T O P I C R E V I E W
Member # 67683
posted 01-19-2013 04:13 AM
Long story short: A few years ago I worked a fella I really liked and developed a serious crush on. I haven't seen him in over two years and may get to see him next month. I'm excited but nervous and am trying to figure out exactly what I'm feeling about this and why. Short story long: Originally he was an instructor for a training program at the workplace and by the following year I was working with him as staff, and I developed a really wonderful rapport with him like that I enjoyed with a lot of the other staff. This workplace was really wonderful and very much a community, and I've been lucky enough to maintain close ties with that community over the past two years, and have been invited to attend a conference with them. I know this gentleman of interest will be attending and I'm excited to see him again, but I'm feeling sort of ambivalent about how I feel, if that makes sense. Here are some of the reasons I think I'm feeling that way: -I met this fella when I was 16 and he was 22 and worked with him for two years. My crush on him made me a little uncomfortable at the time because of the age disparity combined with the proximity in which I worked with him--as well as the fact he was the first crush I experienced. Let me be clear that we always maintained professional and appropriate boundaries as coworkers. -I'm going back now as a 20-year-old and am hoping a little flirtatious banter could be fun if it were welcomed and appropriate (ie he didn't have a girlfriend). -The rest is just nerves, I think. We share a lot of interests and I find his personality absolutely magnetizing. We enjoyed a great working relationship that included lots of great conversations about common interests and I'm excited to share that energy with him again for a day. I'm excited to know what he's been up to, ask him about his current projects at work, and share my latest adventures with him. We had a good connection (and I don't mean that in a romantic way--I mean that we had an excellent rapport and were good friends) and I want to experience that again. I hope to make a good impression, essentially. -Now that I've written this out I realize it's almost a 'what's the problem?" problem. On one hand here's a wonderful fella I really like and can hope to invite to coffee to catch up and promise to keep in touch with. We get along famously and I think he's sweet, funny, cute, and sharp. Yay for me! But I'm nervous. WHY am I nervous? I realize this has been rather rambling, and any thoughts and/or perspective would be much welcomed.
Member # 90293
posted 01-19-2013 10:34 AM
could it be that you're worried that there won't be that connection with him that you had before? From what you've said here, that's not likely to be the case (though people do change and one just never knows) but that if it were to happen that way it would be a really disappointing letdown for you. Often we feel really strong feelings like nervousness when something is really important to us. What do you feel like you need in order to feel more settled about this? One thought I have is that you could contact him ahead of time and let him know that you're really eager to see him and that you hope the two of you can find time for coffee and catch-up. That might take some of the unknown out of this for you. What do you think?
Member # 67683
posted 01-20-2013 09:07 PM
Hi Robin Lee--thanks for talking with me!
I feel less like I worry about the connection being gone and more like I might come off as awkward or silly because I'm so keen to see this guy again. The same can be said of any of the other people I might see again, but because I had romantic and sexual feelings for him I know from past experience I'm likely to be especially flustered around this individual. Honestly the idea of contacting him ahead of time and saying "Hey dude, I'll be in town for the conference and I'm stoked to see you! Wanna grab coffee?" seems straightforward enough but I worry about coming on too strong. I know I often have that effect on people in general, simply because when I like someone--romantically or, more usually, not--I'm pretty awful at keeping it a secret. What if he's in a relationship and my invitation makes him uncomfortable? What if he still thinks of me as the younger teenager he worked with and it seems kinda weird or inappropriate for him to arrange to have coffee with me? I've been told in my attempts to avoid stepping on toes and doing things 'right' I end up not being myself and coming off more awkward than I otherwise would have... I feel like it might be better in this case to spend time chatting with him at the event, reestablish our acquaintanceship, and then see whether coffee is something we can work out. As far as what I need to feel more settled about this, I think just this opportunity to work it like this. I have a lot of feelings about and for this guy, and I haven't given them full attention in a while, so now that I'm anticipating seeing him again this flood of old nervousness with equal parts giddiness and shyness and general twitterpatedness is a little intimidating. How do I begin sorting that all out? Yeesh.
