Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

“Should I Tell My Colleague I Have a Girl Crush on Her?”

Early last year I developed extremely strong feelings (characterized in other ways as a straight girl crush) on a colleague in the same work section as me. The feelings are platonic, not sexual. She is married and I am engaged.

When I first became aware that I had feelings for this person, I was really scared. For much of last year I tried to put on an indifferent attitude so that she wouldn’t show me much interest. I think in the process I was very callous/rude, and towards the tail end of last year I could tell that she had given up and, further, had probably confided her frustrations to her group of girlfriends.

Last year was emotional torture. On the one hand, I was so happy when she was around, but at the same time I was so scared to look at her or be close to her because of how I was feeling. When she was away from work, I missed her every single day, only to be personally panicking that, when she would return, someone would find out my secret.

At the end of last year, I moved to a different work section of the government agency I work for. It was a move which I thought would make things easier for me. In fact, it has done the opposite. Not only have I continued to miss her, but the feelings have intensified to the point where all I think about at work is her. In addition, I get the strong feeling that she has probably made the decision to end things with me as she no longer instant messages me at work and doesn’t invite me to coffee runs in the morning.

Towards the end of last year, and as a courtesy, she invited me to the final group lunch for the year before work broke for the Christmas break. I was so tormented by how I felt and so conflicted that I declined her invitation. For some inexplicable reason, I instant messaged her promising to make-up for my no-show by setting up a lunch date, for just her and me, in the New Year.

I really want her in my life, but, at the same time, I am so scared that my eyes will betray how much I care for her. I am also torn up about the fact that she thinks I am a bad person who has treated her horribly when, in fact, the opposite is true. I feel like life has dealt me this card that I simply have no idea what to do with. I want to correct the record and tell her this problem I have had, but I am scared that she won’t forgive me and will reject me outright. I am scared that she will think it’s just a convenient excuse.

I also feel the pressure of time because late last year she made an application to work in another part of the country and I have a strong feeling she will get the job and move. When she told me that she had applied, I resigned myself to the fact that I will probably never see her again. It is why I am considering honoring my promise to have lunch with her, but I don’t know how I am going to ‘fess up and explain how I have been feeling. I just don’t know if I can fix this problem . . .

Is this just a case of a stupid crush which I should ignore and move on from? Is it a pointless exercise in trying to drag back a boat that has long sailed? Is it that there are plenty of other people whom I could be good friends with and these feelings will go away in time? The bottom line is that I want this to go away and for my life to go back to normal. Can you please give me some advice as to what to do and even whether it’s salvageable? — Tormented By Girl Crush

What you’re describing sounds like much more than a simple “girl crush,” and you need to do some serious soul-searching and figure out what this woman truly means and represents to you. You say your feelings are “platonic” and not sexual, but you sound like you’re in love with her. Or, like you think you’re in love with her. Or, at least, like you’re obsessed with her. Do you want to be her? Do you want her life? If it’s just friendship you want from her, what is it about a friendship with her that appeals to you? And if it’s so appealing, why do you keep running from it? Obviously, there is something about your feelings for this woman that scare you. Like, to the core. THAT is the crux of this issue here. What is it that you’re afraid to face? Is it your sexuality? Is it that you think you aren’t worthy of friendship and companionship? If you aren’t able to answer these questions on your own with some honest soul-searching, it might be time to talk to a therapist.

I’m curious where, in all of this, your fiancé factors. You don’t even mention him directly in this whole letter — only to say that you’re engaged — and yet, if you are to marry him, we have to assume he is the most important person in your life, right? More important than this colleague you have a crush on. Or . . . maybe he isn’t? Maybe you are having doubts about him and about your relationship — not to mention your sexuality — and this woman is a distraction from those difficult thoughts. Maybe it’s easier to project your emotions on this person than to face what might be a difficult-to-process reality.

Again, only you can answer these questions. If they feel uncomfortable to you — if you don’t want to think about these issues, then that’s a good indication that that’s where the truth lies. Maybe what you’re really afraid of isn’t so much this woman moving away or rejecting you — though, if you’re in love with her, that fear could certainly be founded; maybe what scares you the most is letting the truth reveal itself to you. But that old saying about the truth setting us free is true. It does set us free. That doesn’t mean there isn’t discomfort and even pain in the process of finding it, but even those things are a small price to pay for the opportunity to live a more authentic life.

Regardless of whether you are willing to delve into the discomfort and find the truth, I would NOT recommend revealing to this woman that you’ve been harboring a crush on her for the last year. What would that accomplish? She’s married. She works with you. You have mutual colleagues and work contacts. You need to let this be and not drag her into the maze of your mixed-up feelings any more than you indirectly already have. It would be inappropriate, for one thing, and something I think you ultimately would regret.

