4 Ways To Seamlessly Date Your Co-Worker Without Causing Office Drama

by Mindy Meyer

So, you have a crush on your co-worker, and he or she is flirting with you. You're dying to go on a date, but you're worried you're putting your job in jeopardy by doing so. Deciding whether you should or shouldn't date your co-worker is an age-old debate.

I mean, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama met at work. Bill and Melinda Gates met at work. Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt met while filming "Mr. & Mrs. Smith."

I met my husband at work when we interned together during college. I was the little HR intern, and he was the little engineer intern.

Sparks flew, and you know the rest of the story. Although, we didn't actually “date” during our internship, but we became an official couple less than a month after our internship ended.

According to CareerBuilder, 38 percent of people say they have dated a co-worker during their working lives. Out of that group, 31 percent of those people said their co-worker crush led to marriage.

I'm considering myself lucky that the numbers are that high. It means less weird issues I have to deal with from an HR perspective.

So, a successful workplace dating scenario is certainly not unheard of or unreasonable. But from an HR perspective, I have to tell you to proceed with caution if you decide to date your co-worker.

I've seen many crazy things happen with relationships at work, and since the world is so small, a dating blunder is certainly not the best way to launch your professional career. Here are four ways to date your co-worker without getting fired:

1. Take it slow.

I can't say this enough, but you should become great good friends before you take anything to the next level. Find out how well you mesh on a friendship level before you doing anything that will make your work enviroment awkward.

You might think you work in a huge office, until you're trying to avoid someone. One month of being friends isn't enough, by the way. Try to be friends for at least two months, but know that three months is even better.

2. Don't talk about it to other co-workers.

Here's the thing, sometimes you become friends with your co-worker crush, but you realize somewhere in the friendship that dating isn't really as appealing as you thought it might be. If you've already told other co-workers you have a crush, they're going to mistake every weird interaction between the two of you as a continuation of the crush.

Whatever the case, telling anyone about it will most likely add drama where it isn't needed. Lay super low with this new co-worker crush friendship.

3.  Keep your work relationship professional.

Work is not the place to be stealing kisses or hooking up in conference rooms. Keep your work relationship professional from the time you're in sight of the office until you're out of sight of the office.

4. Don't fully disclose the relationship until you know it's serious.

So, you've been dating for a few months now, and it's going very well. That means it's OK to openly talk about it at work now, right? No, it's not.

Sure, you can tell your office friends, but don't run to tell your manager or VP that you're dating your co-worker. It's great to have a personal relationship with your manager, but this isn't one of the things you should share until it's serious.

Breaking up would be awkward, and that awkwardness only increases with the more people who know about it. Share when you're engaged or when you move in together.

If it leads to marriage, congratulations! One of you should go find another company to work for just incase something goes south with the company.

Note: If dating is strictly against company policies, don't do it. If you know he or she is the love of your life, find another job before you start dating.