You hear it all the time. “Don’t shit where you sleep.” “Don’t date your coworker.” I was raised knowing this, my father constantly telling me he would fire anyone if he found out they were having any sort of relations. But I can guarantee if you haven’t gone there, you know at least one person who has.
It’s hard to resist. In an age filled with dating behind screens and random hookups, the flirty glances between the cute guy sitting a few feet away from you can be hard to resist.
Because soon those flirty glances will turn into knees brushing as you’re perched on bar stools during happy hour drinks. And all of a sudden you’ll start noticing the different shades of blue in his eyes and the specks of grey in his dark hair. You’ll start to wonder what it would be like to run your fingers through his hair just to see if it’s as soft as it looks.
Don’t give into the alcohol and the hand grazes. Don’t lean into his whispers and don’t laugh while lightly touching his arm. Don’t let him think anything will ever leave this bar, because if you do, you’ll end up sneaking past your other coworkers and stumbling out of the bar together. You’ll get into the cab and end up back at your place.
Don’t let him touch you or look at you in a way you haven’t been touched or looked at in way too long. Once he does, and once you wake up in his arms with the sun pouring in through your window, things will never be the same.
He’s the guy that sits a few feet away from you from 9 am to 10pm everyday; so when he throws his arm you in the morning, don’t nuzzle into the perfect crook under his chin and against his chest. Don’t breathe in the way he smells and don’t linger in his warmth. When he gets out of bed, don’t wish he would come back and stay there forever. Let him go because you’ll see him, sitting a few feet away from you in a couple of hours.
When you’re getting ready for work, don’t spend more time on your hair or your makeup. Don’t get dressed in the hopes that the guy you work with will look up and realize you’re everything he’s ever wanted. So when he texts you flirty messages and emails you pictures of puppies, don’t blush and giggle like a schoolgirl. Don’t text him back and don’t sit by your phone waiting for his response. Don’t change his name in your phone so you can text him as you’re huddled with other coworkers around you. Don’t let him see you smirk when he sends back a witty reply.
When you’re the only ones left in the office, don’t coyly invite him back to your place. Don’t let whatever is going on continue any further than it has already gone. When you leave the building just say goodbye, because if you two continue to walk together in the direction of your apartment, each step is a step towards being more than just coworkers. Don’t let him see you naked again. Don’t let him see more of you than what anyone else in the office would see. Don’t laugh at his jokes. Don’t cuddle into his arms on the couch. Don’t discuss anything that deters from professionalism. Don’t let him see into your heart and don’t let him know your secrets. Don’t get used to waking up in his arms and don’t get used to being happy.
Don’t fall for a coworker because you’ll hear everyone asking about his ex and wondering if he’s seeing anyone new. Don’t sit with all of your other coworkers and chirp in on about his dating life just so people can’t see that it’s killing you inside. Don’t get snarky when you hear your other colleagues looking to set him up. Don’t look like a puppy that got kicked when he lets them talk. Don’t fall for a coworker because it will suck having to constantly keep a secret.
Don’t fall for your coworker. Don’t fall for the thrill of the secret. Don’t have him come to your computer and help with your questions just so you can feel him around you. Don’t scoot your chair next to his just so your knees can accidentally brush. Don’t get all giddy when he’s being incredibly smart and you just want to rip that suit off of him. Don’t fall in love with his brains or the way people laugh at his stupid jokes. Don’t fall for the way he tells stories and the way he can work an excel model.
Just don’t do it.
Because even though he makes you happier than you’ve been in a long time, and just going a day without seeing him is almost unbearable, what happens if one day everything is taken away? What happens if everything ends and you’re left sitting at your desk, looking and listening to the man you were once in love with?
Don’t fall in love with your coworker one day you will be sitting at your desk forcing a smile, pretending that your heart hasn’t been ripped in two and isn’t laying at the feet of your coworker sitting just a few seats away from you.