OFFICE ROMANCES

 

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Office romance is as old as love itself. Its been brewed and given breathe in the high walls of office set ups and graced by likely and unlikely characters masquerading in formal dressing codes since way back. You’ll be shocked or rather amazed depending on which side of the conversation you sit, by the statistics of office coupling. A sizeable number of the workforce have at least on one occasion or another, succumbed to close office relations courtesy of the attraction magnetic pull triggered by long working hours. All be it for quenching lust or seeking genuine love, many get trapped by the blurred web of office affairs.

The interesting bit is, many employees find it annoying, naive and selfish to engage in office relations in as much as they’ve been in them too at some point in their careers. And, did you know women receive more shade than men when they fall prey to office romances. In fact, when women are perceived to be having a thing going on with their senior colleagues or immediate bosses its interpreted to as, a game of coercion for promotion in exchange of sexual favours in as much as, perhaps the woman didn’t make the first move.

But what makes staff vulnerable to these kind of relationships? You know, the more time people spend together, the more they become familiar with one another. The more familiarity grows the more comfortable they become with each other. The more comfortable two people are with one another, the higher the chances of them sharing about personal stuff. The more they share the more subconsciously they view themselves as a couple. While this unfolds the higher the chances colleagues will notice the chemistry in their friendship and start teasing them about it. Do you know so many relationships are cemented by the outside world in this context being office colleagues who start perceiving an office friendship as not just a platonic one!

Interestingly, 90% of office relationships are merely short term in nature. Very few pass the litmus test of leading to something tangible and worth writing home about. Short term meaning they span for less than a year but seemingly one year shelf life out ways many relationships in the outside world. Anyway, where were we; some office relationships die before they start or prior to making the first baby steps. Some vanish in the air before they get noticed by anybody. This is because they are built on sand and in haste. They are moulded by environmental factors and are circumstantial in nature. Meaning, the bigger chunk of the conversations around you two are basically about workplace stuff. Be it about your damn boss, office gossip and so forth. Such a relationship is not sustainable. Few have common values and shared interests outside of the office hence why they are chocked by nature. They say nature has humour.

Office relationships are annoying in the sense that, the consequences of the affair failing are dire. This is because colleagues get attracted by such pep talks doing round in the office corridors. And it’s never funny. They will dig in, gossips will crop up and allegations will be retold over and over again. If you are not careful, the information may even reach to your boss’s desk in very bad state and this may have a negative effect on your career. More harrowing, it might be against your company policy to engage in office relationships. Pleading that you were unaware will not save you but land you at the HR’s office only to be met with a gross misconduct warning letter if lucky not to be issued with a summary dismissal.

The most annoying thing with office relationships is that one tends to be chocked off by the partner. You see, you literally spend 40-45 hours in a week with him/her without even counting hours after you leave office. By the time you reach home there is nothing much to talk about since you’ve been bumping on each other on office corridors and worse still if you work in the same department, you might as well be summoned with the rest of your teammates by your immediate bosses for missing company targets or for poor performance. Moreover, you never can’t have your personal life and space since your spouse is always around you any day and time. And if he or she spots you being hugged ‘intimately’ by a colleague from the opposite gender, your guess is as good as mine how your evening will turn out to be like.

Office relations get over scrutinized by colleagues. Essentially, the pressure becomes too much and there tends to be a lot of public relations to be played especially when things aren’t working out well for both of you. Be it as it may, whether it’s a fling affair or a serious office relationship, a break up from this nature can be the worst of all nightmares you’ve ever grappled with. First of all, there is nothing like amicable breakups in office set ups. You recall my article on Amicable Breakups or Not. Well, it gets uglier by the day, nastier and leaves you dreadful. Office breakups leave you with a permanent punch on your face. They have the potential of making you lose your job or have a serious career take a beating and worst of all, get you paraded in court for allegations of sexual harassment. Before you hop in office affairs, appreciate that office romances and sexual harassment are intertwined and either of it can be used against you in a matter of time.

Plus, who is ready to work with his or her ex in the same office? On my previous post on Amicable Breaksups we delved deeply on the importance of cutting off exes from our lives. Now imagine, your ex being your colleague? Think of the emotional baggage that comes with breakups and ponder dropping at your ex’s desk to work on a particular task together that has a biting deadline. How awkward can that be! What’s more humiliating is helplessly watching your ex warm up to another relationship with another office colleague. Moreover, nature compels your office colleagues to take sides between you two depending on how loyal they are to each one of you. Eventually, such a workplace becomes a stress zone to work from. The thing is, we’ve got to be strategic and think straight with the right ‘head’ before jumping in to every relationship that presents itself right at our noses. We’ve got to think of the repercussions of the potential end even before we toy with the start.

Nevertheless, we all know of couples who’ve dated, gotten married and raised children still working in the same organizations. The thing is, its not a crime to harbor feelings for an office colleague as long as you do it with the right intent and having trusted your intuition. Life should be approached with an open mind and so should it also apply in an office set up. It’s highly important and healthy to make friends, network with colleagues and fuse into the array of office characters. However, boundaries must be set as the odds are clearly overwhelming.

