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Should I tell my secret work crush before she leaves the company?
March 9, 2012 8:54 AM   Subscribe

Should I tell my secret work crush before she leaves the company?

I’ve had a (serious) crush on a girl at work for a couple of years now. She’s given notice at the company we work for, and will be leaving in a month or so. We are friends (e.g. we go out for lunch together now and then, and she confided in me in relation to the job change) but no realistic prospect of more than that. She is beautiful and fun. I am not. She’s seeing a guy we used to work with: not someone I still see, but a good enough friend previously that I wouldn’t try to split them up, and there’s no reason she would choose me even if she were single.

I’d love to keep in contact (obviously) but realistically that seems unlikely long term. I’m bad at keeping in touch with people, even where things aren’t complicated by guilt over my secret feelings. She might well make an effort to arrange lunch or something, at least initially, but life moves on.

So, the question is whether I tell her before she leaves?

Downside would be the resulting awkwardness (for a few days or whatever), and the end to any possibility of future contact. Upside (somewhat vaguer) would be reclaiming some sort of self respect: I have a pattern of falling for girls and being friends, without being honest about wanting more or plucking up the courage to do anything about it. As a result, my feelings of attraction (which I would like to think should be a positive thing, even if not reciprocated) are mixed up with guilt over this dishonesty.

I’m now 32, and have never had a relationship, and this is something I would like to fix. I feel like coming clean would be a good start, if not for this particular occasion maybe to get my head straight for the next? When put that way, it begins to sound a little selfish to burden her with this stuff. I’d like to think that she wouldn’t find this “revelation” too unpleasant (at best mildly flattering, otherwise easily forgotten?) but I’ve never been in the equivalent position, so have no idea really.

Any thoughts? If you think I should tell all, I’m guessing face-to-face is best? Letter / email seems like the wrong side of the weirdo line?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (53 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
Should I tell my secret work crush before she leaves the company?
No.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:57 AM on March 9, 2012 [16 favorites]


No, you should not tell her. She's not available, so there's no point in that regard. Let it be your fun little secret. Perhaps it would be a good idea to look into online dating or social events that would allow you to meet women who are available for romantic relationships.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:57 AM on March 9, 2012 [9 favorites]


I wouldn't do it, I don't think it would serve any useful purpose. Save that revelation for the next crush you have, and do it when it will get you somewhere -
posted by facetious at 8:58 AM on March 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


When put that way, it begins to sound a little selfish to burden her with this stuff.

It sounds like you've already thought this through pretty well. In my opinion, a person who is seeing someone else is not a person who needs to know your true feelings. Maybe in the future things could change, she's suddenly single, you message her on facebook and magic, but for now she's not the right girl. Look elsewhere.

And dude, you've got to work on your self esteem. I bet you are a lot better than you think you are. Have you tried OK Cupid?
posted by Think_Long at 8:58 AM on March 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


Since she is in a relationship, you should not tell her.

She is beautiful and fun. I am not.

You should work on your self-esteem.
posted by insectosaurus at 8:58 AM on March 9, 2012 [30 favorites]


I wouldn't tell her just yet, but keep the lines for communication open. If she doesn't return the feelings it's just going to break down any friendship you may have.

I would think about dating other people in the meantime, it doesn't mean you can't still be friends, but if she's with someone else she's probably happy with them.
posted by Danithegirl at 9:00 AM on March 9, 2012


keep in touch as friends. in the future if she's available again, that would be a good time to let her know.
posted by saraindc at 9:01 AM on March 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Upside (somewhat vaguer) would be reclaiming some sort of self respect: I have a pattern of falling for girls and being friends, without being honest about wanting more or plucking up the courage to do anything about it. As a result, my feelings of attraction (which I would like to think should be a positive thing, even if not reciprocated)

Have to stop you there. Not at work.

Next time, go for telling the next girl you fall for, who you don't work with.

But honestly, I think the bigger problem is you falling for girls who aren't available because they're already in relationships, and on top of that you work with them. I am confident you can find some available girls to fall for.
posted by cairdeas at 9:02 AM on March 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Agreed with others that you should not tell her since she is not available.