The answers that you’re seeking won’t come from this woman anyway, or even from me. They’re inside of you. You just have to muster the courage to look inside and find them. It’s only in finding them and releasing them that they will stop eating away at you. And if you continue denying yourself the truth, you will continue feeling the kind of discomfort and torment you’ve been attributing to this crush. The crush is a symptom. It’s up to you to find the cause. The treatment is simple: Embracing the truth.


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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy@dearwendy.com.

40 comments… add one
  • Sunshine Brite January 15, 2015, 8:18 am

    I left this letter very confused. Please listen to Wendy’s advice. I feel like an obsession has developed. I don’t know if it’s something with your sexuality or if it’s that you want to be this woman or something but it needs to be unpacked.

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  • Jenny January 15, 2015, 8:27 am

    Yeah, when women talk about having a “girl crush” this isn’t what that means. This sounds like infatuation. I agree with Wendy’s advice…there’s definitely something going on here. You and this woman are likely not meant to be, but it sounds like you’re likely not meant to be with your fiancée, either. Sometimes I think a “soul mate” can be someone who comes into your life when you need them and inspires some sort of necessary growth or change. This woman might be that catalyst for you. I hope that you’re able to gain some clarity on this situation and your feelings, LW.

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  • Lianne January 15, 2015, 8:30 am

    Same here, Sunshine. It felt very Single White Female to me – but not in a violent way. Just the obsession aspect. Definitely heed Wendy’s advice – you really need to look into yourself to figure out what’s behind your fears and infatuation.

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  • gigi January 15, 2015, 8:36 am

    Very weird letter…. if its platonic, why can’t you be friends with her & enjoy her company? You sound very confused & strangely obsessed. Do you have issues relating to people in general? I agree with everyone else & WWS

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  • mylaray January 15, 2015, 8:51 am

    The fact that you are adamant you have a girl crush and are straight combined with your fear of your feelings makes me think there is more to this. It doesn’t have to be sexual to affect your sexuality. Maybe you feel a strong emotional attachment to her. When I was first getting in tune with my sexuality, I was very afraid of my feelings, and afraid other people would find out. It was hard to accept myself in a society that doesn’t accept you. Maybe it really is something else for you, and you have an obsession with this woman for other reasons. I think it would be a bad idea to tel this woman, especially when you are confused. But I also think if this is bothering you this much, therapy will help you unpack whatever is really lurking deeper inside.

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  • Kate January 15, 2015, 8:53 am

    This letter is disturbing. Something is really wrong here. What struck me about the way it’s written is that there’s no sense of self or self-awareness. It’s like these feelings for this person are all-consuming and self-obliterating. This isn’t a “straight girl crush” or a “co-worker crush” in the normal sense. This is something big and crazy that’s blacking out the LW’s world. That doesn’t happen unless there’s some huge void that needs to be filled or something that needs to be covered up so you don’t have to look at it. Time to confront it and try to find herself again.

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  • Laura Hope January 15, 2015, 8:55 am

    Yeah, if you’re engaged to someone and feeling this way about someone else, it sounds like your subconscious is screaming that you’re not with the right person. That’s a good thing. Explore it. I had a serious girl crush once but it was nothing like this. Wendy’s right—this sounds like way more than you think it is.

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  • MissDre January 15, 2015, 9:39 am

    Questions — what is a straight girl crush?

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    • Stonegypsy January 15, 2015, 9:46 am

      It’s like a crush.. but it happens when you identify as straight woman, and you have it on another woman.
      So it’s like a crush, but when you’re under the illusion that sexuality isn’t somewhat fluid.

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    • Kate January 15, 2015, 9:46 am

      I don’t even know. I’m straight but never had a girl crush. I think it’s when you admire someone and think they’re really cool and covet their hair or outfits and maybe get a little tingly feeling but you don’t want to have sex with them. It’s not what the LW describes.

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      • ktfran January 15, 2015, 10:10 am

        I’ve had a couple girl crushes. I’ve never had a tingly feeling about a female… but their have been women I’ve admired and liked, including their sense style. That’s what I call my girl crushes. And these women are now my friends.

      • Portia January 15, 2015, 10:56 am

        Yeah, I wasn’t sure if this was the experience where you let someone and you’re like, “this person is really cool, I want to be friends with them, but I’m terrified that they don’t like me and don’t want to be friends with me.” Or if it was an actual crush, like she wants to be with them. I’ve had the former plenty of times, but that’s just some social anxiety.

      • gigi January 15, 2015, 11:04 am

        Yes, me too! She became one of my best friends ever, & I remember thinking, if there was ever a woman I could live with & develop “romantic” feeling for, this would be the one. This surprised me, as I always considered myself straight, & still do. I thought about it awhile, it didn’t freak me out too much, & I never ever told her about that conclusion. There was no point as I was married & wouldn’t have acted on it even if I wasn’t.

