Question of the Week

The Great Debate Between Me and Matthew Hussey: Should You Date at Your Workplace?

Subjects for the Question of the Week often come in themes. Lately I’ve gotten a lot of questions for men and women conflicted about starting workplace romances. Statistically, 2/3 of relationships are between people who have met at work. And while the term, “Don’t crap where you eat” may come to mind, there’s obviously enough people willing to take the risk. My buddies, Matthew Hussey and Jordan Harbinger seem to generally be against workplace relationships. I know that Jordan, my co-host on “Swirlr,” thinks this way because he has a law degree (although not practicing; he’s busy showing men how to take over the world) and is in general, very logical and practical. He generally has the opinion that you shouldn’t, but if you do, you better be ready to cut bait if the fish starts to stink.

Jordan says office relationships are a bad idea.

Jordan says office relationships are a bad idea.

On the other hand, Matthew Hussey, who is renowned for his exquisite beauty, adorable English accent, and oh…his New York Times best-selling book, Get the Guy, thinks that if you focus too much on people at work, it gives you a warped and somewhat limited dating experience.

Matthew thinks trolling for relationships at work can tweak your perception of your options.

Matthew thinks trolling for relationships at work can tweak your perception of your options.

I think both my brilliant and spectacularly handsome colleagues both make great points, but there’s room for a third side–mine. In the realm of interracial relationships, the workplace is often a facilitator for people of various races, backgrounds and cultures to come together and figure out how to keep their jobs. In so doing, these people spend a lot of time together, getting to know folks as individuals and not some amorphous, stereotypical walking, talking blob. It’s why so many people in the military marry interracially. You are exposed to people whom you literally depend on for your very life. Bonds are formed that melt away bigotry, and its in those situations romances are cultivated.

What’s more, the workplace might be the ONLY PLACE that you are exposed to men of various races and cultures, so by necessity I say black women, who need to entertain ALL relationship options, can’t really afford to rule dating a co-worker out completely. However, you have to follow a few ground rules:

  • Keep an Open Line With Other Potential Employers. Make sure your connections in LinkedIn are well oiled and you’re paying your trade association dues and hobnobbing with people in your specialized field. That way, if you the relationship goes to hell you can leave with connections so you can quickly find another job.
  • Keep the PDA at Bay. Don’t spend your time making goo-goo eyes and slipping into shadowy corners to make out with your hottie. Not only is it unprofessional, but leaves the both of you open to gossip, envy, and possible sabotage.
  • Generally, it’s a Bad Idea to Date a Subordinate. This is just a sexual harassment suit waiting to happen. Just…don’t.
  • If You’re Dating the Boss, Keep that Ish a Secret Until He Puts a Ring On It. There’s just way too much drama associated with dating the Big Boss. Trust me, I’ve been there. I once briefly dated a very powerful and wealthy man who ran a multi-million dollar company. Although we were very discrete, people suspected, and I was very uncomfortable, and my co-workers were resentful because they suspected Big Boss was playing favorites…and he was. And yes; he mentioned a ring, but I had a weird feeling, and being with him would mean moving me and Maxi clear across country, away from her dad, which I think is unfair.  I went with The Hubster instead and haven’t regretted it not one single second. Big Boss found a wife eventually and it was as I had expected. They divorced four years in. Bullet dodged.

*Matthew Hussey has an amazing video coaching series that I’ve watched start to finish. All I can say is, I wish I’d had it when I was single. It would have saved me a lot of time crying in my pillow. 


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