I know you have a computer at your office, but if you don’t have one at home, invest in a cheap laptop or a used computer, but don’t online date at the office. Keep your personal life and your office life separate. You may think that you’ve covered your tracks or that online dating after hours doesn’t count, but the headlines and dockets are full of folks who believed that e-mail
and computers are secure.
Not only will most companies object strenuously to doing personal stuff (strangely enough they expect you to do their work if you’re being paid), but they have access to anything done on their equipment. If I need to explain this any further, you need either a therapist or a parole officer.
Don’t get seduced in online “shopping”
As long as I’m on the subject, allow me to vigorously caution you to avoid dating people at your office or even going into elaborate detail on your online dating life. Work is always about competence, and everyone will know if something is going on. Sexual harassment is a legal issue. Flirting is a potential, if somewhat risky, way of waiting until one of you has a going away party and then you can pounce, but not before and never at the company Christmas party.
One of the most dramatic good news/bad news scenarios of Internet dating is that there are just so many options. Certainly that’s the major reason to indulge, but beware the seduction of the “Gee, I wonder who’s around the next e-mail corner” phenomenon. If you find somebody you like and you’ve had half a dozen dates, you may want to consider going offline for a while.
Don’t rely on humor or sexual innuendo
I can hear you saying that this heading must be a misprint: “My sense of humor is the best thing I have, and dating is all about sexy!” Take a deep breath here. You don’t know how strangers will interpret something as individual and personal as humor. Senses of humor can differ greatly depending on a person’s gender, age, culture, mood, or ethnicity or the context in which the humor is used. Given the fact that you’re not going to be privy to any of this up front, err on the side of safety by being as straightforward as possible.
You can be charming and witty, but be careful of innuendo or humor until you have eyeball-to-eyeball contact. That way, you can look each other in the eye and make sure that what you’re saying is going over. Humor and innuendo are intended to soften, lighten, and divert — you’re trying initially for clarity with very little possibility of is interpretation. The bottom line in all this is to stay focused: Remember what you’re doing — this should be fun, but you do need to stay focused. Make sure what you’re doing makes some sense.