I don't think your being romantically interested in a girl while just remaining friends is dishonest or something to feel guilty about.
posted by mlle valentine at 9:03 AM on March 9, 2012


I’m now 32, and have never had a relationship

This the larger issue and you should work on that. Don't tell the woman you dig her and concentrate of fixing whatever is preventing you from having a relationship.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:05 AM on March 9, 2012 [19 favorites]


Upside (somewhat vaguer) would be reclaiming some sort of self respect: I have a pattern of falling for girls and being friends, without being honest about wanting more or plucking up the courage to do anything about it.

Don't tell women in relationships that you have a crush on them. Especially don't do in in the workplace. It makes things really awkward for everyone. And, as opposed to you getting some self-respect out of this, it will inevitably make you feel like crap when she -- whether or not this is something you consciously want -- does not end up spontaneously leaving that dude for you. And, yeah, I know you don't expect that, but you wouldn't be telling her if you didn't want it in some way.

If trying to remain "just friends" with her is going to lead to unrequited pining, then I wouldn't even bother trying to remain friends. Maybe you can look her up again when you've got something to offer outside of making her life needlessly complicated.
posted by griphus at 9:06 AM on March 9, 2012 [13 favorites]


She is beautiful and fun. I am not. She likes you enough to be friends with you. You're probably reading it right in that there is not chemistry and you would be burdening her by telling her, especially because she has been seeing someone, but your reading of your own self-worth is negatively distorted, unquestionably. Many many many of us have been in your situation and gotten past it. It takes time and work and courage but don't lose hope. You are worth way more than you think -- believe me.
posted by PercussivePaul at 9:06 AM on March 9, 2012


I wouldn't worry so much about being friends with her, especially if (like you said) you don't think you will have frequent/prolonged contact. Unless, of course, the idea of her being with someone else causes you pain, in which case you should just let her go.

I'll second the people saying you should look into casual or online dating. You sound like a good guy who hasn't really had a chance to explore what it's like to have a proper romantic interaction, so you're fixated on the one level you have experience of, i.e. unrequited crushes on conveniently unavailable women.

Do you have a friend you could talk to about all this? Ask if they can help you set up a profile/take you out to a bar. Dip your toes a little. It's not as bad as you think.
posted by fight or flight at 9:07 AM on March 9, 2012


Maybe you can look her up again when you've got something to offer outside of making her life needlessly complicated.

Okay, that may have been a little harsh. You can amend it to "...outside of making both your lives needlessly complicated."
posted by griphus at 9:09 AM on March 9, 2012


Gosh, I dunno.

Here's how I would think about it. Don't tell her just to dump self-esteem issues on her or to cure what you regard as your dishonesty (which isn't really dishonesty at all). And don't do it if this would make you awash in guilt over messing with her present relationship, or if you think it's just a non-starter because of that relationship. Don't communicate just to communicate, or to solve some personal problem.

OTOH, there are a lot of great relationships that wouldn't have started if they weren't facilitated -- or if passions weren't declared -- while one of the parties was seeing someone else. There's a huge difference between communicating feelings and making her cheat on her SO.

The work issue adds a degree of difficulty. Do not cross that line if you have a supervisory function over her, or vice-versa.

I advise greater forwardness than any else thus far largely because I perceive that you are used to excuses and getting nowhere. Sometime you have say, damn the torpedoes. But it does appear to be a minority view.
posted by Clyde Mnestra at 9:09 AM on March 9, 2012


I would not tell her yet, but make an effort to stay in touch with her. Maybe the correct opportunity comes up later.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 9:12 AM on March 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


There is nothing shameful or underhand about having a crush. You have nothing to feel guilty about. Ergo, you do not need to 'confess' to her because your guilty feelings are all in your head.

In future, when you like someone (who is also single) then either ask them out or don't, but whatever you do don't beat yourself up about it.
posted by dumdidumdum at 9:12 AM on March 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


No, and this is why:

She’s seeing a guy.

All the other details are irrelevant. Although I do agree with everyone else's advice about working on your self-esteem and seeking out women who are actually available and looking to find someone to date.
posted by something something at 9:13 AM on March 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


I’d love to keep in contact (obviously) but realistically that seems unlikely long term. I’m bad at keeping in touch with people

Tell her you'd like to keep in touch with her and follow up by actually keeping in touch with her. The only reason you're in a position of Now or Never is because you believe you will fail to maintain friendly contact with her when she leaves the company.

So, I'd work on improving your keeping-in-touch-with-friends-and-acquaintances skills.
posted by MoonOrb at 9:13 AM on March 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


You know, I might otherwise say "don't tell her, and move on" -- there's a lot of self-respect to be gained simply by accepting things the way they are and showing other people the proper level of respect -- but I also recognize your desire to not feel cowardly, like you missed an opportunity by not opening your mouth.

