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Secret crush on coworker who is leaving the firm. Should I tell her?


Amano Ginji
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Some background :

 

I moved to a new team within my firm itself 2 years back and she had recently joined the company. I was attracted to her the moment I laid my eyes on her (She's beautiful inside out). She complimented me on how quickly I understood things and got work done. We spoke about all topics under the sun and I sensed that she definitely found me interesting too.

 

Our boss is a workaholic so he kept pushing us to get more work done from us than possible in a typical work day. I was the senior most person in the team after my boss. He often pressurized me to get work done from other teammates. (including her). After giving it a lot of thought, I decided that I have to chose between work and my attraction towards her. (I chose the former for obvious reasons). This meant that I had to cascade some of the pressure being put on me onto her. No one likes being pressurized to do more work than can be done in a day. This damaged any chance of us being friends or getting to know each other better. She knew that the pressure was coming from above but nevertheless, this damaged our work relationship to a great extent. We worked together for the first 5-6 months of joining the team and then moved onto different projects. Because of the initial hiccups, she chose to hang out with other coworkers. Being in the same team, we did speak and connect a lot in office and at office parties, lunches etc.

 

This year, we were made to work together on another project by our boss. I decided that I am not going to make the same mistake and if my boss pressurizes me, I will tell him that it may not be feasible to do the work in the allotted time; however, this did not work out well for me and I had to give in to the pressure yet again. But this time around, I was kinder to her and made sure I don't be rude to her under pressure. I gave her the benefit of the doubt and was able to repair some of the damage that was done in the past.

 

A couple of months back, it was only me and her in office and everyone else decided to work from home. This is the first time I got to hangout with her without anyone else from the team. That day, we went for lunch together. I apologized to her for pushing her through so much at work. It was a really heartfelt conversation that we had and at the end of the conversation, we decided that we both need to be a solid team, understand each other and bond in a way that our boss cannot pressurize the way he has been for the last few years.

 

The present

 

I have always been attracted to her but never told her because things would get awkward at work, specially if she did not reciprocate; however, there are moments during our work day when we are working on something together. There are times when we are sitting so close (mutually) that if we both move any closer, we might just end up kissing accidentally ;). During these times, I can't stop myself from turning my face, resting it on my palm and staring at her while she is explaining/talking to me. I am absolutely sure she has noticed me looking at her from so close but she has never moved away or stopped talking. With the slightest hint of discomfort, I would have stopped staring but I have not seen any discomfort from her whatsoever.

 

She just quit the firm some days back and my boss told me about it immediately. I was really sad hearing this but at the same time, a bit relieved because it was very difficult to deal with this conflict of interest on a day to day basis. Being the senior member in the team, I was copied in her resignation email by my boss after she sent it out. I replied to her alone with just a few sad faces. She did not reply to that though.

 

For the next few conversations, I did not bring up anything about her leaving because I know she is a very private kind of person and does not like discussing personal matters; however, one of the days, I decided to just ping her saying "I can't believe you are leaving. We started this team together :(". Ever since that day, we have had some really good, retrospective conversations over the phone and chat. (All friendly).

 

I am thinking of speaking to her at the end of her last working day and telling her that I have always had a crush on her. But I am worried that if she took up a job next door (I haven't asked her where she is going to work next), things might get really awkward. I am also worried that she might tell some of the coworkers who are still with the firm and that could become even more embarrassing for me if she does not reciprocate the feelings. (I work in a big corporate with lots of policies so things like these don't happen much). We never really hung out outside of work or spoke outside of work so that is another factor stopping me from telling her that I have a crush on her.

 

Of-course, another option is to just tell her that I would like to hangout sometime and maybe take it from there. Problem is, I am a shy guy so I may not be able to say any of the above! How do I go about this? :(

 

PS : I am also putting together a small surprise video compilation for her where all the coworkers will say a few words about her. I'll also be adding photos from office events and parties to this video. Given the lockdown, we will not be able to have a farewell dinner for her so I thought of making it special for her by getting everyone to send short video clips to add to the farewell video. I mean, this is the best way I can let her know she is special ;) (Provided she knows it was my idea and not a collective idea)

Edited by Amano Ginji
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I'd consider 'let's stay in touch' a far better choice than laying a crush on her. I wouldn't want to hear that. Even from someone who I like and respect, that degree of poor judgment would turn me off.

