Wrong Impression
January 25, 2008 5:36 PM   Subscribe

Want to be friends, but not be seen as too close at work. How do I tell her?

She's a good friend who I don't have any problems with as a person, but she is in a serious relationship with a guy in another department who works different hours. Well her and I end up hanging out at work quite a bit and I get the feeling that other people, and especially his friends at the company, think that there is something more going on between us, which there's not. I don't want to be known as the guy who will steal your girlfriend away, especially when thats not even happening. Is there any way to let her know that it looks inappropriate for her to spend so much time with me without making it awkward?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Don't either of you have actual work to do at work? Tell her you have work to do and don't have time to hang out.
posted by 45moore45 at 6:01 PM on January 25, 2008

You might try asking some of your other co-workers to join the two of you at lunch or on break sometimes.

But honestly, if I were in this situation I'd go ahead and hang out with the person. If you both enjoy it and don't feel you're doing anything wrong, why not? Sometimes people need to learn that it's not a good idea to make assumptions.
posted by orange swan at 6:30 PM on January 25, 2008

I was in a similar situation. Well, everyone thought I was dating a girl that I wasn't, and it lead to a few awkward moments, but there was very little sexual tension between us (hence us being friends), so it was never that weird.

Just ignore, laugh it off and say you're not dating if anyone asks. People are professional at the office, in my opinion, and such issues are so sticky that no one is going to pry you.
posted by geoff. at 6:31 PM on January 25, 2008

"She's like a SISTER to me! No. Really."

Repeat as necessary.
posted by wfrgms at 6:37 PM on January 25, 2008

If the boyfriend knows, then it should be fine. Let the others think whatever they want.
posted by kidbritish at 6:44 PM on January 25, 2008 [1 favorite]

Hmm, it sounds like this is better solved by defusing the rumor mill.

You can start by having a direct man-to-man with the boyfriend in which you say "X is a great buddy, but I want to make very clear with you that I'm not poaching and have no intentions other than hanging out at work."

Then you can both grunt, bump chests, and go out for a beer if necessary.

Forthright honesty with the potentially aggrieved man can go a long way towards reining in the loose talk.

On the other hand, if you're just looking to use the rumor mill as an excuse to not spend as much time with this woman, I would just stop spending as much time with her and if she asks about it tell her "people were talking."
posted by tkolar at 6:58 PM on January 25, 2008

I strongly disagree with the suggestion to have a talk with the boyfriend. Your friend is not property. She will decide who she wants to spend time with and that is all there is to it.
posted by mlis at 7:25 PM on January 25, 2008 [3 favorites]

I also disagree. Such a talk would only rouse suspicion.

Let's remember one critical fact here, that overshadows anything you might do to manage appearances: NOTHING IS GOING ON.

If that is truly the case, you are cool. All that's happening is that you secretly WANT something to go down and you're afraid that this is showing. Likely no one else is giving it a second thought.
posted by scarabic at 8:10 PM on January 25, 2008

Having been on both sides of the equation, I found it cut through a lot of the bullshit. SO's aren't property, but partners get jealous just the same.
posted by tkolar at 8:25 PM on January 25, 2008

It sounds like you want to spend less time with her. Make (or make up) other plans and don't be as available. She'll get the message and may feel relieved too.
posted by MiffyCLB at 9:08 PM on January 25, 2008

If you try to make thing look different than they are people will pick up on that. That will always come across as sneaky.

Either hang out with her or don't. Don't waste energy trying to make it look any different than it is.
posted by 26.2 at 3:59 PM on January 26, 2008

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