Meeting people is hard. And the acceptable places to express interest in someone seem to be dwindling.
The gym was a place, but now many women get upset that a man may have been looking at their butt while they worked out. As if it's disgusting to notice the opposite sex and the hard work they've been doing that has made their butt look so fine. Not that that is what everyone tries to do at the gym. Lots of women and men want to be physically powerful for a variety of reasons whether to be better at a sport or because they love the change they're seeing in their body.
The office romance seems to be most frowned upon though. And while I can see some issues, there are many successful office romances. Doctors often marry other doctors, police officers other police officers, artists other artists, entertainers other entertainers, and so on. Why? Because they get each other and understand the demands of the jobs they do.
I have friends who were in the military together who are married and at one time one of them was the other's superior officer. They're a great couple who met at work.
One of my closest friends also met his wife at work and they are the parents of my adorable toddler buddy and his adorable baby sister.
At a police station I once worked for, the head of forensics was married to the woman that managed the evidence room.
One of the engineers was married to one of the administration people at the telecommunications company I worked for from 2009-2012.
I have one friend who dated a girl for a little while and ultimately they found they weren't compatible. He was hurt, but respected her choice to end things and moved on.
But increasingly more people are becoming offended if a colleague expresses interest in getting to know them. If they don't feel the same way, they often say anything but that or stop talking to the person entirely. As someone who has dated people I've worked with in some capacity since high school, I find it a strange thing to get upset about. If you don't feel the same, just say so and move on. Things don't have to be weird. Yeah, it might hurt their feelings for a bit. They might avoid you for a while. Unless they become a creepy stalker type or won't take no for an answer, be flattered that someone thinks you're hot and wants to figure out if you're compatible beyond being able to work together. It means they saw something good in you.
What if you are the one who's interested? There's always a chance they might be too. There are always other jobs, but finding that person that really gets you doesn't happen every day.
And you can have ground rules about keeping things professional at work.
You can also have deal breakers. These are things that you refuse to accept about someone or how they treat you. It's healthy to have boundaries.
Always be respectful with each other. If one decides the other doesn't feel like the relationship is working, accept it and move on.
But don't rush to end things because you're worried about work.
Did you know that people who have sex more often are more successful at their jobs? You could even become a really powerful couple.
Or you could just have a really great time living life together.
But none of that is possible if you attack people or make them feel like perverts for asking you out for a coffee. Be polite in your rejections, but direct. Don't say something poetic instead of, "I don't feel that way about you."
What if you're busy with your career?
You can be busy and still find time now and then for someone. You just both have to make the most of what little time you have together. Be truly present rather than on your smartphones.
Businesses worry about office romances for reasons such as liability, reputation, and productivity. They care more about their money than they do about your happiness. Sure, there are a few companies that aren't that way, but they aren't the norm. Policies that have you disclose a relationship when you might not even be ready to declare exclusiveness are not about protecting the workers. Not allowing a couple to kiss in the parking lot to wish each other a good workday, is not about protecting the couple. Obviously, they shouldn't be making out all over the building, but a hug on the property outside the building is a bit ridiculous to prohibit.
Here's the bottom line. If you're going to do it, don't be an idiot. Yeah, it's hard to think clearly when emotions and hormones get involved sometimes, but it's possible to get over having been naked with someone and get back to work. In fact, most of the time there are other projects you can work on that don't involve the person if it doesn't go well. Even if it is going well, it's probably a good idea to try not to be on too many projects together, so you have time away from each other during the day.
So please stop hating on office romances. They can be wonderful if you are communicative and respectful.
Besides, I'm sure I'm not the only one who's fantasized about the hot coworker pushing the contents of their desktop onto the floor and putting the desk to another use ;)