Having a crush at work happens effortlessly. According to a survey from Zety:
- A whopping 58% of Americans admit to having dated coworkers, while 89% felt attracted to one
- 1/3 of those involved in workplace romance formed a long-term, romantic relationship at work
- 75% of Americans who dated a co-worker tried to keep their relationship a secret from others. In 82% of the cases, their colleagues eventually found out
- 54% say a romantic relationship had no impact on their work relationship and for 28% of them the working relationship improved
- 72% of women said they dated their office crush long-term and only 59% of men did so
- 51% of office relationships end in a break-up
It’s the “moving on” part that can be quite hard.
If you are someone who’s currently trying to move on, this is for you!
We’ve gathered 5 experts to share tips on how to get over a crush at work.
See their top insights below.
Alice Wood, MSc, ACC
Relationships and Sex Coach | Sexuality Educator, fltrgirl
A crush at work is a completely normal reaction to the social environment in which you spend a large part of your daily life.
For some, it can be described as a longing for or simple interest in a colleague, while others develop sexual fantasies and desire to turn this longing into a relationship.
A crush at work can be very disruptive in terms of productivity and professional communication among colleagues.
Therefore, recognizing that you have a crush at work and being proactive at minimizing your fantasies is the first step to get over the crush.
Dealing with an office crush can be tough, but here are some useful ideas I usually recommend to my clients as a relationship coach:
Do not unnecessarily initiate contact
Once you develop a romantic longing for a colleague, there is no doubt that you want to give them all your attention even if it interferes with your work tasks.
However, do your best to avoid unnecessary contact with the object of your longing. Don’t waste time by the coffee machine hoping to catch a glance of your crush, don’t come to ask questions that are not directly related to your work objectives.
This might turn into a major challenge, but it will help you focus on work and obsess over your crush less.
Stop stalking them on social media
We live in the digital age and we share a lot about our personal lives on social media.
Do you know what your crush ate for breakfast, where s/he went on holiday, how s/he spent the weekend with their girlfriend or boyfriend?
Admit it – you have been stalking your office crush! Unfollow them immediately on all the apps you use and make no exceptions.
If social media is something you can’t live without, better use it to communicate with friends, arrange nights out and meet new people.
Find a new distraction
Remember that office hours do not make up your whole life. Think of a new hobby that you can distract yourself with!
Have you ever attended a yoga class? Have you always had an interest in books but have never had time to join a book club?
This is the time to develop your hobbies and, who knows, maybe you will come across a very good-looking person there who will take your mind off your office crush.
You could also download a dating app that will connect you to people outside your professional circle. Whatever you choose to do in your free time will occupy your mind and help you think less about your work crush.
Casey Lee, MA, LPC, NCC
Couples and Marriage Counselor, Rooted Hearts LLC
To answer this question responsibly, I need to know the context of the situation. The answer to this question depends on a couple of things.
First, do you have a significant other or partner in your life right now? If so, do they know you have a crush on that person at work?
One of the best ways to “get over” feelings is to talk about them and share them with someone
Of course, sharing with your partner about your crush can be very scary. How will my partner react? Will they get angry and berate me or push me away?
They may be angry at first, but underneath those feelings are tender feelings of the fear of losing you or the fear of losing your love.
If you have a secure relationship with your partner it will bring you closer together talking about your crush.
But if it isn’t secure or one of you has been through betrayal or bad relationships growing up it may be more complicated.
Guilt and shame can also make you want to hide from your partner. Shame grows when it is kept in secret.
Being vulnerable and taking a risk to share with your partner is a big step in “getting over” those feelings as they can be a support for you and you can grow closer knowing that they love and care for you.
If you don’t feel comfortable telling your partner or if your relationship is not secure you probably want to find an Emotionally Focused Couples Therapist to provide you a safe place to talk about your fears of hurting your partner with the crush you had or the fears that were triggered in your partner.
Couples or marriage counseling can be very helpful to strengthen and grow the bond and love you have for each other.
If you are trying to ”get over” the rush of feelings of attraction that you have on the crush you need something, someone, to replace that void.
There is the obvious physical attraction that comes from a crush. But there may be another factor of attraction that comes from an emotional place in your heart.
If you are a human being with a heart you want to feel important, adequate, valued, special, wanted, loved, and cared for by someone. Your partner is that person to help you get those feelings met.
If you don’t have a partner, talking with trusted friends can be a great way to process your emotions. Journaling is also another great way to sort through your emotions.
Whether you have a partner or not, creating boundaries to establish an emotional distance can help you “get over” a crush.
It means deleting them from social media or deleting their contacts on your phone. At work, it means limiting conversations with this person or even trying to avoid seeing them in person.
That may be difficult at work so it may also mean leaving your job if those methods above don’t work and you really wanted to disconnect from this person.
As you establish boundaries to emotionally distant yourself you may go through a time of grieving. Depending on the extent of your relationship you may feel sadness over losing this relationship.
You may also be grieving over the dreams you had about the relationship. You may also feel angry at whatever the reason is that you need to “get over” the crush. If the reason is that the other person doesn’t like you the angry would be directed at them.
If it is because of work reasons you may be angry or resentful that your job is preventing you from being with that person. If the reason is you have a partner already you may be angry at your partner while at the same time feeling guilty and shameful for having a crush at work.
