It can be difficult to tell when a person at work wants to cross the line between a professional and a romantic relationship. To avoid getting yourself into an awkward position by making the wrong assumption, here are the unmistakable signs that your coworker has feelings for you so you can figure out how to proceed.
You keep making eye contact.
Catching your eye is a dead giveaway that your colleague is attracted to you. Eye contact releases oxytocin, a hormone that promotes feelings of closeness. Even if your coworker isn’t doing it purposefully, their gaze is meant to create a connection between you that goes beyond your working environment.
They’re always finding reasons to discuss work with you.
One of the first moves a person makes when they’re attracted to a colleague is talking about what you already have in common. They’ll bore you to death with their constant debriefs on the meeting you just had or the project you’re working on. Eventually, they’ll gain the confidence to talk about something other than work, but for a while, you’ll be stuck with their awkward bid for attention.
They ask if they can help you with whatever you’re working on.
They are beyond helpful. They seem to want to do all your work for you and be the person who solves all your problems. They are especially eager to help if it means they can work alongside you. The more ways they can invent to be near you, the happier they are.
They take your side in meetings.
Even when you aren’t discussing something that relates to their work, they will always back you up. They agree with all of your suggestions and make sure everyone knows that they think your ideas are the most innovative, persuasive, and promising of the group. They compliment you in front of other colleagues, especially your boss.
They ask about your life outside of work.
Where most of your colleagues stick to topics of conversation that relate to work, they start to delve into questions about your personal life. They want to know what your hobbies are, whether you’re in a relationship, and where you grew up. They also want to tell you about their lives outside of work to create a deeper bond.
They start following you on social media.
Not only are they interested in talking to you about your non-professional life, but they also want to see it for themselves. Following you on social media is a big clue that they are interested in you. It may not be as bold as admitting that they like you, but it’s approaching that level of transparency. They wouldn’t follow you on social media unless they wanted you to know that they are interested.
Your other colleagues have noticed.
You may struggle to see their behavior objectively, but your coworkers don’t. They see exactly what’s going on, and they’ve started talking about it. They ask you if you’re in a relationship or if you’re interested in the person. As soon as your colleagues start to share their suspicions, you can be confident you’re not imagining things.
They’ve changed their appearance.
A sudden improvement in personal grooming and fashion is a sign that they’re interested in someone at your workplace. If you’re picking up hints that they’re into you, it’s pretty clear that their newfound care for their appearance is motivated by their attraction to you.
Their body language gives them away.
Body language is one of the best ways to tell if a person likes you because it is subconscious. Behaviors such as mirroring your movement, having an open posture, and leaning in indicate that a person is romantically interested, even if they’re trying to hide it.
They compliment you.
It’s possible for a colleague to compliment you even if they don’t find you attractive, but, when taken together with other signs, it reinforces the evidence that they are romantically interested in you. This is especially true if their compliments have nothing to do with work.
How to handle it if you don’t like them back
Tension between colleagues is never enjoyable, so you should start with subtlety and friendliness. If this doesn’t work, you may have to be more explicit and tell them that you have made your feelings clear and that they are putting you in an uncomfortable situation. If things don’t improve, you may need to approach your supervisor. Remember that it is never your fault if a colleague does not respect your boundaries.
How to handle it if you do like them back
Do not assume that dating a colleague will be worry-free. Some workplaces have strict policies against office romances and you may find your job in jeopardy. Then there are the little things, like being gossiped about by your coworkers and being with your partner 24/7. Finally, you can’t rule out the possibility that you may not stay together. You don’t need to be a behavioral scientist to know that working with your ex will not end well.
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