It's Your Move.


I am super attracted to a male coworker, and I was hoping you could give me some help with deciphering his behavior. I feel like I am getting mixed signals from him and I can't tell if he's just being nice or if he may be interested in me romantically. For background, I am 28 and he is 34. We are both single and have never been married. We have worked together for about a year now in a very professional setting. We also both live in the same neighborhood. He is a very introverted and private individual, but our job affords us some time alone together and we have had many conversations during these times. I find we have many similar interests and values, and our personalities are very compatible. Deep down, I get the distinct feeling he is attracted to me, yet he has never asked me to do anything outside of work with him, which leaves me feeling conflicted and doubtful that he's interested. Some things he does that make me feel like he is interested:
1. He sometimes holds eye contact slightly longer than necessary.
2. He sometimes lowers his voice a bit when speaking with me.
3. He has helped me with computer/work issues numerous times.
4. He occasionally will glance down briefly at my chest during conversation if I'm wearing a low-cut top.
5. He never mentions other women/dates around me.
6. Sometimes he seems fidgety when we are alone together as if he wants to start talking to me but doesn't know what to say.
7. He is attentive during conversations and remembers things that I say for the future and he seems to genuinely enjoy talking to me.

And some things that make me doubt he is interested:
1. He avoids touching me. (He is not a touchy feely person at all, but he seems to go out of his way to avoid even the slightest touch of my hand during transfer of objects, etc.)
2. He has not asked me on a date or to do anything outside of work, though we share many similar interests and he has had plenty of excellent opportunities to ask me to join him.

Just recently we were discussing home repairs and I mentioned I needed something fixed and he offered to help. I declined and said I could probably get it working on my own. Well about a week later he brought up the topic again and asked if I had gotten it fixed yet, and offered a second time to help me. I assumed since he brought it up himself that maybe he thought of it as an excuse to get together outside of work. So I accepted his offer and he came over to my house and helped me. Well as soon as it was fixed he left. The whole scenario left me feeling perplexed, as I was hoping it could be a prelude to a date or movie or something. I have given this man tons of signals that I am interested in him, yet he isn't making any moves. I feel like he is attracted, yet his lack of action logically tells me otherwise. I am very old fashioned in that I am not comfortable making the first move. What do you think is going on with him? Do you think he's just being nice or do you think there is any hope that he is interested in me romantically? Thanks for your help!

GARLAND: Thank you for your interesting question!

As my favorite TV court judge, Joe Brown, would say, “You’ve laid out a good prima facie case.” I too seem to think that your co-worker may be interested in you. Not everything you listed is solid as far as we guys go, but enough of it sounds legit to me. So, now what?

Well, I guess one of two things will [or should] happen now. One – Old Boy stays a timid little turtle and the two of you keep an uncomfortable working association, or Two – You break out and make the first move.

Him being so timid worries me, because I think being ‘shy’ is one thing and it shouldn’t be that big a deal, but he seems to be so shy that he doesn’t seem to be able to function or interact on even a modest level of romantic interest with you. I thought having him over to fix the issue at your house might get him to loosen up, but that didn’t work. I’m afraid that dating him would simply be more and more frustration on your part – you’d have to push him to kiss you, to hug you, to touch you, and so much more. I’m worried that getting together with him may not be worth the effort. But that is just my opinion, don’t let my thoughts freak you out.

Now, on the other hand, I could be wrong, and maybe you need to drop the Old Fashioned demeanor and just step out of your box ONE TIME. What could it hurt? I’m not telling you to go ask him to marry you, and you’re not asking him to move in with you and you’re not going to ask him out 10 times in a row – I just think you should ask him out one time. Nothing fancy, just maybe a dinner or a Saturday morning breakfast at the local Waffle House. Do something that offers him a final chance to step out of his shell and man-up just a little bit. He might surprise us both! If he loosens up, then you win – maybe the two of you hit it off. But if he still clams up, then you know what time it is and all you’ve lost is the cost of a meal. I think you should take a shot and ask him out, just be sure to pick out a restaurant that serves food that YOU LIKE! Best of luck! Let us know how it works out.

CHUCK: I'm in total agreement with Garland here. You have apparently gotten as far as subtlety will take you. And that's not too far. The direct approah is going to have to be used here. As Garland and I have said here before: This is the 21st century. The same way you would avail yourself of modern advances in technology like i-phones, tablets, and e-readers, you should also avail yourself of modern advances in social mores, as well. So, women are allowed (as they always should have been) to make the first move. These traditions that you're trying to uphold, who do they serve? If they don't serve you, then you should discard them, plain and simple.

Let's take a minute to consider this man's reluctance to step to you. The workplace is exciting, filled with all this unresolved sexual tension from these people that you know, but you don't necessarily KNOW. And because of that, it can be a little risky, too. If you make a romantic move, and it's not the right time, or the right person, you can get embarrassed, or worse. Maybe that's what happened to your co-worker. Perhaps he got burned once, and now he's overly cautious about initiating contact with co-workers. And maybe that day at your place, he just lost his nerve.

Either way, without coming on too strong, you should let him know that you are interested in a way that should allow for no confusion. Like Garland says, you should invite him out for brunch, or coffee, or happy hour, or another one of those socially neutral types of events. You can tell him about your interest in him, and ask if he shares a similar interest in you. If he doesn't, the two of you should be mature enough to put this past you. If he does, and given your "clues," it seems highly likely, great. Good luck.


Anonymous said...

Have you heard of sexual harrasement? I have feelings for a male co worker but I think of the sexual harrasement and lay off. He might just be cautious of doing something or saying something that might come back and bite him in the ass. I think that when I want to make a move. Just sayin..

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