 

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BFFs

Cross-sex friendships are based on attraction and quest for chemistry. A number of them survive devoid of lust but only for a limited period of time before one party develops a crush on the other. World over, the best selling romantic novels and movie series are based on long-time best friends falling in love. Platonic friendships are based on exuding a mutual connection without worrying of judgments, however, they travel along a very slippery path that could beat the whole purpose of the relationship. So, are platonic friendships sustainable in the long run? Do you have a friend of the opposite sex who portends a harmless and too-caring demeanor?

Would you allow your girlfriend or wife and vice versa to have an all-time best friend from the other gender? And the role of a best friend would include advising and acting as a trustee and confidant to your significant other. He or she would be narrated all your weaknesses and advise your partner accordingly on how he or she would react, including having the rights to lend a shoulder to lean on when your relationship hits a snag. In other words, you’d be reported to him or her whenever you disappoint. He or she will also tend to grasp so much of your spouse’s secrets than you’ll ever know. If that’s the case, how far should best friends go and where should you draw the line?

Something is for a fact though – Relationships that rely on third parties to iron out their issues run into a lot of troubles and vulnerabilities. As a matter of fact, couples that engage in infidelity have best friends being their first line of target. Bffs offer the very first grounds for luring couples into cheating if not putting the relationship into jeopardy. And it starts with emotional cheating before progressing to the physical one. Speaking of which, who provides the best fodder and fertile land to cheat on, than a bff who is more than ready and available to suck up all your emotional baggage? That’s where the chicken come home to roost, warming up to his/her emotional attachment which includes subtle flirting.

When you get into a long-term relationship that is likely to lead to marriage, the first agenda should be to identify all his/her bffs and run through their specific roles. Get to know the unique purpose they play and this vacuum they tend to fill. Of course, this should be done at the courtship stage in a very diplomatic way that requires a lot of delicate balancing.  The thing is, you must reign on bffs from the opposite sex no matter how good they are or assumed to be before they reign on you. It’s a question of who brinks fast and whose interests are being served. If it’s to secure your territory in the long run, it will so much depend on how you relate to your partner’s bff on the onset. If they imagine they are unchallenged or it’s business as usual, then they will gradually amass enough guts to even casually tease around your man/woman in your vicinity. You and I know too well where this can lead to. If you make your bed, so must you lie on it.

So, how do bffs come about? How do we find ourselves in these circumstances?

In my opinion, there are four avenues that provide the necessary ingredients and breeding ground for bffs to germinate, prosper and eventually shadow your introspection.

Way-back EXs

An Ex is a dangerous card if shuffled around. They are hazardous and infect like plagues hence why by all means possible, they should be completely shut off from one’s life. If that’s not the case, they have a way of making very calculated risks and scoring long balls from half the pitch. If given a chance, they have a way of warming up to bffs where they will camp for a while as they gather sufficient intelligence and devising ways to disarm and arm-twist you and finally recharge when you least expect.

Friendzone

Friendzone is a situationship where potential boyfriends/girlfriends are sort of locked in for god-knows how long. These are friends who, unfortunately, are not very appealing to being somebody’s partner even when they show the interest and flair of it hence given a soft landing so to speak, in the friend zone arena. There’s usually one or two traits about them that rather doesn’t convince or encourage you to jump into dating them. It could be that they neither have that charm and the wow-factor nor a substantial level of fire that is required for the relationship to bear legs. But they are good keeps for friends though. They end up being very entertaining friends, loyal and dependable since they are always ready to please you.

Familiarity

Familiarity is slightly different from being friendzoned in the following aspect – The person in this context could possess all the qualities of a person you could date but your connection tends to go overboard to an extent both of you develop a sibling-like kind of attachment. If it’s the dude, he sort of fails to give the aroma that comes with dating and you end up becoming too close at the wrong stage of the friendship. Or the person becomes too nice, too genuine and too available. Sometimes that alone holds back someone’s feelings. You see, to be attracted to someone, there should be that element of working hard to clinch it. When the person is too available, too willing to bend over to your terms and too submissive, it kills the magical oomph that is cognisant to keeping the two hearts dazzling and synchronized. Eventually, one can be friendzoned.  You could think of a deskmate or classmate or a girl/boy next door relationship.

Family friends

Any typical family has a tradition of cultivating and maintaining a special relationship with another family sharing the same values.  It happens that under these occasional encounters, children belonging to these two families are compelled to be friends, right from childhood all the way to adulthood and observe the requisite level of diplomacy to their counterparts. Normally, these friendships may lead to lifetime friends if not marriage. These kind of relationships are clouded by a lot of commonalities and history hence forming an ideal basis for bff friendships to blossom.

Couples should be very careful about how they navigate the whole idea of engaging third parties in their marriages/relationships to administer solutions to their marital flaws. The more one engages third parties the more they become vulnerable to infidelity. You see, cheating is cancerous and breeds very aggressively the moment third parties, especially from the opposite gender, get privy to privileged information about the struggles of a so-called best friend in a committed relationship.

More often than not, bff friendships that work around underneath marriage and stable relationship establishments, have a way of draining the enthusiasm and energy from the primary relationship hence deflating these solid relationships to empty shells that risk capsizing.

 

 

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