Whether office romance is accepted or taboo in your business, people have a tendency to fall for one another. People also have a tendency to misread situations sometimes, which has made for a lot of really funny comedy movies. Misreading your own situation is not nearly as funny, unfortunately. If you suspect that a coworker is taking an interest in you, you need to both discern if this is true and then decide how to deal with it. Here are some tips on how to do both:
Figuring Out Intentions
The biggest thing to remember about any sort of budding office romance, wanted or not, is that this is not middle school. Unless you have some very close friends in the office, it is not considered businesslike or professional to ask all of his friends about his intentions or send your friends to spy on him. For the many people who realize this already, the biggest thing to look at is how he or she treats you versus your coworkers in similar positions. Do you find that you are the only one they are nice or talkative to? It could be because they're interested, but it could also be because they're shy. Watch to see if they have a different personal space with you compared to others, and if they start asking you on platonic excursions after work. These are all signs that interest is likely.
What to Do if it's Mutual
If you like your coworker and are hoping it's mutual, then you need to review the dating policies at work. If you are of different levels, then you may want to go to HR to discuss what is and isn't considered appropriate in your office. Going to them first, once mutual attraction is established, can often show some surprising solutions you wouldn't have thought of, and can give you the opportunity to date without sneaking. In some cases, they may want to ensure you're not working certain projects together, and in others, they will just want you to sign some waivers to say that just because your potential future breakup is ugly doesn't mean your work product will be. Every policy is different, which is why a confidential chat with HR makes sense.
What to Do if it's Not Mutual
If they are into you, and you are not into them, this creates a different kind of problem. Begin by acting professionally with them at all times. Avoid spending alone time with them if possible. Don't lead them on in any way. Finally, if they broach the subject, let them down gently. Tell them how valuable your working relationship with them is, and that you would never want to do anything to jeapordize that. Continue to treat them with kindness and respect, and it should blow over.