So...this is my situation.. There is a guy who started working at my office a few months ago. His desk was moved into the room I sit in and next to my desk. We started talking a little bit and I started liking him more and more. One day he gave me his phone number and he was occasionally texting me outside of work.

Before Christmas I found out from a 3rd party at the office that this guy likes me and is interested in me and after the office Christmas party he started talking to me more and complementing me about my dress, asking me personal questions, etc. We talked for a few hours and went out to lunch together. When we left for Christmas vacation he suggested getting together if I don't have anything to do during the holiday. Since I live alone and don't have family around here I said sure. I texted him and said I might take him up on the offer and he seemed interested but when I told him when I was available I haven't heard a single word back the entire holiday. Since we came back to the office after Christmas he's gone quiet and hardly talked to me anymore or text me again.

Same thing happened on New Years, my friend convinced me that maybe he's shy and I should ask him out. I offered to get together for coffee and he replied immediately that he would like that but when I texted him that I was free on New Years day he stopped all communication again.

Now I see him at the office and he basically doesn't say anything to me unless I approach him (I can still feel him checking me out when I walk by) and I'm feeling awkward and uncomfortable with all the mixed signals especially since he sits right next to me.

My question is how should I handle this situation without confronting him about not responding? should I just ignore it too and go on with the assumption that he's unsure of what he wants?

closed as unclear what you're asking by Crazy Cucumber, Anne Daunted, Arwen Undómiel, Tycho's Nose, Tinkeringbell Jan 2 '18 at 15:20

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    What is your goal? A relationship or do you only want to clear up the confusion regarding his mixed signals or something else? – Anne Daunted Jan 2 '18 at 14:39
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    The last seven words of your question answer your question: You shouldn't get involved with a coworker anyway. Also, what you could do is something this site does not like answering. What you could SAY is. Also, I think this question belongs in Workplace.SE – Crazy Cucumber Jan 2 '18 at 14:42
  • @Anne Daunted at this point I'm just growing to like this person and just looking to get to know him better and it seemed like this is mutual until recently when he got real quiet. – sillygilz Jan 2 '18 at 15:26
  • @sillygilz If you are looking to get to know him better, wouldn't you want to know why he got so quiet? – Tycho's Nose Jan 2 '18 at 15:37
  • @Tycho's Nose I do. He used to talk to me more than other people in the office and I'm not sure if it's shyness or something else going on because he was asking me a lot of questions and keen on topics I'm interested in for a while before he backed off – sillygilz Jan 2 '18 at 15:55

While he may or may not think that you are oblivious to "him liking you", let's focus on what is factual which is

him going silent

So you could introduce the topic with

Hey [name], lemme ask you something [smile]: I've noticed you're waaay more silent lately, is everything OK? Maybe something I can help? Or something that you might wanna talk about and release a little bit? [voice tone as warm as you are capable of]

This is an attempt at setting him at ease and showing genuine interest, which should set him at further ease.

Three possible outcomes:

  1. he will keep on saying nothing
  2. he will raise points different than "him liking you"
  3. he will finally (at last) raise the point of "him liking you".

If 1., well, you did helped him talk: if he didn't want, his choice; you did your best.

If 3. there you go.

If 2. you can make one last attempt with

Oh, OK. You see, as per my experience (and maybe some rumours I received [but you could skip this "rumours" part]), I've honestly been thinking you might have something with me. [smile] I would really like you to feel free to talk to me about that if that's actually the point, there's really no harm or offence in talking about it [try to achieve voice tone even warmer than before]

If he's still reluctant, well, again, you did your best.


My question is how should I handle this situation without confronting him about not responding?

My advise to you is to ignore this, and proceed with a purely professional relationship. If his behavior changes again towards being interested in a relationship with you, I would respond with "Let's just keep things professional."

should I just ignore it too and go on with the assumption that he's unsure of what he wants and I shouldn't get involved with a coworker anyway?

I would urge you to avoid work place romances for many reasons -- I will give you two. First, most companies prohibit work place romantic relationships.

Second and more important is if you do try to have a relationship and it doesn't work out, you now have to sit by an ex boyfriend for who knows how long. Even if you manage to move desks, you will still bump in to him from time to time. It could be quite uncomfortable for you both....

