Recently, my coworker who’s married with kids told me he has feelings for me. We’ve always been a part of a group at work of about five to six of us who hang out together, and we started talking a bit more last year, after he experienced a death in the family and I bought a little box of chocolates and wrote him a note saying how sorry I was for his loss. We never hung out on our own in or out of the office, though. We did sometimes stop by each other’s cubes for a little chat, and also sometimes talked over text messaging, which I do with a lot of my coworkers so it wasn’t unusual to me.
Then, today after work, we were texting about our other co-worker when he came out and basically told me he has feelings for me. He said that it’s hard for him to be my friend at work and that he made a vow to his family that he cannot break and doesn’t want to ruin his life, and that he cannot be ‘that guy’ for me even though he would love to. Now, let me be clear: I DO NOT have feelings for him. And even if I did, he has a FAMILY and I would NEVER even think about him in that light because of that reason alone!
I honestly thought he was joking with me first (he is known for pranking people), and I told him so but just today I saw that he deleted me from Facebook, so I guess he was serious. I am confused, angry and basically freaking out about this entire situation and wondering if it’s my fault. Did I unwittingly do something to provoke this? Why did he feel the need to come out and tell me this and ruin our work dynamic? What do I do now? I have no idea how to act and what to say and what to do. — Work Crushed
You didn’t do anything wrong and you aren’t to blame for this. And although the guy in question can’t help his feelings, he was wrong to express them to you and put you in such an awkward position, considering that you work together and he can’t be easily avoided. I’d suggest you speak with him in private and nip this in the bud right away. If he’s resistant to talking with you in person, send him an email along these lines:
“I appreciate that you would never disrespect your family by acting on any feelings you think you might have for another woman, and I hope you know me well enough by now to be sure that I would never pursue or lead on a married man. If I’ve ever given any indication otherwise, I’m sorry for the confusion as my intention has only ever been to foster a cordial and friendly work environment. I hope the environment we’ve enjoyed together and with our colleagues will remain as pleasant as always.”
And that’s it. Eventually, this will blow over and it will hopefully be but a blip on the radar. If there’s an upside to him confessing his feelings to you it’s that they don’t have as strong a hold on him. And really, this isn’t worth getting too freaked out about. Office crushes happen. They aren’t the end of the world — especially if they’re never acted upon.
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