 

If someone who's leaving a job likes you enough personally, then your linked-in request will be accepted, and so might further contact. If not, then no blubbering about a crush is going to help.

 

Head high, and stay professional.

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I'd consider 'let's stay in touch' a far better choice than laying a crush on her. I wouldn't want to hear that. Even from someone who I like and respect, that degree of poor judgment would turn me off.

 

If someone who's leaving a job likes you enough personally, then your linked-in request will be accepted, and so might further contact. If not, then no blubbering about a crush is going to help.

 

Head high, and stay professional.

 

I agree with this. Don't tell her your feelings

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Is it usual to make farewell videos for individuals leaving the company?

 

I think it's thoughtful but a bit of overkill. We could be working within different cultural norms. A video collage also appears as something more common at birthday parties or anniversaries. If this is normal or a regular thing to do in your company, it may be fine but I'd be cautious about putting her in the spotlight. You mentioned she is a private person and she may not appreciate this grand gesture in the way that you intend. I think it's too much if you're also intending for her to know and see that it's exclusively put together by you as a romantic gesture as it's public and in a professional capacity (still at work).

 

I have another question about social distancing in your office. You mentioned you were both sitting close enough to accidentally kiss each other. Are there no safe social distancing policies in the office? I only ask as I'm surprised and curious. Maybe it's just the both of you who are sitting close together and other employees are observing social distancing.

 

You seem like a very thoughtful and sweet guy. I think any woman would be lucky to get to know you more. It also sounds like you've learned how to be a better team lead and are now better equipped to handle pressure from higher up. I think you are being groomed for more so don't become distracted by your subordinates or sidetrack your career with inappropriate behaviour within your company.

 

Before she leaves ask her for her phone number and say that it'd be a pleasure if you can take her out to lunch this weekend (or next week, whenever you are both free). During that lunch, say that you'd love to do it again (if you want to do it again). Call her a few days later or the following week and ask her out again. She may need some time to settle in her new company but you can agree on a day that works for both of you and catch up on how things are going.

 

She's free to decline if she doesn't want to keep in touch. If she makes excuses, she's not interested. If she does say she'd love to but maybe after she's adjusted to her new position, that's understandable too. Check in in a few weeks then.

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I'd consider 'let's stay in touch' a far better choice than laying a crush on her. I wouldn't want to hear that. Even from someone who I like and respect, that degree of poor judgment would turn me off.

 

I agree completely. Telling her I have a crush on her does seem like an immature thing to do. This is something I myself wouldn't think of doing; however, when I look back to the past, there are a few girls that I was extremely attracted to but never did anything about it. I thought that this time, I would just go for it rather than be that "nice guy" everyone knows!

 

That said, "let's stay in touch" puts me at the same league as all other coworkers because that is what everyone else would be saying to her too. What I would like to do is say something that is between the two extremes of "let's stay in touch" and "I have a crush on you". Something that will let her know that I like her and I am interested in her. Maybe something like

 

"Hey Kelly, I still can't believe that today is your last working day. Being in this firm for almost a decade, I have said goodbye to a lot of people who have left the firm in the past. But in this particular case, I am finding it a tad bit difficult to say goodbye to you. I guess it is because we started this team together? Or maybe because I was able to connect with you on so many other things in life and not just work? I am really not sure what it is but I am def going to miss you at work!". I can then wait for her response and finally say "All the best and let's stay in touch".

 

Does this work or still coming off too strong?

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Is it usual to make farewell videos for individuals leaving the company?

 

You are right. It is not normal to make farewell videos for individuals leaving the company; however, I called up my boss and told him about this and he said it was an excellent idea and he is onboard too! We created a chat group where we have all been talking about ideas for the video and I have already received videos from most of the teammates which I am putting together now. I am sure she would want to know who put all the videos together, that is when my name will come up and that is my way of telling her she is special!

 

The part about sitting close to each other was a few months back before the lockdown started. We have all been working from home ever since and won't be back to office until mid July. By then, she will be gone :(.

 

My country's culture is yet to catch-up to casually asking someone out for lunch or dinner. While growing up, we have learnt that you either tell someone you like them directly or you throw in some bread crumbs and wait for signs and signals to know if she is interested or not.

