We all have that hot coworker we can’t help but make googley eyes at. But flirting at work can’t cross a line or trouble will be sure to follow.
There’s definitely an invisible line that comes into play when you’re flirting at work. Sure, you can have fun and compliment that hottie in the cubicle next to you, but if you cross that line, it’s very hard to come back from. Not to mention how much trouble you can get into if you’re in a relationship.
You have to be careful when you start getting flirty with someone at work. You never want to make yourself seem unprofessional or give someone the wrong idea. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun here and there. If you know how to keep it innocent, you’ll be just fine.
Crossing the line while flirting at work can be dangerous for your career, too
It’s not just about getting in trouble with your significant other if you flirt with someone else while at work, it’s also about putting your career on the line. Think about it. Nobody really wants to work with someone who can’t keep things professional.
When you’re known as the “office slut” because you can’t seem to stop flirting with everyone, you won’t be promoted as easily and your career can suffer from it. You also never want to be known in that way in the first place. [Read: 10 big dos and dont’s for dating a coworker]
Flirting at work the innocent and trouble-free way
All of that being said, you can still get flirty at work on occasion. You just have to know how to keep it innocent and when it’s okay to do it. Here’s how you can continue flirting at work without ruining your job or relationship.
#1 Make it a joke. Instead of making your flirty comments serious and extremely flirty, say them more as a joke. You know how you used to poke fun at a kid you liked when you were little? The same type of flirting can be workplace appropriate.
Saying something funny like, “Running a little late because you needed extra time on that hair? It was worth it,” can be very funny and also complimentary and flirty. So long as it’s said jokingly and in a way that you’re making fun of them, it’s okay. [Read: How to be funny and make people love your company]
#2 Keep it appropriate. You know what I mean. If you want to keep flirting at work, you have to keep things innocent. No sex comments and no comments that are inappropriate in nature at all. If anything has to do with their body or any reference to sexual things, you’ve crossed a line.
Things of sexual nature can’t really be taken as innocent. Once you get someone thinking of you in that context, it’s usually impossible to make them stop. So avoid sexual comments altogether.
#3 No touching. Most companies have policies against any touching past a handshake, but just for clarity, don’t do it. You can definitely give someone a pat on the shoulder, but that’s really as far as you can take it.
#4 If you would get upset with your partner for doing the same, stop. The double standard is real in this case. If you know you’d be upset if your partner did the same, it’s crossing a line you can’t come back from. The same applies for if you’re single but the other person isn’t.
Would you feel comfortable with someone else doing those same things to your partner while at work? If the answer is no, then you shouldn’t be doing it either.
#5 Never act on any flirtatious comments. Flirting at work can be completely innocent if work is the only place you ever flirt with that person. When you keep it confined to work, it becomes less of a flirtatious thing and more of a work-friend thing.
That being said, you should never, ever act on any comments you make. If you say anything about taking a person downtown and showing them a good time, don’t actually do that. Make the comment but also make it clear that you’re not serious about it. [Read: Is flirting cheating when you’re in a relationship?]
#6 Don’t do it at any work functions where alcohol is involved. This is a HUGE no-no but it seems to be the place everyone gets flirty – and then regrets it. When you have a work party or function of some sort and alcohol is involved, you can’t flirt.
Your inhibitions get lowered and you don’t think clearly. And that means you could end up taking the flirting a little too far and ruining things at work for good.
#7 Compliment something obvious. If you want to be flirty by complimenting them, then make it obvious. If they get a haircut, you can definitely tell them how great they look while smiling at them suggestively, but leave it at that.
#8 Gauge their response. If you can tell that someone is taking your flirtatious comments a little too seriously, then lay off. You never want to lead someone on and then disappoint them with a denial when they ask you out.
This will make your work relationship with them very uncomfortable and you’ll have no one to blame but yourself. So make sure you’re paying attention to how someone is responding to your flirting. When they show signs of interest, stop it completely.
#9 Give them a playful wink. The best way flirting at work can be kept innocent is if you give a few playful winks here and there. This opens the door to flirting, but it also doesn’t cross a line.
A great way to do this is by giving someone a compliment followed by a small wink and a smile. This will get those flirty wheels turning in their head without making them think you want to hop into bed with them. [Read: How to wink like a total tease and catch anyone’s eye]
#10 If you feel awkward, the line has been crossed. This should be obvious. If you feel weird about a flirty comment you made, it was too much. You shouldn’t feel uncomfortable while flirting with people who aren’t your significant other.
If you do, it means that your comments aren’t all that innocent. To avoid this, follow the above advice and don’t take it that far. If you’ve already done this, stop the flirting and try to pretend like it never happened in the first place.