All these feelings are normal to have when you have lost someone you were connected with or you were dreaming of connecting with.
Finding healthy ways to cope is important when all those feelings of sadness, anger, fear, or guilt come up. Engaging in activities you enjoy like hobbies, exercise, social events, games, movies, etc. can be temporarily helpful.
There are unhealthy ways too when we become attached and addicted to something too much like drinking, drugs, over-eating, under-eating, over-working, or even rushing to another relationship.
However, as mentioned above, if there is a hole left in your heart, you have to fill it with something. The best thing is with healthy relationships.
If you find yourself not “getting over” your crush at work and coping in unhealthy ways after a month talking to a professional licensed relationship counselor may help. I recommend finding an Emotionally Focused Therapy counselor as they are trained specifically in relationships.
Katie Leikam, LCSW, LISW-CP, BC-TMH
Therapist | Owner, True You Southeast
Go ahead and allow your self some time to dream but be realistic
Crushes at work are tough. You are in close proximity to them sometimes on a daily basis and you start to develop feelings for your coworkers.
If you are developing feelings for a coworker and you know it won’t work, go ahead and allow your self some time to dream, but be realistic.
Be realistic about what would happen to your job if you decided to pursue this. If you have to, make a cost-benefit analysis of keeping your crush or letting your feelings fade.
But, stay grounded and stay realistic about what would really happen if you pursued them. Sometimes thinking about reality and keeping your financial needs can help you get over your crush.
Katie Ziskind, LMFT
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Wisdom Within Counseling
If you have a crush on someone at work, these feelings can interfere with the quality of the work you do at your job.
If you have a crush on someone, you may feel nervous talking to them about work-related tasks.
If you have a crush on someone, try not to let it get in the way of doing a good job. It’s a bad idea to get in a relationship with someone who you also work with at your job. If you break up, one of you may need to leave the workplace and find a different job.
If you have a crush on someone at work, see if you can distract yourself by focusing on someone else who you’re attracted to outside of work. Get out and about and expand your social circle.
By meeting new people, you may find that you develop feelings for someone outside of your workplace and may even end up dating them instead.
Personal Trainer, Personal Develop Fit
Getting over a crush at work can be done by focusing on why you are at work
To get your money and go home and pay your bills and spend your money on fun things or forwarding yourself towards your goals and dreams.
Also, get on apps that will get you focused on getting into a relationship outside of work. On your lunch break, you can search for matches online instead of looking at your crush.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can a workplace crush affect my job performance?
A crush in the workplace can affect your work performance in several ways. If you have a crush on a colleague, it can distract your thoughts and cause you to focus less on your work tasks.
It can also influence your decision-making and cause you to take actions that may not be in the best interest of your professional goals. As the situation becomes more complicated or worsens, it can lead to a tense work environment affecting overall team morale and productivity.
How can I maintain a positive professional relationship with my colleague despite my feelings?
Maintaining a positive professional relationship despite infatuation requires mindfulness and self-awareness. Be aware of your actions and ensure you treat your colleague with the same respect and consideration you would extend to any other colleague.
Foster a collaborative and supportive work environment by focusing on your shared goals and striving for open communication. Acknowledging your feelings privately can help you work through them.
However, focusing your energy and attention on a positive and professional work dynamic is critical to successfully meeting this challenge.
How long does it take to get over an infatuation in the workplace?
The duration required to get over a crush at work varies from person to person, depending on factors such as emotional attachment, personal resilience, and support networks.
There is no set timeline for healing, but it’s important to remember that the intensity of feelings will lessen over time if you make a consistent effort to realign your emotions and focus. Setting clear boundaries, prioritizing career goals, and seeking personal fulfillment outside of work can accelerate the process of overcoming an infatuation at work.
How should I address a coworker’s crush on me if I don’t reciprocate their feelings?
If you believe a colleague has a crush on you, but you don’t share their feelings, it’s essential to approach the situation with empathy and tact.
Make it a point to communicate openly and honestly by initiating a private conversation and gently letting them know that you value your professional relationship but aren’t interested in pursuing anything beyond that.
Be respectful and understanding of the person’s emotions while clarifying your boundaries. If the situation escalates or becomes uncomfortable, you may need to ask your supervisor or HR for advice and support.
How can I stay professional and focused at work events where my crush is present?
Maintaining professionalism at work events where your crush is present can be challenging, but with some coping strategies, it is possible to be successful. Focus on group dynamics and have conversations about work or other neutral topics.
Remind yourself of your professional goals and stay mindful of your behavior during the event. Maintaining a healthy distance and avoiding excessive drinking or potentially compromising situations can also help ensure that your conduct remains appropriate and respectful.
How can I ensure that my workplace crush doesn’t affect my relationships with other colleagues?
To prevent a workplace crush from negatively impacting your other professional relationships, treat all your colleagues with equal respect and attention. Ensure that your interactions and work contributions are fair and balanced.
Continue to build friendly relationships with your colleagues, participate in team-building activities, and collaborate effectively on work projects.
Be mindful of your behavior and maintain a consistent professional demeanor to minimize any potential negative impact on your relationships with colleagues.
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