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  • The Guy’s Perspective: Is it appropriate to date a co-worker?

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    I am interested in a woman I work with. We talk a lot during lunch breaks in the cafeteria, so I think she might be interested. Although I don’t know if she has a boyfriend or not. How do I take this to the next level? Is it even appropriate to ask out a co-worker? I’m worried that if she says no, things could get awkward. Do you have any suggestions?



     
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    I am interested in a woman I work with. We talk a lot during lunch breaks in the cafeteria, so I think she might be interested. Although I don’t know if she has a boyfriend or not. How do I take this to the next level? Is it even appropriate to ask out a co-worker? I’m worried that if she says no, things could get awkward. Do you have any suggestions?
    Dave
    Dear Dave,
    Thanks for your question.
    You’re right to feel concerned. Things could get awkward or worse if she doesn’t welcome your advances. These days you have to be very careful in a work setting. There are more and more accusations of harassment being filed, and that’s the last thing you need. (Although most often those situations involve employees and their bosses, rather than two co-workers.)
    Typically I like the direct approach with dating. If a man is interested in a woman, he should ask her to dinner. Then things are clear right up front. He’s saying, “I’m interested in you beyond a friendship.” However, many guys don’t want to risk being rejected right off the bat so they try the more roundabout, casual route. Instead of dinner they might say, “Some friends and I are going to hear a band tonight; would you like to go?” This may be less threatening, but it’s also less clear. And when something is less clear, it basically means it’s confusing. The woman is saying to herself, “Is he interested or is he just being nice?”
    However, in your case, ignore my speech. Dating a co-worker requires a more delicate and careful approach. And you’re probably going to need to take the circuitous route. First, you need to find out if she’s single. You’ve probably already checked to see if she’s wearing a ring. (I hope you have.) If she’s not, you might try to fish around during one of your conversations. If she talks about her weekends there might be a way to ask a question in a way that provides you with the answer. Try to be covert. Trust me, she’ll still know what you’re inquiring about, but that’s OK. She’ll also know you’re trying to be respectful and that’s a good thing.
    If all goes well and she is single, then maybe you could start by inviting her to a group get-together after work. She might feel less cautious if she knows there are going to be other people there besides just the two of you. Going to see a band is an easy option. Or an after-work party. The group dynamic will make it seem more casual, but you’ll still be able to gauge whether or not she even wants to see you outside the work setting. The key is, once you get her out, you need to seal the deal by talking to her as much as possible, making it clear that you’re interested in her.
    Page 2 of 2 - After you break the ice, it’s going to be up to you to figure out how to proceed. You might need to do several group get-togethers before you feel comfortable asking her out one-on-one. But don’t worry, things will become more clear as you move forward. Right now it might feel scary and uncertain, but as you get to know her outside of work, you’ll get a sense of what’s what, and if she’s even interested.
    Good luck,
    Saelen
    Saelen Ghose is the head writer for The Guy’s Perspective, a popular relationship blog and website. Over the course of his tenure he has responded to thousands of relationship questions, and while he hasn’t solved every problem, he has provided a thoughtful perspective on every question received. If you have a relationship question of your own, please email tgpadvice@gmail.com. Saelen will do his best to answer your question. Please limit your question to 200 words or less. For more from The Guy’s Perspective, visit www.theguysperspective.com.
     

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