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Is he just being a warm, kind Christian man or does he have feelings for me?


sunstoppedshining
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I have a situation with a guy at work and it's really starting to bother me. I don't know many Christians, so thought I would ask here in case there are any that can tell me whether the below is normal behaviour for someone devout in their faith. He's incredibly warm, charitable and zealous and I honestly can't tell whether the below is a reflection of his unwaning faith or whether there is more to it.

We've worked together for 18 or so months. We've always got on extremely well and we work in social justice, both feeling the cause very deeply and talking about it a lot. We have a lot of fun and jokes together and I've always assumed it was as friends. I've seen him have a girlfriend for 6 months who he broke up with a month ago and he was pretty upset and opened up to me a lot about it.

In the last couple of months he's made a few remarks that have made me question whether his feelings are platonic. I'm not sure if the below is a reflection of his approach to life being Christian, or whether something else is going on. I'd really like to know as it will change how I am with him, but as we work together, if i make a remark that's wrong it will make things so awkward. Could I just be imagining this? Here are the key things that have happened in the last couple months:

1. He's keen to have a work catch up every week - we used to have a work catch up fortnightly but he mentioned twice we should make it weekly with no real need, but I went along with it. We work remotely and see each other sometimes in the office too. We don't work in the same team and there's no need to talk too frequently (we also chat every/every other day on IM). This would be okay on its own.

2. He recently said he'd like to buy me a book as I like reading. He said any book up to £100 because I'm an awesome person doing awesome work. We're the same level so this isn't a bonus style thing.

3. He sent a message a couple weeks after, saying I was becoming one of his favourite people in the universe and thanks for everything.

4. I'm taking a while off. He sent me a message saying he was gutted and that he'd wished I'd have talked to him as keeping me around would be his no. 1 priority

5. When we were in the same office I was working late and he said we never get to hang out and spoke to me at 6pm for 90 minutes.

6. Our team mate asked why he met an external person when he was ill yet cancelled his meeting with me. He said I was no. 1.

Honestly, does this all sound innocent to you? I've never met such a devoted Christian so I wonder if he just really likes me and is open and warm about it. Or if I'm being naive. I think I really champion our work's mission, as does he, and perhaps he just loves that and wants to keep me close and an ally due to that.

How does this look to a stranger?! Thanks for any thoughts -i really don't want to hurt him.

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7 minutes ago, sunstoppedshining said:

We've worked together for 18 or so months. We've always got on extremely well and we work in social justice, both feeling the cause very deeply and talking about it a lot. We have a lot of fun and jokes together and I've always assumed it was as friends. I've seen him have a girlfriend for 6 months who he broke up with a month ago and he was pretty upset and opened up to me a lot about it.

1. He's keen to have a catch up every week

This seems to be nothing to do with his faith. Unless you feel he is using a "flirt-to-convert" tactic?

When you say "catch up" do you mean one-on-one dates? He may not want to date coworkers and perhaps he is providing too much personal information. Perhaps he sees you as a pal he can confide in?

Do you have a crush on him?

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2 minutes ago, Wiseman2 said:

This seems to be nothing to do with his faith. Unless you feel he is using a "flirt-to-convert" tactic?

When you say "catch up" do you mean one-on-one dates? He may not want to date coworkers and perhaps he is providing too much personal information. Perhaps he sees you as a pal he can confide in?

Do you have a crush on him?

Well I've never met someone as warm and forthright as him, truly. And he is warm to a lot of people - though perhaps not to the same extent as me. So I wondered if this was a reflection of his faith, but maybe that's misjudging it?

I have edited the post to be clearer - thanks. Catch ups are weekly work meetings - they used to be fortnightly but he seems to want to talk to me as much as possible even though we do different work in our wider team.

I'm not interested in a relationship with co-workers - I care about my job too much. I'd like to keep him close but if he's got more on his mind I will have to back away.

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1 minute ago, sunstoppedshining said:

Catch ups are weekly work meetings

I'm not interested in a relationship with co-workers - I care about my job too much. I'd like to keep him close but if he's got more on his mind I will have to back away.

Ok that's good. Think of it as a nice work-pal.  He is not asking you out so at this point, no worries.

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5 minutes ago, sunstoppedshining said:

it's really starting to bother me

I don't think you should take into consideration anyone's Christianity. I've known particular people who speak regularly about being a Christian, however their behavior in certain areas is the opposite of Christianity teaching.

What does it matter what his intentions are if it plain bothers you? Your gut is telling you something is wrong, and his actions are concerning to you.

He's engaging in a one-sided emotional affair. The word he used, "gutted," seems too extreme to me. I'd guess he's going to be trouble, and already is, demanding more and more time with you, and if you ever get a boyfriend, he's not going to be happy for you. He's going to start playing mind games with you. Plus, if you allow these long talks and regular communication, a new romantic prospect for you might raise an eyebrow and make a quick exit from a "three's a crowd" scenario.

You're going to have to start putting up boundaries. It's perfectly okay to tell him you prefer to keep work and your personal life separate. It's okay to tell him you have to cut your chat short because you have to get back to work. It's okay to tell him you're not comfortable listening to his woman problems. Of course it's awkward to have to tell him things like that and that you prefer to keep phone communication and all other communication to business only. But it will be more awkward to have to report him to Human Resources or have him get more invested in you and go a little crazy when it's not reciprocated. 

