When you think of romance and meeting someone new what comes to mind?
A chance encounter on vacation, a wild and stormy romance after reuniting with your old flame? Maybe even something more low-key like being introduced to someone through a friend who you really hit it off with and begin dating.
Regardless, your office probably isn’t the first place that comes to mind. Whether you work in an office full of computers, teach at a university, or spend your days working in a restaurant kitchen it’s not exactly your vision of a place love can bloom.
But it does happen. Actually, it happens quite a lot.
No matter the rules against dating a coworker that may exist, many future romances start at work.
What starts off as simple work interactions can soon develop into more. First, the cute lady two doors down help you treat a paper cut and two years later you’re putting a ring on her finger.
It can happen, really (not to me, yet, but I’ve learned that anything is possible in life, plus I work remotely as a digital nomad so I’m probably more likely to end up with another badass digital nomad or an online romance – they do say to dream big, right?)
Here’s the thing though.
At work, there are a lot of interactions which are part of the job. Being nice and friendly isn’t always an invitation to flirt. In fact, it often isn’t.
There’s a difference between a female colleague showing she’s into you and her just making a joke with you at lunch.
And you need to learn that difference if you don’t want to strike out in embarrassing and potentially legally liable ways (just joking … maybe).
If you’re getting a lot of mixed signals – or what seems like mixed signals to you then you’re probably pretty confused. You’re wondering if your female colleague is just naturally a bit flirtatious or whether she’s angling in on you.
So how can you tell?
It’s not always easy and you have to rely on your instincts and natural man skills, but there are also ways to avoid interpreting the situation wrong.
Don’t make a move if you really have no idea whether she actually likes you. It could honestly be disastrous and make the rest of your time at the job a humiliating grind.
So, is your work friend going to become your work wife and maybe even eventually your real wife?
Here’s how to clear away your doubts and clarify whether your colleague really wants to go out with you or if she’s just being nice.
Here are 18 signs a female coworker likes you.
1) She’s all smiles around you (but not necessarily everyone else)
Like many other things in life, this is all about nuance.
Some people smile a lot – at everyone. If this seems to be your female colleague then you should not read too much into her showing you her pearly whites as well.
But if her body language and smiling noticeably picks up around you that’s when your romance radar should start pinging.
Look for a little “boost” that happens around you, like upping the contrast on your computer screen. Does she suddenly get a bit brighter and switch into a new mode?
Does her smile perk up and get even wider or her frown turn upside down?
When we see something we like we smile, so if you like her too then smile right back.
2) She’s around you more than her job requires
If the female coworker in question is around you a lot more than her job requires then there’s a good chance something is going on there.
You go to get a drink at the water cooler? Boom, she’s there.
You’re just wondering where to go for lunch and bingo she shows up and is curious about where you’re going, too?
I have friends who’ve met their significant other at work and this is often how it started: simple interactions, lunches together, and more time at work that started to deepen into a relationship.
Usually, there is a spark there right away, but you may have felt awkward about it.
Or wondered if it was allowed. You wanted to keep things professional.
But if she is reaching out to you and showing up everywhere you go then it could be the perfect time to give love a chance.
3) She wants your help more than necessary
If you work together in a similar department or area then it’s natural that your colleagues are going to ask your help.
But if a female coworker (or more than one female coworker, who am I to judge?) is seeking out your help frequently and more than necessary then she’s probably into you.
She’s asking you to check things, fix things, give her advice, and generally just triggering the heck out of your hero instinct. And it’s probably turning you on (as is to be expected).
Are you working in a clothing store and she just can’t seem to stop holding out shirts to see how they look on you so that she knows what to recommend to customers?
Is she asking you what you think of dresses in the women’s section and prancing in front of the mirror giving you sexy glances?
This stuff is already getting mighty spicy for a relationship advice article: I can feel the sexual tension from here!
4) She wants to take things outside
If she reaches out to meet outside work then at the very least you can count on the fact that she wants to be friends.
And possibly – maybe even probably – more.
I know that I’ve made good friends and dated a couple of girls from work that started out as friends and this is how it usually began. A casual invitation to go out for drinks as a group, or to meet up one on one at a local concert or cafe.
Start with this kind of thing and go from there. Let the romance – or friendship – flow.
As you talk more, maybe dance, maybe do karaoke, or go bowling you’re going to find out for sure whether there’s a real shot at romance or just a good pal in the offing.
Even if she only wants to be friends there’s always a very real chance that her friend shows up to a pub night and ends up being your dream girl.
Why not take a chance?
5) She’s clumsy and it’s super sexy
You know when some big guy bumps into you when you’re in line at the grocery store? It’s annoying as hell. You have to draw on all your Zen teachings and knowledge of finding inner peace to refrain from turning into a giant douchebag.
