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anything wrong with dating someone at the office?"
This column answers
questions submitted by our readers. Submit your questions to
who will forward them to our coaches all over the world. Each issue,
we'll publish a few answers from our RCI coaches.
I work with a woman I'm really attracted to – we're both
single right now, not dating anyone, and we've known each other for a
couple of years. She's in management and so am I. She's attracted to
me, too. We've joked about dating each other, but neither of us has
made a move to do so.
I've thought of asking
her out on a date, but just wanted to get some advice. I know with
social networking that the lines between personal and professional have
blurred. Society has changed a lot over the years and so has formality
in most business offices. It's challenging to find someone you're
Is there really anything
wrong with dating someone at the office? What are your thoughts? Should
we take a chance? What other advice can you give me and us –
to protect ourselves and our jobs?
Janice responds …
Historically, rules in
the workplace against dating co-workers, and especially subordinates,
were established to ward off cases of sexual harassment. Over the
years, however, many human resources departments relaxed these rules
for a variety of reasons, one being that dating co-workers might reduce
the incidence of sexual harassment. Knowing that singles like yourself
would prefer to date someone they are familiar with, it's
understandable that you would gravitate towards dating someone with
whom you work.
Because you ask, "Should
we take a chance?" and "[How can we] protect ourselves and our jobs?"
I'll address the first of the "chances" you allude to: the chance that
your relationship won't work out. If so, then you'd be forced to be in
physical proximity to this woman after the break-up. Singles typically
fear running into an ex after a break-up, and there are few places to
hide in an office where you are tethered for many hours a day.
The other "chance" you
take would be losing your jobs outright if there is a company policy
against "fraternizing." While sneaking around your workplace might be
exciting, you really can't protect yourselves and your jobs. So before
you decide to date, I suggest you think about your current job and ask
yourself: Is this where I want to be? Are there other jobs or careers
that would be equally, if not more, gratifying? Because if the answer
is "yes" then you might end up with a double win: a better job, and a
D. Bennett, Ph.D. | www.DoctorLoveCoach.com
and Jo respond …
While it may be an issue for office policy, we believe the work
environment is a great place to sort, screen and test potential
partners. There are few places these days where you can interact with a
potential soulmate and check them out over an extended period. We
believe being able to observe your "target" as they deal with
challenges and interact with different people is very important when
choosing a potential partner.
So the issue, then, is
how to deal with company policy. Why not get clear on the exact
boundaries and ground rules and then proceed accordingly. You will both
need to be aware of and responsible for the consequences at work if
dating is unsuccessful. Yes, it is challenging for singles these days
to find someone they are attracted to – so don't let her slip
by. Maintain the attraction, perhaps in small ways that observe
protocols initially (acts of kindness, etc.), and once you know the
boundaries, go for it!
For real clarity and
certainty as to whether she really is a good long term prospect, we
recommend you work with a RCI coach, so that your relationship choice
is directed by wisdom and powered by attraction.
Rick and Jo Harrison | www.SecretsToSoulmateSuccess.com
Bottom line: I recommend
you do not date someone you work with on a daily basis. Understand that
people in close proximity and those we see frequently often appear more
attractive. Many studies have documented this phenomenon.
However, if you do want
to date her, I would be very certain she meets all of your
non-negotiable requirements prior to asking her out. If you start
dating, I would recommend you not disclose it to your coworkers and
that you both agree to remain respectful should the two of you no
longer date. Keep your private life private and you are less likely to
have problems in the workplace.
My concern is your
statement about how challenging it is to find someone you're attracted
to. If you believe it's hard, then it's hard. Instead, change your
mindset to realize there are many attractive and available single
Take time to understand
exactly what characteristics you find attractive in a woman, both her
physical and her "energetic" qualities (i.e. her confidence, radiance).
Get out of the office and go to singles events, classes and dances.
Create an online dating profile etc., to widen your chances of meeting
single women and finding your perfect match.
Scott | www.KatherinScott.com
I commend you for
thinking about this before taking action. Other than the fact that you
work together, it sounds like you might both be in the same place to
explore a relationship.
