Have you been blushing at work lately? Does it seem like a workplace romance is in your midst?
Workplace flirting happens more often than not, but it isn’t always as innocent as it seems. If your coworker truly has feelings for you, they’re going to show at least ten signs out of our list of 40 to point you to the right conclusion.
Before you jump the gun and imagine your new life together, let’s go through this article together to make sure it’s the real deal.
What you should know before getting involved with a coworker
Dating a coworker may sound intriguing, exciting, or fun, but it isn’t always butterflies and rainbows. Keep these five things in mind before you take the plunge.
There are protocols to follow
Many workplaces have formalities you need to follow if starting a relationship with a coworker, while others may ban it completely. It’s important to reach out to human resources (HR) to know the policies before getting involved with anyone at work.
Keep things quiet at the start
If you are just getting to know your coworker romantically and have only been on a few dates, it’s usually best to keep it to yourself at the start. After all, you shouldn’t tell HR that you’re in an official relationship until you are both sure that that’s what this is.
Many times, we start to date someone and it fizzles out rather quickly, so agree to keep it on the down-low until you both decide you’re in it for the long haul.
Your work dynamic may change
As hard as you may try, parts of your work will change once you’re in a recognized relationship with a coworker.
People may treat you both differently even if you act the same or you might find that you want to help your coworker with their professional tasks simply because you like or love them. While this seems kind, it can quickly appear that you’re playing favorites, so be wary of this behavior.
You’ll need to live an emotional double-life
Your personal emotions and professional emotions cannot intertwine. This means the argument you had with your boyfriend or girlfriend this morning cannot affect the business meeting you have scheduled with them at noon.
This can get messy quickly, so you’ll need to be very self-aware, be on the same page as your partner, and get a third party involved if necessary to ensure you remain unbiased.
Consider the outcomes
While we love to imagine the ideal, it’s important to consider the not-so-great possible endings to your work love story.
If the relationship goes awry, will you be able to continue working together? What if you have to leave the office?
Consider all possibilities and be OK with them before solidifying a relationship with a coworker.
40 Signs a coworker has feelings for you
Now let’s see how many of these signs your coworker ticks off to finally determine how they feel about you.
1. They offer to help with your work tasks
Since you and this coworker are both employed, it’s safe to say that you both have daily tasks you need to get done at work. Unless collaboration is required at your job, there’s no reason why a coworker should be offering to take on your work. This is especially true if you aren’t overwhelmed in the first place.
A coworker who often asks if they can help you could be trying to spend more time with you and get on your good side. This points to romantic intentions; otherwise, they wouldn’t want to spend much time together and they would offer to help others as much as they offer to help you.
2. They’ll ask if you’re attending work events
When a coworker is feeling you, they’re going to jump at the chance to see you outside of the office. This includes any work events like conferences, external meetings or inspections, holiday parties, and the like.
They’ll be first in line to ask if you’re attending, and they’ll suddenly seem more interested in going if you say you’ll be there. If they’re brash enough, they may even ask you to go together as friends.
3. They remember personal things about you
It’s easy to remember who your boss is, when big projects are due, and who in the office is a parent. It’s not as easy or normal to remember your coworker’s favorite color, birthday, alma matter, or other obscure and personal details.
Remembering these facts means that your coworker has spoken to you on a deeper level and remembered the details on purpose. They either have extra good memory or think you’re extra memorable!
4. They want to team up with you
Most jobs will have a time when you need to collaborate with others. If the opportunity arises to partner up with a colleague, this coworker will quickly try to work with you.
They know that partnering up means spending more one-on-one time together, and there’s no one else in the office they’d rather spend time with.
5. They talk to you after work
Many of us like to leave work and pretend it doesn’t exist until the next day. Even if you love your job, I hope you love your personal life just as much once you punch out.
This coworker is going to go against the tide by trying to speak to you after the nine to five. They might use work as an excuse to start a conversation, but they just want to talk to you in a more casual setting. Well, it’s either that or they’re a workaholic, but you should be able to tell the difference pretty quickly by how the conversation progresses.
