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Woman At Work Giving Me Mixed Signals. What Should I Do?


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I’m after some advice as to what to do about a work colleague who seems to be showing some interest but not quite enough for me to be 100% sure. She is 23 and I am a 28 year old English male. It’s hard to tell as she seems to blow hot and cold throughout the day. However it’s not uncommon for my other colleagues to act differently towards the end of the shift (due to tiredness) than at the beginning so this may go some way to explain why she goes cold later in the day. Also as we both work in the nursing field it’s difficult to tell as we have to act professional and this may be suppressing some of the signs and limiting what can be said.


The team is quite close knit with many of us being friends and socialising with each other outside the work place and many of the team frequently go on nights out together.


Over the past few months she has been touching me / slapping my arm as she walks past. But according to another male co-worker she does this to them as well. She also frequently makes comments about the size of my waistline (which is slim). She sounds impressed when she mentions it. One thing she does that she doesn’t appear to do to the others is hug me quite often. She has on more than one occasion said to patients that I am ‘a lovely lovely man’ and ‘he is my rose’. Recently she asked how it was going with my now ex and when I said that it was over she seemed pleased and in an upbeat tone said ‘Oh really’. There was no ‘I’m sorry to hear that’ or the usual phrases you would expect.


Recently she keeps referring to me as 'my'. She only does this to me and not the others. In other words she’s purposely appending the word ‘my’ in front of my name. So for example she kept saying how are you my Robert? Or Are you alright my Robert? This struck me as odd as the word 'my' is defined as belonging to or associated to the speaker and yet I don't 'belong' to her as I am a work colleague not her boyfriend. I kept thinking why are you calling me ‘my’, I’m not yours.


A couple of weeks ago on Valentine’s Day she kept slapping my arm as she walked past and at one point looked over her shoulder and winked at me down the corridor. Also as I was working in a different room she kept joking that I didn’t want to work with her and that I was avoiding her even though she knew that it wasn’t my choice as we are assigned rooms by the manager. I also kept finding that if I hadn’t been to her area for a while then she would come to mine even though it wasn’t en-route. At the end of the shift other co-workers were joking about me taking them out for dinner and out of the blue she said it. However judging by her tone she didn’t appear to be joking and when I said no (as at the time I thought she was also joking) she despairingly said ‘oh well I suppose I’ll go out for a drink with my friend instead then.’


A couple of days ago we were working together and I asked her if she went out for a drink with her friend and she said ‘yes’ in a rather solemn tone of voice. I then suggested that maybe we could go for a drink and her voice immediately changed and she said ‘so you want to go for a drink now’ in an enthusiastic tone. However when I suggested we could invite several others her tone once again changed and she didn’t seem too impressed with this idea. At this point the conversation died and we carried on with our tasks without any further mention of it. I noticed that throughout the remainder of the day she seemed to be going out of her way to help me even if this meant stopping what she was doing. It was as if she was always there or trying to impress me by helping with tasks that only required one person.


At one point when I could see she was busy I went to get another colleague to help me but when the colleague walked into the room she immediately stopped what she was doing and marched up to them, placing herself between me and my colleague and rather abruptly said ‘I’ll help him’. Neither I nor my colleague knew what to make of this bizarre behaviour.

I have also noticed that several of my work colleagues who she is friends with appear to be being friendlier towards me and frequently say hi or smile at me whenever they see me even if we are just passing in the corridor. Judging by their behaviour / attitude towards me it’s as if they know something.


Having spoken to another colleague he said that before Christmas he overheard her and another female colleague talking about how they have friends with benefits. However he says that she went on to say that she was looking for an English boyfriend. This confused me as it seems strange that on the one hand she’s saying she has friends with benefits yet on the other she’s saying she’s after a boyfriend. I can’t work out if she has said this to ‘fit in’ as the other colleague is one of the ‘in’ crowd or if she is being serious. Could it be that she is interested in me and has reached the point in her life where she is ready to have monogamous relationships rather than friends with benefits relationships? Could it also be that she has had bad experiences with males from her country in the past hence why she went down the friends with benefits route before now deciding she wants an English boyfriend?


I’m confused as to why she seemed put off by the idea of inviting others despite it not being unusual for several of us to go out together. Am over thinking this in that the reason she doesn't want to go out with me and my co-workers is because it is me she is interested in and wants to get to know me without them around. In other words she wants a perfectly normal date which doesn't include my colleagues.


My friend suggested that I do nothing for a few weeks to see if she gives off any more signs at work and perhaps see how she acts towards me at the next night out. Unfortunately there aren’t any nights out planned soon but I know several colleagues I could call upon to arrange something which she might go to.


My questions are: what do you make of this woman? Do you think she is entertaining the idea of a relationship? Should I just bite the bullet and ask her out or ask her what she thinks of me? What is the best thing to say to find out exactly what she wants?


TL Woman at work giving off mixed signals and has had FWB relationships in the past. I’m unsure what exactly she wants.

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It sounds like she's interested. The fwb thing might have been just a temporary solution due to lack of more desirable options. However, before you make a move a)you need to seriously reflect on the pitfalls of dating a colleague b)wanting to date an Englishman sounds kind of shallow; prioritising nationality over character is not a good sign imo.

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Have you ever considered what you think of her? If you want to get to know her, ask her on a drink alone man. Your sending her clear signals of disinterest by roping coworkers into a drink outing and reciprocating her flirtatious advances with neutrality. You very well know there is interest, your post makes it clear. She will move on from you if you keep acting clueless.

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Um, from the tone of the post it seems like there is slight attraction, but maybe not enough to warrant anything crazy.


If you really like her, then ask her out for a drink, you will see how different she behaves once the two of you are alone. My take on the situation is that this is her personality, she is bubbly affectionate and generally cheerful.


I think the better question is whether getting involved in this person who you work with is a good idea?

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