I rarely see her at work — she’s in HR and I’m in marketing, so there’s rarely a reason for us to cross paths.
I get the feeling that this is still a bad idea. But I really like her. Anyone ever had a positive experience dating in the office? A recent study showed that 31% of office romances develop into marriages, so it can’t always be bad, right?
Needless to say I’ll be aggressively cleaning my apartment this morning. Just in case.