6. They offer to cover for you
Whether you’ve made a mistake at work or you need a day off for personal reasons, a colleague with feelings for you will offer to cover for you.
They may help you fix the mistake you made or even take responsibility for it themselves. If you need your shift covered, they’ll make the sacrifice even if they had the day off. This form of caring is way more personal than it is professional.
7. They bring you coffee
Coffee is the liquid that makes human motors run. A coworker who is bringing you a coffee – especially without being asked or made just the way you like it – is truly trying to make your day.
If they bring a coffee to everyone in the department, they’re just being extra kind. If they bring it to you and only you, it’s a special coffee for a special someone.
8. They go out of their way to say hi
If this person works in another department, office, or area of your workspace, they will go out of their way to say hi to you.
This could also happen if they’re bored and want to take a stroll, so for this sign to count they should make the effort every time you two work together. This sign is twice as strong if you don’t come in one day and they text you to see if you’re OK.
9. They find an excuse to be near you
If you’re in a group, outside, or congregated in a large space, this colleague is going to make their way over to you. They may be blunt and simply walk your way or play it slick and speak to some people near you before ending up at your side.
This person wants to be next to you on the off chance that you’ll be able to talk or partner up.
10. They often compliment you instead of your work
Saying you did well on a project is nice, but it may also be objective. A compliment on your appearance, however, is subjective. If someone has feelings for you, they’re going to find a way to compliment your appearance in an appropriate-for-work kind of way.
Pay close attention to how often they compliment you and whether or not they compliment others. If you seem to be getting special attention, it’s a sign.
11. They dress up if they know you’ll work together
Some office romances bloom from across the hall or from two separate parts of the same building. Let’s say you and your coworker only overlap schedules at a weekly Tuesday meeting. Every Tuesday, they seem to be dressed to the nines as they chat with you.
A great way to see if they dress to impress everyone or only dress to impress you is by heading to their part of the woods on another weekday. Find an excuse to see them in their work zone on a Wednesday or Thursday, for example, and compare their office looks.
12. They park near you in the parking lot
Since most coworkers enter and leave the job site at similar times, you may run into this person in the parking lot. If they see you or arrive after you, you’ll notice they prefer to park close to your car.
This is done so that they can either walk in or out with you and spend a few minutes together, off the clock.
13. They give you the run-down of things you missed
Whether you were homesick, busy at your desk, or simply out of the loop on what was going on, this person will have a summary ready for you. They make sure you’re aware of anything you missed so that you can perform your job accurately and efficiently.
They may even go so far as to sneak you a piece of the office birthday cake when you couldn’t attend the lunch because you were so swamped. This is all because they care about you.
14. They sit next to you at team meetings
Humans are creatures of habit and we tend to stick to things – like assigned seats – even when they aren’t assigned. This guy or girl may always sit next to you at meetings because they like the view, the chair doesn’t squeak, or they feel a breeze there from the AC.
To figure out if it has to do with you or not, switch up your seat for the next meeting or two and see if they follow you around the room.
15. They coordinate their breaks with yours
Breaks at work are sacred times to reset, disconnect, and be Zen. Many take breaks alone, others with coworkers and most of us with our phones. If this person makes a point to take their breaks or lunches at the same time as you, they’re doing so to be with you.
Another good test for this sign is to switch up your break time and see if they try to do the same.
16. You share inside jokes about work
If you’ve shared some moments and created inside jokes about your workspace, you two have a special connection that other coworkers can’t share. After all, that’s why they’re called inside jokes, right?
Humor is often used to build both new friendships and romantic relationships, so keep your eyes peeled with this one.
17. They ask about your life outside of work
Asking someone if they’ve had a nice weekend is different from asking someone what they like to do on the weekend. That switch quickly moves us from professional to personal.
If your coworker has feelings for you, they’ll try to get to know you better both at and outside of work. This means asking about your hobbies, likes, dislikes, and the things that occupy your time outside of your job.
18. They look at you during presentations
If your coworker is presenting, they should be looking at everyone in the crowd. If they’re watching a presentation, they should be focused on the speaker.
