Femi and Ngozi have been working together on the same team at XYZ Corporation for three years. Due to the nature of their Job, they awfully spend time together; either during brainstorming sessions, official trips or lunch breaks. They seem very compatible; both as colleagues and friends. Femi soon developed strong feelings for Ngozi but has a problem- he dreads the thought of rejection and eventually losing a wonderful friendship – so he decides to keep to himself; hoping that someday, Ngozi would realize how much he loves her. On the other hand, Ngozi has been nursing same feelings for Femi too but thinks he wants nothing more than friendship with her; Ngozi is also concerned about her feminine integrity as she thinks it demeaning to womanhood (specifically in the African culture) to express her feelings to Femi.
You may find yourself empathizing with both persons; asking questions like: is it right to go into a relationship with your coworker? What should you do when you start having feelings for a colleague?
…and many other related questions.
Adopting one of Henri Fayol’s principles of management, as an employee within an Organisation, you are expected to prioritize the Organisation’s goals over your personal interests. Although what goes on at the core of your life may be more important than anything else; however, being in a relationship with a coworker requires creating a fine balance between Love and work as your personal and professional relationship with the person (and other coworkers) may be affected. Just before you start working your way into such relationships, there are 3 things you should know.
1. The fine line between your feelings and facts: You may for several reasons think you are in love but whether you are the gentleman or lady with a faster beating heart for your coworker, be sure you are not just physically attracted to this person. Consider your professional relationship with this person, the workplace is the least of places you should let your heart rule your head. Realize that an awful relationship between coworkers can create bad tension at the workplace. Falling in love and eventually getting into a lasting relationship goes beyond spending time together; at work (and away), during lunch breaks, meetings or official trips. You should also have ready answers to questions like-Does s/he like to be open about his/her relationship? Is s/he single? etc. You may read all the non-verbal signals from the person but that’s not a guarantee s/he is in love with you- s/he may be expressing professional friendliness towards you; besides, for some reasons; maybe to relieve stress, flirting with people’s feelings doesn’t seem a bad idea to some people. Be honest with yourself; you can’t be completely sure about everything but don’t risk a good job for attractive looks or mere feelings.
2. Be sure you are not breaching Company policy: This is very important as most companies frown at coworkers dating or being involved in relationships. Relationship experts say it’s best to assume your employers and colleagues may not like the idea; even though some Organisations do not make it part of their policy, one could easily tell when such intimacies are not approved. You may have good intentions for your colleague but realize you two are not the only ones involved in this situation. So before you nurse the feeling, be sure you are not preparing to incur the wrath of your employers or unnecessarily raise eyebrows.
3. Good Friends is not equal to Great lovers: A simple math that doesn’t apply to the workplace only. Yes you can really enjoy a more intimate relationship with your best friend but usually, such relationships don’t last, primarily because both partners soon realize they preferred each other better as friends or that they really didn’t know themselves as they thought. That you’ve been a very close pal to your coworker doesn’t mean you’d have a wonderful relationship with that person. Assumptions can be very dangerous in this case; be careful to study the person from a different perspective, ask other close colleagues what they think about him/her. This will help broaden your knowledge about the person and also give you foresight if you decide to go on with the relationship. You might be in for a surprise if you get caught up in the excitement that you’d have a great relationship with your best male/female friend at work.
Finally, while executing plans to express your feelings to that coworker, remember to ‘be a better friend’ as most people naturally flow with spontaneity. Although, there’s no exact way to know if you are doing a good job in making the person fall in love with you but you can tell when your feelings are being reciprocated.
Back to our story; in what ways do you suggest Femi can spot the ‘green light’ and how should Ngozi let Femi know she’s attracted to him without bursting her ego?
Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.