Apparently 40% of workers polled in a recent survey admitted to having dated a co-worker at some point during their career, Businessweek reports.
At the same time, an AOL Jobs Survey found one in six respondents said they’d been the victim of sexual harassment at the office.
Obviously intra-office dating is a breeding ground for awkward situations, and also, disciplinary action.
So Businessweek decided it was time to draw up an “idiot-proof, workplace-safe, three-step guide for a lawsuit-free office pickup.”
Their instructions are as follows: Ask Questions, Be Cool, Be Prepared for Rejection.
1. Ask questions, don’t just spout pick-up lines: “The key to a great pickup line is remembering that it’s the beginning of a conversation, not an end,” they say. That seems legitimate. They cite a writer who penned a dating “how to” best-seller, ‘The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists,’ who says: “Ask questions like you’re a radio show host and they’re the guest.”
2. Be Cool aka Don’t try to be funny: Basically, the rule of thumb here is, don’t try to be funny if you’re not. A pick-up line doesn’t have to be funny if it’s not your thing. Sometimes, just being straightforward is the way to go, especially in an office. A stand-up comedian told Businessweek that “the pickup line he used on his wife wasn’t clever or glib… That straightforward approach—”and the fact that I didn’t look like a creepy psycho”… sealed the deal.” And you definitely do not want to be the creepy psycho in the office.
3. If you get a “no” then back-off: This one’s simple, no means no. Especially in the office. The president of an HR advisory firm told Businessweek: “if you’re hellbent on making a move, remember it’s an office, not a toga party. ‘Understand that ‘no’ means ‘no…and back off if your co-worker declines your invitation.'”
These are all dating basics really, but the lesson really is that the office is no time to be coy or indirect about your feelings — the best way to avoid an uncomfortable trip to HR is by being frank. Those cheeky emails you decide to send your colleague might seem flirtatious and alluring to you, but could be used in a lawsuit by the receiver. Better to just say out loud how you feel.