So, here's what I'd do: make sure you have contact info for her when she leaves. Keep it, but don't use it, because she isn't single and you don't really think of her as a viable dating partner, just a "crush", so using it for romantic purposes would be inappropriate.

However: if at some point in your future (after you've taken some of the other advice above, to learn how to have good relationships and discover that you're a fun and attractive person, too) you find out she's single, and you feel like you're actually interested in her as a potential partner, then pick up the phone (or what-have-you) and contact her, and see what happens.
posted by davejay at 9:15 AM on March 9, 2012


If she was single, I'd tell you to ask her out at some point during her last week. But she's not. Your confession is just gonna awkward things up. If you let your flame die out, you have a better chance of remaining friends in the long run.

The good news is that if you can make friends with people, you're dateable. The two are more similar than you may realize. The bad news is that befriending people when you really want to date them instead is just not a good strategy. It's not something to feel ashamed of, just something to try and work on.

Next time you're attracted to someone who's available (and preferably not a coworker), challenge yourself to ask her out at the first opportunity. Get the scary part over with!
posted by Metroid Baby at 9:15 AM on March 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Another voice of dissent here: I think theres a difference between saying something like "I think you're awesome and if you were single I would totally ask you out" and saying something like "I have a crush on you and I can't hide it anymore".

It's all in the delivery. And the expectation. She doesn't owe you anything once you tell her. She doesn't have to reciprocate, she doesn't have to let you down easy, she doesn't have to do anything.
posted by softlord at 9:16 AM on March 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Are you being Just Friends guy?

If so, I think you know that this pattern isn't working for you, but it's so much easier that it's hard to break out of the pattern. This girl isn't a key to anything; if she were gone, you'd find another Just Friends Girl, because wherever you go, there you are. The common factor is you.

So don't focus on her. Focus on you. Can you find someone to talk to about this? Can you try moving outside your comfort zone in a more productive way, maybe by trying something like online dating, where everyone is there to meet someone and knows the score?

Seriously, think about it. Telling her is high-risk (she's currently a coworker) and unlikely to work (she has a boyfriend). Asking out a woman on online dating is low-risk (she doesn't even know you!) and has a higher likelihood of working (if she's on online dating, she's very likely to still be single!). So why does online dating feel much scarier to you (I'm guessing)? I think that's something to think about.

On the more pragmatic side, no, don't tell her. You're friends with her on Facebook, right? In the event that she ever breaks up with your boyfriend, you can send her a message and ask her out on a proper date. (Facebook is basically made for this.) Until that time, she is unavailable, and you're too awesome to waste your time romantically pining after people who are unavailable.

Go be awesome. You can do this.
posted by pie ninja at 9:17 AM on March 9, 2012 [11 favorites]


Don't tell someone who is dating someone else that you're interested! It will absolutely come across as creepy, because it will read as 'I am asking you to break up with your boyfriend and/or cheat with me'. (If she were poly and looking, she would almost certainly have mentioned it by now - don't just hit on people who are taken in the faint hope that they're poly.)

You clearly want to continue and strengthen some kind of emotional connection with this girl, and you want her attention. That's where this is coming from, given that you know it's unlikely to produce a relationship. Don't go this route!

Either accept that you're going to lose her as a friend because you don't keep up with people or take steps to keep her as a friend. But don't act all pine-y. It's a bit fetching in a teenager but not so great in a 32-year-old.

For heaven's sake. What do you think is holding you back from dating? It's unlikely to be merely your reluctance to ask girls out (that's necessary but not sufficient). Are you really, objectively odd-enough-looking that it's a dealbreaker for many people? (This won' t keep you from dating if you work at it, though.) Is your hygiene bad? Are you socially awkward to a crippling degree? When you say you're not fun, what does that mean? Are you different enough from everyone in your town that you don't meet people? (Possible in a small town, unlikely in a larger area). Are you still working through some kind of childhood/young adult trauma and just don't have the emotional energy to do the work of dating?