Obviously, it can be a
challenge if you're working with someone you date and it doesn't work
out; however, that said, what a pity if you pass up an opportunity that
could turn into something really wonderful.
Ask her out for coffee,
to make it a little more casual, and talk to her about your concerns.
If you are both willing to put some boundaries in place, you could make
it work. It would be important, in advance, to know that if it didn't
work you would remain friendly in the workplace so that neither of you
have to resign.
I'm sure she, too, would
not want to have a problem if you dated and, after a while, found you
didn't gel. Nothing lost, nothing gained if you don't at least speak to
her. I wish you lots of luck.
Hazel Palache | www.sayyestoyoucoaching.com
Dar responds …
Having had an office
romance myself, I understand how you must feel. Given that we spend so
much time at work, it is understandable that we meet potential
significant others at work as well.
Here is the scoop: first
check on what policies are in place at your workplace as a critical
first step. Once you know the policy, you can then figure out what is
next. I don't see anything wrong with dating someone at the office if
you keep the following in mind:
• You are
honoring the company policy about workplace romance
• You have an agreement in the relationship as to how you will
both handle yourselves if things do work out and if it does not work out
• You both agree to avoid cloudy decision-making and biases if
you both collaborate at work
• You both have clear and defined agreements about how you
will conduct yourselves in the workplace, and
• How, when, and if you will inform your managers and others
in the workplace about your romance (because people find out even if
you think they will not).
Lastly, should the
romance become deeper and you both want to become more committed, you
should both have an agreement about your plan for handling things like
will you both continue to work at the same company, will one of you
seek other employment, and other issues.
Dar | www.RelationshipSuccessSource.com
By Ann Robbins
Competency: Are You the Partner you Seek?
Many of my clients come
to me with a laundry list of things they are seeking in a relationship
partner. I am frequently amazed at how easily they are able to recite
this list of criteria, yet fail to look in the mirror and discover, or
uncover, their areas of relationship competency and readiness.
"I want someone who is
emotionally available, generous, kind, a good listener, caring, loving,
attentive, honest," and the list goes on and on. Yet, if I ask them
what it is they bring to that future partner, the list is often shorter
and (forgive me) distorted.
To bring reality and
accountability to the matchmaking process, we often begin with a few
coaching sessions. Here are a few tips to help you achieve the
relationship happiness you deserve:
Your Ideal Relationship
This is an actual
exercise, where you put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and
identify your criteria for your ideal relationship. This is based on
your requirements, needs, and wants. It is critical to the health of
any relationship that your partner has very similar requirements and
needs, otherwise the relationship has a high probability of failure.
VS Needs and Wants
Requirements are those
non-negotiables that are so important to you that if missing, would
cause you to walk away from a relationship. It is important to evaluate
your requirements, and make a list of those things that are critically
important to you -– things for which you will not settle.
For many people these
include fidelity, trust, communication, emotional and physical
intimacy, and authenticity. Typically, requirements are values based.
In order for you to make a list of your requirements, you should begin
by listing your top five to ten values. From there, think of what
values you want your partner to have. Common values are what help
sustain relationships over time.
Your needs are different
than your requirements in that needs are negotiable. A need may be
something like, "I need to know my partner finds me attractive." How
your partner shows you that you're attractive to him is negotiable.
Wants are the "nice to
have" things in relationships. They differ from requirements and needs
in that they won't make or break the relationship, and will not make
you unhappy if not met.
Here's a great way to
remember the difference between requirements, needs, and wants.
Think of baking a cake. A
cake requires certain ingredients in order to be a cake! Flour for
example. No flour -– no cake. Non-negotiable.
A cake also requires heat
and time for baking, however how much heat and how much time are
negotiable. You can bake at 350° for 40 minutes, or bake at
325° for an hour. Therefore, these are needs. A cake also needs
a pan for baking. But, it can be square, round, oblong, a layer cake, a
sheet cake -- all negotiable, and therefore, "needs."
What flavor do you want?
Chocolate? Vanilla? What about frosting? One piece or two? All very
flexible and many options and choices, and therefore, "wants."
When making your list of
requirements, needs, and wants be sure your requirements truly are
non-negotiable walk-away items. You should have no more than about ten.
