THE BRAZEN CAREERIST- Meet market: How girls can find someone at work
The workplace is a minefield of sexual tension. Where else do you lock up people of the opposite sex for eight hours a day and tell them to talk to each other but not touch?
It's normal to have a crush on someone at work and normal for people to tell you not to act on it. And it's normal to throw caution to the wind. More than 50 percent of the population is dating someone from work.
So if you're going to do it, here are some ways to get the guy:
1. Flirt verbally
Most men can't read nonverbal cues. They mistake a friendly smile as a sexual overture. But men also miss nonverbal signs of sexual interest: "When images of gals meant to show allure flashed onto the screen, male students mistook the allure as amicable signals."
At work, there will be even more missed cues. And if your office is full of knowledge workers, paid to synthesize information, the missed cues will probably be even higher, because research about Asperger's syndrome tells us that children's brains learn this skill early in life and kids who seem to think like a young Einstein often have Asperger's syndrome: the side of their brain for logic, spatial abilities, and memorizing grows at the expense of the side of the brain for reading nonverbal social cues.
So the cluelessness of men when it comes to reading sexual overtones is actually on a spectrum, and the higher their abilities on the IQ side of the brain, the more extreme their inability to read nonverbal sexual cues.
2. If he's interested, play hard to get
If you know a guy is interested, make him work to get you. The male need for the chase is so strong that it even happens in lab mice. And we know that both men and women do not take relationships seriously if there's no chase– only three percent of couples who have sex on first dates end up getting married.
So you're going to have to play hard to get at work if you want more from the guy than just a fling.
(Interesting note about the chase: Most women intuitively play hard to get, until they find Mr. Right, and then men and women want to have sex— and violate societal sex norms— at the same rate.)
3. Don't make the first move if you're not the same age
Roughly 80 percent of both sexes are willing to make the first move. But when the man and woman are not in the same age group, men usually make the first move at work.
In a study of long-term relationships between older women and younger men, more than 95 percent of the men made the first move.
And research from University of California Santa Cruz shows an almost institutionalized way for older men to make the first move is to initiate a productive mentoring relationship with a woman and follow up with a sexual overture.
So if the guy is your age, buy the book Office Mate, a handbook for making passes at co-workers. If the guy is not your age, play hard to get.
And either way, remember that the average worker today changes jobs every 18 months, so if things go bad dating at work, you'll find a new job soon enough anyway.
And in the end, figuring out if you want to be involved with someone at work might be harder than actually making it happen.