I’m one of those people who loves to make connections between two totally dissimilar things. This recently hit me while talking to my supervisor about an issue that had come up at work. It wasn’t anything shocking or earth-shattering, but I responded with, “you know what, it’s like dating! If you say you’re going to do something, you should do it.”
Cue the angels singing, because this blog topic instantly started to write itself in my head.
From what I’ve experienced, the similarities between dating and working are actually quite numerous! Maybe you’re more in tune with dating than you are with having friendships with coworkers, or maybe it’s the opposite. No matter how you slice it, that next level can be daunting.
Keep those fingers crossed for the best and apply these tips to your romantic life, your work life, or both:
1. Do not reveal all of your strengths or talents right away.
- Dating: You wouldn’t brag on the first date about being able to fluently speak three languages or the fact that you own three Cadillacs. Or, at least you shouldn’t if you ever want to see the other person ever again.
- Working: Gradually expose your boss and coworkers to your hidden talents instead of bragging outright. You speak Spanish fluently? Cool! Volunteer to help if someone ever needs a translator. You’ll impress your boss and your coworkers will greatly appreciate it, too.
2. Be capable of working independently, but don’t be afraid to accept support.
- Dating: Nobody enjoys being around that clingy person, let alone dating one. Have other hobbies and friends to hang out with besides your beau to keep yourself (and them) sane and happy. However, don’t forget about them when they need you!
- Working: A manager typically considers it a good day if micromanaging employees are kept to a minimum. Do the best you can with the job assigned to you. But if you find it’s taking a lot longer to accomplish than what you thought, then check with your supervisor to make sure that what you’re doing is correct. There’s no point in doing a job more than once if you can avoid it.
3. Avoid long-term misery by clearing up minor miscommunications immediately, rather than waiting for them to fester and become a huge issue.
- Dating: So, your date said they would call you after eight o’clock and never did? Bet that was annoying and made you feel like number seventy-seven on their list of priorities that day, huh? The next time you talk to that person, bring it up instead of letting it bug you for the next three weeks. Communication is difficult sometimes, but it’s necessary.
- Working: You didn’t appreciate staying until 9:30 last night because your boss threw a project at you at 4:57 PM that needed to be finished by 9 AM today? Don’t wait until your yearly review in six months to voice your frustration. At some point during that day or within that week (when you’ve calmed down and can speak in a non-threatening tone), sit down and explain what could be done in the future to prevent this from happening again. Mention that you could have given it the full attention it deserved if you had more time to work on it, instead of only doing the best you could with the time restraints given. There’s no guarantee that it won’t happen again, but at least you’ll feel better for having brought it to their attention.
4. Be a good listener.
- Dating: There’s nothing worse than making your partner feel like you couldn’t care less about what they’re saying. If you genuinely like the other person, then listening to them shouldn’t be a chore or something that you need to remind yourself to do. Open those ears and listen!
- Working: Your coworkers and you are all in it as a team, so stick together. If another employee is freaking out about a project or assignment, then lend a supportive ear and offer advice IF SPECIFICALLY ASKED. (Remember, sometimes venting is all that’s needed to de-stress).
5. Own up to wanting out.
- Dating: Maybe you’re tired of the relationship, so you want out. There’s nothing wrong with that, as circumstances change so do the people we’re around. Be honest with the other person about it and speak up. They’ll appreciate that effort a lot more than wondering why you’re suddenly not calling them anymore.
- Working: Are you tired of the job or the company you’re working for? Instead of making everyone around you work twice as hard because you’ve given up and lost motivation, find another job that does interest you. You’ll be happier, your ex-coworkers will be happier, and so will your ex-boss. Avoiding burning any bridges, though, because you never know what tomorrow may or may not bring!
6. Don’t make promises you can’t keep.
- Dating: Let’s say you promised your significant other you’d go to a baseball game with them on Thursday, but you couldn’t find someone to cover for you at work. Now they’re mad and not responding to your calls. Next time, instead of promising them something you know you have a 50/50 chance of actually doing, be honest with them from the beginning.
- Working: Don’t promise your coworker or boss you’ll accomplish a task if you have no intention of getting it done or if you know you won’t be able to get it done by the time they need it. It’s great to be the employee who volunteers for everything, but you’re only hurting yourself if you have a 25% shot of actually getting it done. It’s much better to be the employee who volunteers 50% of the time, but gets the job done 100% of the time.
7. Give it everything you’ve got all the time.
- Dating: Relationships take work, so they require time and energy to be successful. Don’t give up because things get tough (unless there’s absolutely no hope for making it work). If you’re not willing to put in the effort, then maybe you’re not with the person you’re meant to be with.
- Working: Some mornings, it may sound horrible to come in and put your nose to the grindstone (actually, I don’t know when that would ever sound enjoyable); but alas, you have to push through it. Do whatever it takes to shake off the cobwebs and focus on what’s at hand and do it. After all, that’s why they’re paying you.
8. Pay attention and express appreciation for positive things.
- Dating: Tell your other half when they do something that makes you smile. Chances are they’ll keep doing it if you like it, and the smiles and warm fuzzy feelings will keep on coming.
- Working: Bosses can regularly let staff know what they like most about job performances: what they appreciate, what makes them proud, and what could be improved. In turn, subordinates can show appreciation when their boss compliments them. It’s a sad truth, but managers are not required to commend employees for a job well done, so thank them when they do.
9. Accept others for who they are.
- Dating: It’s always easier to see the faults in others, but we all have them. Nobody is perfect, so remember that when you’re in a relationship. Either learn to tolerate minor quirks or, worst case scenario, start looking for someone with quirks you can deal with on a regular basis.
- Working: Everyone we work with is different, and it’s a huge challenge to accept them all. Why does Bob always bring a tuna sandwich to lunch? Does Maureen really need to file her nails every morning at 10:47? These quirks make us who we are, so take a deep breath and come to an understanding and accept them. You’ll be able to avoid arguments and quarrels in the future by admitting they’re different and moving on from there.
10. Treat others the way you want to be treated.
- Dating: If you don’t like having your texts or calls ignored, then make sure you respond to any communication that comes your way. On the flipside, respect your partner’s time alone if they need it, because a time will come where you’ll just want to hang out and veg out by yourself without being bugged. Think before you act!
- Working: If you don’t enjoy getting yelled at about missing a deadline, then don’t do it to your employees. Do you hate staying late? Then don’t expect anyone to enjoy staying late, either. Just because we’re not in kindergarten anymore doesn’t mean we can throw out all the lessons we learned.
Depending on your current mood, dating and working can either be viewed as time consuming and pointless or as awesome and a lot of fun. No matter which side of the fence you’re on, just know that there are other people involved, so be cool and don’t be “that” person we’ve all heard about.
Can you think of any other similarities between dating and working? Do you have any good tips for dating or getting psyched to work?