It’s easy enough to see why. In the workplace we are at our best, giving our all. And we are usually dressed pretty well too.
What’s more, we are always appraising the people around us, and this is as true of the most buttoned-up company as in the most casual enterprise. My guess is it’s even more so in buttoned-up places, because the less that information is openly shared, the more you need to make evaluations of your colleagues merely for self-protection.
We size people up as human beings, as workers, as allies, as bearers of traits we like, as attractive specimens, as…potential dating or mating material. To deny it is to lie, although the indices by which we perform this appraisal might differ from person to person. I have worked in organizations large and small, and we’ve always played the assessment game.
We’re always making assessments of people even when we don’t mean to. That’s what stereotypes are. Especially in the primordial muck, they had survival value. How much more charming to make people assessment a social activity and add the potential useful views of others, our colleagues.
This assessment game crosses gender and age lines in too many ways for it to be exclusively a function of mating. Everyone does it; different people carry it out with differing degrees of discretion. Or perception.
These days we see more of, and more sides of, our colleagues than ever before. So if in making these appraisals two people find that the columns line up, and their affinities are staring them in the face….
(that's something actually good from Psychology Today!)