With a girl you like at work it’s basically the opposite.
Every clumsy bump she gives you is a little shot of love juice. You’re frying in rascally romance every time she brushes your arm or happens to lean over and touch you with her hair.
She trails her hand languidly on yours as she hands you a document from the printer and her eyes linger on yours.
Was that touch really accidental?
Well, to play Devil’s advocate: maybe it really was.
But when it just happened for the twentieth time and she winked at you? Probably not my friend, probably not.
Welcome to the big leagues.
6) She’s laser-targeted on flirting with you
As unromantic as it sounds, flirting can be a way to pass time. Especially if your job isn’t exactly the most … fascinating and fun … endeavor in the world.
So don’t assume that your female colleague flirting with you means she sees hearts in her eyes.
Even if she literally sends you a heart-eyes emoji.
Many a person’s heart and soul have been crushed upon the altar of misinterpreting or overreading heart-eyes emojis. Take my warning on that one.
But still, if this female coworker is flirting all over you and not anyone else then you have to start asking yourself whether she might be just a little bit into you.
Don’t jump straight out and declare your love, play it cool.
But don’t overlook the constant flirting and the signs that she’s laser-targeted on getting your attention and interest: you can even dish some right back out at her.
Just try to think of something sexier than complimenting her on the work she’s doing. After all, you’re the guy who’s into her, not her boss (well, maybe you are her boss, but if so that’s a whole other article about power dynamics and the importance of understanding boundaries for another time).
7) She’d win on Jeopardy! if it was about you
Imagine there was an episode of Jeopardy! that was all trivia about you and your amazing life. And interests. And beliefs. And … everything.
Now imagine this female colleague of yours was on that show. Imagine how sexy she would look under those bright lights as she perused the categories of your dramatic and inspiring life? Think of her shirt clinging to those delicious curves as she –
Ok wait, I got a little off track there (maybe I should pursue a career in erotic fiction, instead).
But to go back: how would she do on a trivia show all about you?
If she knows everything about you and remembers all these small details you tell her (that have nothing to do with work) then she’s almost definitely into you.
This just isn’t the type of thing a gal does when she sees a guy as a lovable work teddy or an office mate rando.
She remembers your favorite food, the time you skinned your knee when you fell out of a tree as a kid, the fact that you detest some sports team.
This woman almost seems to know more about you than you know about yourself.
I can almost hear the wedding bells chiming.
8) She wants to maximize time with you outside of work
In addition to seeking you out at work, flirting with you, and all the rest, this lady who’s into you is also going to try to maximize time with you outside of work.
When you meet up she’ll already be asking you about your schedule and when you can meet next.
She’ll want to know all about what you like to do and plan something together around that.
She’ll use the word together, meet up, and similar terms frequently. She may even just straight up ask you out.
When you try to get more professional by pulling out charts from work she’s going to stroke your arm and make it clear this is about far more than professional courtesy – and things other than your charts are going to start going up, believe me.
Everyone can see that you’re a corporate fairytale come true, why not just embrace it?
9) She dresses up for you and loves your compliments
Everybody loves to look good, especially your lovely female colleagues. But if she’s dressing up extra these days and lingering around your work area then there’s a chance she’s doing it for you.
To get a fix on this one you need one added ingredient: she brightens up every time you compliment her.
If she acts kind of indifferent or uncomfortable and hurries away briskly then that dressing up wasn’t for you, I’m sorry to say.
But if she pauses and you can tell the blush on her cheeks is more than just makeup then you’ve hit a nerve (well, technically I guess the heart isn’t a nerve, but you get my point).
She covets your compliments and basks in them.
She suntans in your sugar-coated words of wonder. Wow, take note. This thing is on.
10) Everyone knows it but you
When there’s a workplace romance brewing everyone can feel it.
They can smell it like a freshly-brewed cup of coffee in the morning. And they’ll let you know.
“Man, did you see the way Cindy was checking you out yesterday? She is so into you,” your workmate tells you.
What you might have once shrugged off is now time to pay attention to.
Because if everyone around is saying there’s something going on and you’re the last one to know then there’s a very good chance that they’re onto something.
Plus, even if they’re wrong you can always blame them if you take a chance and it goes wrong. I’m joking, of course, ain’t nobody got time for that kind of toxic work environment …
But pay attention to the rumor mill, my friend. You could also be hearing that she likes you from the grapevine of people she’s actually told about her attraction to you, so it could be far more than just a rumor.
11) She’s very curious about your love life
Now, you may just have a very fascinating love life, I don’t know.
But even so, if this female colleague is very interested in your love life and personal circumstances then there’s a very solid bet that she might be hoping to tap into an emotional connection with you.
She also might be trying very basic things like finding out if you’re single, what you’re open to romantically, and whether she’s your type.
