Coworker/crush's having a rough time. What can I do?
October 2, 2009 3:17 PM   Subscribe

My coworker/friend/crush has just broken up with her long-term SO. Can I help her?

So this is my first job, and I’ve had a crush on my coworker since we started. Since it is my first job (and I'm really bad with interpersonal relationships anyways), I've no idea how to handle it. We're friends, we text back and forth some times, and I make her laugh at the office without much effort. I helped her adjust to our hellhole office, she helped me deal with my ongoing quarterlife crisis. She's leaving to study for the MCAT in November for three months. She just broke up with her long-term boyfriend, and told me that she has been on the verge of tears ever since. To top it all off, she just had a really bad day yesterday. I let her know that I'm there for her to talk to. Is that all I can/should do? Help me hivemind, I'm so bad at this.
posted by wayofthedodo to Human Relations (15 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Do you want to end up with her, or do you want to just make her feel better?

Either way, I think you've made it clear you're available. Don't make this more than what it is.
posted by Think_Long at 3:27 PM on October 2, 2009 [2 favorites]

Do you know her friends, or are there any co-workers you two get along with? I'd suggest you go with her to dinner, but it might be hard to avoid romantic overtones or suggestions if it's just the two of you.

Are you any good at cooking? Make her some comfort food. If not, you could buy something from a restaurant she likes.

You haven't suggested it, but I'll just state for the record: do not try for any rebound relationship.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:30 PM on October 2, 2009 [1 favorite]

^^^ What Think_Long said.

However, if you have a crush, and she is leaving soon, strike while the iron is hot. Make yourself available, like you said, and wait.

Today is Friday, though. Don't let her go over the weekend without talking to you. If you aren't comfortable asking for her number, give her your number and tell her to call you over the weekend. Don't ask her, tell her with confidence. Like you'd tell your sister.

Don't hold your breath. Be surprised when she calls. If she doesn't call, no sweat. Maybe she had plans or just didn't feel like it. It's not your problem.

If and when she calls, or you wind up talking about personal stuff at work, it's ok to drop broad hints about how you feel. See how she reacts. If it's favorable, then press the issue gently.

If she isn't interested, leave it be. Crushes can be nice, you may not want to spoil it with the truth. That being said, you don't want to be kicking yourself in the butt for the next ten years. Man up (even if you are a woman).
posted by Xoebe at 3:36 PM on October 2, 2009

I worked with a guy who'd had a crush on me since he started. I broke up with my long-term boyfriend a while later. Within a month coworker and I were together. While I'd always been aware of his crush on me, I'd always thought he was kind of cute but wasn't willing to act on it -- breakup was a good time to do so.

Advice: Wait a week or two, just being a normal friend, then invite her over for a movie. Worked great on me!
posted by olinerd at 4:00 PM on October 2, 2009

OK. will wait and see.
posted by wayofthedodo at 5:32 PM on October 2, 2009

no offense, oli, but a week or two would not be long enough for me, nor would it be healthy for me even if i were to pursue it. keep this girl's well-being in mind, but don't use her vulnerabilities to your advantage. it might backfire completely and keep you two from even continuing to be just friends.

how long was "long-term" in your co-worker's relationship?
posted by june made him a gemini at 6:43 PM on October 2, 2009

Indeed, waiting a "week or two" to move in after she's just ended a long term relationship?

Way to both be a bad friend and to guarantee your prospects are highly limited, dude.
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:18 AM on October 3, 2009

june, six years
posted by wayofthedodo at 7:58 AM on October 3, 2009

yeahhhh, hold off on the white knight act for awhile then wayofthedodo. Be her good friend, and then when you can't stand it anymore go and read through all of the "just friends" askmes
posted by Think_Long at 8:03 AM on October 3, 2009 [1 favorite]

Yikes. Yeah.. give her a nod and let her know you'll be there and all, but going in for the kill like that so quick after six years is sure to create one giant problem.

Furthermore she's:
a) leaving for three months in a month doing something that is likely to give her little time or motivation for a relationship
b) your co-worker

These are like the three biggest "DONT DO IT UGHAHLAFK!" signs ever.
posted by june made him a gemini at 9:41 AM on October 3, 2009

How do I deal with it at work in a constructive way, instead of getting all depressed about it?
posted by wayofthedodo at 4:56 PM on October 3, 2009

I'm not sure what you mean -- your feelings for her? It's just one of those life-lessons. What I do in situations like that is just think about all the horrible, awful inter-office drama it would cause or at least general awkwardness if and when it ended. Better yet I try to think about how happy I thought I would have been and how nice it would be if I could just go to lunch with that person every day and see them all the time.. and then throw in the overcast skies and the tornadoes and really played it out like it was likely to go.

It's very rarely a Jim and Pam situation, which is why that storyline was so popular. A lot of us rooted from them because we, at one time, were so hopeful.

Good luck :)
posted by june made him a gemini at 9:13 PM on October 5, 2009

ok, now she asked me out to lunch. just a friendly lunch between friends, right?
posted by wayofthedodo at 10:41 AM on October 8, 2009

Did she asked you to lunch or did she ask you to lunch. I'd go ahead and assume she just needs someone to be around for support. Personally I've been in her position and tried, stupidly, to make sudden moves for someone and had them call my bluff -- telling me that while they were more than interested it was probably in both of our best interests to let her life pan out a bit before rushing into anything.

I'm actually on an adjacent side of this fence right now, as a matter of fact. It sucks beyond belief but I feel the person is worth it and I'm willing to hold out. We were just starting to get close after several years of being friends when there was a sudden family tragedy. Absolutely everything was a mess and I was left feeling like I'd been forgotten.

After being honest with them about it, they said, "I would want to be the best I could be for you, I can't do that right now," Not only did it confirm their feelings for me but really pushed the fact that they don't want to mess this up.

Don't let either of you make an ass out of the other. If she tries to pull something, tell her that you are incredibly flattered but you want her to be sure that's what she really wants and to hold onto that thought for a few more days/weeks. While she might be flustered, if she wasn't trying to just get her kicks -- she'll respect you much more for it. Hold your ground!
posted by june made him a gemini at 4:50 PM on October 8, 2009

However, I'd suggest you keep this aptly-illustrated more in mind.
posted by WCityMike at 12:55 PM on October 18, 2009

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