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Infatuated with coworker
September 7, 2010 11:48 AM   Subscribe

I'm completely in love with the girl who sits next to me at work. I can't stop thinking about her. What should I do?

We talk quite a bit at work about non-work topics, she confides in me things she doesn't tell other people, and we talk online at night for hours. I haven't fallen for someone this hard in years.

People at our company date each other all the time. Still, it'd be really awkward if this didn't work out. I'm also 70% sure she's dating a coworker in another department since they hang out one-on-one in person all the time on weekends though she denied it and quickly changed topics when someone joked about it. It's completely possible she just sees me as a work friend. We rarely hang out outside of work even during this long weekend, though she does live a few hours away.

What do I do? Making a move is nuclear disaster-prone, but I'm going insane and don't want to regret this when I'm old and gray. What's my next move?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (31 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
Fight through it until the feeling subsides, as it inevitably will.
posted by The World Famous at 11:51 AM on September 7, 2010


At a social function for work, or a Friday, or if you see her IRL....make your move.

It will be tempting to go for it online, but suck it up and ask her what her deal is in real life.

Be cool about it, and for god sakes man don't think about how much you love her when you do it!

If you go for it and she rebuffs, it wasnt meant to be, if she says shes interested, winrar. You're no better off than you are now if you never do anything, and if she says no then you have your answer. not a good answer, but a definite one.
posted by bobby_newmark at 11:54 AM on September 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


You've got to find out if she's dating that other guy. Bring it up one night during your hours of online chatting.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:55 AM on September 7, 2010


I've read critiques of modern office environments saying that they create just this sort of situation. When you're in a sterile, empty, colorless, impersonal environment with nothing to distract you from your work, your attention will automatically gravitate toward anything warm, friendly, pleasant, or stimulating. Once I worked in an office where I often caught myself staring at the fire extinguisher, because it was the only burst of color within my range of sight. Anyhow, it's no wonder romantic fantasies flourish in these settings.

If it helps, when you're old and grey you will have far greater regrets.
posted by hermitosis at 11:57 AM on September 7, 2010 [24 favorites]


Well, If she confides in you things that she doesn't tell other people, how come the discussion of whether or not she's dating someone else hasn't come up?
I would get that out of the way during an online chat. Just ask. No big deal.

Then, if she's not seeing anyone... well... I would just keep going with what you're doing. How long have you guys been talking a lot? I would say if she is talking to you online for hours - then she is probably interested.

This happened to me with an old co-worker. The way we got things going was pretty much going out for drinks with some others from work. Then just going by ourselves. Then going to a concert together. Then hanging out at each others place. Then finally we got together.
Maybe you could try things like that to get the ball rolling.... and see how she reacts.

As for work relationships not working out - our relationship lasted a few months. He just got out of a divorce and confided to me that he wasn't ready for a full-time relationship again - he thought he was. It wasn't really awkward after we stopped seeing each other. We still hung out and talked at work. I moved out of state about a month afterwards, though.
posted by KogeLiz at 12:00 PM on September 7, 2010


I'm also 70% sure she's dating a coworker in another department since they hang out one-on-one in person all the time on weekends though she denied it and quickly changed topics when someone joked about it.

I usually believe people.

What evidence do you have?

posted by Ironmouth at 12:01 PM on September 7, 2010


Since this is your professional life you're messing with and you have to work so closely with this girl, I'd take things slow and careful if I were you.

First, try and set up some non-romantic out-of-work hangout time. If she won't make a plan with you, that's pretty telling. If she does, it'll give you a chance to get to know her better outside of the context of work and chat, and probably more of a sense of whether or not you have a chance with her. Or, honestly, if you're actually interested in her or just infatuated with the IDEA of dating her -- something that can be hard to judge in a situation like yours.

If you really click in these casual hangouts and your feelings don't subside, go ahead and ask her out. But be prepared for her to say "no," and don't argue with her if she does -- that'll push "vaguely awkward" to "oh god I can't ever show my face in the office again."
posted by Narrative Priorities at 12:03 PM on September 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't know this woman, but if she's constantly hanging out with another guy and talking to you all the time too, it's possible that she's casually flirting with both of you because she likes the attention and doesn't want anything serious. Or she could just think of you as a good platonic friend. Or maybe he's a good platonic friend and you're a romantic interest. Who knows?

At the very least, ask her directly what's going on between her and the other coworker. It's weird that she's said they're not involved but that you're still "70% sure" they are.
posted by Metroid Baby at 12:03 PM on September 7, 2010


DO NOT DATE THE PERSON WHO SITS NEXT TO YOU AT WORK.

Dating coworkers is enough of a minefield as it is, and is not recommended for most people. Asking out your office neighbor brings a whole mess of other problems:

- You will be completely unable to keep it on the down low since you can't avoid her. People will quickly pick up on it. You'll be gossiped about, and one or both of you will possibly pick up a "sleazo" reputation.

- If and when you break up, any awkwardness will be magnified a thousandfold because, again, you can't avoid her. Your work will suffer.