On the flip side, when someone likes you, they will turn to you in moments of confusion, laughter, or to see if you’re thinking the same thing that they are. That’s why a coworker with a crush will instead look at you during presentations.
19. They want you to grab a drink with them after work
A rough day at work is the perfect excuse to go to a happy hour with friends and your coworker knows this. If they consistently ask you to grab a drink or eat with them after work, they’re trying to slide into a date without actually asking you on one. Think of it as a trial date.
Of course, if they ask everyone in the office the same thing, it might just be a drink and nothing more.
20. They get touchy at work
Flirty physical touch happens often in public but not so often in the workplace. If your coworker crosses the line and gets touchy with you at work, they are either acting inappropriately or flirting with you. The difference lies in how you feel about them and the situation.
Some people are touchy with almost everyone, which I personally see as a red flag, but I’ll leave that decision up to you.
21. They smile at you from afar
If you pass someone in the hallway or run into them in the supply closet, it would be weird not to smile and say hello. This action only becomes a sign of romantic feelings when a person tends to do it to you from far away.
Picture your coworker having a conversation with someone else more than 100 feet from where you are. You both make brief eye contact and, instead of looking away, they intentionally smile at you and possibly even wave.
If this happens a fair number of times, they add a wink, or you notice an eyebrow raise combined with the smile, you can assume you’re someone special who truly catches their eye.
22. They don’t want to compete against you
Most work environments, especially those in corporate America, live and breathe competition. If you aren’t competing with other companies, you’re competing with others on your level to climb the corporate ladder.
Even if you aren’t a power-hungry workaholic, a bit of competition between colleagues is natural. It won’t be natural, however, to someone who has feelings for you. This person is going to want to either work together or see you advance in front of them.
This could materialize when they encourage you to aim for a higher position, nominate you for prizes or recognition in your field, or let you take extra credit for something
23. Other coworkers notice the chemistry
Sometimes all you need is an outsider’s perspective to realize what’s going on. This could be the case if your colleagues notice the chemistry before or when you do.
You may have a close friend at work ask you about your relationship with this coworker or wonder aloud why you two aren’t dating already.
If other people notice the spark, then it’s hard to deny that your coworker likes you… and, potentially, that you return the sentiment.
24. They always take your side on work matters
For this sign to make sense, you’ll have to work in a place where debate, discussion, and brainstorming happen often. In these spaces, ideas are often bounced back and forth with pushback and criticism as part of the mix.
If your coworker has feelings for you, they’re going to want to care for you however they can. Since they’re limited to the workplace – at least for now – this might appear as them constantly siding with you on work matters.
Whether your idea is mediocre or amazing, he or she will find a silver lining to it and defend it among your other colleagues. Anyone who seems to criticize you in the meantime may also feel the wrath of your coworker as they defend your honor and contributions.
25. They do workplace favors for you
Workplace favors are usually tedious tasks that no one enjoys doing. This might include grabbing supplies to restock a desk, fixing a printer, taking on an extra task for the day, or anything of the sort.
A coworker who likes you will gladly take on a few workplace favors for you if it means making you happy. It would be weird if they baked you cookies or offered to fix the leaking sink in your home, so this is the next best – and most appropriate – thing.
26. They ask if you’re seeing anyone
Asking if you’ve watched the latest Netflix series or if you like chocolate at work is one thing, but asking about your dating life is a whole other conversation. The workplace has some fine lines between personal chit-chat and chit-chat that is too personal.
If your coworker asks you if you’re seeing anyone, they are interested in you. Unless you two are very casual friends who often talk about intimate topics, this question would only be asked by someone interested in seeing you themselves.
27. They speak highly of you to others
It’s one thing to compliment your coworker’s efforts to another colleague, but if your coworker speaks highly of you – not just your work – they see you in a special light.
This could include compliments on your character, personality, perspective, or even looks. If they share these with colleagues that you’re friendly with, they might be hoping that the comments get back to you. After all, the sooner you know how they feel about you, the sooner you can decide if you feel the same way back.