      • Lianne January 15, 2015, 12:06 pm

        It’s basically the way I feel about you, Kate. 😉

      • Kate January 15, 2015, 12:15 pm

        Well, as long as we’re being confessional, I lied when I said I never had a girl crush! Haha, no. Although I love your hair.

    • mylaray January 15, 2015, 9:53 am

      Well I’m queer but a girl crush for me is a woman that I really like based on her personality, maybe I’m a bit jealous of her, I think she’s pretty, want to be best friends with her, love her style, but I don’t necessarily have to be attracted to her. It’s very different than attraction for me.

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    • Sunshine Brite January 15, 2015, 10:18 am

      I feel like it’s a female version of a bromance.

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      • mrmidtwenties January 15, 2015, 10:27 am

        I don’t know if I would call it a bromance, unless said feelings were reciprocated by the other party

      • Sunshine Brite January 15, 2015, 10:35 am

        That’s true. Now that I think about it I’ve also had friends use man crush for situations described like the other posters (not the LW’s definition) like someone you kind of want to be or emulate in some way.

        I would say I have a celebrity girl crush on Chalene Johnson, a trainer/personal development speaker, because I find her to be magnetic with her energy and wanting to help others. Love her hair and style – none of which matches my own. She schedules in work/life balance and finds her priorities and honors them. I’d love to get the opportunity to spend some time with her and soak up that energy/her systems more.

        I’ve had real life ones a couple times and they always fizzled and it actually bothered me more in college than some FWB things but I didn’t have the language around it to really process some of the girl crushes vs actual relationship type things. It’s a weird concept.

    • ktfran January 15, 2015, 10:18 am

      According to urban dictionary… “feelings of admiration and adoration which a girl has for another girl, without wanting to shag said girl. a nonsexual attraction, usually based on veneration at some level.”
      And any time I’ve labeled someone as my “girl crush”, this is pretty spot on. Also, I’ve never been jealous of said girl, but I think jealousy is a wasted emotion. A lot of people will say they have girl crushes on celebrities. Zoey Deshenal (sp?) comes to mind.

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      • Kate January 15, 2015, 10:21 am

        Right, if someone confessed that kind of crush on me, I’d be flattered. If they were attracted to me, I don’t want to know, it’s not appropriate in a work setting.

      • ktfran January 15, 2015, 10:32 am

        I would be flattered as long as it didn’t turn into creeper territory.

    • the_optimist January 15, 2015, 10:20 am

      Not sure if this is relevant, but the LW never expressly said she was straight.

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      • MissDre January 15, 2015, 11:12 am

        In the first sentence she says: “(characterized in other ways as a straight girl crush)”

      • the_optimist January 15, 2015, 1:34 pm

        Duhhhh sorry, of course I miss the first damn sentence!

    • Miel January 15, 2015, 11:43 am

      For me a girl crush is like when I really like an actor because he’s so good looking, but instead it’s an actress and she’s so good looking. Does it mean I want to be her, meet her, cover my walls with her pictures and fly to Hollywood to get her autograph ? No it just means I enjoy watching their movies.
      Right now I have a crush on Nick on the show Grimm, and I have a girl crush on Myka from Warehouse 13. That’s it.

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      • RedroverRedrover January 15, 2015, 2:26 pm

        Nick is so not my type, and as a character I find him somewhat blah, but I still find him strangely attractive! It might be the jaw.

      • Miel January 15, 2015, 5:21 pm

        He’s not my type either but I just find him charismatic. I just want to watch more of him all the time.

      • Cleopatra_30 January 15, 2015, 4:54 pm

        Oh definitely the actor who plays Nick! So handsome 😀

    • Nookie January 16, 2015, 11:47 am

      I have a girl crush on Kate Middleton. She’s absolutely stunning.

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  • Essie January 15, 2015, 9:47 am

    I think, perhaps, it might be helpful for you to talk this through with a therapist…..just to work through your own thoughts. A therapist can help you ask yourself questions that you might not think of, or might be avoiding.

    I’ve never been in this situation, so I’m a little unsure of how to word this, but you talk about “other people I could be good friends with”…..this isn’t typically how good friends interact, or how they feel about each other. Do you have other female friends? A best friend? I’m sure you see the difference between how you feel about them and interact with them and how it is with your coworker.

    What you’re describing is romantic obsession. God knows, I’ve been in the grip of a crush myself and I know how it is to not be able to stop thinking about someone, but this seems to be to somehow past that. It’s hurting you, personally and professionally, and I can’t even imagine the impact it’s having on your relationship with your fiance. That’s one of the reasons I suggested a therapist. You need to thoroughly explore what’s going on here before you commit to spending your life with this man.

