The Predicament of the Week from March 23, 1998…
Dear Breakup Girl,
There is this guy that I met while working. We were in different departments but on the same floor. He was always there to listen to me and give me advice and noticing when I wasn’t happy or having problems at work. There is no doubting if you are agreeable to somebody when they see you and break out into a gigantic smile, every time. At first I didn’t think of him as anything more than a cool guy. But one day I woke up and realized that I was attracted to him not because of what he looks like but because I felt comfortable around him (which you must understand for me is strange since I’ve had odd relationships up until now). We had a fall-out in which he said to me that he knew me very well, that I was an emotional person, that when I became emotional I was defensive and when I became defensive, that made him uncomfortable because he felt that he needed to justify himself to me. All true, but it seemed odd that two people that were just co-workers were sharing with each other.
In any case, we managed to overcome that and it seemed as though he started opening up a little more: we share a passion for white chocolate, puppies and a hatred of roaches, among other things. We’ve shared private jokes in public and he’s gone out of his way to do me favors like phone calls to other prospective employers to find out what their pay scales were. I’ve returned the favors by making phone calls that he needed done. My situation at work went from bad to worse and it ended up in my being asked to leave. That was actually the best thing that could have happened to me because I managed to see him before I left and he asked for my home number, and because I hesitated (it was the shock of him taking the initiative that threw me off for a few seconds), he asked if it was O.K. for him to call me at home! But of course he hasn’t. Now, he gave me his and said that I could call, but, he was never home (I know for a fact that he has another job teaching at night).
The odd thing is that nobody at work knows if he has a girlfriend. He has never once mentioned it to me or to anybody else (I have spies) and he went to the company Christmas party by himself. The only pictures he has up are of him and his family (parents, brothers, etc.). To make matters worse, he not only is a beautiful person on the inside, 90% of women at that company, both single AND married, would sleep with him in a heartbeat. Many are surprised at the level of interaction I have with him given that he doesn’t make a point of socializing or going out of his way for anybody there, not even people he works with directly. I will be seeing him next week at a function that was organized off-site so that I can attend, something that he spearheaded. I don’t know if that will be the last time I see him or not and I’m a little uncomfortable with being the one to take the initiative since I’ve been shot down so many times by others. And the worst part is that I don’t know if he thinks of me as just a friend or if he is interested and may just be shy. The fact that he hasn’t called doesn’t help either. It seems as though he doesn’t do too much of the emotional thing. For example, I gave him a card for Christmas and even though he never thanked me or acknowledged it, he displayed it on the shelf in his office. This all makes no sense to me. Any insight or advice?
First of all, you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding a new job, since you are nothing if not “detail-oriented.”
But BG is worried about a couple of things: (1) your priorities, and (2) your perspective. When you say that being asked to leave your job is the “best thing that could have happened to you” — all because it might give you a better shot with someone with whom you share “a passion for chocolate and puppies and a hatred of roaches,” Breakup Girl worries. What, do you both love “E.R.” and fear fire? He sounds like a good enough guy, but so far, Love Story this ain’t.
But now that you are — for better or for worse — no longer in the same office, you do have some more leeway. If you want to get to the bottom of this once and for all, ask him the heck out. I don’t care if you’ve been shot down before — I mean, I do care, but who hasn’t? If he’s interested, fine; if not — well, I’m just concerned that fretting over this guy is going to distract you from what you really need, which is, hello, a job. And the ability to keep one. Redo your resume, then start interviewing boyfriends.