Working it out on June 15, 1998…
Dear Breakup Girl,
I was reading the Predicament of the Week and I just have to say, “Wow!” I was wondering if guys like him exist. Maybe Brad is looking for love in all the wrong places…
Anyhoo…I am totally attracted to this guy. He is funny, smart, and attractive. So what’s the problem, right??? Well, I WORK with him. Been there, done that… don’t want to go back. While we’re dating, we can’t focus on work. When we break up, we still can’t focus on work. So, how do I deal with this attraction? I certainly don’t want to make any mistakes. I think that it would be different if I thought things would work out great. I am a Christian, he is not. His ten year reunion is this year, I graduated [three years ago]. He is loud and obnoxious, I am calm and cool. It is driving me insane every time I work with him. We already spend way too much time talking. What is a girl to do??? Help me out here, would ya? Thanks.
Ah, the work thing. I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: For your venture to be worth the risks (of which you are well aware) — of alienating co-workers, of derailing the friendship, of being banished to the “bad” copier after a lousy breakup — you have to have a pretty fierce hunch that things could really, truly work out. A hunch that comes from your gut, not from your fourth pina colada on the office beach trip. Which is a hunch that, given your letter, neither you nor Breakup Girl has; sounds like deep down, Brownie Boy is more your speed than Older, Louder, Non-Christian Company Man.
Which is not to deny your attraction to the latter lover. So remember this, which I’ve also said (and done) before: office love does not have to be all or nothing. There’s a case to be made for chaste co-worker flirtation (CCF, for future reference) that’s consummated only in a positive, productive energy and work ethic. And a little buzz that makes you psyched to go to work. Once you’ve decided — which I think you have — that you actually don’t want to Do anything with this one, you can stop obsessing and enjoy that buzz for its own sake. Cut down on the talking; savor the rarer moments more; get some work done (after you finish my column).
P.S. Got those props, Brad? Remember, this would be an example of a “wrong place.”