Valentine’s Day office etiquette: Is it inappropriate to talk about your significant other at work?

 Valentine's Day is coming up soon and while celebratory displays of affection might be encouraged, it's important to be aware of how much you talk about your significant other in the office. Niraj Kapur, a LinkedIn trainer, TEDx speaker, and author of Business Growth: Lessons Learned from Divorce, Dating and Falling In Love, advises that it is okay to mention your loved one in moderation. For example, when talking about the weekend, it can be natural to mention your partner. Additionally, if you are a manager, it can be appropriate to bring up your partner when it is relevant to a conversation you are already having with your team. For example, when your staff is unsure of their abilities, you could discuss your ex-wife’s journey from immigrant to success to show your staff what they can achieve with the right attitude.

It is generally acceptable to praise your partner in small doses, but it is never okay to publicly put them down. It is best to avoid getting laughs at the expense of your partner by pointing out things like fashion sense or political views as this could lead to discomfort. Furthermore, there are three topics that should be avoided in the workplace at all costs - sex, politics, and religion. 

If worried about talking about your love life too much, it is recommended to follow the 80:20 rule - 80% of conversation should be work-related and the other 20% can be personal. However, it is possible to be open and vulnerable while still maintaining a professional setting. For example, talking about how your partner helped you overcome a difficult situation, such as speaking on stage or becoming a manager, can be a positive way to talk about your loved one in an office. This can help others open up, create trust and bring a more human element to workplace interaction.

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