If you’re trying to impress a woman in your office, you’re not alone—57 percent of people have had some kind of personal relationship with a colleague, be it a quick fling or an ongoing long-term relationship, according to Vault’s Office Romance Survey.
Typically, office romances become a thing between two people working in the same department (36 percent) or in nearby offices or cubicles (28 percent). But other coworkers hit it off at happy hours and office parties (26 percent) and while working on the same project (21 percent). In total, 34 percent of business pros think social media and “productivity” tools like Facebook and Slack have made pursuing and hiding romantic interests a lot easier, since they no longer have to rely on flirting being relegated to work emails, in-office encounters or happy hours.
In fact, 10 percent of the survey’s respondents even met their spouses or current partners at work, so people do it successfully. If you’re looking to lock down an office romance yourself, you’re probably already thinking about what you’re wearing to work. But have you thought about the message your office, cubicle or desk space tells her about you? You should. Read on.
Family photos: You’ve got photos of the family into which you were born or the family you’ve created hanging on the walls of your office or sitting on your desk.
What they say: In the case of the former, that you have healthy, loving relationships with your family, which is always appealing. In the case of the latter, that you are, most likely, off-limits. For better or worse, that may appeal to certain women. But assuming you are not married and looking for love, make sure everyone knows you’re a single dad or that photo of the little girl on your desk is your niece… Then play up the “funcle” card.
Sticky notes galore: You’ve got endless sticky notes with your own language scribbled all over them tacked all over your monitor and piled up on your desk.
What they say: You’re an old-fashioned kinda guy who doesn’t need an app to plan out his life or send him reminders, but… you’re probably also the dude who’ll forget his own anniversary and back out of date nights when you accidentally overbook yourself.
Action figures: These could be action figures of any kind—from Ninja Turtles to G.I. Joes to Buzz Lightyears.
What they say: You’re a man-child. Which can be endearing, assuming you demonstrate maturity in other ways.
Inspirational quote posters: You know those posters with inspirational quotes overlaying the picturesque scene of an ocean, meadow, sunset or empty road? That’s what we mean.
What they say: You’re the guy who walks around speaking in bumper stickers only. You’ve probably got a side gig as a personal trainer or life coach—and you’ll be absolutely zero fun to have dinner with because you don’t eat carbs or red meats or saturated fats or anything too… tasty.
Basketball hoop: You’ve got a basketball hoop that hangs on the door of your private office.
What it says: You’ve got your own office, so there’s that. It means you’ve been able to find success while still maintaining a sense of humor and fun—you haven’t sacrificed all your playtime, which means you’re probably not willing to sacrifice playtime with your partner, either.
Plants: Living plants (as opposed to dead ones, which mean something very different).
What they say: You’ve managed to keep something alive while keeping a job, which means that maybe you’d be able to keep a child alive and still be a decent working parent. Plants just speak to women’s ovaries. Succulents and air plants that require little attention are less impressive, but they’re still proof that you give a shit about other living things.
Calendar: You’ve pinned one of those calendars with a different photo for each month to your bulletin board.
What it says: While the type of calendar does matter (does it have cat photos, naked women or cars?) you’re probably organized and plan ahead. You like to be able to see the coming weeks laid out so you can plan your life (and your life with your girl) and make sure that there’s time for everything and everyone.
No decorations: The most you have in your office or on your desk is some paper clips, a stapler and a box of tissues.
What it says: You’ve got no personality or you simply don’t care enough. And if you don’t care enough about the place you spend a big chunk of your day, do you really care about anything at all?