28. They give you gifts during the holidays
If the secretary bakes cookies for everyone, it doesn’t mean she has feelings for all the employees. If she bakes cookies for everyone but gives a personalized batch to Mitch in accounting, she might have feelings for Mitch.
Look out for specific gifts around the holidays or your birthday from this coworker. They’ll choose these large-scale dates because it’s the perfect excuse to give a gift without being inappropriate.
The gift could be a food item, small knick-knack, or even a personalized gift they custom ordered.
29. They call you their work wife or husband
If you haven’t heard of the term “work spouse,” it refers to someone at work with whom you share a special bond. You two may seem like two peas in a pod, so you or others refer to them as your work husband/wife.
Of course, this term does not denote anything romantic, but this wouldn’t be the first time that a work spouse started to think about what it would be like to be the real-life spouse. With such a strong connection and great friendship as a foundation, it isn’t difficult to consider turning this platonic relationship into a romantic one. At least that’s what your coworker is thinking.
30. They notice changes in your work attire
Just like you might notice their professional clothing (see #11), a coworker with feelings for you will notice any big changes in yours. Most people tend to repeat workplace fashion basics, so this person will notice if you switch it up or buy new clothes.
They may compliment you on them, ask if you’ve changed your style, or comment on your work outfits in general. The more detailed they are, the more they’re noticing you daily.
31. They gravitate towards you and not your coworkers
Unless you’re running a two-man shop, you’re likely surrounded by other people at your job. If your coworker has feelings for you and not your coworkers, they will gravitate only towards you no matter who’s around.
Pay special attention to this behavior at large-scale meetings, presentations, or conferences, as well as day to day.
32. He or she shares about their personal life
Asking you is one thing, but if your coworker tells you about their personal life without being asked, they are truly trying to open up to you. They may disclose information about their family, personal goals, hobbies, or – if they really trust you – a personal problem they’re facing.
33. They find an excuse to hug you
In workplaces, especially American ones, touching in any way is generally a hard no-no. Congratulations are usually given with a wide smile from at least two feet away, and hugs are saved for condolences if, and only if, the recipient gives them a green light first.
If your coworker finds an excuse to hug you, they are either very touchy-feeling with everyone or are hoping to be more touchy-feely with you. Both can be problematic if the feeling isn’t returned by others, so don’t feel the need to accept the hug unless you truly want to.
34. You have work nicknames for each other
Work nicknames can be friendly or flirty. If your name is Daniel/a Smith and your coworker calls you Dan or Smith, this isn’t a fuzzy-feeling nickname. If you are a fast typist and they call you “bullet fingers,” this isn’t flirty either.
Work nicknames from a coworker who likes you might be something related to an inside joke or memory you two shared or even a cute pet name that just seemed to stick. It’s a fond name that insinuates more than just professional banter.
35. They get excited to see you, even if it’s just another day
When we like or get attached to someone, seeing them lights up the pleasure centers in our brains. It’s almost as if we’re receiving a gift of dopamine whenever the person appears. This is why the initial stages of love create similar reactions in the brain as drug addictions do – we truly feel like we need that person to live happily.
This happens to a coworker who truly likes you on a smaller scale, which is why they’ll seem overexcited to see you no matter how often you see each other. You might see them glowing or non-stop smiling every morning you run into each other, even though you just worked together the day before.
36. They offer to split lunch with you
If you compliment your coworker on their lunch and they offer to share, this could just be kindness. If they offer to share and bring you a plate of the dish next time, they’re going the extra mile out of the friend zone.
Another situation like this is if they often ask you to order lunch together. For example, they might want to order Chinese food or pizza and ask you to split it with them. If they do it once, it could just be a fluke, but if they do it often, they are hoping you say yes to enjoy a meal together.
37. You catch them staring at you
Have you ever made your way to the water cooler, bathroom, or another part of the building, and gotten the feeling that someone was watching you? Chances are, if you turned around, you’d have seen that coworker focused on you.