 

I guess what I can do instead is that when I speak to her, I can tell her how we could not give her a proper farewell and let's all catch-up for dinner and drinks once the lock-down has ended. And when that day does come when we are all hanging out, I will be giving her my undivided attention and will be able to speak to her more casually considering we no longer work together and I would no longer be seen as her "senior".

 

Does that work?

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My country's culture is yet to catch-up to casually asking someone out for lunch or dinner. I guess what I can instead is that when I speak to her, I can tell her how we could not give her a proper farewell and let's all catch-up for dinner and drinks once the lock-down has ended. And when that day does come when we are all hanging out, I will be giving her my undivided attention and will be able to speak to her more casually considering we no longer work together and I would no longer be seen as her "senior".

Does that work?

It would only work of course .. IF she attends the "catch-up dinner". She might want nothing to do with the old company and/or ex colleagues.

 

Do you know the reason why she quit?

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Do you know the reason why she quit?

 

As a matter of fact, we spoke about this at length two days back. She said it was getting suffocating to work for our common boss. She said that no matter how hard both of us worked, he doesn't see all the ideas and work we bring to the table and we don't get appreciated enough for it.

 

This is actually true. Both of us are not good at playing "office games". We quietly get our work done which at times is more than what other coworkers bring to the table. Yet, we are never in the limelight and always being spoken rudely too in front of everyone else. I did take this up with my bosses boss last year too but that is another story and out of scope for this discussion.

 

She also told me two days back that she was extremely happy to see that I was awarded for one of the projects I worked on a few months back (because of a client pushing for some kind of a reward for me). So as far as her reason for leaving is concerned, I think it is primarily to do with our boss who makes sure he squeezes out every single minute from our day to get more done from us, and if we don't comply, he makes sure we he brings it up in the appraisal discussions every year!

 

All in all, she has made some good friends here at work and I believe she may not have an issue catching up for dinner with some of us, if not all!

 

If we assume that she might not want to see some of us again, then my only option would be tell her directly that I would like the catchup sometime once she settles down? Maybe I could say something like "We could not give you a proper farewell so once this lockdown is over, let us all catchup for drinks and dinner? And if you are not comfortable with meeting the entire troop, I would still like to meet you once you settle down. So ya, let me know?"

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If that's how you feel more comfortable doing it then that's fine. Does she drink or do you think she would enjoy going out with the rest of the other colleagues? It seems like quite a production when all you want to do is meet with her but it's what you both are comfortable with that matters.

 

I can't think of why she would expose herself for all the nitty gritty details of why she quit. She may find your boss and you difficult to deal with or the company's values skewed. It's also unprofessional to go into the fine details of why a person chooses to move on during an exit interview or in a resignation letter. If there are any rumours about it, don't pay any attention to them. You might find out more later directly from her if you both spend more time together. Again, you did say she's a private person. I think you will only get a yes or no answer if you ask her out to a group drinking activity and go from there. The blanks will be filled in later.

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Looks like you clarified quite a bit in the post above as I was writing.

 

I'd leave out the "So ya, let me know". Keep it short. "I'd like to meet you after you've adjusted to your new job. Would you like to go for lunch or dinner?" If she appears positive about the idea, tell her you'll give her a call. Call her in a week to ask her how she's doing and fix a time and date.

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Do not say or do anything except connect on LinkedIn. This is not a test to prove to yourself that you are not a "nice guy". What you are fantasing about doing will come off as creepy. Or worse, sexual harassment. Date Outside Of Work . The workplace is not a singles club.

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Date Outside Of Work . The workplace is not a singles club.

 

But she is leaving the firm! We will no longer be working together. Everyone has to work somewhere! Is it still sexual harassment if we no longer work together? I do agree that I should not tell her that I have a crush on her. I clarified in my previous posts that I am going to be telling her is that I would like to catchup some time. Is that still a big no no?

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But she is leaving the firm! We will no longer be working together. Everyone has to work somewhere! Is it still sexual harassment if we no longer work together? I do agree that I should not tell her that I have a crush on her. I clarified in my previous posts that I am going to be telling her is that I would like to catchup some time. Is that still a big no no?

