The Office is one comedy series that masterfully pushes the boundaries of cringe while also maintaining a lot of heart. For 9 seasons, the workplace mockumentary centers itself around the dynamics between co-workers, including many office romances. From lovable Jim and Pam to the complicated Kelly and Ryan, these couplings all endure their own trials and tribulations that result in both laughs and even some tears.
With less than a month until the most romantic day of the year, now is the perfect moment to reflect on the moments and the characters that taught us some important lessons in the dating department.
10 Don’t Hook Up On February 13th
Kelly Kapoor (Mindy Kaling) and Ryan Howard (BJ Novak) are arguably Dunder Mifflin’s most cringe-inducing couple. Their on-again-off-again relationship is steeped in toxicity but still holds a special place in the hearts of fans.
It’s been clear from the get-go that these two are never on the same page, mostly because Kelly thought their February 13th make out session meant they were a couple. When Ryan finally realizes that the following day is Valentine’s Day, his mistake becomes a cautionary tale always to make sure to look before you leap. It also suggests that maybe one should be honest about their feelings so there is no misunderstanding between the two parties. If you’re not ready for a relationship, just say so. It would save a lot of pain in the long run.
9 Trust Your Instincts
After breaking off her engagement with Roy Anderson (David Denman), Pam Beesly (Jenna Fischer) takes a break from relationships. So, it’s a complete surprise when she reconnects with him at Phyllis Vance’s (Phyllis Smith) wedding, and they start to date again. However, it’s clear to fans that she is questioning her decision, especially when Roy exhibits a violent reaction upon learning that Pam and Jim Halpert (John Krasinski) kissed.
Just like the audience, Pam knows that Roy is not a great partner and only gets back together with him cause he’s familiar. Although, by the show’s final season, Roy matures and gets his act together, the infamous pepper spray attack on Jim is the final nail in the coffin of Ram.
8 Be Honest
Erin Hannon (Ellie Kemper) is perhaps the sweetest and kindest soul at Dunder Mifflin. Her kindness often leads her to pursue things that she doesn’t necessarily want to in order to please others, especially when it comes to relationships.
The receptionist dates both Andy Bernard (Ed Helms) and Gabe Lewis (Zach Woods), but she spots their undeniable flaws that leave her in the difficult position of breaking up with both of them.
Erin’s honesty eventually leads her to find a healthy dynamic with Pete Miller (Jake Lacy), and it’s implied in the finale episode that the two are still dating. Erin is a prime example that being honest and forthcoming is one of the most crucial components of having a good love life, even if it causes a few tears along the way.
7 Don’t Take It So Seriously
Jim and Pam will forever go down in history as one of television’s favorite pairs. Not only are they a couple, but they are each other’s best friend. Sure, they go through their share of heartache, but their relationship always has a fun and amusing element to it.
Whether they are collaborating on a prank to play on Dwight or helping Michael through a sticky situation, the two are experts at finding ways of surviving the mundanity of a 9 to 5 and make it not only bearable but enjoyable.
6 Don’t Date Your BFF’s Parents
It’s hard to say who exactly is Michael Scott’s (Steve Carell) true best friend. Is it Dwight? Jim? Ryan? Some may argue that it’s Pam. The two have a sweet bond that’s perhaps more honest and earnest than the other options. So, when Michael starts dating her mom, Helene, it’s a catastrophic betrayal.
In true Scott fashion, the relationship eventually ends on bad terms, and Pam is left caught in the middle between her personal and professional lives. It should go without saying that Michael is in the wrong here and hopefully learns a lesson that dating your friend’s family members is an awkward and messy line to cross.
5 Set Aside Feelings Of Jealousy
When The Office introduces Jim’s new love interest, Karen Filippelli (Rashida Jones), it’s expected that she won’t be accepted with open arms. She’s meant to drive a further distance between Jim and Pam, but fans are conflicted to discover that she’s a nice, friendly, and good-hearted person. Instead of pinning the two against each other, the show develops a friendly acquaintance-ship between the two women after a branch merger.
It would be hard to call this a full-fledged friendship, but it shows that both Pam and Karen have mutual respect for each other. Pam even goes as far as to offer Jim good relationship advice. Instead of creating an unlikeable companion for Jim, the show uses this opportunity to demonstrate that allyship between women is important.
4 If You Love Someone, Let Them Go
After introducing Michael’s perfect match, Holly Flax (Amy Ryan), The Office serves viewers a devastating blow when their relationship comes to a screeching halt.
The goofy and loveable pair are separated when corporate transfers Holly back to her former Nashua branch. At first, the pair agree to try things long distance, but on the way to New Hampshire, it becomes clear that their plans are not realistic. It’s a hard lesson that sometimes being in love also means letting go.
3 Be Supportive
Jim is not always the perfect partner that he appears to be. He hides things from Pam and makes big life decisions without consulting her first. Despite his flaws, he does one thing that every great partner should do: support your significant other.
Throughout the series, Halpert is Pam’s biggest champion when it comes to her artistic aspirations. He encourages her to enroll and move to New York for school, sets her up a studio in their new house, and defends her ambitions. For instance, when their newly engaged pair meet with Jim’s brothers for a celebratory lunch, the siblings play a prank and mock Pam’s artistry. Jim stands up for her and never even considers her failing as an option.
2 Be Yourself
Prison Mike. Michael Klump. Agent Michael Scarn. These are infamous aliases from the weird and wonderful imagination of Michael Scott. They are as memorable as the man himself, but perhaps one of the most awkward ones has to be Date Mike. After being set up with Pam’s friend, Michael assumes the persona of a version of himself to impress.
From his ridiculous hat to his catchphrase “Nice to meet me,” Date Mike is proof that being anything but yourself won’t get you far in the dating scene.
1 The Importance Of Consent
One of the essential cornerstones of a healthy relationship is consent. Permission and agreement were significant flaws in Jan Levinson (Melora Hardin) and Michael’s torrid relationship.
For instance, after the two return from a secret vacation to Jamaica, an intimate photo of Jan circulates the company via email due to Michael’s negligence. Instances like this frequently appear throughout their affair, even to the point where Michael confirms that her persistent bedroom requests make him uncomfortable. There should always be mutual respect.
Their union is riddled with problematic behaviors and toxicity. It crosses a line that leaves everyone expelling a massive sigh of relief when they call it quits and hold their breath when they get back together.
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