General Dating Questions/Work relationships
Hi Dr. Neder,
This question is about dating in the workplace. I am a floral buyer and I want to go on a date with a guy who works for one of our floral supplier companies. I am nervous this may make it difficult to work with him. He is my only point of contact at the supplier company. I've worked hard to grow sales in my department and I do not want to people to wrongly feel the only reason I could do it was because of him.
Let's say he and I do start dating. How do mature people handle such things? SHould I tell my boss? What boundaries should I create to keep my work and relationship separate? He is forgetful and I have nearly snapped at him on several occassions for massively botching my orders. I also wonder how much this trait of forgetfulness crosses into his personal life...
I have a sense he's interested in me, but he hasn't said anything yet. And honestly I am insecure about the fact that he talks to so many attractive women everyday at work (there are alot of them in the floral industry!) Should I ask him out? Or should I wait and see what he does? He is 33 and I am 28.
Thank you! I have never dealt with a situation like this before so your advice will no doubt be helpful :)
Some people say you should never date anyone related to your work. I completely, totally, ardently disagree.
In fact, you spend so much of your time at work that I think it's a great place to meet people, date and form relationships. Yes, you have to be careful and mature about things, but on the other hand, you get to know people and their lives intimately. You learn who they are and what they are all about. You already have lots in common with them (work), and a bunch more.
The key to workplace dating is obviously(?) maturity, but even more so, communication. If you were to start dating this guy, it makes sense that you'd want to keep it quiet - at least for now. After a few months it may be a different thing in that you can show that you've built your sales without the benefit of the outside relationship.
But, what if things go wrong? This is where the communication part comes in. If you date someone at work one of the very earliest conversations has to be what would happen if you got close but had some nasty, ugly breakup? The answer (hopefully) will be that you'll both be professionals, understanding that your jobs can't suffer because of your personal relationships. In many ways this is similar to not directly benefiting because of your personal relationships either.
If you have a clear understanding of the expectations and always consider the needs and feelings of the other person, this can work out great.
So, to your questions:
Mature people handle these things as I've already stated. Clear communication of your expectations and considering the possibilities - good and bad - are the keys. For this reason by the way, you can NOT play any of what I call "Dumb Girl Games" ("DGG's")! If you try to play someone at work, it will DEFINITELY come back to bite you on the ass. No if's, and's...just one big, sore BUT!
Should you tell your boss? That depends on one main key: do you have any sort of employment agreement and if so, does it have a clause that states as much? Many employment agreements have clear rules about dating people at work. This may or may not extend to customers and employees of vendors as well. Many contracts only state that you have to make the relationship known when it starts (a nebulous concept - when did it "start"??) but don't have specific rules against them. You need to find out what yours says if you have one and follow it carefully.
If you have no specific rules, then no, do not tell your boss about the outside dating/relationship thing until after it gets going and is solid. Just because you met at work doesn't mean it's your employer's business - UNLESS/UNTIL it affects your productivity. That said, when you're at work, you're at work. Never forget that. That is the "boundary" and it's absolutely clear and simple.
As to his forgetfulness, I can't say where it comes from. It can be a trait that is part of everything he does or maybe he just doesn't like his job and doesn't give it much effort. Likewise, maybe you just really intimidate him? Obviously, I can't say.
Should you ask him out? Absolutely! I think anyone should be able to ask anyone else out on a date. You might want to consider how much time it's been that you've known him. If it's been only a few weeks, give him a little more time and drop a few hints to see what he does. If it's been longer than that, go for it.
Dr. Dennis W. Neder
Producers: "BAM! TV" and “Love and Sex”
Publishers: "Being a Man in a Woman's World I, II & III”