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My crush at work might like me too...advice on what to do?

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,323 The Mix Honorary Guru
I'm not sure what I should do next or how to take things forward...so thought I'd tell you the whole story.

So I am relatively senior in a large firm and have recently moved to a new city. In the last couple of months, I've admired one of the senior partners from afar (he is in charge of a different team of people and I'd never actually met him, just seem him speak at events and around the office. I've recently been asked to work on one of his clients and did a pretty good job, at short notice. He had been a bit "twinkly eyed" in our discussions but nothing other than professional - he'd just smile if I made a small joke or something. So not only did I find him physically attractive, he was turning out to be a pretty nice guy as well, and someone I have a lot of respect for at work. I'd never do or say anything in the office that would cause either of us embarrassment - I'd be mortified if anyone figured out that I liked him.

I'm in my mid-30s and a bit more overweight than I'd like to be but have always had a fair amount of attention from guys so I would say I was an attractive woman but a little unsure of myself due to not being as slim as I'd like. He is late 40s/early 50s and not in perfect shape himself - he's very confident around the office but not a lothario or playboy, if anything he seems a little vulnerable. I've heard that he is a divorced with a child and not in a current relationship.

So recently, I ended up working in the office until 9pm whilst he was having a team Christmas drinks thing in the rest area nearby and a guy I knew from his team came to check I was ok and said they might be going out for drinks afterwards if I wanted to come. I went over to clean out my coffee cup and he (my crush) started talking to me - he was a bit drunk (just loosened by a few glasses of wine) and started saying that he'd left me to get on with it as he thought I was perfectly capable but just wanted me to know that he was there for me if I need him, or any support on the project, he was right right there for me. We talked for a bit and then he said whilst looking at me (but also to the others that were there as well) "right, you can either all go home or I can buy the drinks at the local bar". So I ended going out with them - which isn't normal as I'm not part of their team.

It was a great evening. After a couple of beers, he was talking more and more just to me - we had a really fiery debate on philosophy and history and academic stuff which just left everyone else behind and he kept on looking at me with amazement and saying "I had no idea you were so interesting to talk to". We obviously enjoy reading the same kind of books and there was a real intellectual connection that I had not expected at all. It took us both by surprise. At one point he said "I'm just going to have to give you a hug because I am enjoying this conversation so much"...and then he did...!

So everyone else went home and he and I decided to have one last round. I was a bit fuzzy-headed by now...4-5 beer later and he'd been drinking since 5pm but wasn't falling over or anything, just very jolly. He'd been sort of subtly trying to work out if I was married or not - asking how come I'd moved to this city and how often I went back to see my daughter...and whoever...(his words). I didn't really want to explain about the state of my marriage as its all a bit complicated and messy at the moment. Sigh... He went off to the bathroom and then came back with a thoughtful look on his face. He then said "I shouldn't say this but I'm going to. You have a lovely smile, it just lights up your whole face and I can't stop looking at it. It's amazing. Just going to throw that out there and see what happens". He said it really unconfidently - it wasn't a cheeky jokey flirty come on, it was quite a serious thing. I was so shocked that I just didn't know how to respond. I am kicking myself now (because I can be a right cheeky flirt) but all I said was "Thank you! You're going to make me blush saying things like that!".

We then got kicked out as the bar was closing and stood on the street to say goodnight - I asked if he wanted to get another drink at a different bar but he said he'd better get home. When I said I was going in the opposite direction to get a bus/taxi, he stood in the street, stared me in the eyes for about 10 seconds and then said "that smile of yours is killing me". I put my hand on his coat lapel and said "It's not just you...it's mutual" and then he sort of mumbled about having to go before he did something, shook his head and chuckled ruefully and walked off! I said "hey where's my hug goodnight...how rude!" and he turned around, laughed and carried on walking. We were literally outside our office at this point and as it was the season of Christmas drinks, far too public a place. I texted him on the way home to say I hoped he got back alright but he didn't reply.

The next day in the office and for the next week, he has acted completely professional - not even smiling at me in the corridor if we pass each other! I did go into his office one evening to discuss the client and we ended up having quite a playful discussion where he was playing devil's advocate around strategy and he smiled and laughed a fair bit then but nothing that wouldn't be professional if anyone else saw.

To be honest I wouldn't have it any other way IN the office but I was hoping for some sign that we'd develop things somehow...Now I don't know what to do. Do I leave things and hope that bizarrely we end up in a social situation again (not likely for months and even then, unlikely that it will be just him and me). Do I keep my distance in the office to reassure him that even if something did happen outside, I can be completely detached and professional? Do I pick a good private moment and say "Look, work is work and I get that but completely separately to that, I think you are really interesting to talk to and would like to get to know you socially - would you like to have a drink or dinner with me?". Or do I just leave the ball in his court and trust that if he wants to, he'll find a way.

I'm used to being a woman of action!! But it seems that no action might be the best thing here (apart from embarking on a post-New Year exercise and weight loss to be even more irresistible!!). He doesn't seem to be the type that really likes the chase - he would have been more jokey/flirty if so.

Thanks for any advice / suggestions.


  • SarahRSarahR Posts: 213 Trailblazer
    Hi smileygirl, welcome to TheSite boards

    It sounds like you're feeling confused about whether to pursue a possible romance with a colleague as you're not really sure what he's thinking. It can be frustrating when someone sends you mixed signals and things often become more complicated when you both work in the same place and have to see each other often.

    Before you go any further, it might be worth finding out whether your workplace has an official policy on colleague relationships. Sometimes organisations frown on this, so it could save you a lot of bother to find out whether you could be in hot water should anything happen between the two of you.

    From what you have said, it sounds as though you both enjoyed each other's company at the Christmas drinks but he hasn't made any further hints that he'd like to get to know you better. You could be right that he was trying to keep things professional within the office, however there is a chance that maybe he feels it would be too complicated to pursue a relationship with a colleague. Unfortunately (as you've already hinted at), there's a limited amount you can tell without getting his input!

    It might be worth weighing up the consequences of saying something versus not saying anything. If you say something and he doesn't reciprocate, would you feel OK about continuing to work with him? If you don't say anything, would you be OK with just seeing how it goes and accepting the possibility that nothing may happen? There are risks either way (and it's worth keeping in mind any effects this all may have on your job).

    You also mentioned wanting to lose weight in order to become more irresistible to him. Embarking on exercise can be a positive way of getting healthier, improving your body image and boosting confidence, but maybe it'd be better to do this just because it makes you happy, rather than to attract someone's attention. As you mentioned, you've had a fair amount of attention from guys in the past. If nothing happens this time, it's likely that someone else will come along - and they won't want to confuse you with mixed signals.

    I hope this is helpful and that you're able to make a decision about what you would like to do.
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