I am intern in the niche finance firm where everyone knows each other because it is so small. He is 10 years older than me and my senior but not my direct boss. I will leave the firm soon, in less than a month.

I ask him about his fund from time to time and he keeps on saying we should get coffee after after discussing the funds. He also asked me for coffee the first time he met me. I checked his FB and he does not seem to have a wife/lover/children.

We only met 2 weeks ago. I will be moving in May to a new London firm in a closely related industry.

Is there any way I could pursue a professional/romantic relationship without losing reputation? I assume if I pursued him romantically and it failed, he would no doubt tell his boss X, who is my boss and X will likely be writing a reference for me. Also, even if I no longer work at the firm and he is working there, it will still be awkward because that firm's exployees might meet me again in the future.

He looks at me from time to time. He is quite soft spoken, not outgoing at all. He is from Canada and his parents/siblings live there too.

  • 3
    What do you mean with "we should get coffee afterwards"? After the internship? Or after work/ a project?
    – Orbit
    Apr 21, 2023 at 10:07
  • 2
    Seems that title and question do not match?
    – LoremIpsum
    Apr 21, 2023 at 12:15
  • 2
    Hi, welcome to workplace.SE! Unfortunately, your question is rather unclear and likely to be closed. In particular: What does "the niche finance firm" mean? And you ask about "a professional/romantic relationship" - these are two very different things. Which do you want? Finally, what makes you think you may lose reputation, and with whom? Please edit to clarify
    – sleske
    Apr 21, 2023 at 13:19
  • 10
    professional/romantic is not a thing. It is 2 things.
    – Tiger Guy
    Apr 21, 2023 at 13:45
  • 2
    @BobaFit, the power differential increases the difficulty of defending sexual harassment charges
    – Tiger Guy
    Apr 21, 2023 at 15:54

4 Answers 4


There is no safe way for a senior person, a person to whom others report, to have a romantic relationship with an intern in their firm. Others may accuse him of offering you career boosts in exchange for the relationship. He can't risk that accusation even if he would never do such a thing.

Since you say he has suggested coffee, and you intend to leave the firm, there is nothing wrong with something like this, either next time he mentions it or on your own initiative:

I'd love to get together for that coffee after my internship is complete. Should I email your [company name] address or is there a better contact method to use?

Presumably you know their email address already. They may offer you a cell phone number, a private email address, or whatever. They may ask for your contact info instead, which means they would prefer you not contact them, but wait for them to contact you.

By specifically noting that you intend to wait until you are no longer an intern, you remove one of the possible explanations for such a coffee meeting: you won't be looking for a professional discussion about your intern work. This still doesn't automatically make it a romantic situation: it could be, but you might want to network towards future opportunities, learn more about your industry, etc. While you are still both working at the same place, don't clarify that you are interested in something romantic.

Should the manager agree to provide you contact info, and should the coffee meeting happen, you can then establish whether you're hoping for a romantic or a professional relationship. They're very different.


Is there any way I could pursue a professional/romantic relationship without losing reputation?

Of course. Just be patient.

You are leaving soon. Once that happens, pursue away.

Until then, friendly, professional, but not romantic.


You ask him to coffee by having a business/career reason to talk to him and asking if he'd be willing to discuss it over coffee.

Don't confuse interest in you as a friend and mentor with interest in more than that. Even if something more was there, you will not have a romantic relationship with him while you are in his chain of management; that would be a good way to get him fired. And at two weeks you don't even know each other; it's premature to even think about anything serious.

Your fantasies are your own business. But you are jumping the gun by months at least, and quite likely misreading the situation. Back off. If something real exists, it can wait. If it can't wait, it isn't real.


Putting this bluntly: your manager is just being polite. He is not interested in a romantic relationship.

If you're happy with that, by all means go for a coffee with him and talk work. Networking is important.

  • Then why did nobody else ask me. I have asked my female colleagues out for Coffee but so far nobody except for the men have asked me. And I am a woman.
    – user139608
    Apr 21, 2023 at 9:04
  • So how do I know if man has romantic interest in me
    – user139608
    Apr 21, 2023 at 9:05
  • 1
    In a workplace context, unless you are 110% sure that someone is actually interested romantically, you behave purely professionally. Apr 21, 2023 at 9:08
  • 2
    What does 110% romantic interest look like?
    – user139608
    Apr 21, 2023 at 9:33
  • 2
    If he suggested to go for a coffee after the internship, then I think he is interested romantically, why else wait until after the internship?
    – Orbit
    Apr 21, 2023 at 12:15

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