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The Disney Diaries: Workplace Dating isn’t a Fairy Tale

The most popular fairy tale films usually have one thing in common; they were manufactured with the Walt Disney name, and always result (with the exception of Princess Merida) in the princesses finding her Prince Charming. Finding their prince is the dream of most women, including me, and Disney may seem like the perfect place to do it. But while I’ve gained mainly business-related knowledge from my time with the company, I have learned one very important lesson about workplace dating. Whether you believe it or not, work may not be the best place to search for the potential love of your life.

This entry of The Disney Diaries is going to be more on the personal side, so for the sake of my readers (and my family members reading!) I’m going to keep the details of my romantic tryst with a coworker on the general side. Imagine working at the happiest place on earth, surrounded by families and couples having the time of their lives. For a chronically single girl, the fairy tale dream can become even more present while working at Disney. And here is where we get into the story—in the first couple weeks of work I became close with several people, including a guy named Ryan*. Among the younger (and sometimes much older) cast members, spending Sunday at House of Blues’ Service Industry night is almost a religion. On one choice night, the atmosphere and my college party tendencies snuck up and Ryan and I became a little more than just work friends. And although nothing serious happened, word started spreading around our colleagues that more had taken place outside the House of Blues (which, for clarification, was completely untrue). The toxicity of constantly working together and having everyone around us talking about our business most of the time made things unravel quickly. In the end, despite having never started anything, working in the same environment made things uncomfortable and awkward, and left me wishing I had just never even had the thought.

Now of course, this won’t be the case for every workplace relationship. Two similar situations happened within our group, and both of those turned into actual relationships. There are a few keys to navigating workplace relationships and it is something to tread lightly with. For me, while I don’t regret making out with a coworker one night, I definitely believe I could’ve handle the situation much better. For starters, really evaluate how you feel about the person. Think long and hard about your feelings for that person, and then decide if the risk is worth taking. It’ll make things worse in the end if, like me, you realize you might not have the feelings you thought you did. After you’ve decided whether to go for it or not, choose a place to indulge in your whims that is far, far away from your coworkers. That was probably my biggest mistake—unless you can handle having everyone talk about your life and come up with ridiculously untrue rumors, make sure the first time you date or hook up with your coworker you do so in private. It can be incredibly exhausting and difficult to figure out your feelings when you’re constantly around the person, and while everyone else you work with is breathing down your neck.  

Don’t let my experience write you off to dating your coworkers, though. The main way to avoid my situation is to completely evaluate every part of the situation before indulging in a spur of the moment thought. No matter how things turn out, you can always turn to the Disney films for inspiration. While the majority of the princesses did find their man, Merida taught us you don’t need a man to be brave. And when all else fails, remember that even Tiana had to kiss a frog to find her prince. 

*name has been changed 

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