Valentine's Day in the office can sometimes feel like an etiquette minefield. Everywhere you look there are flowers and candies, but celebrating the holiday too enthusiastically can sometimes put you on the wrong side of office propriety.
While the holiday celebrates love, statistically, you probably want to skip on the office romance. According to CareerBuilder, only 31 percent of workplace relationships end in an "I do." Plus, office breakups can make life difficult for everyone involved.
But even for the lucky office lovebirds who do make it down the aisle, Valentine's Day is no time to flaunt your good fortune. While you might be used to wearing your heart on your sleeve come Valentine's Day, the office environment means tempering some of your more dramatic romantic gestures.
This doesn't mean, however, that Valentine's Day in the office needs to be a drag. Here are some tips on how to show your coworkers you appreciate them without stepping over any lines:
1. Keep it professional. On the NBC sitcom The Office, salesman Jim always had a huge crush on receptionist Pam. You might imagine yourself and your office crush as a real life Jim and Pam just waiting to happen. Likely, however, you are not. While it's possible your crush is just waiting for you to make the first move, it's much more likely they just want to come to work without awkward tension. Regardless, Valentine's Day isn't the time to find out. Rein in your office crushes and avoid romantic gestures in order to stay professional and avoid making people uncomfortable.
2. Send friendly cards. If you're going to send a Valentine's card, don't send a mushy romantic one. While ecards are great, there's a reason we still like holding a physical card. If you're going to give coworkers a card for the holiday, make sure it's a friendly or funny card, not romantic. Keep in mind not all of your coworkers will share your sense of humor, so make sure to keep it appropriate.
3. Don't be a showoff. You got flowers and you're psyched. But if you then proceed to take your flowers on a victory tour around the office, it's likely the congratulations you receive will be less than sincere. Remember that, for many people, Valentine's Day is less of an exciting holiday and more a day to be endured. While it's great you received flowers, it's important to tone down your smug levels.
4. Don't be a Debbie Downer. On the opposite side, you don't want to be the Debbie Downer talking about the impermanence of love when everyone is just trying to eat their candy hearts. Love might be bringing you down this year, but that's no reason to rain on anyone else's parade.
5. Bring in sweets. Bringing in cake or candy can be a great way to appropriately celebrate the holiday-everyone loves free food. If you go this route, try to bring in food everyone can enjoy and be sure to bring enough for your whole team. You never know: the way to your coworkers' hearts might just be through their stomachs. A little sweet-tooth goodwill can certainly go a long way towards improving your office relationships.
6. Plan your big day of romance on your own time. You got into work, looked at the heart on the calendar, and went into a cold sweat. You forgot Valentine's Day and if you don't plan something, your sweetie at home is going to have a not-so-sweet reaction. Don't wait until the last minute to plan your day with your valentine, forcing you to make reservations while everyone else is working. We're all human and sometimes absent-minded, so if you do forget, just be sure to make your last-minute plans on your own time at lunch or on break.
7. Keep your office romance out of the office. If you're in a relationship with someone else in the office, don't use Valentine's Day as an excuse for PDA. You'll see each other when the clock strikes five, so keep it professional before then.