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another 'guy at work' question..


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So, after going through a horrible break up 6 months ago and being isolated in rural Japan, I was surprised to find a few months ago that a new and very good looking coworker (whom I teach with 3-4 days per month) who is my age came along. The moment we met the entire office and students etc. began teasing us about being a cute couple and we have been doing our best to ignore it (it's really over the top -- I guess maybe this is a cultural thing, 2 single people working together of opposite sex + same age = love). Anyway, I can't help but admit I sort of enjoy it because I find myself really attracted to this guy.


The first three days we worked together (over a span of a month) we talked quite a bit in the office even though everyone was harassing us and got to know each other a bit (though not nearly enough). He made it known to me in an indirect way that he was single and I did the same -- I was surprised he told me about his ex because in rural Japan, well.. basically I have never had a guy go into those details with me if he wasn't interested in me. On the third day, I was going to leave for vacation and wasn't scheduled to teach with him for another 3 weeks, so I left a note on his desk with my email saying if needed advice on cooking (we had been talking about that, and he said "please teach me how to cook") or had questions about our lessons to email me. He emailed me that night and was joking about something.. so I responded to his joke, and said "maybe when I get back I can show you some nice places around here" (we had been talking about how he hasn't seen any of the area yet). I didn't ask it as a quesition because I knew he would say 'yes' to be polite (cultural thing) and I didn't want to make him uncomfortable.. because when people around here see us together in public they will automatically assume we are dating. Anyway, I got no response. If there had been anything, an "ok that sounds nice" then I would have actually asked when I returned but I figured the ball was in his court so I let it go.


Since then I have worked with him about 3 more days (though it has now been months since we met -- we just don't see each other often enough to properly get to know each other in this setting). He now has stopped talking to me in the office almost entirely, but when we see each other in the hallway away from the office, or even in class, he seems very eager to make conversation. He will also bring up things he heard me talking about in the office with other coworkers. I asked him if he liked living here (since he is new to the area) and he said, "Yes, but I have been really busy and I still haven't really seen anything." It was on the tip of my tongue to then suggest again that I show him around, but I just couldn't because I feel like I would be being too aggressive (maybe in general, but especially for a woman in Japan). Sometimes I feel like he is staring at me and we've made eye contact and smiled quite a few times. But maybe this is all in my head, and he's just being friendly?


At a teacher's volleyball game the other night, we were both there but we didn't speak to each other at all (but I swear the eye contact thing was there?!). I should note that it's kind of normal for men and women to stay segregated in their own groups in group situations like this -- but still, I am pretty sure I had small friendly conversations with every man in the room apart from him. Even more awkward because he is the only one who speaks english at work, and my Japanese is pretty basic.


Anyway, I can't tell if he is shy and interested or just not interested at all (or maybe IS interested but thinks cultural differences would doom our relationship, or the issue that we work together, etc. which I have thought about before but I tend to ignore that kind of practical thinking in matters of the heart).


Having gone through the bad break up 6 months ago, I am not sure I am prepared for another rejection. If I didn't have to work with him 3-4 days per month it would be no big deal. Do you think I should just let him make the next move and back off? After all, I'm sure he could find an excuse to email me if he wanted to..

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Sounds like a big combo plate of everything you suggest. Finding a coworker attractive doesn't automatically mean the same thing to everyone. Some people are willing to date coworkers while others try to keep their social lives out of their professional lives altogether. Most people fall somewhere between these extremes, but not everyone has figured out exactly where they stand on this. He may need to stay neutral and avoid encouraging you until he gains his own private clarity. Attempting this in front of an observant and mocking public is probably difficult.


I'd invest less and leave any pursuit up to him. You've been welcoming, and he knows how to reach out to you if he wants to. I'd perceive his lack of attention less as a lack of interest--more of a lack of urgency. I'd back burner him and move my focus onto other things.

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you don't have to prepare yourself for another breakup or sth;this isn't fare for you cause you have like limitless opportunities for the opposite sex right? So you have to take this thing a bit slow if you feel unsecure and I suggest you not to push iit hard on it because he may react in a bad way so that hurts you... Just live the way you feel and your instincts, do some extras sometime and see what he's gonna come up with...

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Talking cultural differences is way out of my ballpark. Best i can suggest is to keep yourself open, or at least making it appear fairly open door. I would suggest allowing him multiple opportunities to proceed to chase you. If he does, then you have your answer (and /cheer!), if not you also have your answer. If the answer is that he isnt interested in chasing you, due to too many missed opportunities, i would make sure friends stay friends. Best of luck!

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