All those things are okay. None of them make you a bad person. None of them will keep you from dating. Pining for a girl who is in a relationship and leaving anyway will keep you from dating.
posted by Frowner at 9:19 AM on March 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


I was all set to tell you yes because awesome things can happen sometimes when workmates find out they have crushes on each other. But since you don't mention how she feels about you, and you do mention that she's seeing someone else, that means keep it to yourself this time.
posted by emelenjr at 9:19 AM on March 9, 2012


I’d like to think that she wouldn’t find this “revelation” too unpleasant (at best mildly flattering, otherwise easily forgotten?) but I’ve never been in the equivalent position, so have no idea really.

Just want to add, there's a reason we generally say not to do this sort of thing at work. It is because pretty much everyone who makes unwelcome/unwanted/uncomfortable advances towards women is thinking this (see all the threads about complimenting female strangers in public) so it's necessary to have some clearer boundaries, like not doing this at work. She might find the revelation unpleasant or she might find it uncomfortable, and maybe there are situations in life where taking that risk is more acceptable, but as a society at this point, we are saying it's not fair to her to risk making her uncomfortable in the workplace.
posted by cairdeas at 9:20 AM on March 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Do not confess your feelings to your secret crush.

The reality is:
-She's leaving the company and you are bad at keeping in contact with other people AND
-She's seeing someone right now

However, I get that being 32 and not being in a relationship might be difficult. So, I want
to provide a few suggestions:
-View yourself as someone that's good looking and date-worthy material
-Let someone know how you feel before two years pass by
-If you realize that you are falling for someone in the getting to know you stage, then let them know
-Don't view yourself as someone that's guilty for anything in this case. You have not committed a crime! You have a crush and that's something that many people experience.
posted by livinglearning at 9:22 AM on March 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Last thing:

I advise greater forwardness than any else thus far largely because I perceive that you are used to excuses and getting nowhere. Sometime you have say, damn the torpedoes.

I think this IS an example of making excuses and getting nowhere. The OP has said he goes to lunch sometimes with this co-worker and she told him about her job change. That seems to be the extent of their interaction. No really good friendly rapport, no flirtation, absolutely zero indication of interest. Plus she is already in a relationship with her boyfriend!

I think this big crush revelation is its own kind of excuse-making. An excuse from going out, doing the work to find a girl who is actually interested, which could take a lot of time for any of us; an excuse from putting in the work to build up the necessary amount of rapport/romantic spark/chemistry; an excuse from finding a girl who is actually available. Blurting out this revelation is quick n' easy compared to that and it's mentally harrowing enough the OP could tell himself it's proof he's really trying hard to fix this issue he has when he really isn't in any way.
posted by cairdeas at 9:28 AM on March 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


Blurting out this revelation is quick n' easy compared to that and it's mentally harrowing enough the OP could tell himself it's proof he's really trying hard to fix this issue he has when he really isn't in any way.

I guess I'd reframe this in a less blamey way.

If the OP is an insecure and unhappy person (at least in this aspect of his life), and if he tends to be the friend guy, it's probably because of actual life stuff that wasn't so fun. People end up that way because of tough childhoods, or long illnesses, or being really socially isolated. It's difficult and scary to change, and if you feel like your present situation is kind of depressing, you can easily feel like 'what if I change and it's worse? At least I know how things are now!".

And there's the whole question of identity. Having a strong unconscious/semi-conscious identity of "I am no fun and not attractive, and I never ask anyone out because they would probably say not and then I'd have objective confirmation that I am unwanted and unwantable"....identity tends to be self-fulfilling because part of you clings to it, wants to preserve it.

Setting yourself up for non-scary failure can be, yes, a defense against setting yourself up for scary failure.

Here is what I would do: try to go on some dates, using the internet if needed. Have a good friend (I hope you have a reasonable social circle!) who can talk you through this and commiserate if it doesn't work right away. A good friend will remind you that you're not the sum of your random-dating-history.

I will also say that I used to know this guy - so good-looking! so nice! so funny! - who couldn't seem to date to save his life, even in a milieu rich with available, suitable girls. Eventually he started going out with someone (and we eventually lost touch, due to being in different parts of the country and never seeing each other) but I don't think he really had a serious relationship until he was over thirty. And he was ridiculously good-looking. (Hilariously, I realized later that I had accidentally turned him down myself, sheerly because it never occurred to me that he was an option. Of course, I don't really date guys now, but this was a while ago)
posted by Frowner at 9:40 AM on March 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


She is in a relationship. Telling her that you have a crush on her won't end that, but it will make things awkward and might end your friendship. If you value the friendship for reasons other than your secret crush on her, you shouldn't tell her.