If your list is too long, that person probably does not exist. Your
list of requirements should align with your values and the standards
you're willing to hold yourself to.
that BOTH of You are Responsible
As co-creators of your
relationship, both of you must take responsibility to enrich, deepen
and nurture your relationship. This is a key step in achieving your
life vision and ultimate happiness together. You are jointly
accountable for the success, health, and longevity of your
relationship. Both partners must be willing to take ownership for the
relationship and its outcome.
Your Core Relationship Competencies
The following tips, taken
from Relationship Coaching Institute's Coach Training Program, will
help you draw from past experience with prior relationships, or if in a
relationship now, make a fair and honest assessment of your current
competencies in that relationship. Assess your level of proficiency as
accurately and honestly as possible. You will then be able to uncover
areas of strength as well as those that need attention.
Communicate Clearly and Honestly:
Do you communicate positively and effectively? This includes deep
listening, communicating from the heart, and positive negotiation
skills. Do you listen actively, or are you thinking about what you want
to say next? Are you authentic and do you speak with truth and love? Do
you apply win/win negotiation when differences arise? Ineffective
communication is one of the primary sources of relationship breakdown.
Know What You Need: We all
have patterns of behavior in intimate relationships. It is important to
understand the effects of your limiting beliefs on your adult
relationship choices and behaviors. Do you have major wounds that play
themselves out in conflict or areas of stress? Gaining these insights
and sharing them with your partner will help both of you be better able
to remain calm and aware when these issues arise.
Take Personal Ownership: Do you
remain centered in the adult role? This is one of the most important
relationship competencies. Many of us bring our angry child or inner
critic to the relationship in times of conflict and stress. Examine how
you behave under pressure and stress. You may be surprised.
Accept, Appreciate, and Manage Differences:
My mother always told me, "Never fall in love with a man's potential."
How right she was! It is critically important you are able to
understand, respect, and work effectively with differences between you
and your partner. Focus on the elements of the relationship that really
matter, don't sweat the small stuff, and don't make the mistake of
trying to change someone to fit your idea of a perfect partner.
Nurture Love and Intimacy: Are
you present in the relationship? Are you deeply connected to one
another in ways that invite openness, trust and support? Are you able
to express love and caring? Are you able to receive the love that is
given by your partner? Understanding the importance of expressing
gratitude, appreciation and love is key to a healthy relationship.
Many people find it easier to give love than to receive it. If this is
the case for you, explore your prior love relationships and your
limiting beliefs and ask yourself if you feel worthy of receiving love.
If you don't, please seek the help of a relationship coach or, at the
very least, begin a self-help discovery process to allow yourself to
believe you deserve a loving and functional relationship.
Goals for Improvement
The above relationship
competencies are important to any healthy relationship. Certainly there
are others, and assessing honestly where you stand is a great way to
begin. Once you've done that, set goals for improvement, development
and growth. No one's perfect, but we all have a responsibility to be
the best we can be, and bringing our best self into a relationship
helps ensure success. No matter what, remember you're worth it!
Copyright © 2009
by Ann Robbins. All rights reserved in all media.
is a Certified Professional Matchmaker and Relationship Coach and is
owner and President of LifeWorks Matchmaking, LLC. She can be reached
at 954.561.4498 or visit www.lifeworksmatchmaking.com.
Why am I Still Single and What Can I Do About it?
Five Attitudes That Keep You From Finding the Love of Your Life
You want to find a life
partner and you wonder why you are still single. You may be divorced,
or maybe you've never married. Maybe you've lived with a series of
partners; maybe you have only kept a relationship going for a few
months. Maybe you keep picking the wrong kind of person. You may be
baffled when you see other people who have been happily married for
decades. What do they know that you don't?
Your attitudes about dating may be keeping you from finding a life
partner. Here are five attitudes that can keep you from finding the
love of your life:
#1 I know my type and
what I'm attracted to
This one can get you in trouble simply by blinding you to anyone who
doesn't fit nicely into the mold of your ideal partner. It doesn't mean
that you must give up your requirements or values.
immediately discount a potential date because of the physical
appearance. While physical is very important to so many people, I would
encourage you, at least, to give a person who doesn't fit your ideal
physical requirements a second look before you dismiss her/him.
