3 days into Valentine’s Day, it is naturally that lonely hearts of the office bond together. What if you prefer to be single or alone on Valentine’s Day? What if you really want to avoid office dating? What if you don’t want to give the wrong idea to the colleague who is asking you? And what if the person who is asking you, is your boss?

As a female working in the male-dominated IT industry, I often have to hop, duck, swerve and even blindly pretend to be ignorant of the cupid’s feeble attempt at shooting arrows. It can happen to anyone in an office environment. Young or Old, Female or Male, Attached or Single. Let me share ways to appropriately turn down an office romance.

Please don’t be insensitive to the person who ask. You can turn him or her down nicely and quietly. It would be nice to say “Thanks for the invite but I am not available.” in face to face rather through texting or worse, on company’s email. Then keep your mouth shut about it, we don’t need a playback episode of high school days all over again.

Use an Excuse
Even it is not true. Humans need justifications, we just can’t wrap our minds without a reason. It would be kinder to say that you have plans for Valentine’s Day rather than “I am just so not into you.” You don’t have to elaborate what your plans are, even you are planning to sit at home with a tub of Ben’s and Jerry’s, watching Youtube videos of cats meowing is still a plan, just not a plan he had thought you have.

Suggest A Group Activity
She or He is really a nice person and you don’t really have plans on Valentine’s Day, why not suggest to him to turn into a group outing of the Singles? Asked him to call his buddies and you call yours, hang out together for movies or dinner. You make new friends and perhaps get to know your colleague a little bit better too.

Don’t Send the Wrong Signals
If you turned him or her down, don’t send the wrong signals by buying him or her Valentine’s Day gift or go out with the office hunk and tell the whole office about it. You should go out right and say a firm no, and not an “Eh..you know..I kinda..maybe not available.” or an “I’ll let you know if and when I’m free.” You are just hanging others out and dry, stringing them along. And that is not nice.


Cite The Company Rulebook
If he or she persist, you can quote the company’s policy on office romance. I like using this one, whenever I sense someone who is kinda sending the romance vibe, I’ll go “I don’t eat where I shit, I don’t shit where I eat. It’s just too messy.” If it is a senior who approaches you, they usually back down once you mention the employee’s handbook.

Go to HR
If He or She persist to the point you are getting really uncomfortable, visit your HR. No one should ever use his or her position in the company to make you say yes to a date. If you said no and he or she still ask at every chance they got, head straight to the HR.

No Hard Feelings
After your gentle rejection, never bring up the subject again. Don’t make it a company joke nor use it against the person to make him or her to gain some kind of leverage. Don’t taunt your coworker by blackmailing “If you overlook my mistake, I’ll go out with you tomorrow.”

Have you faced a similar incident before? How did you turn them down? Share with us at the below comments so others can learn.

Do you think it is cruel to turn them down?

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55 replies on “How to Turn Down an Office Romance

    1. I have to agree with Hillechien 😉 Indeed wise lessons, but my husband an I also met at the office 🙂 But honestly; we kept it secret for a long time and when we know it was/is serious I switched to a job at another company.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. I had an office romance quite a few years ago. It began with him bringing him coffee, taking me out to lunch and coming to my desk to talk to me. I was young, and loved the attention. We eventually went out. After our date, he started to avoid me. It was very awkward. I never did that again. It’s really hard to be discreet- and being young I flaunted it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I enjoy your advice! In principle, I’ve never dated someone I work with {as an adult!}; I couldn’t imagine having to see the person day after day when I wanted to focus on my work! Thanks for posting 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You can do it gently i was in a female environment and I had to read with care, an employee asked me to dinner so I arranged a staff enitiative with everyone. Next she invited me to her home I told her company policy states that a manager doesn’t get close to any ‘one ‘member of staff . The next time was less subtle so I owned it. ” If I was of the same sexual orientation as yourself I would take you up on the offer, but as I am not I say thank you, I am flattered but no thank you” She continued to work for me for a year and her decision to leave was nothing to do with me. So I could have done it quicker but in the end i couldn’t have handled it better. Your post is good. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The rational is simple. Let’s not break someone’s heart over an email or text. If you want to turn the person down, it is more sincere to do it face to face, isn’t it? 🙂


  4. I think it’s always better to try new things and give people a chance. I wish people were lunging at me within my office. It’s sad that we go in life trying to stop things from happening, vs embracing that we are alive.

    Liked by 1 person

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