The fact that Americans spend, on average, more than 40 hours a week at the workplace makes it a fertile ground for co-worker attraction. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, full-time employees worked an average of 8.5 hours per day in 2018. The more time we spend together, the greater the chance that attraction between two people will evolve. In fact, the mere extended exposure to someone can increase our attraction to them. Add to that the mix that the workplace is an ideal pre-screener, likely to throw us together with others in our age group, having similar socioeconomic and educational backgrounds, similar sets of values, and similar aspirations, and the attraction between co-workers is almost inevitable, and workplace romance is quite possible. If you make an effort to read the signs a coworker is experiencing attraction, it can be quite obvious.
It also offers countless opportunities for working friendships and relationships to develop. As teams collaborate in the workforce, there will likely be colleagues with complementary skills and interests and an attractive member of the opposite sex. Many companies will experience women and men dating each other after meeting at work!
Here’s a familiar scenario: you notice a pair of co-workers are acting a bit different, but you can’t put your finger on it. They’re always around each other; they laugh, joke, and always seem to be making eye contact. Are they just good friends and like to hang out with each other, or is there an unspoken attraction between them? Or, maybe you’re looking for signs your coworker is sexually attracted to you. Either way, here are some clear signs a co-worker is feeling sexual attraction toward another. If you read the signs and get mostly positives, there are likely feelings afoot.
10 Obvious Signs Co-workers Are Sexually Attracted to Each Other
1. They’re Always Talking To Each Other. We’re not talking about the day-to-day work-related conversations and discussions that take place in workplaces around America. Meetings, visits to a co-worker’s cubicle or office to ask questions, and phone calls are inevitable and necessary for a company to operate and thrive. They are not out of the usual, let alone a big deal. We’re talking about co-workers who are seemingly always talking to each other and talking to each other more than they do with other co-workers. If you were to listen to their conversations, chances are you’d realize they’re probably not talking much about work. Constantly making small talk can send a big message, and frequent, small conversations are signs a coworker may like you! Not only that, but conversational ease and comfort communicating can translate to sexual chemistry!
2. They Go To Lunch. All The Time. Sure, they could be friends and like to go out to lunch once in a while. But if you catch two co-workers going out regularly, be it through direct witness or social media, there’s a good chance there’s something more going on. And if a meeting happens to put a damper on their lunchtime together, you can be assured that one or the other will deliver lunch to their co-worker. Signs of frequent eating can be signs of perceived sexual chemistry among coworkers, and women and men dating in secret will often use lunch as an excuse to hang out.
3. They Bring Each Other Coffee. Or it can be tea, a bagel, and a slice of homemade cake or pie-something intentionally given to each other. The key here is that no one else in the department is getting the same treatment. Yes, maybe a special treat is in order once in a while for the admin who’s been with the company for 15 years or even the boss, but this scenario is dedicated to that special co-worker. So if you periodically find a cup of Joe from the local coffee shop or a club sandwich from the best deli in town laying on the desk next to you, chances are there’s a mutual feeling of attraction happening between those two co-workers.
4. They Smile At Each Other In Meetings. This is a sure giveaway when it comes to co-workers being sexually attracted to each other. It happens all the time in meetings across corporate America-you catch your co-workers who are sitting on opposite sides of the conference table smiling at each other here and there, despite trying to avoid eye contact while your boss is presenting the latest quarterly update. It almost appears they’re not even paying attention, and they probably aren’t; yep, you can bet they’re sexually attracted to each other. Smiles are signs a coworker may like you…
5. Body Language Gives It Away. Look at their body language, whether in the break room or the hallway. We don’t have control of our unconscious body signals. That’s a fact. Here are a handful of body language clues that will be interpreted as signs your coworkers are experiencing sexual tension.
