Coworker Crush: Why We Fall for Colleagues & How to Pursue It or Drop It

We develop crushes all the time. Sometimes, they’re on the people we work with. Learn how to deal with a crush on a coworker so you can do the right thing.

crush on a coworker

If you’re here, it’s likely that you have a crush on a coworker. And we truly sympathize – that’s never an easy situation.

One day, you were enjoying a nice chat with a coworker over lunch. But now, you have this weird feeling when they walk past you and your cheeks burn bright red.

What started out as admiration for a coworker has now turned into a full-blown crush!

And now you can’t eat, can’t sleep, and worst of all, you can’t focus on your work. All because you’re too busy thinking of or looking at the coworker you have a crush on.

With all of those feelings flying around, it can be hard to know what to do. But thankfully, we have everything you need to know about having a crush on a coworker and what you should do so that you keep your job, potentially make a new love connection, or at the very least avoid embarrassing yourself.

Why do people develop crushes on their coworkers?

Having a crush on a coworker is widely considered a big no-no in the workplace. Many people believe that workplace relationships aren’t professional and just serve as distractions both for the couple and for all the other coworkers who are interested in a bit of gossip.

But, how could you not develop a crush on somebody you work with? You see them literally more often than you see your family or partner.

So, when you group people up for such a lengthy period of time, eventually feelings are going to blossom for someone.

How often does having a crush on a coworker happen?

Pick any random office. We guarantee that at least one person in that office has a crush on a coworker. That’s how common they are!

Again, when you spend so much time with your coworkers, it makes sense that eventually you get a little bit too close with one of them.

In fact, a survey done in 2018 revealed that approximately 36% of people have dated a coworker! With a number that high, you likely have either dated a coworker or known someone who has dated a coworker.

With them being so common, it also means that they’re totally normal. You’re not a bad person, or a bad worker, for developing feelings for a coworker.

The chances are that you’re not the first person in the office to catch feelings, and you likely won’t be the last.

Are workplace crushes good or bad?

In general, having a crush on a coworker isn’t a bad thing. As we’ve covered, they’re completely normal.

However, in your specific situation, it can be hard to tell whether crushing on your coworker is something that should be celebrated or dreaded.

There are many factors in a workplace crush that go into whether it’s a good idea or a bad one. [Read: Sex with coworkers – The good & bad of hooking up in the workplace]

Here are some of the pros and cons of having a crush on a coworker:

Pro – You get to see them all the time

Sometimes, the 40-hour workweek can feel like a chore. But, when you have a crush on a coworker, suddenly it doesn’t feel so bad. Actually, it’s kind of nice having an excuse to see your crush every day.

Con – You have to see them all the time

We all know how exciting it is to first start developing a crush on someone. Butterflies erupt in your stomach when you see them, and talking to them makes you feel flustered. No matter how old we are, crushes remain an exciting part of life.

But when a crush goes on for too long, it becomes one of the worst experiences. You can feel sad because they don’t like you back, jealous because they’re talking to other people, or flat-out obsessive over what they’re doing 24/7.

None of those feelings are pleasant, so having to see your coworker every single day, especially when you’re trying to get over your crush on them, can be excruciating.

Pro- It’s an easy way to figure them out

With all of that time you have to spend with each other, you end up getting to know your coworkers quite well. If you approach an attractive stranger at a bar, it can be quite hard to get to know them.

However, at the workplace, it’s much easier to find out anything and everything about your crush… and just how compatible you two are!

Not only that, but you likely share something in common with your coworkers, so you can use that to get to know them closer.

Cons – There’s a lot on the line

It’s true that sometimes, crushes can develop into love. And we never know which crushes will turn into lasting love and which ones will fizzle out. What if the person sitting at the desk opposite you turns out to be your soulmate?

Or what if they’re just a passing fling? Is it worth risking your career for?

Pro – Flirting 24/7

We keep cycling back to the 40-hour work week, but it really is a key part of your crush! With all of that time you have to spend with your crush, you have so much time to turn up your flirting game! [Read: Subtle ways to flirt with your coworker & see if they like you]

Just think, everyone who has a crush on someone or is dating someone has to wait until after work to flirt with their beau. But now you, you have all day to schmooze your crush!

