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It’s bound to happen sooner or later. You see your coworkers more than about anyone in your life, and over time, that cute guy or gal at the end of your row becomes more than just someone you enjoy talking to. You start thinking about him or her in a romantic way, and before you know it, you’re in the grips of a full-on crush. This can be dangerous for a number of reasons, not least of which is the fact that many companies have policies about such things. Even if your employer is OK with it, acting on your feelings and starting a relationship with a colleague might not be the best idea. If things end badly, you still have to see this person on a regular basis.

In a great post for the Daily Muse, psychologist and life coach Suzanne Gelb offers “4 Ways to Deal With an Office Crush.” Whether you’re in an office romance or simply curious about how to proceed should Cupid ever fire an arrow from behind the water cooler, read on to get Gelb’s expert tips.

1. Know the Difference Between “Feeling” and “Acting” — Just because you’re feeling those romantic urges, it doesn’t mean you have to act on them. As Gelb writes, it’s possible to enjoy a crush without actually taking the risk of asking the person out.

2. Control Those Emotions — Don’t let the brain play second fiddle to the heart. If you feel your emotions taking control, Gelb says, remind yourself that you’re in charge. But what do you do when the emotions start to build up, and you feel like you’re going to explode? Gelb lists a few options, including screaming into a pillow, painting, and writing. Note: If you paint your crush a picture or write ’em a poem, keep it to yourself.

3. Don’t Feel Guilty — The heart wants what the heart wants, so if you’re attracted to a colleague, don’t beat yourself up over it. It’s a natural part of human existence. Also, as Gelb explains, feelings of guilt prevent you from thinking clearly, and that’s never a good thing — particularly when you’re on the job, and you’re supposed to be, you know, working.

4. Allow Yourself Some Joy — Just as you shouldn’t feel guilty, you shouldn’t stop yourself from getting into the joy and excitement that can come with a crush. It might even be good for productivity. If you’re smitten with Bob or Jane from accounting, you’re probably going to dress better, say smarter things in meetings, and generally be a more attentive employee. Unless you spend all your time typing love poems.


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