6. They Arrive At Work – And Leave Work – Together. If you find your co-workers’ schedules suddenly lining up with each other and you see them arriving at work and leaving together, it may be more than just a straightforward carpool arrangement. There’s no coincidence that they happen to enter and exit the building day after day. There’s an attraction on some level occurring.
7. They Tease Each Other. This is very different from the obnoxious co-worker who can’t seem to find their verbal filter. This is a mutual teasing with one another, in which both seem to feel comfortable. Teasing about the upcoming fantasy football league and who’s going to win, teasing about a social media post, teasing about how many sugars they put in their coffee (the same coffee that is faithfully delivered every day to their cubicle), or teasing about their expensive taste for caviar. It’s all done in a fun and good nature. They’re sexually attracted to one another, and this is one way to express it. If your crush teases you, it’s a good sign!
8. They Look At Each Other – A Lot. Whether at the 10:00 meeting, “accidentally” bumping into each other multiple times a day in the hallway or break room, or across the room at the monthly gathering for the employee of the month award ceremony, they’re looking at each other. Even if they’re in conversation with someone else, be assured that a glance here and there toward the co-worker of attraction is inevitable. Also, remember- if there is incessant eye contact, it’s almost a guarantee!
9. They Have Inside Jokes. You notice minutes before a meeting starts that your co-workers start laughing at jokes that don’t seem funny to you. But they’re laughing so hard they can hardly breathe. Don’t worry, it’s not you, and they probably aren’t trying to make you feel uncomfortable. They’re the only ones privy to the joke, and that’s yet another good sign that there is an attraction between them. Let’s face it; they spend a lot of time together, whether at lunch, in the break room, in meetings, and maybe outside of work, and plenty of time to develop jokes that only they understand. Inside jokes are signs a coworker is attracted to another.
10. It’s Obvious. Sometimes you just have a gut feeling that your two workers are sexually attracted to each other. You’re looking at them talking and laughing down the hallway, and you know. Whether they’ve exhibited a handful of items on this list or you can’t help but put two and two together, you know without a doubt that there is, on some level, sexual attraction happening in the workplace. Some people are more private with their feelings of attraction toward another co-worker, while others are, well, obvious about it. Being sexually attracted to a co-worker is, for the most part, safe and harmless. But when it turns into something more, like a relationship, it could cause unforeseen problems. Relationships within the workplace are more common than you might think. Studies show that 58% of employees have engaged in a romantic relationship with a colleague, and a surprising 72% of those over 50 years old have been romantically involved with a co-worker. With this in mind, those signs a coworker likes another that you are seeing are likely correct.
Sometimes being involved romantically with a co-worker can create complications when it comes to your career. For example, if your colleague is promoted to a supervisory position or is already a supervisor and is transferred to your department, it can be construed by the Human Resources department as a conflict of interest. It’s important to use vigilance to avoid breaking company policy or destroying your reputation, including your professional relationships. If you are aware and have guidelines and boundaries, it could help you feel that you are becoming sexually attracted to a co-worker that might not be proper to have sexual connections with if it evolved to that level. Women and men dating people they know from the workplace get complicated!
So, if you feel that the mutual attraction with your co-worker can turn into something romantic, take note of these cautionary tips to protect yourself and your co-worker:
Some Cautious Tips:
1. Be wary of how you conduct yourself, your actions, and your comments. Other people are innately friendly and carefree, which may be misinterpreted as flirtatious behavior. It’s better to be conservative and always behave professionally with co-workers and management so that you do not send confusing or unintentional signals. It can be messy if you give people reason to believe that you are sexually attracted to your coworkers.
2. Try not to put yourself in circumstances where you work personally with a co-worker you are sexually attracted to. It might mean you need to request a transfer to another project, bringing in a third person to work on the project with you, or asking your supervisor for someone to go on a business trip in your place.
3. Refrain from allowing yourself to be preoccupied with thoughts of your co-worker. The same goes for talking too much, spending too much non-work-related time on the clock, and focusing more on your co-worker than on the meeting at hand. While these all may not look harmful, they can disrupt you from your assigned tasks and can even place your job at risk. If they are also attracted to you, it’s even more important. If you are experiencing these things, then it’s time to slow things down a bit!
