I’m slowly falling for one of my coworkers and as much as I’m trying to let it go (because I don’t want to get involved romantically with someone I work with) I feel like we’re both getting closer and closer. He recently got promoted to my position 2 months ago and I started training him and after working with him on a daily basis we’ve started really getting to know each other and I feel like I’m falling for him.
I can’t tell for sure whether he likes me (I can’t tell if he’s genuinely interested or if he’s just being overly nice).
I’m pretty sure I shouldn’t think of getting romantically involved with a coworker. I know other people in the office have dated before and it’s not frowned upon, but I just feel like that’s a terrible idea in case something goes wrong and I’m too scared to make the first move in case he doesn’t feel the same way and shoots me down and then I have to see him every day after that. Not sure if it makes a different but we have a relatively casual office with a relaxed vibe.
I just want some advice as to what I should do and maybe some kind of clarification based on his actions as to whether or not he likes me. I’ve struggled with confidence issues in the past so I think a lot of this may be my own insecurity, but I just feel like I’m not pretty enough for him that there’s literally no way he’d be attracted to me. I just feel like every bit of attention he pays to me is something I’m reading way too much into and I can’t tell if my own bias is clouding how I feel about him. I’m going to give some examples of some of the things he does and I definitely feel like he’s paying extra attention to me but any kind of confirmation (that he reciprocates my feelings) and advice would be nice. For what it’s worth, we’re both about the same age, in our mid twenties.
- He compliments me now and then, but not very often. When he does though, it’s usually not superficial. He once told me that I was really smart and I shouldn’t let anyone tell me otherwise, and another time he said I was extremely nice. I also hear him talk to other people about me and he’s always praising me or jokingly mentioning how smart or funny I am but I can’t tell if he’s just doing this in a joking manner or not.
- He almost never calls me by my full name, he calls me by a cutesy nickname.
- He teases me about random things–it’s always playful and never malicious, but he pays attention to the things I say and he loves to tease me about my hobbies (I’m a bit of a nerd)
- He always stays in touch even when we’re not at work. He texts or snapchats me in the evenings and on weekends and I went away on vacation for a while and he snapchatted me every other day (we’re also #1 best friends with each other on snapchat if that means anything)
- He’s constantly messaging me when we’re at work and he sometimes comes over to my desk just to talk or calls me over to his desk multiple times a day. For example, today I was busy with something and he messages me saying he’s bored and he calls me over so I can watch a funny video with him. He does this a lot, when he just comes over to sit with me or to show me something online. Sometimes he’ll call me over to ask me a question but I know he already knows the answer and if I get the feeling that sometimes he times his coffee runs with me so that we have a couple of minutes to chat.
- He always takes public transport home with me every day. Even when I’m running late he waits for me.
- Over the past month or so, he’s been a bit more physical and it feels like we’re both comfortable with it. He lets me give him hugs and I sort of playfully ruffle his hair now and then. He lets me rest my head against his shoulder when we’re sitting next to each other. Sometimes when I’m standing at his desk to help him with something, he’ll gently press his leg against mine and won’t pull it away and I feel like he stands closer than necessary whenever he’s near me (I’m completely fine with this, and I feel like he’s fine when I’m physical with him).
I’ve also been googling things about body language (I’m in deep with this one, I’ve been looking up anything I can find) and sometimes when we talk, he’ll sort of turn his body and position himself so that I’m kind of between his legs and my legs are touching his inner thighs.
- When we talk, our conversations seem deeper and less superficial than they were at the beginning, we’re much closer friends. Now when we talk it’s almost never about work, he asks me about my family, what my childhood was like, what my plans are for the future and he tells me personal things about himself and his family that I don’t think he shares with other people we know. I also know he pays attention to whatever I say because he’ll bring it up later or ask me about it when I myself have forgotten that we had that conversation.
- He and I have a bunch of inside jokes about all kinds of things–pop culture, other coworkers, etc. Sometimes things will happen in the office which I know he’ll get a kick out of and the two of us just look at each other and begin laughing, it almost feels like we’re on the same wavelength.
- Sometimes when I’m not paying attention, I’ll catch him looking at me. It’s happened quite a few times now, but I’ll feel someone looking at me and I’ll look over and it’ll be him. The first couple of times it happened he looked away, but now he usually maintains eye contact for a couple of seconds and usually he smiles at me and kind of raises his eyebrows like he’s asking me a question.
- I sometimes also feel like he’s bragging when he’s talking to me, like he’s trying to impress me. He’ll tell me about all kinds of crazy things he does (he’s an outdoors enthusiast and I’m not, and he’ll tell me about all kinds of sports which I consider dangerous) and right after he tells me something, he’ll sort of look at me like he’s trying to gauge my reaction.
- I also feel like he teases me about me being attracted to him. I can’t tell whether or not he’s trying to get a reaction or he’s just kidding around but now and then I’ll mention something random and he’ll draw attention to himself (for example I once said I found it funny when he got beer poured on him at a bar and he winks at me and goes “that’s just because my shirt was see through and you could see my abs”) and he hasn’t done this with anyone else, but he’s told me that a couple of times.
