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January 9, 1998   CONTINUED e-mail e-mail to a friend in need

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Dear Breakup Girl,
I've been friends with a very attractive co-worker for about one and a half years. She works about ten feet away from me. Recently, she started flirting back with me; I had been flirtatious most of the time, but had gotten no response. I was very excited and was walking on clouds. We went on three dates, one of them was fairly passionate, and then she calls me and says she only wants to be friends. Her reason was that she felt 'pressured by me'. When I asked her what I was doing to pressure her and offered to stop what ever it might be, she gave me no reason but said the old "it's me, not you" line. I have to pass by her office several times a day and feel very uncomfortable. How do I cope? Help!
-- BT


Dear BT,
Ah, the work breakup: the mother of all pink slips. Even though Breakup Girl works alone, very much alone, at BGHQ, she does have a little insight into the special circumstances/complications of the job-related jilt. One thing I've observed is that women tend to be a little more cautious than men about office romance. They're the ones who -- whether in reality or only somewhere in the back of their minds -- still have to worry most about separating the personal and professional, about the whole slept-her-way-to-the-corner-office stereotype. I know she's your co-worker (as opposed to your subordinate, or, even more "Disclosure," your boss), but still, this may be part of what gave her the jitters.

Now, about how to cope. Keep your perspective: I realize that the vibe is uncomfortable -- but remember, it was three dates, not three years. Basically, you're going to have to button up your best "Weirdness? What Weirdness?" suit and stick it out. When you walk by her office, think to yourself, "Hey, she said it was her, not me -- she's the one who should be uncomfortable." Then go find someone else in a different line of work -- say, someone with a home office.

Love,
Breakup Girl

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