4. Know that it is probably a bad idea to have a sexual relationship with a coworker at the end of the day. Tempting as it may be, you must remember- you’re at work, and the workplace requires professionalism at all times. Even if you think you might have good sexual chemistry with your co-worker, a sexual escapade at work is likely to make things more complicated and develop into a sexual relationship! Women and men dating people from work tend to compromise the workplace. Part of why it is important to recognize signs a coworker is experiencing attraction to another is that it prepares you to confront the potential complications.
Whether you have questions about co-worker dynamics, sexual chemistry, relationships, balancing your work and love life, or anything else, ReGain is always available to those in need of help. Know that you are not alone and that we at ReGain are here to help you work through it. With ReGain, you can speak with a therapist 24/7, seven days a week. With chat, text, phone, and video chat options, you can speak with a therapist in a way that is most convenient for you.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
We spend so much time in the workplace, and it’s common to have a presence of attraction at work. There are ways to tell if a coworker is attracted to you. If they find ways to talk to you or you find them looking at you a lot, it could be a very good sign that they’re interested in you. More obvious signs will be if they help you with things that won’t benefit them, bring you coffee, or ask you to lunch. If a coworker asks you to hang out outside of the workplace, it’s a pretty sure sign they want you.
Coworkers share common interests and common struggles since they spend so much time in the same place with the same people. It is easy for emotional bonds to be created among colleagues. Maybe you want to vent about your boss, and a coworker understands completely. Workplace romances are quite frequent. If you find you’re attracted to a coworker, be sure not to cross any lines or break any workplace rules. If you find yourself flirting with a colleague, make sure the attraction is mutual and don’t go too far. Sexual harassment is never ok.
Not everyone displays affection the same way, but there are definitely ways to tell if a male coworker is interested in you romantically. He may make eye contact often, find reasons to touch you, flirt with you, or asks you to have lunch. He may find reasons to be around you or sit next to you in meetings.
Sometimes it may be hard to tell if a coworker likes you romantically or wants to be friendly. If someone is nice to you or smiles at you, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are interested. If they mention a significant other ever, they may just be being friendly with you. Body language here is key. If they find reasons to be close to you, they may be looking for something more. If they always find reasons to contact you, they may be trying to open the door to romance.
It may be harder to tell if a female coworker is flirting. Women tend to be subtler in their flirting styles, but still, that’s not always the case. If a woman always seeks out your assistance and finds reasons to be around, it’s a good chance she’s interested. She may smile at you often or find ways to touch you more than once discretely.
Oftentimes, workplace romances are taboo, or your company may even have a no fraternizing policy. In this case, someone may be trying to hide the fact that they are interested in you. They may also fear rejection or scared to get involved with someone in the workplace. There are subtle signs a person may be secretly interested in you. Maybe they are constantly trying to find ways to be around you or contact you. Maybe you find them looking at you often, or they tease you. If they go out of their way to help you or become more interested in your personal life, they may secretly like you.
You may be wondering if an older guy at work is interested in you. He’s from a different generation, so his flirting style may not be what you’re used to. Older guys tend not to play games like their younger counterparts and are not as sexually motivated. He may talk to you on a more emotional level. Possibly he will seem protective over you, or maybe he will directly ask you to dinner or say, “I like you.”
A study suggests 57% of men have fantasized about a coworker. Men are visual beings, and if they find a coworker attractive, it is normal for them to fantasize. We spend so much time in the workplace that a guy would be spending a lot of time around a particular woman; he’d likely have a fantasy. Sometimes the grass seems greener on the other side, so it is natural for us to wonder what a new experience with someone new would be like. Work can get mundane, so the fantasy of a workplace romance or a little flirting could keep things exciting.