Staring at someone you have feelings for has been shown to create instant bonds, so it’s no wonder your coworker is trying to steal a glance in your direction. If you two are already on speaking terms, they’ll likely turn the stare into a smile once they see that you’ve noticed. If you don’t have that relationship yet, they may glance away bashfully or even blush.
38. They have open body language around you
Open body language shows that you’re receptive, open to communicating, and friendly. As much as we may try, it’s extremely difficult to have open body language every time you see your coworkers – especially if you’re trudging along on a moody Monday.
Notice how your coworker positions themselves whenever they speak to you. See if they have open arms, lean forward while listening to you, smile widely, and face you with their body during conversations. They may even mirror your actions unconsciously, which is something we do when we want to relate more to the person we’re speaking with.
39. They lightly touch your back or arm
There is only so much flirting you can do at work without crossing an HR boundary. One way is to get someone’s attention by lightly touching their upper back or arm. This works best when the two people are in an area where silence is required or one is trying to pass by in a tight space.
This light touch is sure to spark your attention because it simply doesn’t belong in a work environment. If you feel flirty with this coworker, it may initiate some sparks, but if you aren’t feeling it, you can pull away very obviously to make your point.
40. They always try to make you laugh
Most people, particularly women, want a partner who can make them laugh. The key isn’t just to be the office jokester, but to share the same sense of humor as your partner.
If you have a coworker who is always trying to put a smile on your face or make you laugh, they may be trying to find that shared sense of humor that you’ve been looking for. If they try too hard and you just don’t find it funny, there’s no harm done, but if they can crack you up, you might have found a winner.
FAQs about workplace romances
Is it OK to get involved with a coworker?
Plenty of romances, both short-lived and enduring, have sprouted from work relationships. Taking the plunge, however, should only be done after you consider your job’s policies and the potential outcomes of doing so.
For example, some companies have strict no-dating policies, while others discourage dating but don’t prohibit it. You may also be legally obligated to divulge your relationship with your department or boss.
Even more seriously, consider what would happen if things went south in your relationship. Would it change your work dynamic or make work unbearable? Consider all these factors before making your decision.
Do I have to tell my manager or human resources?
Ask your HR office about the company policy on dating. They should be able to provide information on whether or not you have to recognize your relationship in front of HR or your manager.
In some cases, you both may be required to sign a form that releases the company from any liabilities related to your relationship. Be warned that certain companies may also use a relationship as an excuse to move one partner into another department to ensure that things remain professional.
How do you know if a coworker likes you or is just being friendly?
The key way to differentiate between friendliness and flirting is to compare how your coworker treats you and how they treat others. Look out for special favors or treatment.
For example, if your coworker compliments everyone in the office, they are just being friendly. On the other hand, if they only compliment you often, they are targeting their behavior towards someone they probably like.
Another thing you’ll want to consider is conversation topics. Do they try to get personal and find out about what you’re like after the nine to five? Then they might want to meet you after work after all.
What if they’re in a relationship or married?
It’s no surprise that many infidelities begin in the workplace. Getting involved with a coworker who isn’t single is signing up for a whole slew of problems.
Firstly, you should consider that you’re helping to destroy another relationship. Not only is this bad karma and behavior on your part, but the other party may come after you in a myriad of ways.
Second, your coworker may decide to abandon your relationship just as fast as they decided to cheat on their other one. This could create a very messy and uncomfortable work setting once the dust settles.
What if it’s my manager?
Most larger companies have strict policies around dating a manager. After all, this could easily create unfair work practices and special treatment for the partner.
Depending on your employer, this type of relationship could be completely banned or strongly frowned upon. If you date a manager, don’t be surprised if upper management soon finds a reason to transfer or eliminate your position altogether.
What if it’s my subordinate?
As a boss or manager, your responsibility is to take care of all your employees equally. It’s hard to do this when personal feelings are involved, especially love.
If your company allows you to date a subordinate, you will need to keep yourself in check during the relationship to ensure they’re held to the same standards as your other employees. The best way to do this is with a third-party present and observing your interactions; although, if you can, it’s best to avoid this situation completely so that you don’t run into a power struggle with your partner.