Also, a first meeting
with a person will not always tell you whether you share common
interests. You may need to have a second or third encounter before you
screen that person out. Of course, if the person has horrible manners
and treats you badly, run and don't look back!
Here are some questions
to consider when thinking about your type:
• Are your
physical requirements set in stone or do they have some flexibility?
• What if she is not as gorgeous as you expected, but you and
she share the same values?
• What if he doesn't have a college education, but he runs a
Instead of focusing on
your "type," focus on your requirements for a successful relationship.
You are better off thinking about your values and how you would like an
ideal relationship to work.
If love is meant to happen, it will just happen
Where did this idea come
from anyway? Its first cousin is, "Love will happen when you stop
looking for it."
If you want to have a
backyard garden, you wouldn't say, "If it's meant to happen, it will
just happen." No, you would decide what you want to plant, how large
you want the garden, what tools you need to dig the soil, what time of
year to plant, which plants are best for your region, and so on. You
would take the time to plan, making sure you do everything just right.
You have set goals and
continue to do so in many areas of your life: your education, vocation,
health and fitness, and family planning, to name a few. Why is it that
when it comes to finding a life partner this attitude persists? What
makes your love life so magical while other areas of your life are
structured and goal-oriented?
I don't want to go to bars or night clubs
This is another frequent
protest I hear from the singles I have coached. Where did we get the
idea that bars and night clubs were the only ways to meet singles?
Think about all the
places you go and things you do on a regular basis:
• Religious events
Think about what you
would like to do, but don't currently do, and add this to your list of
places, activities, and events where you can meet singles. Create your
list, then get out there and get busy!
I'm too _______ (fat, skinny, short, educated, old, poor, messed up in
the head, etc.) to attract a great life partner
I'm not saying that you
cannot improve yourself. You should definitely be mindful of
self-improvement. In my book, that's a lifetime work in progress.
However, you must start with the idea that you are good enough, even if
you don't believe it yet. You do deserve to find happiness in a love
relationship. You may not be ready for a love relationship, but you can
begin to get ready.
Having an "I'm not good
enough" attitude will keep you from finding a good match. We all have
these limiting beliefs. Working with a relationship coach can help you
to discover and change these beliefs that are holding you back from
finding the love of your life.
I'm too picky
How do you know if you're
really too picky? You really won't know unless you have a well thought
out list of requirements for a successful relationship. Your
requirements are things you will not compromise on. Having a list of
requirements makes you a "discerning single."
Here are some examples of
what I would consider to be too picky versus being realistic. If you
find you are discarding the people you date for flimsy reasons, ask
yourself what is really going on.
Too picky: If you require
that she have the body of Aphrodite, you may be too picky, especially
if you are over 40 and you are not a Greek god yourself.
More realistic: You value
staying in good physical shape and you make healthy eating choices. You
would not be interested in a woman who looks like she doesn't care
about her physical appearance, whose idea of exercise is picking up a
drink and putting it down again, and for whom fast food is a first
choice for dinner.
Too picky: Although a man
seems to fit your requirements, you are still looking at him through a
microscope to find the tiniest reason to discard him from your list of
More realistic: You know
that, like you, no one is perfect. You look at his flaws and ask
yourself, "Can I accept this and live with it?" If you decide that you
can, you keep going. If you decide that you cannot, you move on.
This list of attitudes is
by no means complete. It's just a list to help you think about what may
be holding you back. I challenge you to take some time to list the
attitudes you have that are keeping you from finding the love of your
Examine your list and
figure out where the attitudes came from. Then decide whether they are
helping you or hindering your search for your life partner. A
relationship coach can help you work through these attitudes so you can
create new, more helpful ones!
Copyright © 2009
by Michelle Vásquez. All rights reserved in all media.
Michelle E. Vásquez,
MS, LPC, is an RCI Relationship Coach who helps singles and couples
attract the life they want and create the relationships that bring them
joy. She specializes in working with couples who are experiencing
relationship difficulties as well as with singles who want to find the
love of their life. Bilingual. www.TrueLoveAfter40.com
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