Con – You have to hear about their love life

There’s never a guarantee that a crush will be requited. In fact, it seems like a lot of crushes end up unrequited. If you find yourself in that boat, and you work with your crush, then you might have to hear them talk about their love life to either you or your other co-workers.

And that’s going to sting.

How to deal with having a crush on a coworker

The important thing is how you’re going to act on it. Are you going to try to make a move on them? Or are you going to keep this your dirty little secret? [Read: Workplace romance? 15 ways to tell if your coworker likes you back]

It’s exciting to pursue an office romance, or just enjoy the little crush while it lasts. But more often than not, office crushes bring with them the unwanted side effects of office gossip, low work productivity, and worst of all, if things don’t go well, an unbearable working atmosphere.

So you really have a lot that you need to do before you decide whether you pursue this crush or let it go. [ How to know if you have a real crush on a workplace colleague]

1. Figure out why you have a crush on them

You need to figure out why you like them. If you’re just bored with your life right now and find this to be the thing that spices it up, then you probably shouldn’t take this crush any further.

It’s not worth jeopardizing your career, your work environment, or even your friendship with your coworkers unless it’s really worth it. Fabricating excitement just to break up the boredom is not worth it.

2. Check the company policy

Some companies are really strict about not letting coworkers date, while others are laxer on the idea. Before you decide to pursue this crush on a coworker or leave it in the dirt, find out if you even are allowed to take this crush further.

It’s not great when company rules come in between love, but it’s also not great when a meaningless crush comes in between a potentially successful career.

3. If you choose to go against the rules, know the risks

So you found out that your company is very strict against workplace dating, and yet you want to pursue it anyway. Well, although we don’t encourage this, if this is the path you want to go down, then you’ll have to proceed carefully.

Don’t hardcore flirt with your crush at work, don’t ask them out during working hours, and if this crush does develop into a relationship, don’t act all loved-up at work.

If another coworker clocks on to what’s going on, or your boss notices that your relationship might be too romantic, then you could lose your job.

Just be aware that there are huge risks to what you’re doing.

4. If coworker relationships are allowed, be cool and respectful

It’s great that you work in a place that allows relationships! But still, it doesn’t mean you can act like you would when you’re in private.

If you start a relationship with a coworker, keep the PDA to an absolute minimum, save your arguments for outside of the office, and even before the relationship even starts, keep your flirtatious advances subtle.

If you’re hitting on your crush hard, or you’re making out with them by the printer, you’re going to make everyone else in that office insanely uncomfortable. Just keep your cool and approach your crush like you would any other coworker.

The flirtation can be turned up a notch over dinner or drinks after work.

5. Stop talking about it with coworkers

If we know anything, it’s that gossip spreads like wildfire around the office. So, if you’re talking to some people about your crush on a coworker, you can bet your life that everyone else is going to find out about it.

After all, work is boring, so this is some entertainment for everyone to sit and watch while they’re counting the hours until they can go home.

But this also means that there’s a higher chance of your boss finding out as well, and they might not be impressed. [Read: Quick ways to find out if your crush isn’t into you]

6. Take it outside

Whether that’s talking about your crush, flirting with your crush, or asking them out on a date – do it all outside of the office. Work is for, well, work. The office is not a playground for you to explore your love life. Remain professional and keep matters of the heart for out-of-office hours.

If you want to gush about your crush to a friend, don’t choose a friend who happens to be a coworker who happens to be busy with work. Or if you want to ask your crush on a date, maybe do it after work.

If you don’t have an opportunity to talk to them after work, then quickly suggest the idea at work and agree to make further plans when you leave work.

7. Know where you want this crush to go

If you’re debating about whether or not you should make a move on your crush, you have to look at what you’re risking.

It’s not impossible for you to find your life partner in the workplace. But it’s also not guaranteed. [Read: 23 tips to date a coworker & handle a breakup if the relationship ends]

What you need to do is evaluate if this is going to be a real thing or just a one-night stand type of deal. Because if you’re going to be putting your job on the line, it better be worth something.

8. If they’re into it, go for it!

Seriously, what have you got to lose? Love is never easy, and love is never without risks. So just bite the bullet and ask them on a date! [Read: 85 best first date ideas that are fun and romantic]

The worse that happens is that you have a bad first date and then there’s some awkward tension whenever you bump into each other at the water fountain.