If the only reason that you associate with her is because you've got a crush on her, well, I suppose it wouldn't hurt to tell her, since you'll likely never see her again if she rejects you. But, I'm guessing that this is not your situation. As a result, you should not tell her.

I do understand the point that you make about "regaining some self-respect," but you know that she is in a relationship. Going for what you want is OK. But, what you want, in this situation, is something you can't have (I mean, yeah, she might break up with her boyfriend for you, but it seems unlikely). So there is no point in "going for it."
posted by asnider at 9:52 AM on March 9, 2012


I have a pattern of falling for girls and being friends, without being honest about wanting more or plucking up the courage to do anything about it. As a result, my feelings of attraction (which I would like to think should be a positive thing, even if not reciprocated) are mixed up with guilt over this dishonesty.

This isn't part of that pattern. I used to have a really hard time telling people I liked them, so I'd just stay quiet and let chances go by. But this was only true if it was someone I might actually have been able to date if I'd just said something. You're not psyching yourself out or being cowed into silence here - she's seeing someone else. Even if your self-respect were at stake here - and it isn't - it would be a tiny gain compared to feeling defeated when she inevitably says no.

Let this particular instance go, and talk to a therapist about the surrounding issues.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 10:01 AM on March 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Another "please do not tell" recommendation, for all the reasons noted above. I would also point out that it's very possible that she's guessed you have a crush on her, and she actively appreciates that fact that you haven't brought it up before -- in which case, telling her as she goes runs the risk of actively souring her feelings/memories of you.

The real issue, as others have also pointed out, is your self-esteem. You may not believe this, but I'm going to say it anyway: no matter what you look like or what your personality may be, you deserve to feel good about yourself and to find companionship. The thing is, though, this will require ongoing work on your part (e.g., therapy, self-help books, etc.) to make come true. The change you seem to want to happen in your life can only start from the inside out; it won't come from the "right" person walking into your life and delivering self-esteem and companionship into your hands.

What you want is legitimate. Telling this woman how you feel, however, is a step down a path that will never get you to where you want to go. There are other paths you can take, however, that can help get you there. Good luck.
posted by scody at 10:06 AM on March 9, 2012 [7 favorites]


You can't just say to someone "Have better self esteem!" When you say that, you are basically saying "Just fix the longest-standing, most important problem of your life!" It pisses me off when someone tells me to love myself, so that others will more easily love me. What the fuck does that even mean? I can't make you OR me love me.

Much better is to say "Be kind to yourself." I love that advice because it's advice I can follow even when I am pissed off at myself.

At any rate, OP, you must just find the path that nets you SOME result. Don't say anything about your crush, just be a friend and continue to have respect for her and make sure that when she leaves her memory of you will be the guy that she liked to go get lunch with sometimes, not the guy that dropped an awkies bomb on her in her last week.

And it will suck for you, and it will cause you pain, but you will persevere without saying anything to her until such time as you no longer feel pain about it. But that time will come, and you will have gained two things. The first gain is leaving a positive impression of yourself with your departing crush, and the second is the strength you gain by proving to yourself that you can move past this painful thing.

Those gains aren't nearly as nice as actually getting the girl, but they are gains and they are better than the self-chastisement Royal Rumble that would go on in your head if you told her and she reacted unfavorably.

Deep breath, splash some cold water in your face, move on to the next opportunity with the experience gained here.
posted by TheRedArmy at 10:13 AM on March 9, 2012 [15 favorites]


Not telling someone who is dating someone else that you have a crush on them isn't self-defeating; it's self-respecting, and it also indicates respect for them and for their current relationship.

Where it's self-defeating to not tell people you have a crush on them is when the circumstances are propitious for pursuing a romantic relationship with them. That's what you need to work on, not this.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:16 AM on March 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


Another voice of dissent here: I think theres a difference between saying something like "I think you're awesome and if you were single I would totally ask you out" and saying something like "I have a crush on you and I can't hide it anymore".

Speaking for me and my own ovary-driven brain and gender programming, I think it's selfish and manipulative for someone to tell me they have a crush. Either I am available and you can make a move, or else there's no reason for me to know you have a crush - and I am especially not interested in being put in a sexual category by a "friend" or being made to feel we might have an imbalance. There is, in my experience, zero difference in the words, zero difference in the delivery.