    Please don’t tell her how you feel. No good can come of it. I wouldn’t be offended by a coworker of either gender expressing interest, as long as they don’t pursue it if I say “no, thank you”. But this is something else altogether, and if I were in her position and heard this story, I would be more than a little freaked out – whether it were a man or woman who had this kind of obsessive interest.

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  • Diablo January 15, 2015, 10:45 am

    The “crush” part of this is beyond me. I may well be an emotional simpleton, but for me, if i had feelings this strong for a guy, i would be asking myself whether i actually wanted a romantic relationship, and I’m pretty straight, like Kinsey zero. If i just really liked a guy as a potential friend, there’s basically no risk or fear, just “hey, wanna grab a drink after work?” or whatever. However, in this case, even if the woman was queer, single, advertising interest in you, and you were coming to acknowledge your nascent queerness (NONE of which is the case), you have still spent a significant amount of time snubbing her, being cold and distant, and most importantly, dishonest to her about your feelings. If i were her, i would not want to be friends with you if i knew all this. Think things through and try to be more forthright with people in future. Definitely if you like someone, for a friend or a lover, being cold and distant for a year while harbouring secret feelings is not the way to go.

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  • lonemirage14 January 15, 2015, 11:19 am

    I’m reading this a few different ways – my first thought is obsession bordering on disturbing. my second thought is the LW is experiencing sexual feelings towards her coworker and is either in denial or truly doesn’t understand what is going on. either way this isn’t a platonic “girl crush”.

    LW, do NOT tell your coworker. Very bad idea. Maintain a respectful work relationship and get yourself to a therapist to figure out what is going on. You do not want to make her more uncomfortable than she already seems and you don’t want to get yourself into a bad situation at work.

    I had a suitemate in college who became obsessed with me – started listening to the same music, buying the same (and I mean exactly the same) clothes, trying to become friends with my friends, etc. After she graduated mid year (she was a transfer student) she constantly IM’ed me, emailed me, showed up at public places she knew I would go to (mainly shows that my friend’s band played). I had felt bad for her at first, she seemed lonely and wasn’t making friends, but it quickly turned into a nightmare. She had moved to a major city after graduating, and had invited me to stay with her after my friend’s band’s show in that city. I was wary, but agreed, and I ended up leaving in the middle of the night and waiting at the bus stop for like 4 hours to get the bus back to school because she had creeped me out so much the last day we had spent together. I cut off all contact with her and for months she emailed me, which I never responded to.

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    • Sunshine Brite January 15, 2015, 11:38 am

      That’s really a scary situation and I’m glad you were able to get out of there.

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      • lonemirage14 January 15, 2015, 11:56 am

        Yea she was definitely really whacked, and I believe she also had sexual feelings towards me, which made things worse. I can read people really well and usually my gut instinct about someone is right, but I think my empathy towards her loneliness made me really vulnerable.

        She actually tried to get me drunk that last night, and thinking back, I do believe her purpose was to potentially make a sexual move on me while intoxicated.

  • Lyra January 15, 2015, 1:03 pm

    Yeah…this is definitely borderline obsession/actual obsession and NOT a girl crush. I wouldn’t say I’ve had a “girl crush” before but I’ve definitely been attracted — not in a sexual way — to other women who I admire. As an example, if they are really in shape or they have amazing style or they have an awesome personality, or a combination of all the above. Essentially I’m attracted to them because they are the type of person I aspire to be.

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    • Lyra January 15, 2015, 1:04 pm

      I’m guessing the work colleague picked up on the LW’s feelings for her and that’s why she’s backed off a bit — not inviting to coffee runs, etc.

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  • katmich15 January 15, 2015, 2:10 pm

    My husband has asked me to describe what I mean by “girl crush” but I can’t really explain it. I think he likes to think there’s a sexual component (don’t all men) but sadly there isn’t for me, I’d like to experience that but I’m a big fat Kinsey zero. My girl crushes are Keira Knightley and Scarlett Johanssen, I’ll see ANY movie with either of them in it.

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  • bittergaymark January 15, 2015, 6:33 pm

    No. You should absolutely NOT tell her.
    Look, this is no girl crush in the straight sense.
    It’s also no girl crush in the lesbian sense.
    This is a girl crush in the full on batshit crazy way sense.
    Go see a therapist. STAT! Your letter left me feeling very concerned.

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  • SasLinna January 16, 2015, 6:47 am

    It’s quite possible to believe that feelings are non-sexual when they really are. Especially when having sexual feelings for a woman would also make you question your sexual orientation and your engagement it could make for a very confusing situation. I’d say it’s either that you actually have a real crush on her or there’s something wrong in another area of your life and you’re using her as an escape fantasy of sorts. In the latter case it would be more of a “I want to be her” crush. Either way I think this is not normal and you should get to the bottom of why it’s happening.

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