Q. I recently switched offices and still have a crush on a former colleague from my old office. I think he feels the same way, but we are both afraid of what people will think if we started dating. Will people assume we were dating while in the office? The Hill is so judgmental and gossipy, and the delegation I worked for knows us both. Do you think we can make the transition from former colleagues to a couple?
A. Yes I do. You’re both professionals, and you’re certainly not the first couple to come from the same Capitol Hill office. A few things to keep in mind:
- You’ve switched offices, so a lot of the tightrope-walking that comes from intra-office dating does not hold in this scenario. If you feel there could be a conflict of interest with your new position, address it swiftly and calmly with your direct supervisor but otherwise no need to share the news further.
- If the delegation knows you both, they are much less likely to be surprised by your eventual dating than you probably realize. And most people, even the most gossipy among us, will be happy for you.
- Gossip is inevitable. So is judgment. Such things are not unique to Capitol Hill; they’re rampant in any office environment. While you can’t avoid the rumor mill, you can control how you handle yourself when people hear of your new significant other. Smile and thank people for their well-wishes, keep most of the relationship chatter to time spent out of the office, and then move the subject to a more neutral area.