How to Overcome Attraction at the Workplace

Overcoming attraction is difficult, but is likely worth the effort.
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The day your company hired the dreamy new web developer was one of the best -- and worst -- days of your life. Since you are committed to your career, you know that acting on your attraction will likely be problematic, but that doesn't take away from the fact that he looks exceptionally cute when he walks in the door, hair tousled, sipping a latte. You're right to resist your feelings, as workplace romances often result in worse fallout than romances in other spheres of life.

    Step 1

    Think about a painful relationship you've had in the past that failed. Get a clear picture of your previous partner in your mind. Every time you see the person you are attracted to at work, mentally replace his image with that of your ex. Now, imagine what it would feel like to go to work every day and see your ex. Since it is unlikely that a relationship with your colleague will result in marriage, it is almost a certainty that you will be facing a break-up later on down the road if you pursue the object of your affections. Beware.

    Step 2

    Check your employee handbook. Although fewer than 20 percent of employers have policies addressing workplace romance, some do, with consequences for breaking the policy, including termination. If you're a supervisor and the object of your attraction is lower than you on the corporate totem pole, you have even more reason for concern. Having a dalliance with a subordinate can open you up to charges of sexual harassment and favoritism, a libido-dampening scenario at best.

    Step 3

    Focus on your career goals. A romantic relationship gone awry can derail your career in a significant way, as your work performance may suffer in the aftermath of a failed relationship, and you may even feel compelled to look for another position. Remind yourself that attraction is nothing more than a feeling, and that you don't have to act on everything you feel.

    Step 4

    Redirect your thoughts. Whenever your thoughts start to drift towards the sexy stubble on his chin, stop. Personal growth author Steve Pavlina recommends using visualization to stop unwelcome thoughts in their tracks. Whenever you find yourself imagining the two of you strolling hand in hand down the boulevard, visualize doing so as your coworkers surround you and point and whisper -- which is what they'll likely be doing behind your back should you engage in an affair.


    • Enjoy your interactions with the person you are drawn to -- it may be an energized and productive working relationship as long as you don't act on your feelings.


    • If you're already in a committed relationship, keep in mind that acting on your attraction may have a negative impact on two important parts of your life -- home and work.

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