So I got this coworker, right? Funny guy. Friendly. Sweet. Hes kind of a flirt, though he insists up and down and sideways that hes not. Ive been working with him about 6 months. Our interactions have always been based on real casual flirting: teasing, silly nicknames, overly smiley greetings, simple compliments, casual chats over our mutual interests, etc. I assumed (or still assume) thats just how he interacts with everyone, he IS an outgoing type.
But over the last month or so its sort of snowballed into something else entirely. Im usually a pretty closed off person but hes a stunningly good conversationalist and I find myself sharing details about myself I would normally never tell a guy Ive barely known a few months. And on the flip side of that coin hes also telling me things about his personal life that I really dont think hes sharing with his other coworkers. On more than one occasion we’ve discussed things like “plans for the future”, “ideal relationships”, skeletons from our pasts in our closets, insecurities… etc. Hes stupidly intuitive, so hes usually got a pretty good idea what Im trying to say without me being very direct and handles more delicate topics much better than I do. Im sure thats part of whats made me so comfortable around him (despite not really trusting a word he says because Ive written it all off as plays)
The flirting has actually died down now (Though I still dig that he pretty much laughs at every joke I make. I know my sense of humor is way too dry for most). But the more we stopped to chat about one thing or another the more other coworkers started to gossip. On more than one occasion weve heard “Just freaking date already”— which we both promptly brushed off and pretended didnt happen…. only for coworkers to insist more loudly that were seconds away from needing to “get a room”.
In the beginning we were both very clear. We had both casually mentioned to each other “Im not dating right now.” “Flirting is just a way to pass the time at work, it doesnt mean anything.” We were on the same page. It was just… fun. We dont even refer to each other as friends. Were just…. coworkers. Coworkers who like talking to each other.
And despite finding him attractive I continue to insist that thats all it is because hes already fooled around with 2 other coworkers (months ago now) and I dont want to be a part of some guy just making his rounds. He swears up and down it wasnt that serious with either of them but gossip spreads like wildfire at our work. There are fundamental flaws that would prevent us from being an ideal match that we’ve already discussed (Though it was discussed in casual conversation, not as us actually addressing the elephant in the room): I dont want to get married or have kids, He already has two young kids and severely romanticizes domestic life despite it never working out well for him in the past. Those conversations usually end in him insisting I’ll change my mind and grow up someday and me insisting I dont date at all and changing the subject. (For the record Im almost 25. Hes somewhere around 31.)
But if Im really honest with myself here. I would be totally on board with maybe giving the dating scene a go…. with him. Or… part of me is on board, the rest of me looks at those pictures of his adorable (motherless) daughters he keeps showing me and I back away so quickly I trip over my own feet because I barely think of myself as an adult as it is and I also just cant…. in good conscience walk in and out of a child’s life as a footnote in their dad’s story.
But despite my reservations and all my self preservation I did still…. find him on facebook and message him one evening out of boredom. We never exchanged numbers. But just like at work, our first facebook conversation was SUPER flirty (almost dirty) and since then we havent really messaged each other all that much. Hes messaged me once or twice maybe… Ive sent him a funny video or told him some work gossip after hours a few times… But nothing else.
And then a week ago, out of the blue he starts straight up avoiding me. I guess now that Ive written this all out I’m not as surprised by it. But as it was happening I was surprisingly heartbroken, despite having told myself over and over again that we were JUST coworkers. I managed to pull him aside and ask if he was ok, just like hes done to me before on my more off days. He insisted he was fine and continued to avoid me. I vented to another coworker what had me so worked up and she ended up confronting him to ask why. He told her nothing was wrong, he hadnt been avoiding me and it was in her head and then, that same day… returned to chatting with me like usual. Flirty grins and all.
Yesterday he confronted me about it, admitted he HAD been avoiding me but it wasnt anything I did, it was more just… to try and stop the ever increasing gossip and pressure from our other coworkers. He told me he had hoped one very jealous very obnoxious coworker we both dislike would leave me alone and stop making rude remarks if he didnt talk to me at all while she was working.
Im not entirely sure I buy that reasoning he gave… because I know him well enough to know that hes way more of a flirt than he will ever say and theres a distinct possibility he just doesnt want to seem unavailable to new cute hires but… she IS exceptionally obnoxious and… heh…. I do remember telling him about a week ago that the “harmless” teasing from our coworkers over my nonexistent love life and their projected relationship between me and him was making me miserable and I had considered quitting.
Now that I…. say that out loud it sounds a bit harsh. I wasnt implying that them trying to hook us up made me miserable. But I– guess thats one way it could be taken. I really just meant I hated my personal life being in their spotlight like its their own personal soap opera. Im pretty sure he knew that.
I feel like— my actions make it pretty clear that Im pretty into him but I know my words definitely completely contradict me sometimes. Hes the opposite. Everything he says is like a green light. His actions are more mixed and difficult to navigate because… theres really no reaching out outside work. But hes a single parent so I mean, I cant really fault a person for that. Despite mostly flirty/open body language hes extremely aware of my personal space and never even accidentally invades it, backing up if I move closer to him (which may or may not be because Ive had issues with other coworkers being handsy and have complained to him about personal space invaders)… also he IS extremely flirty/friendly with all the female coworkers and he IS kind of a sucker for the damsel in distress thing. Which on the one hand is great. Any time I fumble and drop something or fall behind with work he is RIGHT THERE to help but…. I dont know, if it wasnt me Im pretty sure it would be literally any other “damsel” in his immediate vicinity.
Ah… there wasnt really much of a question in all that, was there? I guess Im just…. confused where I stand with this guy.