Member # 90293
posted 01-21-2013 07:33 AM
Well, as uncomfortable as it is, perhaps your shyness, giddiness, and twitterpatedness (love that word!) is just part of you? That is, while I can understand you wanting to feel less nervous and awkward, I think there's also something to be said for accepting ourselves the way we are and working with that. IN other words, we don't just want to become robots with only staid, controlled emotions.
One thing that you said above really jumps out at me, that you end up not being yourself when you're trying to avoid awkwardness. I'm wondering: What does your true self look like and what does she do? In other words, if you weren't at all concerned about how it would come off, what would you do in regards to seeing this guy again? I also think it's worth not worrying too terribly much about what he might think of you. That's really not something you can control beyond being courteous and not pushy. (To take an extreme example, it likely wouldn't be appropriate for you, just out of the blue, to invite him back to your room for champagne and strawberries.) But you also don't know, and can't know, whether he still thinks of you as a young teen, or realizes that you're now a young professional just like he is. If you feel more comfortable chatting with him at the conference and seeing how the vibe is, then that's likely the best idea for you. How big of a conference is it? That is, how likely do you think it is that you will be able to see and spend at least a little casual time with him?
Member # 101745
posted 01-21-2013 06:43 PM
Your idea of asking him out for coffee sounds like a good plan. Even if it turns out that things don't work out romantically for whatever reason, it sounds like the two of you have enough of a connection and shared history that you'd enjoy spending time together even without that romantic component. Something like coffee is a good low-key social interaction that has the opportunity to turn into something more if it feels right to both of you, but if it turns out he isn't interested, you haven't set up an awkwardly romantic evening or anything. But that's something you could do beforehand or as the mood strikes you, whatever feels more comfortable.
I think Robin is right that as long as you're not being wildly inappropriate (which it sounds like you have a handle on), you don't need to worry about censoring yourself too much. I know "relax and be yourself" is overused and cliche-sounding advice, but honestly it's because it really is the best plan, most of the time. He already knows you, and it would probably be a lot weirder for him if he noticed you reining in your personality than it would be if you let some of that nervous excitement show.
Member # 67683
posted 01-23-2013 01:00 PM
Haha that's a good point you both bring up! I know each of those characteristics are
totally natural parts of my personality. I'm fairly what you see is what you get--if I like so and such, in whatever capacity, they will know about it, whether I'm feeling confident or really bashful about it. It's nice that recent work experiences (working in small, close, and friendly teams) have shed some light on what it looks like when I'm just myself. From what my friends/coworkers have told me, while it seems to take me some time to get comfortable with people, once I do, sure I'm different, quirky, and don't have much of an emotional filter (in terms of messages of I LIKE YOU! are really obvious) but because I already know that the person in question accepts me, it's like I say 'to heck with it' and just do my thing, and that's how people come to love me. I guess the challenge is to stop acting different at the beginning of acquaintanceships and just be ME from the get-go... I was invited to this conference primarily so I could spend time with these people in a context of shared interests. From the sound of it it'll be fairly casual, and I know I'll at least have chances to chat with this fella over lunch. I feel better about this already...It sounds like just accepting I'll be nervous and my heart will be fluttery, but I'm cool--I've been doing all kinds of neat things since I last saw this guy, and the bottom line should be to have a good time and reconnect with friends, right? After all, I'm weird and awkward sometimes, but they invited me to another city to spend time with them!
Member # 101745
posted 01-24-2013 05:44 PM
Glad to hear you're feeling better about this - it sounds like the conference will be a great chance to reconnect with friends and be your awesome awkward self with people who are excited to catch up with you. =)
Fluttery nervousness sounds like a reasonable expectation here, but honestly I think that can even be a little fun and exciting in some situations. I'm hoping you can go have a great time no matter what happens between you and this particular guy.