And it’s a bunch of little things like this, I interact with him almost constantly every day and the more I talk to him the more I’m falling for him, he seems smart and funny and kind and I feel like he’s interested too but I’m just not sure and I’m not sure why. Even if he is I have no idea what to do about it because I’d hate for it to make our working relationship weird regardless of whether or not it works out.
Is there any way to tell that he’s definitely interested? Is there anything I can do to give him a hint? Do you have any advice about dating a coworker? Any help at all would be so much appreciated.
Best wishes, Lucy
Answer by Kelly
First of all—you are not crazy. If everything you’re saying is true, it sounds like he has a crush on you.
I don’t know if you’ve realized this but guys don’t express emotions very often, so it seems like he’s giving you every sign he can without flat out saying “I like you”. The fact that he hasn’t made any moves might mean he’s worrying exactly what you’re worrying. He is probably thinking to himself, Does she like me? What if I try to make a move and get rejected? That would be so embarrassing!
There’s No Secret Formula
There is no way to know if he’s definitely interested until he verbally tells you he is or he isn’t.
The question is, is he leading you on? He is only leading you on if he tells you he likes you and doesn’t mean it.
If he’s being flirty but hasn’t full-out said anything substantial about his feelings towards you, you can’t accuse him of leading you on. Maybe he’s a very nice person who cares about being your friend and doesn’t realize his actions are confusing to you.
Take the Next Step
If you haven’t already, it’s time that you ask him out for a drink.
That’s your way of letting him know you are interested in him and now the ball is in his court. I highly doubt he’ll refuse, so when you go out, that might be the ideal opportunity for him to make his move. If he addresses the fact that this might be a date but he’s not into you like that, it’ll be very easy for you to backtrack and save yourself from embarrassment.
If He Can’t Take the Hint, Talk to Him
If he doesn’t make a move or say anything but the flirting hasn’t stopped, you have to address this. Whether you do it tomorrow or two months from now, it will be eating away at you until you do something about it.
Here’s a quick story: I had a crush on a guy. We were both regulars at the same coffee shop and I told myself not to get involved because if it didn’t work out, I’d have to stop coming to this shop. I couldn’t fight my feelings though. We hung out a lot, just the two of us, but he never made a move. He seemed genuinely interested in talking to me and doing things with me but the physical signs weren’t there, so I convinced myself he didn’t like me. My friends on the other hand said it was obvious, but it’s hard to see it from the outside, right? One day I decided to confront him and say “Hey, I’m attracted to you. I’m unsure if you’re feeling the same but I wanted to put it out there and if you do, then great, but if you don’t, I’d still like to keep being your friend.” And his response? “Of course I’m attracted to you. I thought it was obvious.” Cue the huge sigh of relief. The conclusion to this story? We’ve been together for over a year.
I can’t tell you what your co-worker’s answer will be but I can tell you that you have to talk to him. It’ll be nerve-wracking so I suggest you first ask him to set aside some time so you two can talk, that way you can’t chicken out. Then talk to him after work, preferably on a Friday so you have space from him after the talk if you need it.
If He Says He Likes You Too…
Let’s be honest, you’d be on cloud nine. Is there any better feeling than having feelings reciprocated?
Every office is different, but it sounds like your job is laid-back enough that it wouldn’t be frowned upon to start a relationship with a co-worker. But, keep the relationship outside of the workplace. Do not sneak-off during breaks, do not give each other googily eyes, and do not play favorites.
This is going to be difficult, and you’ll both have to be willing to put your job in front of the relationship during office-hours.
After The Honeymoon Phase
The Honeymoon Phase is a real thing and it lasts for about two to three months in my experience. It’s the first months you start dating where everything is new and you want to spend every waking moment with the person. No problem there if you two work together and travel home together, right? But it’s important that you remember to make time for yourself. I won’t get into too much detail about this because we still don’t know what his answer will be.
If He Says He Doesn’t Like You
Then you need to tell him to back off—nicely.
Let him know exactly what he’s doing that makes you feel like he’s being flirtatious. You’ll have to slowly distance yourself from him. The truth is, you’re not going to stop liking him the moment he says he isn’t into you (if it comes to that). You might even convince yourself that he’ll change his mind and that if you push a bit harder, he’ll come running after you.
Believe me, I’ve tried this and the result isn’t rewarding. Don’t be anyone’s silver medal. If he doesn’t like you, that’s it—don’t fight it, don’t try to be someone you’re not because why begin a relationship like that?
I’m Rooting for You
If he doesn’t like you, that’s okay. It does not mean there’s something wrong with you, it just means you two aren’t meant for each other. From your detailed question, it seems quite obvious that he likes you. He seems like a genuine person and I hope it all works out. Whatever happens, make sure to put your feelings first and never let anyone else influence your confidence in yourself.
Good luck and stay confident!