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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » Wanting to date a co-worker = complicated?

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Author Topic: Wanting to date a co-worker = complicated?
InLoveInPain
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Hi everybody, it's me again. In love once again therefore in pain once again. Ok, maybe "in love" is going a bit too far but you get my drift.

Anyway, I'm currently working as a "theatre attendant" in the entertainment department at an amusement park. This is my 2nd season there. Anyway, this season I've become quite interested in a co-worker of mine.

Now the simple thing to say is, "Hey buddy, you like the girl, ask her out." However, you must understand that in this environment there is a lot of gossip and "he said/she said" BS. So, if I were to ask her out the entire department would know about it within a day or so. Thing is, I was interested in another co-worker last year. You can read all about that here: http://www.scarleteen.com/cgi-bin/forum/ultimatebb.cgi?/ubb/get_topic/f/3/t/011955.html Unfortunately that woman is out of my life altogether at this point but I've moved on.

Here's the thing, this new girl is also a supervisor at my current job. She's a stage manager. While it won't be a daily thing, there are times when I'll be working as a crew member of her show that she'll technically be my boss for the day. That doesn't bother me but I have always gone by the philosophy that one should not defecate where one eats. Therefore, dating a co-worker has been against my personal "policy" ESPECIALLY after what happened last year. If things were to fail or even succeed with her it would be quite the gossip topic on everyone's mind.

My feelings for her are getting stronger. The thing is though, I would need some kind of sign from her to ease my tension and let me know that the risk of pursuing her is worth it. It's like an investment. I need to know that, even though it's inherently a gamble, there's a good chance my stock will rise and not fall. She's flirted with me a lot but she's a natural flirt. We got to cuddle a bit at a company campfire a few weeks ago but I'm not the only guy she's done that with. She was also very supportive when a friend in my comedy troupe died a few weeks ago but that doesn't mean she's interested. It just means she has a heart. If I'm going to take the risk, I need something to work with.

Here's the thing. Since cuddling at the campfire things have been a tad bit awkward between us. My feelings for her have grown and I'm starting to go crazy and lose my mind over her. My concern with making a move in the first place was how it would affect me at my job. Well, that's already happened. My feelings for her are affecting me at my job. Am I making this too complicated? The problem is I'm so shell-shocked from all my love life failures of the past (including the ones I've mentioned on this website).

The way I figure it, I've got 3 options: Keep doing what I'm doing and hope for the best. Ask her out on a date like a normal person. Confess to her how I really feel about her, while that may seem similar it does differ from the previous option as it makes it clear that I'm not just looking for a date but a relationship. See, part of me feels like I may have already missed the boat and that she gave me a "sign" a few weeks ago by cuddling by the campfire and flirting with me. However, that wasn't definite enough. If that was a sign, I'll never forgive myself for missing it. Things were certainly better then than they are now.

I just don't know what to do HELP!

[ 05-30-2014, 12:29 AM: Message edited by: InLoveInPain ]

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Sam W
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Hi InloveInpain, and welcome back

So, I think you've gauged your options about right. And, since you have a better sense of your work environment and how workplace relationships tend to play out, you may have a better sense than I do of the consequences of whichever choice you make.

I think as far as telling her, you want to keep in mind that making your feelings known/asking her on a date may put her in an odd position, since she is technically your supervisor and their are likely rules (formal or not) about dating the people who work for you at this place. Can you possibly put the date on hold until after you're done working together (since this sounds like a summer job)?

In terms of decreasing the overall awkwardness, you can do that whether or not you ask her out. If you ask her and she says no, then the way to decrease the awkward is to not fixate on that too heavily. You can feel bad, but try to expend more energy on other stuff than on how disappointed you are.

If you ask her out and she says yes, then it would be a sound idea for you two to work out some parameters for how you'll behave around each other at work vs not at work.

If you decide not to ask her, or to wait until the end of the summer, then make that decision and stick with it. Don't expend a lot of energy second guessing yourself, or looking for subtle signs that now is the perfect time to ask.

So, of those scenarios, is there one that sounds the most doable to you?

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Molias
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Does the amusement park have an employee guidebook or other resource with listed policies? Some employers have clear policies about dating co-workers; that may be worth a look.

I realize the work aspect adds some complication here, but I do think that it's a good idea, in general, to mention interest in someone/ask them out on a date earlier rather than later.

Spending more time in a space where you're (and here I'm talking about general-you, not you specifically) really into someone and thinking about them all the time, without making those feelings clear, means that it can be easy to really build up anticipation and expectations around a relationship before mutual interest is even established.
This can make it harder both to establish a relationship based on the actual person, vs. on an ideal that's been built up, and to handle your feelings if it turns out the other person isn't interested.

In terms of knowing if your "investment" will pay off (and I have to imagine that I find using an investment metaphor for relationships raises my hackles a bit), I don't know that there really is a way to do that. The only way to know for sure if someone's interested in you specifically is for them to initiate a date or a conversation about their interest with you. Sometimes it's possible to be reasonably certain from nonverbal cues, but most of the time, asking someone out involves taking a chance. And one nice thing about that, as stressful as it is, is that it can feel less high-stakes the more you do it and, I think, the earlier you do it (vs. the scenario I mentioned above).

