We've all been there — staying late with a coworker, going over some reports, and out of nowhere their pants start to fit them really well. And not only that, when they lean over you to get a better look at a document, you suddenly notice they smell really good. And not only that, after they make a cogent point about the notes from the meeting, you realize they're actually kinda smart. Oh no. Are those freakin' dimples??
Oh no. You like them — like like them. And now you have to work with them erry day.
An office crush is a complicated thing to navigate. There is no easy way to quell the situation. Sharing your feelings could lead to personal hurt and professional difficulties. However, suffering in silence can also be problematic. A workplace crush can affect your attention span and ability to concentrate on the task at hand, leading to a downswing in production. Spending time stalking your cutie around the office, and trying to come up with ways to start a conversation messes with your priorities and could jeopardize your career. Not to mention, that work could hit some serious snags if you lose the ability to effectively collaborate with someone in your company.
Alas, it is impossible to stop a crush from developing. Feelings hit us like a slap in the face, whether we want them or not. We spend so much of time at work that it's only natural to form relationships with those we interact with daily. These working relationships can be helpful in moving our careers forward, though a crush can sometimes stop that momentum. So how does one deal with these pesky feelings? How can we put an end to those looks of longing across the boardroom? If revealing how you feel is not an option, there are a few helpful steps you can take to get over an office crush, with minimal consequences.
1. Talk To Someone Outside The Office
We oftentimes work so closely with certain individuals they become like our work-husbands and work-wives. We develop close emotional ties with these people, barring the romantic aspects and we rely on them for their help and advice in professional and personal situations. But when you catch feelings, it's time to turn to friends outside the office. Those who are not involved with your work will have a clearer view of the situation. You want advice that's in your best interest, not tainted by office gossip. If talking with friends isn't quelling the desire, it may be time to turn to a therapist. A professional can help you get to the root of the issue, and make a game-plan for how to deal with the feelings appropriately. It's literally their job to help you parse these difficult emotions— so sitting on that couch can be well-worth the dough.
2. Increase Your Social Activities
After-work happy hours are a fun way to blow off steam, but sharing a glass o' vino with the co-workers will only intensify romantic feelings. Building a fulfilling social life outside of work will help distract you from the current predicament and reinforce healthy friendships. Pursuing a hobby, meeting new people, and joining a club or a league will give you a more positive focus. Sharing interests (non-work related interests) with others will help you build social bonds, and make you feel less alone. Perhaps you will even meet someone cute (and slightly more appropriate).
3. Separate Fantasy From Reality
Seeing someone excel at work can build admiration and respect, it can also produce all kinds of annoying fantasies. The more elusive the person, the easier it is to build a whole narrative around them. For all you know they could be the nicest, funniest person, with super cool interests that are exactly the same as yours! Wrong.
Everyone is human, complete with foibles and flaws. Once you actually get to know someone beneath the surface interaction, they are rarely what you thought. Keep in mind that you are only seeing this person in a profesh environment. They are dressed up and ready for work, not sitting on their couch in dirty pajamas eating old take-out.
4. Express Your Feelings Through Art
Hiding feelings day-in and day-out can make one feel powerless and out-of-control. A great way to harness these emotions is to turn them into art. Allow your feelings to inspire productive behavior and they will seem more manageable. Write a song, a short story, or paint a picture. Not feeling artistically-inclined? Journal about your feelings before bed. Journalling has lots of health benefits and can help with stress and depression. Funneling this energy into something productive and positive will make it easier to get over your crush and move on with your life.
5. Remind Yourself That These Feelings Don't Define You
Give yourself a pep-talk — you are strong, attractive, and smart. The allure of this person might simply be that they are unavailable, heightened only by the forbidden nature of the relationship. Sure, making-out on top of the copier would be totes hot, but probably not worth losing your job. Remind yourself of all the commitment you put into getting where you are today. This crush is telling you that it's time you invest more in yourself. Refocus on your goals and dreams. You are so much more than the feelings, and with time they will fade. Focus on the life you have now, not the hypothetical one you could have with this crush.
6. Set Boundaries
Another measure for minimizing the crush is to make rules for how to deal with them in your daily life. Setting boundaries that limit how much you interact or think about them will help you take control of the situation. Crushes aren't always unprovoked — we all like to flirt, whether we are available or not. If your crush flirts with you, only interact with them in a group to keep things professional. It can be a little awkward at first, but can help to curtail emotions in the workplace.
7. Open Up Or Remove Yourself
So you've tried everything short of a cold shower and throwing your stapler at their head. Now what?
At this crossroads, like in gambling (gambling with your heart), you either hold'em or fold'em. Consider removing yourself entirely from the situation vis-à-vis a long vacation or finding a new job. If that is not appealing perhaps it's time to tell your crush how you truly feel. If your company allows dating between coworkers, take the plunge and have that honest conversation. People date and marry those they work with all the time — just look at Hollywood. Though that does tend to make things complicated — just look at Hollywood.