- If you ask her out and she says no, you'll have a pretty awkward situation.
posted by mkultra at 12:03 PM on September 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


old and grey: I am old but bald.at that late stage there is a lot to regret. and lots not to. simply ask her if she would like to have a drink or dinner with you one evening after work (not weekend) and take it from there. nothing lost but the evening and a few bucks. or a rebuff.
posted by Postroad at 12:12 PM on September 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Dude, if she's chatting to you for hours, telling you shit she tells nobody else, and isn't sleeping with you... you're in the friendzone.
posted by Netzapper at 12:25 PM on September 7, 2010 [16 favorites]


and if you're in the friendzone, you're done for!

also, i'd recommend you take a week off of work and watch the office, starting with episode one of the first season, concluding with the last new episode
posted by Salvatorparadise at 12:30 PM on September 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


P.S. on non-preview, How do we know the asker is a dude? It might matter in terms of dating norms, if they differ...
posted by ShadePlant at 12:39 PM on September 7, 2010


i'd recommend you take a week off of work and watch the office

US or UK version? For the asker, it matters.
posted by supercres at 12:44 PM on September 7, 2010


How do we know the asker is a dude?

We don't. But it's a reasonable assumption.
posted by Dasein at 12:46 PM on September 7, 2010


I disagree with the people saying not to ask. When you're old and are looking back on your life, you're not going to say, "I wish I didn't ask out that girl I was in love with." You will say, "I wish I did."

Worst case, it blows up horribly and you have to get a new job -- a new job with a signing bonus and a 30% salary increase. Why worry?
posted by jrockway at 12:47 PM on September 7, 2010


If you don't love your job and intend to have it forever, ask her out for drinks. Ask her if she's seeing the co-worker or anyone else and take it from there. If she's seeing someone, you still have a good friend and if she's not you might end up with a great relationship. And ignore the"friend zone" comments. She may only be interested in you as a friend, or she may not. In my nearly identical situation, I was interested in more than friendship but didn't think he'd find a relationship appropriate. I'm glad he asked me out for a drink.
posted by Polychrome at 12:53 PM on September 7, 2010


How much you care about your job is paramount. If things turned really sour would you be able/willing to find a different place to work? If changing positions is a non-starter, getting involved with the person who sits next to you is a non-starter.

But what do I know? I dated my next-door neighbor.
posted by Cogito at 1:00 PM on September 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


And ignore the"friend zone" comments. She may only be interested in you as a friend, or she may not

Agreed. There's a million stories in the naked city, and no two are the same.

Friendzone is too much shorthand for complex situations. It may feel comforting to think of things as one or the other, but they rarely are.

You should figure out what's going on. Just have drinks and talk it out.

I missed out on something pretty sweet by believing in "friendzone."
posted by Ironmouth at 1:11 PM on September 7, 2010


I'm with Cogito. How easily can you change jobs? Especially now?

I wouldn't ask her out until one of you left the job. The one time this issue came up for me... let's just say I was soooo glad we didn't date until after we didn't work together, because I wasn't feeling it and things would have been awkward as hell.
posted by jenfullmoon at 1:14 PM on September 7, 2010


What's my next move?

First, find out if she's dating anyone else.

If not, ask her out on a date. Specifically use the word 'date'.
posted by nomadicink at 1:22 PM on September 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


If not, ask her out on a date. Specifically use the word 'date'.

Repeated for emphasis, nomadicink. Subtle leads to uncertainty.
posted by IAmBroom at 2:36 PM on September 7, 2010


Don't sh*t where you sleep.
posted by Everydayville at 2:45 PM on September 7, 2010


Ask her out. 39% of US workers dated co-worker. Inferring from that statistics I'd say the dangers of dating co-worker are greatly exaggerated.

Besides, I agree wholeheartedly with the adage: When you look back on your life, you'll regret the things you didn't do more than the ones you did. Carpe diem!
posted by przepla at 2:48 PM on September 7, 2010


przepla: "I'd say the dangers of dating co-worker are greatly exaggerated."

Having awkward fallout with someone who works in the same office is one thing. Having same with someone who sits next to you is quite another. I would exercise caution.
posted by Cogito at 2:57 PM on September 7, 2010


Also relevant: Can We Date?
posted by Cogito at 3:36 PM on September 7, 2010


the uk version of the office, definitely.
posted by lakersfan1222 at 4:01 PM on September 7, 2010


Picture her on the toilet (unless that kind of thing turns you on).
Picture her having awesome sex with some gorgeous guy that you'll never measure up to and enjoying it a lot.
Picture her being mean to babies and stealing cats. Also, she probably hates puppies. And men and women.

That should do it.

Don't date your coworkers if you can help it. Fight it.
posted by anniecat at 4:06 PM on September 7, 2010


Also, remember, you're not in love with her. You're infatuated with her and she could be a shoplifter and might be mean to her granny in her spare time. Criminals and bad people have charisma. Like cult leaders.
posted by anniecat at 4:09 PM on September 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


If you go for it, and it doesn't work out, will it be worth the possible consequences? For example, awkwardness at work, gossip, or heartbreak?

If you can answer that question with an unqualified yes, I say go for it. But before you go for it, find out if she's dating the other guy.
posted by xenophile at 7:06 PM on September 7, 2010


Is there a third party whom you trust and knows her well? You could ask them if they know whether or not she's in a relationship. Although it's kinda weird it's never come up definitively by now in all the conversations you've had.

You see her every day, so don't rush into it. But if for whatever reason you decide it'll be a bad idea in the end, try to pick out things about her you don't like (or things about you she wouldn't like), which would've made for an iffy long-term relationship anyway. I'm sure there must be some.

And I wouldn't really recommend watching the Office, except for entertainment purposes. That sorta thing would give you hope, which may or not be what you need right now. Unless there are things about your co-worker that reminds you of (in the US version) Angela, Jan, or Kelly, in which case you'll be glad you kept your distance.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 12:33 AM on September 8, 2010


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