Do not tell this woman you have a crush. She is not single. If she is single at some point, ask her out. Stay friends with her and see if she can fix you up with one of her friends.

You come across, in text, as a thoughtful, engaging man. Get out there and find a woman who will enjoy being with you.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 10:35 AM on March 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


There is no gain in "self respect" from being rejected in person vs. realizing you have no chance and therefore not acting on it. I know it seems like it would relieve the tension, but it just masks the current tension by trying to hide it under another one, which I will term "the effects of honesty". You might just go from doubting whether you should stay silent to doubting whether it was right to say something.
posted by rhizome at 11:25 AM on March 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


In addition to all the other good reasons, I especially think you shouldn't tell her because she has a boyfriend that she is seemingly happy with.

No matter how you phrase it, saying "I have a crush on you" is disrespectful to her current relationship. It comes across as a proposition, even if it's not.

People who are confident and effective in their relations with the opposite sex (or, with their gender of choice) tend to be more lighthearted, and they are generally just so laid back and casual that it would be uncool and tacky to say something like that.

Trust that you have communicated enough nonverbally. Telling her about it would be childish and inconsiderate.
posted by jayder at 11:33 AM on March 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


You say this is a pattern with you. Do you still wish you had told the last women you felt this way about?

The last time I had a crush on a coworker, I urgently wanted to tell her, but kept quiet about it for the main reason people have cited above (she was taken--by a jerk, no less!). But as soon as I left the job, the crush dissipated, and I have no regrets about not telling her. You might ask yourself whether you think the urgency you feel right now is all that likely to continue and turn into regret.
posted by Beardman at 11:33 AM on March 9, 2012


keep in touch as friends.

False pretense. Don't do that.
posted by karathrace at 12:39 PM on March 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'll disagree, would say something to the effect of, "I understand that you're seeing someone, but I'd like to spend time with you if that situation changes."

I see zero lack of respect for her, her relationship or yourself in relating words to that effect.
posted by ambient2 at 12:51 PM on March 9, 2012


I was in similar position as you before. I had trouble forming relationships. I had a friend that I had a crush on for years. At some point I've had enough and decided to tell her my feelings.

She rejected it.
I. Was. Crushed.
And we're not friends anymore.

On the upside, now 5 years later, when I looked back at the time, I still grimace at the pain but I am proud that I did what I did.

So yes...years later in the future I can look back and think fondly of it.
But be warned of possible short term pain you're putting yourself (and her) through.

If I were you, I'd wait till she has left and would do what ambient2 suggested.
posted by 7life at 12:55 PM on March 9, 2012


"I understand that you're seeing someone, but I'd like to spend time with you if that situation changes."

There's a lot more to not expressing interest in someone who is expressly taken than "oh they're claimed." The problem with this is the zero knowledge of what's going on in the relationship. If she's going through a particularly rocky point, or if she's unsure, or god-knows-what-else, someone bluntly expressing their interest like that can be destabilizing to various degrees. And that destabilization can lead to some Bad Decisions on behalf of both parties.

Now, sure, it's not your problem, OP, if her relationship isn't great. But as a friend, would you really ever tell someone "oh, it sucks you guys are having problems. You know what I think would help? I know a guy who really likes you!" Who does that help?
posted by griphus at 12:58 PM on March 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Don't show up at her house unannounced to confess your feelings. This is super upsetting and not acceptable. This has happened to me.

If you end up seeing/talking to her outside of work it may be acceptable to tell her then, in a public place, but honestly I think it is going to be very difficult for you to frame this in a way that does not make her feel super uncomfortable.
posted by that girl at 1:01 PM on March 9, 2012


I think it is going to be very difficult for you to frame this in a way that does not make her feel super uncomfortable.

If that really is the case, then perhaps it isn't to be. Telling someone you are interested in a romantic relationship isn't about YOU getting those feelings off your chest. Its about trying to come to an agreement about proceeding together through the same corridors together. If that is not a scenario you can reasonably expect, then perhaps you should not pursue it as it will just make her "super uncomfortable".
posted by karathrace at 1:09 PM on March 9, 2012


If you have had a crush on her for years and have been friends for any length of time, I'm going to say there is an 85% chance she already knows. Don't make things weird by forcing her to confront it.
posted by Rock Steady at 1:16 PM on March 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


Upside (somewhat vaguer) would be reclaiming some sort of self respect: I have a pattern of falling for girls and being friends, without being honest about wanting more or plucking up the courage to do anything about it. As a result, my feelings of attraction (which I would like to think should be a positive thing, even if not reciprocated) are mixed up with guilt over this dishonesty.

