Q&A: Is an office romance ever appropriate?

Always use discretion when dealing with an office romance.

Is an office romance ever appropriate?

Your office isn’t a bar or nightclub, but that doesn’t mean you’re not going to meet someone date-worthy in the lunchroom, elevator or even in the cubicle next to yours. (Where better to find your soul mate than the place you’ve both chosen to spend half your waking hours?)

There’s nothing wrong with seeing a colleague, but tread lightly if excitement gets the better of you and you find yourself caught up in an illicit tryst with a project partner — especially if he or she is loose-lipped. The last thing you want is the office blabbermouth catching wind of even the slightest indiscretion. “Be discreet and if things don’t work out, maintain your professional presence and move on,” says Toronto-based etiquette expert Louise Fox. This kind of gossip — whether it’s true or not — can “seriously tarnish your career,” she adds.

An important note: all companies look at collegial romances differently — many even have nonfraternization policies. If your relationship is heating up and you think you’ve found “the one,” set up a meeting with HR.