tl;dr: I want to talk with a female coworker for clarification of recent interactions.
I'm male, 27's, obese (not morbid) and with a grim-serious face expression. I'm introverted. In my previous work positions I didn't really have any romantic or friendship interests with anyone. If someone looked at me in the street, they usually avoided eye-contact, so as I.
After quitting my last job, I read a self-help book where it basically instructs to smile, be happy and be grateful with God and life. With this new approach, I not only tend to smile more, but be more open to salutations, ask about how day is going and basically go to work with a smile - an honest, not-fake smile. This job is good in the economic sense and I literally prayed for it as I was unemployed for two months and I was getting worried about the near future.
Now I've been working in a company for 6 months. Sometimes during lunch, I notice a female coworker who works in another department (on a different floor of the same building).
At first, there was eye contact (usually because I just tend to look towards where there is movement) and I never thought it was a problem - the company's culture asks its workers to be professional and friendlier. My new outlook on life falls in line with the company culture.
Only during lunch times and when I pass in front of her department's floor, I tend to look to see if she's there and make eye-contact with her while I'm entering of leaving the building.
I think that she keeps the eye-contact with me but in a more subtle way; however, when she ends her lunch and leaves and despite my efforts to not look at her for avoid making her awkward, sometimes we have a short eye contact or not at all.
When we would make eye contact in a serious but nonthreatening manner. Originally I didn't smile at her, but I decided that I probably should. After a few days of trying, I noticed that she now avoids eye contact with me and I think this is due to a few days of smiling at her while walking to my desk.
The Halloween day, her department dressed in costumes while some other floors didn't or few other personnel made the same thing. That day, I was eating my lunch and when I saw that she was leaving, I looked and smiled at her - in my way, it was for demonstrate I'm a good person and I just want to smile at her -, but when she kept walking, not only did she avoid eye contact she also stepped back and hid behind another female coworker of hers so that we couldn't see each other. I stopped looking at her and continued my lunch.
I'm trying to think of a way to approach her and to apologize for making her uncomfortable.
Given her negative reaction, I perceive that I have acted with poor manners. Along with an apology, I would like to explain my side - how I am just trying to be friendly:
- I don't know her name or her coworkers' - we work in different departments.
- I really don't know if this is the right step to make.
After reading some related posts here on IPS and thinking for days about this matter, I would like to know your thoughts/answers about how I should be handle/approach this situation.