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Mixed signals - I think my colleague likes me but he keeps backing away...


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Hi there everyone, i am new to this forum. Hope you're all well!

Apologies in advance for a long incoherent ramble, but i am at my wit's end and would appreciate some advice!


I have a problem with a work colleague I have a huge crush on and it's been bugging me for some time.


I suffer from mild social anxiety but have much improved over the years and generally have no problems whatsoever talking to people, colleagues, strangers etc. I hate public speaking though and making phone calls. eek.

But I think people would never guess I am shy at heart as i come across as funny and confident and flirty most of the time. It may be worth mentioning that i am tall, blonde and generally thought of as 'attractive'. so my anxiety does not stem from problems with my appearance.


Problem is, as soon as i have a crush on a man, i am literally paralysed with fear. Pretend i don't notice him, never muster up the courage to even talk to him. I had this problem all my life. So many crushes that were maybe even reciprocated but i always built up a wall around me and didnt let them close to me out of fear. I was living in a world of day dreams and fantasy until i met me (sadly now) ex partner. We got together through friendship, we were both a bit shy but because we were comfortable around each other it all happened very naturally.

So that relationship tragically ended last year out of the blue and totally broke me. I am now slowly getting back on my feet and gaining my confidence back and am ready to open my heart up again.


So, there is a guy at work that I have always had a bit of a soft spot on, but had never talked to before. Well I was in a seemingly happy relationship, so had no reason to approach him other than small talk, but he is not someone who is that easily approachable.

Now, a few months ago I went to the pub with a small group of colleagues and he came along. I thought, 'great, this is my chance to finally chat to him and get to know him'. So we ended up chatting most of the evening and it turns out he is really lovely and seems to like me too.

After that evening I couldnt get him out of my mind. Huge crush building up. A few days later I sent him an email asking if he wanted to join the life drawing event that i had helped organize (he had expressed interest in the pub). NO RESPONSE.Not even, 'sorry cant make it'

Ok i thought, forget about him.


But then, the next time in the pub there he was again, standing right next to me, not saying anything, for what felt an eternity. I was determined to ignore him but he didn't go away. Even my colleagues noticed. Eventually i thought, ok he wants to talk to me and turned around to him. We ended up chatting the rest of the evening about work but also about very personal things, e.g. he has a son from a previous relationship.


During the working week he totally ignores me (apart from when I catch him looking at me from afar). He acts totally awkwardly around me and cant seem to look me in the eyes when i bump into him. I always smile and say hello and try to force myself to have a little chit chat when i bump into him - after the initial shock he usually beams at me and says a few words. The other day he was beaming at me as I was awkwardly chatting and he spilled his tea! I rushed to help. I thought it was a very cute moment. (but maybe i am delusional and it's all in my head?)


Then at the pub, the same thing every time. After initial ignoring and awkwardness, he comes and talks to me the whole evening and is relaxed and funny and seems to totally enjoy my company. Back in the office - back to ignoring.


So I figured he is probably even shyer than me and I have to take the lead in asking him out. But every time i try to make a move, he backs away. Like I asked if i could borrow a bike tool he had mentioned in the pub and he remembered to bring it in the next day. Yay! When i returned it I said 'thank you, I owe you a drink'! And he smiled and said 'oh yeah, yeah, cool'. The next day - Friday - pub day. I didnt have the courage to walk up to him and ask him if he was going to the pub (remember i am super shy too) so i emailed him before i left the office and said 'we're going to the pub if you want to join. Otherwise have a good weekend *smiley* . NO RESPONE. Didn't turn up. No nothing.


I am so confused. What is going on, does he like me or not? Why does he keep withdrawing? Also, he could have responded 'sorry cant make it, have a good weekend'.


I am going to back off now and see if he comes back to me next time. I dont know if I should pursue this or if i am wasting my time. I have sympathy and can relate if it is SA that is holding him back. But perhaps he is just not that keen?

Any thoughts out there?

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When reading your post, I kept having the thought that he may be seeing someone else or he still has feelings for his ex, especially since they have a kid together and he probably has to still see her. Did you ever ask him if he had a girlfriend? It could explain his actions. If you find out he's truly single, why not ask him out to dinner or some other thing. Running into you in the pub and casually chatting with you is one thing, but you can find out how somebody feels about you pretty quickly by going out on a date.

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hey - thanks for your message. you have a point. i was thinking that too. Geez, I wish I could simply 'un-crush' - but it's not that easy and I see him every day at work...

but you are right. I guess I'll back off. If he he is interested he has to make a move, i am done.

thanks x

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hey, thanks for your reply. Hm i dont know 100% if he is single but I have the impression the relationship with the mother of his child is quite some time ago.

The thing is, I dont want to ask him out, as even asking him to join me in the pub seems to be too pushy.

it's this silly push and pull game. I make a move, he withdraws. He comes closer, i get excited and make a move, he withdraws...

I am gonna back off for now and see if he comes back. It is just really draining, getting all excited (i was 100% sure he liked me the last few times in the pub) and then he goes all awkward again and I am all disappointed (again).

I can relate to shyness and social anxiety (i suffer from it myself) and am happy to do most of the work, but if nothing much comes back... maybe it's a wast of my time and energy...

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