9. If they’re not, bow out

Be respectful here. If you’ve asked them out and they said no, or even if you get the feeling that they don’t like you the way that you like them, then just move on.

There’s no point in groveling or pining for someone, especially not in a workplace. Not only is it highly unprofessional, but it’s also very distracting for your own work.

[Read: 19 truths to stop crushing on someone if they’re not into you]

How to let go of a work-crush

If you think your crush on this person might not go anywhere, then you need to unfortunately move on. However, that is way easier said than done.

If you don’t even know where to start, then follow these tips on moving on from a crush on a coworker so that you can find happiness and peace again.

1. Cut back on spending time with them outside of work

Hanging out with your coworkers is fine, but if you’re spending all your free time with them, then maybe it’s time you branched out and hung out with some other people. You know, people who aren’t your crush.

Try to eliminate the extra time that you spend with them, or at the very least keep it to a minimum. You should only see them when you actually have a valid work-related reason to see them. At least until you move on from them.

2. Look at your own relationship with your partner *if you have one* 

Is there something in your own personal relationship, that is, if you’re with someone already, that’s making your eye wander? The first thing you should be doing is looking at that.

Maybe you have some issues within your relationship that you need to pay attention to. Now, if you’re just bored at work and need some entertainment, and you’re single, well, that’s different. [Read: How to handle an office crush while you’re in a relationship]

3. Focus your attention on hobbies outside of work

When you leave work, there’ll be some times when all you’re going to do is think about them. What they said to you that day, what they wore, who they spoke to – you know, stupid things that we all waste our time on.

But if your evenings are packed with activities, then you don’t really give yourself an opportunity to sit and dwell on this drama that you created in your head.

With enough distraction, you’ll eventually forget that you had a crush in the first place.

4. Distract yourself

If you’re at work, well, you should be focusing on your work instead of obsessing over them from across the room. Even if you don’t want to work more than you already are, by keeping yourself busy at work, you have less time to think or talk to them.

Keep your mind busy with other things. If you don’t want to work, surf the web, but stay away from their social media. [Read: Love or career – How to make the right choice?]

5. Set personal boundaries at work

If you see this person every day, getting over them is going to be hard. What you need to do is set personal boundaries.

If you usually eat lunch with them, stop. If you spend your coffee breaks chatting with them, maybe find someone else to talk to. You basically need to wean yourself off of that person.

Having a crush is an addiction, so, consider this your rehab.

6. Talk to your friends about it

Preferably friends outside of the workplace. Sure, it’s okay to talk to someone from work, but if word spreads, then you may get yourself into trouble before anything even started.

Your friends will give you the best outsider opinion about what’s going on with you and your crush. From there, you can figure out what you should do – to pursue or to walk away. [Read: 15 guaranteed ways to get your crush to like you back in no time]

7. Give yourself some time

It’s a crush, so it’s going to take some time to get over this person. If you could get over a crush overnight, then there wouldn’t be so much turmoil linked to crushes.

This isn’t going to be an overnight transition. It may take you months, or even years, to fully get over this person. Since you work with them, it’s going to be hard.

But don’t give up hope, because one day, you’ll be able to walk past this person without feeling a thing.

[Read: What you really need to do when you like a friend or a coworker – The complete guide]

So, what do you do now?

Now that you know everything you need to know about what you should do when you have a crush on a coworker, it’s up to you what you do next.

Unless your company strictly forbids office romances, there’s really no one that can tell you what the right thing to do is apart from yourself.

There are so many what if’s you could dwell on here. What if you get rejected, or your crush is already dating someone? What if your coworkers find out about your crush, or you get in serious trouble with your boss?

Or what if your crush likes you back, and now starts a long and loving relationship?

There are so many what-ifs to think about here, that they’re not worth thinking about. The only way to know what to do is to listen to your gut.

And then, follow it.

Now that you know everything there is to know about having a crush on a coworker, it’s up to you what you do about it. Do you follow your heart, or listen to your brain? Only you can decide that for yourself.

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Vinod Srinivas Serai
Vin Serai
Vin Serai is the founder of, and has delved deep into the working of love and relationships for almost two decades. Having dipped his feet in almo...