DEAR VEXED: I’m working hard and am on track for promotion. The only problem is that a beautiful woman has joined the company and I cannot stop thinking about her. You could call it a crush – I’m worried it’s an obsession. I can barely concentrate. What should I do? Mark, 32, wealth manager
FIRST of all, breathe. It’s not Armageddon, it’s a crush (or obsession, or whatever you want to call it). It’s not abnormal: your new colleague is hot, you fancy her and it’s distracting you. There’s nothing wrong with the crush. What we need to work on his how it affects you.
At the moment, it’s making you blush and distracting you from work. The former we can cope with, the latter is not sustainable. So, your first priority must be to develop strategies for controlling your thoughts. Allocate daydreaming times and be strict with yourself. Think about how you’d do anything to rip her clothes off in the boardroom while you are grabbing your sandwich at lunch. But as soon as you’re back in the lift at work, start thinking about something else. Force yourself to picture an email you need to respond to, or envisage an important meeting you have coming up that you need to prepare for. Every time your mind slips or protests, drag it back to that senior portfolio manager you want to impress.
As for dealing with the crush, if you think you have a hope in hell with this woman, then you need to proceed very carefully. Office romances are a dodgy business and detrimental if handled in a slapdash way. Once you’ve got over the initial fervour of your feelings, allow a natural, professional relationship to develop with her so that you can tell if you genuinely do like her or if it’s just a physical fixation. Only once you’ve developed a firm footing for taking things further can you proceed without seeming like a total sleazeball. Invite her out for drinks, keep it light, and see if there’s scope for development. Whatever you do, keep it cool, even if your feelings are hot.