My suggestion to you is his inaction may have been a blessing in disguise. Skip the workplace romance/dating.

  • Thank you for the advice. I know many people who met their life partner at work so I don't think that it's out of the ordinary. The environment in this company is pretty lose and accepting and there are other couples working here. I do understand the issues that may arise and since he's acting so unsure it is best for me to ignore the situation now and move on. I have been single for some time now and was excited to finally meet someone who I find interesting so I let it get the best of me. – sillygilz Jan 2 '18 at 14:51
  • @sillygilz Not to dispute what you have experienced, as of course ours will differ, but the odds are stacked against you in this case. And in your case you work in the same department, and you sit right next to him. – Mister Positive Jan 2 '18 at 14:52

I'm gonna strike a different tune here to the conventional wisdom. It looks like he's interested in you but is hesitant to pursue a relationship with someone from work, especially in a time and day where men have been sensitized and are encouraged to self-police and mind the effect they have on women at work so as to avoid the tropes of old responsible for creating hostile work environments. (Indeed, it is prudent to exercise caution to a fault in situations that coule be uncomfortable for others, and the line between going along because someone is uncomfortable / wants the interaction to end and genuine interest is neither clear nor the same for every person).

Then again, it sounds like you like him too and would like to explore that angle. So I advise you to be direct about your intentions and ask him out. It's likely that he has genuine interest in you as he has shown previously.

Many people here recommend to stay far away from workplace relationships, and there are good reasons for that, most notably the avoidance of awkward situations. I don't think that advice is universal however, and sometimes it's worth risking something in pursuit of your own happiness.

It's worth noting that this advice comes from my own cultural context, including biases in that direction I may have. I work in a medium sized company, and at least 10 couples that work here have met and married through work, as indeed in my country do many. It's also not legal to prohibit this here, so that plays a role as well.

  • Thank you for giving your answer a different perspective. I was hesitant about posting my question knowing that most people would caution to stay away from work relationships. I was pretty direct and asked him out and he did respond positively but did't follow through. He seems like a very quiet reserve guy, he doesn't speak a lot to other coworkers in general and on his free time he often reads books. I got plenty of very clear signs that he is interested. I'm having a dinner party next weekend which he was invited to a couple of weeks ago so maybe it will be my indication on how to proceed – sillygilz Jan 2 '18 at 15:23

You know that stereotype about "fear of relationships?" If he's had a couple of occasions where he was deeply hurt by a relationship going south, he could be fighting a battle where he is very attracted to you, but when he contemplates the changes a relationship might bring, he's reluctant to make that step, especially if he has his own life routines that he's grown very comfortable with.

Even if this is the case, take it as a compliment that he thinks enough about you that he doesn't just want to have some kind of fling and/or doesn't want to lead you on with implications of something he might not be able to back up.

I recently did this to an ex-work colleague, who I was very attracted to when we worked, and there was a definite chemistry there, but I was recently divorced and not in a great position, financially, so I didn't pursue it, and she left that company. We had great chemistry and had what almost amounted to a couple of "dates" (ex. I installed a new computer and ported over files and software from her old one, at her apartment, and she made me dinner as a thank-you).

Fast forward to about 8 years later, we had a position open in the company I now work with that I thought she'd be a good fit for, and called her about it. We talked a lot, and agreed we should get together for lunch, etc, but I haven't followed up because I'm not sure about what follows, so now I also feel crappy for putting it out there, and then pulling back.

This might not, at all, be what's going on with your co-worker, but the kind of hot/cold messages seemed to fit my own conflicted situation about dating (hypothetically interested, of course, but then always think "will this be worth all that relationship crap I hate?").

How to deal with your situation? You've made your availability known, and he seems to have pulled back. So leave it as something more open - "Hey, I know we said we should try to get together for something, but you haven't been able to meet up when I've suggested. I'd still like to, so why don't you let me know when a time works for you, instead? We'll leave the ball in your court for setting up the best time that works for you."

Hopefully, you won't have a ton of commitments that cause you to shut it down if he does take that step. In any case, the onus has to be put on him, I'd think, since you've tried to take that initiative unsuccessfully. If he decides to never follow through, at least you don't have to go through the emotional roller-coaster of putting yourself out there, repeatedly, and being passively rejected.

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