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InLoveInPain
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First off, thanks for the advice both Sam W and Molias. I want to start off by saying that any potential relationship we would have would not be against company policy so that's one thing that's not an issue here. However, my concerns about dating a co-worker are still there

One thing that I overlooked in my original post is the obvious fact that there is another person involved here besides me and that gives me a different perspective. I didn't think about the obvious fact that she would naturally have the same concerns I do and then some if by chance she were interested in me. If she were to have any feelings toward me she would live with the same fear I do that said feelings could take us to a place we may not be able to go. Also, I haven't given her a whole lot of exact "signs" either so for all I know we could both be in the same boat. Trying to see things from her perspective has helped me a bit. So that brings me to what you guys were saying...

Sam W, you mentioned waiting til the job was over after summer and that being a better time to pursue something. That's a good idea. In fact, that just may be the most logical, reasonable, and rational thing to do here. However, when there are feelings involved, logic, reason, and rationality go out the window. which brings me to what Molias said about me idealizing any potential relationship. That's right, that's exactly what I'm doing haha. I'm driving myself nuts with this. I'm losing sleep over her. I have a lot of unnecessary anxiety when I go to work and it is affecting my job....which is what I was scared of the first place. The only difference is that nobody else knows about it at this point.

So, couple that with the fact that she could be very well waiting for me to give her a sign just like I'm waiting for her to give me one and I've decided that I need to make my feelings known. It's a long summer and I simply cannot go on like this. I'm not sure how, where, when or in what way I'm going to tell her but I'll work out the details later. Worst case scenario would be a rejection and at least that would give me some closure and allow me to move on.

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Sam W
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I'm glad you found what we said helpful [Smile]
I hope things go the way you'd like them to, and just let us know if something else comes up that you'd like to ask about.

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InLoveInPain
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Another complication. She's one of those people who has a real tough time accepting compliments. I've heard friends of hers tell her she's pretty to which she responded, "Shut up. I am not!" Also, she found out I said to a friend of hers a couple days ago (like I said, word gets Round my workplace) that I said she has beautiful eyes and she got upset by that because she thinks her eyes are ugly. So, how am I gonna tell her how I really feel about her if she cannot even accept that I think she has nice eyes?
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Molias
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I do think there's a difference to be drawn between saying something like "I like your eyes" or whatever, that's more a reflection of your opinion, and "I enjoy spending time with you and I'd really like to take you out on a date, how about dinner this weekend?" which is a concrete fact and invitation. Does that make sense?

There really isn't a way for you to know how she'll interpret anything you say, since you can't get inside her head before asking her out. So I think regardless of how she feels about compliments, dating, or you in particular, the best you can do is to be straightforward with her and let things proceed from there.

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Heather
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Like Mo said, in case it's not clear, this isn't you complimenting her.

This is you, asking her, effectively, if she wants to do something with you that you want to do.

That said, I personally, both given your history, and just as a bit of dating etiquette, would not walk into this with giant omissions of your giant feelings. That kins of thing is often SUPER overwhelming on the receiving end, and sometimes even a little bit scary. After all, you don't even know her all that well yet, and you and she have not yet had time outside work to even start to get to know each other. Someone telling you they feel super-strongly about you when you know they really don't even know you? Seriously, dude, it can feel a little creepy.

Flatly, my best advice is for you, for yourself, to try and get through the summer first, so you can see if you can even consider something like this without being pretty obsessive about it in the first place, like sleeping through the night, rather than losing sleep over someone you're not even involved with.

Because if you can't? Even if she is interested, this is probably another recipe for disaster, because it's going to be way too loaded on your end right from the start. Know what I mean?

If you can chill out first, and learn how to dial this stuff down a bit, I think things are likely to start going differently for you in the romance department. [Smile]

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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InLoveInPain
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As usual Heather, you take everything into consideration and offer a wide perspective that causes me to really think and not do anything stupid. You're right in just about everything you said. Thank you.

Right now, I think the best thing I can do for both myself and for her is to simply back off.

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Heather
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My aim in this, with what you are asking here, is just to see what we can do to help you walk into anything new not feeling like a heel from the onset, and in the kind of position where it's more likely to go really well for you and someone else than belly-up for you both. [Smile]

Feeling really really hungry for a romantic relationship really can be rough and tough to navigate. It's hard to make good choices or handle ourselves well when we're coming at something from a position of scarcity. It's also really hard to start romantic relationships with people we already think we feel so strongly for despite not having the kind of relationship with them yet to really HAVE those feelings be about them so much as our want or ideals.

So, if you ever want to talk some more, in a more general way -- or even about maybe what things you can do to GET to know this person a little more so there's something to build on should those feelings turn out to actually be about her when you know her better -- about what might help you not get so IT IS HER SHE IS THE ONE I MUST BE WITH HER PRONTO! before you really even know someone anything close to that well? I'd be happy to do some of that with you. [Smile]

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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InLoveInPain
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So, after a few days, a conversation with a friend, some time to digest what Heather said, and a chance to chill out a little and start thinking rationally, I now think I'm ready to simply ask her if she'd like to hang out outside of work. I'm thinking something simple just to let her know I want to spend time with her. Any ideas on what we could possibly do? I want something where we can talk and get to know each other better. I'm not even 100% I would want to call this a date. I might just see if she wants to hangout first then if she says "yes", see how that goes, and then decide if I want to ask her on a "real" date. How does that sound?

[ 06-06-2014, 08:38 PM: Message edited by: InLoveInPain ]

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Sam W
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Hi Inloveinpain,

I think starting casual and hanging out before moving into date territory is a good way to get to know this person better. I've found that food is usually a good focal point for such hangouts, as in going for coffee, frozen yogurt, smoothies, etc. Meeting that way helps keep things low-key, and gives you an chance to talk to the other person.

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