In my personal experience, the easiest place to meet someone is in a work environment. Whether it’s in your own office or in your office building or when dealing with employees of businesses you interact with in the line of duty, so to speak, there’s no more effective place to develop an attraction. Hell, even married people have experienced the phenomenon of the “work husband” or “work wife.” There may not be physical cheating involved, but there is an awkward level of tension there that would likely not exist if they didn’t spend 40-plus hours a week together.
The phenomenon is easy to break down. When you are at work, you have your best face on. They don’t see the slob you are at home stuffing your face with pizza and spilling wine on your comforter while crying and watching The Bachelor (very much a gender neutral activity). They see you dressed (relatively) presentable on your best behavior getting shit done. They get to ease into interaction with you and develop a level of comfort that is much more difficult to develop than out in the wild, comfort being far more important for women than for we male barbarians. When meeting someone at a bar or an event or even the grocery store you have a matter of minutes to develop an acceptable level of rapport, while in a work environment you have weeks. It’s not impossible to do the former, just not as easy as the latter.
Of course, the universe is not without its cruel ironies. Not only is a work environment the easiest place to meet someone, but it is the most dangerous place to meet someone. It’s even more dangerous now as, from a guy’s point of view, it’s getting more and more difficult to gauge where the line is, especially given the political climate. You don’t want to be the guy who makes a move and finds himself unemployed or worse. That’s why there should be guidelines to having a work crush, if not more than just a crush. Luckily for y’all, I’ve developed one with safe margins of error to curb the risk of things blowing up in your face. Think of this as the Hammurabi’s Code of work crushes.
1. Preferably, don’t flirt or date at work at all. I mean, it’s easier said than done as I mentioned before, but your risk of self-sabotage decreases immensely if you don’t crap where you eat at all.
2. If said individual works in the same building as you but not the same company, or for any company with whom you do business, you’re in the clear. Go for it. This is a low-risk move.
3. Never flirt with, date, or sleep with customers. Ever. If you notice any mutual attraction at all, extinguish it. It’s extremely difficult, especially if you work closely with them, but being able to eat is nice, too. It does not get much higher risk than this.
4. If you are going to date within your workplace, do not date within your department. If you don’t work with them regularly it’s less awkward if, God forbid, you break up. A moderate level of flirting is allowed here, as your risk level is about as low as it gets within the same company, but that’s relative. It’s still risky. If you have overwhelming mutual attraction within your department. Keep it very subtle.
5. Never get involved with a subordinate, especially a direct subordinate. Lawsuits and firings don’t bode well for your job prospects. I don’t care how genuine the attraction is, there is nothing but trouble waiting for you dating downward.
Workplace crushes are all about your risk threshold and risk management. The temptation can be overwhelming at times, and a work environment is such an easy place to meet someone, but it’s really like going big game hunting. It’s much lower risk from a distance, and with one wrong move you’re getting trampled by wildebeests. Happy hunting. .