The Award Winning News Publication of Mercy College

The Impact

The Award Winning News Publication of Mercy College

The Impact

The Award Winning News Publication of Mercy College

The Impact

Relationships In The Classroom Not Always The Wisest

By Ashley Neff

Boy meets girl. Boy pursues girl. Girl falls head over heels for boy.

It takes work to make it work. Relationships are among one of the most difficult things to develop and maintain. Each relationship is different in its own way, and because everyone’s personalities differ, it is more difficult to fall in love.

And if the local bar isn’t cutting it, try a classroom or a cubicle.

Office and classroom romances are not uncommon, and in fact becoming more acceptable. For the unemployed college student, classroom romances are more possible.

However with each budding relationship comes a risk.

Office and classroom environments provide opportunities to meet new people and interact with those whom you would not normally speak with.

Laurie Puhn, relationship communications expert, family lawyer-mediator, and author of “Instant Persuasion: How to Change Your Words to Change Your Life,” finds that those surroundings are the most realistic, as opposed to a bar scene.

“…when you get to know someone at work, or in a classroom setting, you are able to assess their intelligence and personality in a real setting, as opposed to on a date when the person is on show for you,” said Puhn, who has also been on Fox News sharing her expertise on relationships and the male and female mindsets.

Puhn points out, “Two people in a class or office also have something automatically in common – they are both dealing with the same class or workplace issues. This gives them an easy conversation opener at any time.”

Getting involved with a co-worker or someone seen on a daily or weekly basis often makes it easier, Puhn added. According to Vault’s office romance survey taken in January of 2008, 82 percent have known of an office romance between two co-workers as well as 50 percent know of at least one couple who eventually married. Nearly half said they’ve had an office romance themselves.

Out of the 1,000 people who responded to the survey, 20 percent met their spouses or long-term significant others at work.

When chatting next to the water cooler turns into an every day routine and feelings start to flourish, these secret relationships may have a downfall.

As a result of spending so much time together in an office, a good working relationship between co-workers may evolve into a full blown romance. Inner-office relationships can be a dream come true or an impending nightmare.

In February of 2008, the Buffalo News’ Sharon Linstedt reported that 53 percent of respondents to their office relationship survey said their companies had no policies on employee relationships. One-third said they didn’t know what their companies’ dating guidelines were. Many companies have dating regulations due to legality matters.

“The reason an office relationship is considered risky is that it has legal consequences for the company. There are often employee guidelines forbidding secret office relationships,” says Puhn.

The grounds behind forbidding work relationships are due to sexual harassment claims. Companies do not want to get sued for sexual harassment by one of their workers, therefore constructing office romance contracts.

If an employee gets involved with a co-worker, and feelings get drawn in, things can get sticky. The relationship may be peachy until they have an argument outside of work, and then have to see each other the following day. The same pertains to college students. Puhn continues, “… there is also the possibility that they break up and continue to have to work on a project together, which could be awkward.”

However, there is hope for the classroom/cubicle romantic. Behavioral Science major, Kelleyann Royce, met her husband through working at a school. As it turns out, their place of work was in fact, a classroom, making their relationship even more special.

“I think relationships in the college classroom and at work can work out – it’s a lot of time spent together which is nice but if not handled properly, can be a downfall.”

This ongoing debate on whether office and classroom relationships are logical may never cease. Some may not let their superior influence their personal lives while others will follow the policies. Classrooms do not have any type of legality preventing students from dating, another reason why so many co-eds find themselves dating someone in one of their classes.

Royce added, “Here’s to all the lovers on campus – make it work for you!”

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