This is the most backwards thing I’ve read in a while. Not confessing your feelings to a woman already in a relationship via a Dramatic Monologue is actually something noble that you should be proud of. I’m proud of myself for not hitting on married people I’ve had crushes on and the same principle applies. It’s only “cowardly” if you live in a solipsistic world where only your feelings about yourself matter.
posted by quincunx at 1:53 PM on March 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'll disagree, would say something to the effect of, "I understand that you're seeing someone, but I'd like to spend time with you if that situation changes."

I don't know what this woman's response would be, but my response would be YIKES UNCOMFORTABLE NOW WHAT?!? For the reasons everyone has already stated.

Either stay in touch with the lady, OP, and ask her out if she is ever single, or let it go. Putting in "dibs" for a future time never ends well. It's not like women keep a list of guys who have crushes on them so they can have a bunch of fallback plans ready, I assure you.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:15 PM on March 9, 2012 [7 favorites]


I’d love to keep in contact (obviously) but realistically that seems unlikely long term.

Yep - let it go and don't tell her.

I have a pattern of falling for girls and being friends, without being honest about wanting more or plucking up the courage to do anything about it. As a result, my feelings of attraction (which I would like to think should be a positive thing, even if not reciprocated) are mixed up with guilt over this dishonesty.

This is the real thing you have to fix. If you have a deep crush on someone who is in a relationship with someone else, from the outset, do not spend time with them, do not get to the point where they're confiding in you. Don't do it to yourself. Don't do it to her. Don't do it to the other person in the relationship.
posted by mleigh at 2:30 PM on March 9, 2012


I'll disagree, would say something to the effect of, "I understand that you're seeing someone, but I'd like to spend time with you if that situation changes."

Um, no. CREEPY. As a female, if someone said this to me, I would probably not speak to that person again. Sidhedevil summed it up perfectly.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 2:42 PM on March 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think that you think that your issue with not having relationships is because you've been too afraid to man up and express interest. And that's probably right, generally. But it's not right, here.

In general, it's better to express interest by asking someone out, not by confessing feelings. Asking out gives them options -- go on a date, or not. Confessing feelings just burdens them.

More importantly, this girl is in a relationship. This is just... placing a burden on her. Implicitly asking her to cheat or to leave her guy for you. Making her have to deal with knowledge of your feelings in this weird, awkward way.

You're right that you should come clean and have a good start -- in the abstract. Just not here. Next time you have a crush on a girl, and she is available, ask her on a date. That would be a terrific start to your real issue.
posted by J. Wilson at 4:10 PM on March 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think it was pretty insightful for you to realize that telling your friend about your crush would be selfish. It would be, because you're trying to shift the responsibility for your feelings over to her.

Getting it off your chest might make you feel temporarily unburdened, but you already know she's in a relationship. What is she supposed to do with this information, other than feel awkward?

Don't ever waste years of your life wanting someone who doesn't want you back. That way lies madness. Do whatever work you need to do on yourself to feel better and don't punish yourself with unavailable people. Easier said than done, but you can do this. Good luck!
posted by Space Kitty at 5:51 PM on March 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


Kudos to you for trying to get some objective opinions on this before proceeding.

Nthing don't disclose, because she has a boyfriend.

I think you'll find your feelings for her will fade after she leaves your workplace.

I have a pattern of falling for girls and being friends, without being honest about wanting more or plucking up the courage to do anything about it. As a result, my feelings of attraction (which I would like to think should be a positive thing, even if not reciprocated) are mixed up with guilt over this dishonesty.

It's not fair to you or your female friends to secretly be harboring feelings for them while maintaining a friendship that's based on something completely different.

Also, "I have a crush on you" is probably a bad way to go if you're ever in a situation where it would be good to pursue. Something simple like, "How would you like to grab a drink with me?," or something involving the word "date" if the situation is ambiguous. The more effort you make to prop an invitation up, the less appealing it's going to look.
posted by alphanerd at 2:12 PM on March 10, 2012


Why don't you write a letter to her, print it, sign and then tear it down? Being in similar situation as you I did that and it brought an unexpected sense of peace into my in-love self.
posted by przepla at 12:29 PM on March 15, 2012


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