 

As you yourself said , your culture does not straight up ask someone on a date but merely throw breadcrumbs and see what the response is.

I think you have thrown breadcrumbs and didn’t get a positive response from her.

 

You have also said that she does not discuss personal life , so it’s quite possible she is in a serious relationship and you wouldn’t even know.

 

Your idea to create a video of farewells from colleagues is a selfish one. You , yourself have said that you would want her to know it’s your idea. So, rather than create it and let her enjoy , your idea is actually to let her know you did it.

 

There is nothing to suggest your feelings will be reciprocated at all.

 

If you truly want to hear that from her and not us , then ask her on a date.

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If it were me, I'd probably give her a farewell card. I'd write, "It's been great working with you. Good luck at your new job. Once you're settled there, I'd love to meet with you to catch up. If you're interested in doing that, here's my contact info."

 

I wouldn't ask for her number. That puts her on the spot. With the note and card, it leaves the ball in her court. You did your effort. If she's interested, she will contact you. If not, she will let things fade away.

 

If it doesn't work out, you obviously are ready for a gf, so step up your activities to be able to meet single women in your age group.

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Some background : How do I go about this? :(

 

Although your extensive description may lead to think these circumstances are very specific, this situation is typical of relationships at work.

 

I'd just keep work and private life separated. Over the years I observed that this is the best way to keep things good at work and have a happy relationship outside.

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If it were me, I'd probably give her a farewell card. I'd write, "It's been great working with you. Good luck at your new job. Once you're settled there, I'd love to meet with you to catch up. If you're interested in doing that, here's my contact info."

 

I wouldn't ask for her number. That puts her on the spot. With the note and card, it leaves the ball in her court. You did your effort. If she's interested, she will contact you. If not, she will let things fade away.

 

If it doesn't work out, you obviously are ready for a gf, so step up your activities to be able to meet single women in your age group.

 

^ I second this entire post.

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Against popular advice, I still went ahead and shared the video with her. I created a chat group and asked everyone to welcome her as soon as I add her!

I shared the video on the group and I guess we all started watching it at the same time!

 

She just called me 5 mins back on my personal phone number (after watching the video)

I am paraphrasing what she said but the context of the conversation is intact :

 

Her : Thank you soooo much for the video. It was super sweet. You are the first person I am calling after watching it because I am sure it was your idea.

Me: I am so glad that you liked it. I was consulting every now and then on the content of the video.

She : I know. She told me that you are very excited about my farewell but she did not tell me anything about a surprise video!!

Me : Ya I had got in touch with her because I know she is equally enthusiastic like me about all these things.

She : She did good in hiding it from me.

 

Pause..

 

Me : I just wanted to make this day special for you.

She: Oh you most certainly did!

 

Pause..

 

She : Let's stay in touch and let's meet once this lockdown is over.

She : I think I will finally be able to be myself around you and pour my heart out.

Me : Absolutely. But I think we connected all these years as well.

She : I know we spoke so much in office too but there was always the work aspect attached. I will be able to be more open with you now.

Me : Ya I agree. Same here.

 

Pause for a bit!

 

Me: Why don't we pull everyone who participated in the video into this call? (It was just 4 of us who participated in this)

Me: On second thought, let's do that in a bit.

 

Me : You know, in my 10 years in this company, I have seen a lot of people leave and you are just the second person I am feeling sad about.

Me. The first one was my first manager!. We went out for drinks on his last day and things got really emotional.

She. Wow! Reaaaaallly??

Me: Yes absolutely.

 

Pause..

 

Me : So ya, let's stay in touch!

She : Yes we have to! We will surely meet soon. We will also be seeing each other often because I am moving into the next building itself!

Me: That's awesome. Didn't know you were going to be so close by. Looking forward to it!!

Me: So shall I add the others to this call? (By other's I meant the 4 of us who participated in the video)

 

She: Actually, why don't I call them one by one.

Me : Ya Ya. That works too!

Me: Soo.. Take care and see you around!

She: Byeee! Stay in touch!

Me: Yes we must! Take care.

 

I know I am reading too much into this but I am really happy with the outcome! I know when someone else reads the above conversion, it is pretty normal. But for me, I am on cloud 9 for some time!

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