10 Signs Co-Workers Are Attracted To Each Other

Updated April 6, 2024by Regain Editorial Team

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, extended exposure to someone can increase our attraction to them.

The workplace can act as an ideal pre-screener, likely to throw us together with others in our age group, those with similar socioeconomic and educational backgrounds, and those with similar sets of values and aspirations. The attraction between co-workers is almost inevitable, and workplace romance is quite possible. If you make an effort to read the signs that a co-worker may be experiencing attraction, it can be quite obvious.

At work, there are countless opportunities for friendships and relationships to develop. As teams collaborate in the workplace, there will likely be colleagues with complementary skills and interests, and this may engender an . Many companies will experience their employees 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 co-worker is attracted to you. Either way, here are some signs a co-worker is feeling attraction toward a fellow employee. If you read the signs and get mostly positives, there may be feelings afoot.

Signs of attraction can be subtle—learn to read them

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 all around the world. 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 co-worker may like you! Not only that, but conversational ease and comfort communicating can translate to sexual chemistry!

They go to lunch

All The Time. Sure, they could be friends and like to go out to lunch occasionally. But if you catch two co-workers going out regularly, be it through direct witness or social media, there’s a possibility there’s something more going on. And if a meeting happens to put a damper on their lunchtime together, you may notice that one or the other will deliver lunch to their co-worker. Co-workers dating in secret will often use lunch as an excuse to hang out.

They bring each other coffee

Or it might be tea, a bagel, or a slice of homemade cake or pie—anything intentionally given from one to the 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, there is a chance that mutual attraction is happening between two of your co-workers.

They smile at each other in meetings

This is a sure giveaway when it comes to co-workers being attracted to each other. It happens all the time in meetings —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 like they’re not even paying attention, and they probably aren’t; yep, you can bet they might be attracted to each other. 

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 may be interpreted as signs your co-workers are experiencing sexual tension.

  • They smile at each other when they talk.

  • They’re facing one another (this is a physical reaction of the subconscious).

  • They’re leaning toward each other.

  • They laugh.

  • They give a gentle, innocent touch on the arm (sometimes with a laugh).

  • LOTS of eye contact passes between them!

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. It may be no coincidence that they happen to enter and exit the building day after day. There could well be an attraction on some level occurring.


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. It might be that they're attracted to one another, and this is one way to express it. If your co-worker crush teases you, that may mean they are attracted to you!

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 there may be a glance here and there toward the co-worker of attraction. If there is incessant eye contact, there may be some attraction going on!

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 may be 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, giving them plenty of time to develop jokes that only they understand. Inside jokes are signs a co-worker may be attracted to another.

It’s obvious 

Sometimes you just have a gut feeling that your two co-workers are 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, attraction happening in the workplace.

Being 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. Any signs you are seeing between your co-workers are quite possibly right on the nose.

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. Dating others at your workplace can get complicated!

Tips for navigating workplace attraction

Signs of attraction can be subtle—learn to read them

1. Be wary of how you conduct yourself in what you do and say at work. Some 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 attracted to your co-workers.

2. Try not to put yourself in circumstances where you work personally with a co-worker you are attracted to. It might mean requesting 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 with that co-worker too much, spending too much non-work-related time with that co-worker while 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 may be a bad idea to have a sexual relationship with a co-worker 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. Dating a co-worker may compromise the workplace. Part of why it is important to recognize signs a co-worker is experiencing attraction to another is that it prepares you to confront the potential complications.

Discuss a strategy for maintaining professional relationships in online therapy

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 work with you. With Regain, you can speak with a therapist 24/7. With chat, text, phone, and video chat options, you can speak with a therapist in a way that is most convenient for you.

Whether you're dealing with work-related issues or a mental health disorder, online therapy can be an effective way to manage your feelings and get on track.  Many people (whether individuals or those in a relationship) have found online therapy just as effective as in-person therapy, if not more so.

You can contact Regain by clicking here.

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