The downside of having attractive coworkers

Suddenly you find yourself not being able to form cohesive sentences and sweating a bit with this person suddenly before you.

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Though every movie, TV show and nightclub line contradicts this, it can be tough out there for attractive people. Ladders recently reported on a study that found that people tend to believe that attractive women are perceived as more dangerous and less trustworthy than less attractive ones and now your hot coworker may be stressing his or her team out.

See super beautiful people tend to make us a little nervous. In an article titled “Hot People are Stressful” by Amanda Mull for The Atlantic in which she recounts a meeting with an extremely-attractive-to-the-point-of-stress-physician (maybe Grey’s Anatomy is more relatable than we thought?)


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Suddenly you find yourself not being able to form cohesive sentences and sweating a bit with this person suddenly before you. You may even become somewhat irritated that you have to deal with this level of shocking beauty when you are just trying to get through your day.

It’s hot in here

Mull cited the research of Helen Fisher, a biological anthropologist who studies attraction at the Kinsey Institute, which focused on the left ventral tegmental area (the left VTA)  which produces pleasurable reactions when we see something aesthetically pleasing.

Now it should be noted that the left VTA is very distinct from the right VTA which is what contributes to our having romantic feelings for someone. When the left VTA is activated it doesn’t mean that we want to be in a relationship with this attractive person or even want to interact with them, we are just getting very excited while looking at them because dopamine is involved.

And unlike maybe seeing a movie star on a screen or looking at a beautiful painting, we get stressed because we worry that this Greek god of a human is looking back at us and judging us too. Plus the stress is not just in our heads because cortisol (AKA the stress hormone) is released when we see an Adonis because our feelings of inadequacy are starting to skyrocket which can lead to irritation and annoyance.

Now with an attractive coworker, even one that is a dead ringer for Jon Hamm, you will most likely get used to their appearance as you start to see them most days and as you get to know them you will realize they are humans too with imperfections and idiosyncrasies just like everyone else (hot people: they’re just like us!) but it could create some stress in the beginning, especially on your first Casual Friday together.


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Meredith Lepore|is the Deputy Editor of Ladders and can be reached at mlepore@theladders.com.