A READER WHO KNOWS WHAT I’M ABOUT, WHICH IS CRUSHES:
So I like a guy, I’m very much attracted to him. But we work together in a very small and close team and spend ALOT of time together in work, talking 15 hour days sometimes. Add to this this that due to our jobs and where we live being quite remote, we are also neighbours (different rooms in the same residential building) and we are good friends so we hang out all the time (there isn’t really any other social scene). So obviously even one of these things would make expressing my feelings complicated but all three makes it seem impossible, if things got awkward there would literally be nowhere to hide and would make it awkward for our other colleagues and friends.
Now how he feels about me is currently undetermined. We definitely get on really well and he seems to enjoy my company and I’m think I’m feeling a bit of a vibe there but I could also be totally be projecting and making it up in my head. He’s pretty shy too so I don’t think he would necessarily make a move either without a clear sign from me. So how do I make a clear sign I’m interested in him romantically without possibly destroying our other relationships. And is it even a good idea to act on this? Or is it just too close to home and I just try and forget about it?
What in the entire world??? NO YOU SHOULD NOT JUST FORGET ABOUT IT. Movies and TV make it seem like someone being too involved in your life/too close is an obstacle because in the modern world there are very few obstacles to love, but if you’re telling A STORY you need an obstacle otherwise it’s boring. So they either make up crazy scenarios that never happen in real life (e.g., we’re pretending to date but actually falling in love) OR they amplify minor problems into huge hurdles to up the stakes (e.g., this person works with me and it might be awkward).
Look, will it be awkward if things don’t “work out”?? Maybe! But you’re both adults and you will be fine. It will not kill you if you are friends with someone who you showed romantic interest towards who did not feel the same way. I have done it many times and I did not die!! I know that’s anecdotal, but please trust me.
There are a million ways that this could play out and most of them are neutral-to-great. It is INCREDIBLY unlikely to the point of being statistically the same as a zero percent chance that his response is, “EWWW NO WHAT THE FUCK??????” Which, I agree, would be a bad outcome.
I think you are perhaps imagining that showing romantic interest has to go something like this, “Hi, we’ve been hanging out a lot and I’ve noticed that I want to jump your bones and then date exclusively. Are you down or do you hate me?” It doesn’t!!! Showing romantic interest can go much more slowly than that and in fact, I think it should. You might be sure about how you feel about him, but he might not have even considered that it could be romantic. So, here’s my advice on how to go about this and it’s very very simple: ask him to hang out.
I don’t know the covid situation in your area which might affect this, but here is the Magic Brilliant Sophia Move that I recommend to everyone who has a crush and wants to do something about it, but at a slow pace so as not to upset the applecart. Ready? It’s really great. Ok, you find an activity that you want to do and that you think they’d enjoy. (In non-covid times a concert / movie / etc is ideal because there is a set time where this will happen). Then text him, “Hey I’m going to X this weekend. You should come!” This is BRILLIANT. You may not immediately understand how brilliant I am—most people don’t, and that’s ok! They’re probably right.—but let me tell you why. It’s brilliant because it’s a very low pressure to ask someone to hang out that makes you look like a fun person who has plans, who is going to do said plans whether the other person joins or not. It’s not reliant on the other person’s presence and it tells them that you’d like them to join. And it’s not inherently romantic, so again, no pressure but inclusive.
Because we’re all teenagers until at least the age of 97, most of us are aware that hanging out one on one with a person is a sign. It’s a sign that maybe you want to kiss them on the mouth romantically. He will likely pick up on this clue. BUT ALSO a hang out can just be a hang out, which is a nice little gift to both of you. It’s an out. It’s a pressure release valve. It means that if either of you is not feeling like kissing on the mouth romantically before or during or after the hang out, you can make it clear by saying something along the lines of, “Wow, I love hanging out as friends. This is so nice!” and the other person will immediately know what’s up. Usually.
You do not need to ask someone on a formal sit-down dinner date to express romantic interest. Unfortunately, it’s no longer 1982, and that’s a bit much right now; too formal. It’s like showing up to work in a tux. You guys are already friends, just hang out and move slowly but surely. Start picking up clues as to whether he’s interested. When you’ve hung out two or three times alone, get wasted and watch a movie he is shocked that you haven’t seen or a movie that you’re shocked he hasn’t seen and then make out during it. Or don’t rely on alcohol to be vulnerable because you’re a healthier adult than I am. Idk!!! I’m just telling you how most adults I know go about romancing each other.
Now, let’s say that somewhere along the line you two realize you are not meant to be romantically involved. Either it’s at the beginning when you ask him out and he says no or it’s four months down the line when you realize he refrigerates bread which is nuts and you can’t live with that. I don’t know. Let’s just imagine you two decide somehow that you’re not going to work as a couple. Ok, so what happens? What do you do?? YIKES, RIGHT???
A thing people underestimate a whole lot is how much power they have to Set The Tone of a situation through their own behavior. If this shit doesn’t work out for whatever reason, your job is to act as if that’s totally ok and no big deal and that it won’t affect things professionally/friendshipally/neighborly at all. I’m not saying that you can’t have vulnerable, truthful conversations about the end of the relationship should those need to be had, I’m just suggesting that if you act as if this is not a Big Deal and that you presume that both of you will handle it maturely, 99 times out of 100 the other person will follow that lead. Frankly, the truth of the matter is that it is not a big deal to break up with a coworker or to have a coworker turn you down. It’s super common and normal. It happens all the time. It will not kill you. It will not destroy relationships or jobs or your life. Everyone knows about breakups/romantic untanglings. It’s no big deal.
This is exciting and fun!!!! Let it be exciting and fun!! See if there is something there!!!! I wish you both the best ❤️