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Dating expert explains the science behind being 'office hot'

Dating expert explains the science behind being 'office hot'

Ever wondered if someone is actually hot or just office hot?

Ever wondered if that guy or gal sitting across from you at your desk, who bumps into you in the staff kitchen or who faces you on a Zoom teams meeting is actually attractive or just appears to be hotter because they're in your workplace?

Well you're not alone, my friend, as the bizarre phenomenon is a real thing and it's even got a name - it's called being 'office hot'.

And while many of us could probably figure out what 'office hot' means given that it's pretty much exactly what it says on the tin - not many of us know the actual science behind it.

Dating expert Hayley Quinn explains what on earth 'office hot' is.
Ron Lach / Pexels

So, to clear some things up, we've chatted to dating coach, Hayley Quinn, to crack the science behind the fascinating situation and why on earth it even happens in the first place.

Firstly, let's define some terms.

Hayley explains: "Office hot is when you experience a strong attraction to someone you know through work, that if you met them in any other context would only be averagely attractive to you."

Think Stockholm Syndrome - but for fancying someone.

The logic behind it is pretty much all down to familiarity which, granted, isn't the most romantic ideal in the world but it does account for a lot when it comes to some major workplace crushing.

"Familiarity really does build attraction," Hayley says, "so if you see someone regular they may be more likely to get on your radar as someone you could potentially date."

Think of it like Stockholm Syndrome - but for fancying someone.
Svyatoslav Lypynskyy / Alamy Stock Photo

Effectively, by getting to know someone over a period of time, you stand a higher chance of recognising their good qualities - even if they're not your usual type.

The expert continued: "This is even more true if your wider dating life isn't delivering, and you don't have anywhere better to focus your attention."

And the phenomenon doesn't just stop in the office apparently.

The same logic can also be applied to a whole range of other scenarios; 'band hot', 'bartender hot' and even 'teacher hot'.

Hayley notes: "Office hot is really about becoming attracted to someone you come into regular contact with, particularly if they're outside of your normal type, or someone who you're not supposed to view romantically."

Unlike celebrity fantasies, it's highly unlikely you'll ever get to know who they really are.

But such figures like your local barista, professor or co-worker are people you see and interact with on a day-to-day setting.

"With someone you're attracted to at work, it will probably be based on lots of small interactions with them, and it's much more likely to become a real-world relationship," Hayley adds.

The dating coach does warn, however, that you need to think 'very carefully' before you take a next step with your office crush.

Office crushes are totally different to celebrity fantasies.
Pavel Danilyuk / Pexels

Okay - so you're crushing on someone who you reckon is 'office hot'. What do you do?

Well, Hayley advises such romantics to 'approach office crushes with caution'.

She continues: "Whilst plenty of people have met partners at work, for a lot of others it's a total no-go."

Hayley says we should also be self-ware as to what's giving you 'the feels'.

Such questions you should ask yourself include: "Do you really like them or is it because your last situationship just ended and you're looking for someone to switch your focus to?"

Naturally, there's always a risk with all office romances that they don't work out and could create a working environment that's so awkward that someone needs to change their career.

"If your feelings aren't reciprocated you also run the risk of making your coworker feel uncomfortable, and potentially reporting to HR," Hayley goes on.

"So unless you're getting plenty of feedback that they feel the same way, and really think this could be the real deal, take all that pent up energy and channel back into other areas of your dating life."

Do you really like them or are they just familiar?
olia danilevich / Pexels

It is clear, however, that many singletons do in fact struggle to keep their dating and romantic life separate from their professional life.

Hayley explains: "Meeting someone through work on some levels can feel easier: you've got the chance to really get to know one another, and you don't have to face putting yourself 'out there' into the world of dating.

"However, relationships in the workplace can at the best overstep personal boundaries and at the worst wreck havoc in an area of your life which would normally bring you stability."

Instead, the dating coach advises people to have good old think about how they can 'reduce any fear' they have have around meeting people through other channels.

If online dating isn't your vibe then why not take up a new hobby, join a club, say yes to social invites, or even take a sabbatical to go travelling and meet new people?

"There's a lot of other ways to grow your dating life, that don't carry the same risks of trying to meet someone through work," Hayley points out.

Well, guess we'll all be thinking differently about our current office crushes now.

Featured Image Credit: Svyatoslav Lypynskyy / Ammentorp Photography / Alamy Stock Photo

Topics: Sex and Relationships, Life