If you've watched even one episode of "The Office" — or especially if you've watched every episode of all 10 seasons — you understand how appealing it can be to have an office crush. Fans watched Jim and Pam find love amongst the drudgery of working in a paper factory in central Pennsylvania: it's understandable that you might want a work crush to liven up your workday.

And there's psychology behind why you might find the person in the cubicle next to you particularly compelling. As Remente co-founder and CEO David Brudö told Insider, "Working with someone daily, you will see how they respond to a problem, act under pressure, and interact with other coworkers. It is also easy to start sharing personal information and commiserating about difficulties faced in the office — perhaps over a lunch or after-work drinks." You get the opportunity to know someone in a non-dating context, giving you a better understanding of how they handle the ups and downs of life.

Plus, should things get intense around the office, it can cause confusion and even lead to similar feelings experienced during a sexual relationship. "Such feelings of attachment and unity can be similar enough to cause confusion. Even if the conscious mind does not acknowledge the connection, often the subconscious will. One or both partners may find themselves suddenly considering the other from a sexual point of view," Gregory L. Jantz, PhD, explained to Psychology Today. So how do you deal with an office crush and remain professional?

The Correct Way To Proceed With Your Crush

It's no secret that just as office romances might often lead to successful partnerships, they seemingly have just as much of a chance of turning sour. Navigating a relationship with a coworker always comes with some level of risk; should things go south, you'll still have to see that person at the office, and it will likely make working together slightly uncomfortable. Should you find yourself crushing on a coworker, first things first — consult your company policy. As Jane Greer, PhD, and author of "What About Me?" told Women's Health, you should first make sure that inter-company relationships are even allowed. It's one thing to put your heart at risk, and another to jeopardize your career.

"It's totally fine to have a crush on a coworker, but it's all about how you handle it," Greer said. She recommends finding small, subtle ways to show your crush that you could be the Jim to their Pam (or vice versa), so as to not risk making someone uncomfortable in the workplace. "Show them behaviorally that they're on your mind," Greer explained. "You don't want to engage in anything that is overt or seductive or that can be misinterpreted as sexual harassment." From there, if the affections seem returned, you can suggest a rendezvous outside of the workplace.

What Do After You DTR With Your Office Crush

So, let's say the coworker of your dreams reciprocates your feelings — congratulations. That's at least one hurdle cleared. Now, the two of you should discuss what the appropriate steps forward should be, with the understanding that not everyone in your office might not be as thrilled about your new romance as you two are. But that doesn't mean you should keep the relationship to yourself. Art Markman, professor of psychology and marketing at the University of Texas, Austin, advised, "You don't have to tell them after the first date, but letting people know reduces the awkwardness" (via Harvard Business Review).

And your coworkers may feel betrayed by you should you not disclose sooner. "Secrets tend to erode our trust in one another and, when the truth comes out, people are going to feel lied to," Amy Nicole Baker, associate professor of psychology at the Univeristy of New Haven also told Harvard Business Review. But that doesn't mean you need to give too many details or be an exhibitionist in your budding romance.

"People who frequently witness flirting . . . report feeling less satisfied in their jobs, and they feel less valued by their company. They're more likely to give a negative appraisal of the work environment, and they may even consider leaving," Baker added. Setting boundaries between both you and your new love interest, as well as between you, your partner, and the rest of your coworkers, is the key to success.

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2023-03-18T21:14:55Z dg43tfdfdgfd