What to do if you find a coworker on a dating app

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  • If you use dating apps, it’s almost inevitable that you’ll come across the profile of one of your coworkers.
  • That can create an awkward situation, regardless of how well you know the coworker.
  • We asked dating and relationship experts what to do if you find a coworker on a dating app.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

It seems like everyone and their mother – literally – is on one dating app or another these days.

If you use dating apps, it’s almost inevitable that you’ll come across the profile of one of your coworkers.

And that can create an awkward situation, no matter if it’s your boss, someone you directly manage, or just a colleague you see in the break room.

We asked dating and relationship experts what you should do if you see your coworker on a dating app. Read on for their best five pieces of advice.


First off, there are plenty of reasons why you should not date that coworker

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No matter the scenario, even if you are interested in a coworker, it’s best to stay away from office romances, matchmaker and dating coach Julianne Cantarella told Business Insider.

“They only have the potential to become difficult and pose ethical issues, as most businesses have policies against dating a coworker,” she said.

She highlighted five big problems with dating a coworker:

  • You could get distracted and lose productivity
  • Coworkers could become judgmental or jealous
  • You could be accused of unethical behavior or misconduct
  • There could be a chance you end up competing for recognition
  • And if things go south, you’ll still have to see them frequently

Cantarella recommends that if you see a coworker on a dating app, simply swipe left and go on with your life.

“If you see someone you know online, it’s like being caught at the supermarket. You both know what you are there for. You just go about your business and move on,” she said.


As for how to react to the coworker, discretion is the safest bet

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“My advice is if you discover someone at your company on a dating app, mind your own business and keep it to yourself,” Bonnie Winston, a matchmaker and relationship expert, told Business Insider.

“It’s all about discretion, and that includes you and what you find out, so don’t spread it around the office. If a coworker comes to you and mentions they are on an app, then you can discuss it with them only. If you’re a boss and find that employees are on dating apps and it’s hampering productivity or distracting them from doing the job, you should ban it.”


Before you conclude anything from their profile, don’t assume it’s real

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Your coworker’s dating profile might contain some surprising information. But there’s always a chance it’s not even a real profile, Tammy Shaklee, founder and president of H4M Matchmaking, told Business Insider.

“Your coworker may be being catfished,” she said. “Not everything you see is true.”

Even if is their real profile, you shouldn’t draw any assumptions about your coworker without knowing the full story, said Keith and Dana Cutler of “Couples Court with the Cutlers.”

If you know your coworker is married or in a relationship, for example, they could have agreed to see other people, or they could be going through a trial separation and haven’t told anyone yet. Or, it could simply be an old dating profile they don’t use anymore.

“Any number of factors, unknown to you, may be in play, so you don’t want to immediately jump to conclusions,” the Cutlers said.


If you discover a coworker is LGBT, keep it to yourself

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“If you find out one of your colleagues identifies as LGBTQ+ on dating apps, but isn’t out with their identification at work, the first thing is to accept that there’s probably a good reason for it,” said Toby Hervey, cofounder and CEO of the career-coaching app Bravely, told Business Insider.

“They might be early in their journey of coming out or just a private person in general – don’t jump on the gossip train and start spreading what you discovered.”

Hervey also said that if the person hasn’t come out to coworkers, it might not just be a personal thing – “maybe your workplace culture is part of it,” he said.

If you manage the coworker directly, you can reflect on your own management style and whether you’re fostering their comfort in sharing more. If it’s your superior, although it may be even more tempting to share your discovery, respect your boss’ privacy and remember they are “human and vulnerable too,” Hervey said.

Regardless of who the coworker is, you can use the moment to help your workplace become more inclusive and a better place for everyone, no matter what level you are or what your relationship is like with them.


You can even take the opportunity to play matchmaker

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While dating someone in your company might not be a good idea, playing matchmaker might be.

“Since you now know they’re single and seeking, do you happen to know someone who might be a good match for them?” Shaklee said. “They may now be thinking the same thing.”

“If you ever see each other out and away from the workplace it might it be OK to mention, but there really isn’t a need to discuss, unless they bring it up first.”