When Bianca, 24, started her first full-time office job, like most people, she forgot the names of pretty much every person she was introduced to within the first 30 seconds. Except a guy named Andy, who, by the end of the week referred to her as his work BFF. Over the next few months, sharing a table at lunch turned into regular – often flirty – emails, desk visits and morning coffee catch ups. But it wasn’t until Bianca confessed she was developing a tiny relationship (which a quick Insta stalk confirmed). Despite the fact that Andy had never brought up his girlfriend in front of her, Bianca wasn’t worried about the whole situation. In her mind, she believed that she and Andy weren’t doing anything wrong. However, she did feel there was a part of him that liked her too. So, why is it that Bianca (who went onto a relationship of her own) admits that she thought of her boyfriend having the kind of relationship she had with Office Andy doesn’t feel quite right? And most importantly, the questions arises: How do we make sure it doesn’t cross the line professionally?
WORK VS REALITY
In the real, non-work related world, flirty coffee dates and messages sans a mention of your other half are not on. But in the office, what may even be considered borderline cheating on your bae, might slip under the radar. Why is this the case? “Often we become a ‘different person’ in our work environment; we use different skills and perform a certain role.” says Gemma Cribb, clinical psychologist from Equilibrium Psychology Australia. “The people who we work with are able to understand work-related things, because they deal with them too.” After all, venting to someone else dealing with that boss’ crazy deadlines is much easier than trying to explain your office politics on a date.