You can tell her as much or as little as you want, but do your best not to slot into a friend zone where you just dish to her about every aspect of your love life.
Make an effort to remain a bit of a mystery.
Do you see James Bond spilling his guts about his romantic disappointments?
There’s time for that once you’re cuddled up on vacation six months into a serious relationship, for now, stick to the seduction.
12) She gives you thoughtful gifts
Women are masters at knowing just what we need, aren’t they?
When I think about a lot of the most thoughtful gifts I’ve received so many of them were from women (well, mostly my mom and my sister but … yeah, where was I going with this).
Women tend to be deeply intuitive and know what you need. They love to show that they care by giving you thoughtful little gifts.
Or even big gifts.
But generally, we’re talking about small, kind gifts that brighten your day and make you feel a little buzz of happiness.
Even on a grey workday when the world seems determined to make your life a living hell she’s there with a present that just somehow almost makes you want to cry.
This one’s a keeper, I can feel it …
13) She butters you up
Men love compliments as much as the next guy, and I know that speaking for myself I have rarely received a compliment that didn’t make me feel good on some level.
When your female colleague is into you she’s going to butter you up.
Not in a fake way, and not like a croissant she’s about to chow down on, but more like a delectable Belgian waffle that she wants to drizzle butter and syrup all over wearing nothing but her apron …
How does it feel being a waffle? Feels pretty good, right?
Give her some compliments back, but try to make them about more than just her appearance. Shower praise on some deeper aspects of her personality or the ways you appreciate her.
She’ll get the message loud and clear.
14) You have inside jokes galore
You know the only thing better than jokes? Inside jokes.
There’s just something about them. Especially with someone you love and care about. It’s like a secret laughter language you have between you.
Being able to laugh together is actually really special. It’s the sign of two people who have learned to love themselves and be open to the world.
Laughter comes from a place of communication and integration. It’s when you’re on the same page.
And it feels good, just like you knew it would.
(Sorry, that was an inside joke between me and that incredible-looking blond Ph. D student who is reading this article right now. It looks like we both share an interest in spirituality and self-development which is really cool! I just wanted to ask: what are you up to this Saturday night?)
15) She lets you in on her secret self
Most women (and men, for that matter) have a lot of layers (pro-tip: ask me about my layers).
It’s not that they’re faking it, it’s just that they have their public, “work” self and their private, personal self.
Women in today’s “modern” professional world are usually highly skilled at keeping their public and private self separate.
The one that comes out when they bawl their eyes out at a Ryan Gosling romance movie.
Or see a really cute animal. Or stare out the window on a rainy day and think about that one guy that got away and how different things could be (pro-tip: I’m still here, babe).
If she lets you in on that side of her, the private, personal side then you know she’s into you.
If she shares her secrets and innermost thoughts and beliefs then you can safely assure yourself that you have entered a whole new world than the one that normally occurs once you enter through the front door of work.
Savor that connection and don’t let her trust be misplaced.
16) She wants to know your core values and future plans
There are some people who like to get into philosophical talks or discuss ideas, and it’s really cool.
But if it’s getting a little more personal than that and your work colleague is asking about you personally and really drilling down into your core values and beliefs then you have a good indication she wants to hope aboard a love cruise with you.
These are the kind of questions someone asks of a potential partner, not just a pal at work.
Is she asking your convictions on religion and spirituality? What you believe is the meaning of life? What your future plans are?
She’s definitely checking out your soul.
Do you feel naked and exposed? Hopefully, you feel excited and engaged. This could be the beginning of a really epic love journey.
17) She sends you cute emails and memos
We’ve all experienced those short choppy emails from colleagues or overly dry and informative work emails.
But the working woman who’s into you will not be doing this.
She will be utilizing emojis. She will be sending you jokes (inside jokes, even).
She will be deploying her full toolbox of strategies to make your inbox the least depressing it can be.
If she sends you chain emails that threaten you with bad luck for not passing them on then low-key mute her email and never talk to her again.
I’m joking, I’m joking. (Maybe).
What, I’m sorry Melanie, that was 10 years ago, I just don’t like chain emails …
(Excuse my digression, personal issue from the past)
18) She asks about your future with the company
If she’s your boss or work superior then she might just be wondering whether you’re about to jump ship.
But she also could be assessing whether you’re in it for the long haul. Because she wants to work on exploring that connection she feels with you.
Never feel pressured to stay in a job because of a romantic interest, but at the same time see this for what it is: she likes you.
And she’s hoping you’ll stick around. Or at least stay in touch.
So, will you?
So now that you have some crib notes on office romance it’s time to put them into action. Think about the situation you’re in now with a female colleague: is she displaying a lot of these behaviors?
If so it may be time to switch from work to pleasure.
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