QMy co-worker asked me on a date. Whether I’m interested or not, what is the appropriate way to respond?


AWhile workplace dating can be fraught with many perils, a surprising 51 percent of professionals say they have partaken in a workplace romance, according to a study by Vault.com. So, what is a mannerly person to do? The answer is easy if you’re not interested in dating your co-worker. Just as you would with someone outside of work who asks you out, kindly, but clearly, state you’re not interested.

If you are interested in this colleague, find out first whether your company has a policy against dating among coworkers. If not, weigh the pros and cons of pursuing a romantic relationship. Will you be able to remain productive at work? Will it lead to conflicts of interest? How will you feel if the relationship ends? If you believe you can handle all of these potential landmines, then say “yes” to the potential Romeo or Juliet. But say “no” to displays of affection at the office. Your coworkers will thank you.


Arden Clise is a business-etiquette trainer and author of Spinach in Your Boss’s Teeth: Essential Etiquette for Professional Success. Visit her website at cliseetiquette.com.