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Dear Abby’s Advice on Workplace Romance

April 6, 1998
Related Topics: Policies and Procedures, Featured Article
Dear Abby Replies…

Dear Abby and HR,
I just started a new job at a law firm. Unfortunately, there aren’t that many other women. Within the last month, I’ve received 5 invitations to go out for dinner. I don’t want to jeopardize my probation, but I don’t want to seem unwilling to socialize with my colleagues either. What should I do?
— New on the Job

Dear New On the Job,
Talk with the women who are your peers in the law firm, and ask what the unwritten policy is. If there is none, play it safe and suggest lunch instead of dinner—until you get your bearings—and your probation period is complete.

Dear Abby and HR,
My company encourages a lot of teamwork on various projects. Sometimes, it requires meeting off-site and late evenings. I’ve been dating a woman on my team. However, I recently discovered that she was also dating one of my teammates. I’m so jealous that it’s hard to function on my team. How would you handle this?
— Angry and jealous

Dear Angry and Jealous,
Snap out of it! Your job must come first. There is no room for personal anger and jealousy in the workplace, so don’t let your feelings get the better of you. Find someone other than a co-worker to date.

Dear Abby and HR,
My boss is a married man. He’s recently asked me out to lunch on the pretext of business. I complied the first two times. But now, he e-mails his invitations on a weekly basis. I can’t afford to lose my job. Is there a proper way to let him down?
— Trapped

Dear Trapped,
You aren’t trapped. Be up-front and tell your boss that your prefer to keep your personal and professional lives separate. If he’s the professional he should be, he’ll respect you. If he isn’t, at least you’ll respect yourself.

Dear Abby and HR,
My company has a strict policy about dating co-workers. However, a friendship with a co-worker is developing fast! Should I follow my heart?
— Smitten

Dear Smitten,
If you want to keep your job, I wouldn’t recommend it.

Dear Abby and HR,
I’m in a pickle. The CEO seems to be getting it on with my supervisor. Everyone knows this is going on. My supervisor has asked me on several occasions to make her dinner reservations at expensive restaurants. I know she can’t afford them, and I’m using company time to set up her rendezvous. I resent this. Shall I tell her I know what she’s up to?
— No Dummy

Dear No Dummy,
You would be wise to remove yourself from the circle of gossip that’s surrounding your supervisor. Her affair is none of your affair. Do as she asks and keep your mouth shut.

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