 

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I don't see anything here having anything to do with being a Christian.

From what you've posted, it does seem like he is very interested in a relationship with you. If you don't want that, then I'd kindly let him know. I'd try to do it subtly at first, so it doesn't become an awkward situation (keep the talk strictly professional, and ignore messages that are not work related). If he doesn't get the hint, then just politely say you want to keep the relationship professional.

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It's not very "devoted Christian" or simply not very decent to be in a relationship with one woman and also seek to be emotionally close to another woman at work, considering that he started getting more close to you while still dating someone else. I think you might want to remove those blinkers from your eyes about him and how you see him. He is just a man and one who is crossing some boundaries and raising some potential red flags. 

Basically, I agree with @Andrina that statements like he would be gutted or you are his #1 are quite dramatic and intense and not in a good or desirable kind of way.

If you like your job and do not wish to end up in a messy work relationship drama, I'd quietly pull way back from this and keep things strictly professional going forward. Reduce contact and keep to work talk only.

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23 minutes ago, sunstoppedshining said:

I'd like to keep him close but if he's got more on his mind I will have to back away.

Ok. Tone down the personal chitchat. Do Not accept gifts. Tone down the non-work texting. Don't lead anyone on and do not run to HR to report him. Try to accept that some people are friendly and that has nothing to do with religious stereotypes.

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I'm a Christian and whether your colleague is a Christian or not doesn't matter because non-Christians can behave the same or different way.  Religion is irrelevant.  Pay attention to his behavior, personality and character;  not his religion.

I'd be alarmed if I were you because his behavior is over zealous and abnormal.  Most people have their limits with others and know common sense boundaries.  Your colleague is suspicious to me due to his abnormal and over zealous behavior.  Usually, people who exhibit over enthusiastic behavior, expect something in return as their "kindness" and overtures are not free;  it's conditional. 

Google "sociopath."  Sociopaths are sneaky.  They cultivate and nurture relationships (including friendships) because they expect you to feel obliged and beholden.  They expect you to feel as if you owe him later.  Beware. 

Learn to maintain a professional relationship with him.  Don't get personal.  If he divulges his personal life to you, tell him that with all due respect, it's none of your business.  Repeat as necessary until he gets the message.  Hopefully, he'll take a hint and back off.

If you feel that there is no need to catch up weekly, tell him just that.  Don't allow him to waste your time and energy.  Speak up.

Say, "No thank you" regarding the book and money for the book.  Do not accept.  Graciously thank him but politely and adamantly decline.  As I've mentioned previously, gifts could very well be conditional and do you want to owe him later?  You don't want to feel indebted to him.  Again, maintain a cool, professional, well mannered association.  No more,  no less.

As for his telling you that you're his favorite person in the universe.  Say, "Thank you" but don't gush nor feel flattered.  Make conversations or texts with him very brief.  Don't drag it out.

Take time off or however long you see fit.  You do not need his permission.  You need to start drifting apart and keep your distance from him because he sounds creepy.  He won't change.  You're the one who has to control the dynamic by keeping space and limiting your interactions with him otherwise he'll think you're very receptive to him. 

90 minute chats are unreasonably too long.  After 10 minutes maximum (shorter is preferable), say, "I've got to go!  Take care!"  Then pack up and leave.  Do not delay.  People will take advantage of your niceness only if you allow it.  Don't allow it.  Control each situation and hang tough. 

Tell your team mate that you don't know why your colleague met an external person yet cancelled his meeting with you.  That's the truth.  He said you're no. 1.  Apparently, you're not.  I wouldn't pursue why because he'll just give excuses to you, deny it or both.  You won't get a straight answer from him. 

No, he doesn't sound innocent.  He sounds tricky, complex and complicated.  Beware.  Regardless of religion, people are people and act out however way they wish.  Granted, many religious tenets share very similar ethical and moral principles but it doesn't mean that all devout Christians or other faiths follow them diligently.  Of course, you will uphold them to a higher standard but just because a person believes a particular faith, doesn't make them better than anyone else.  I've known a lot of non-religious people to be very moral and honorable people.  I've also known devoutly religious people to be shady and distrustful.  It runs the gamut.

Many of my Christian brethren are great upstanding people in my life.  We practice enforcing healthy boundaries with others.  We don't overstep. 

You're being naive.  He's odd and strange so tread lightly and keep your deliberate safe distance.  

Both of you can work professionally but don't go overboard outside the realm of work requirements.  I doubt he loves you because a man who loves you knows how to behave.  If anything, he sounds controlling and possessive because he was angry when you told him that you were taking a while off.  He's a red flag.  I'd steer clear if I were you.

Unfortunately, when you have to get tough, sometimes people will get hurt which is inevitable.  However, either he gets hurt as you back off your rapport with him or you're the one who eventually gets hurt by him which you want to avoid and prevent.  Which do you prefer?  The former or the latter?   It's your choice.  🤔

 

 

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I mean its definitely "too attached" for a colleague. Meaning that he might want something more. Christianity doesnt have anything to do with it. As a part of him yes. As him wanting to buy you an expensive gift and telling you how you are his favorite person, no. That is something that somebody who is interested in dating you would said. Definitely stay on distance and dont accept expensive gifts. 

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Agree -nothing to do with being a religious person.  The only time that sort of thing is relevant is if the employer asks for input about different religions let's say around December so there can be some sort of multi-cultural event.  Then the people who are more religious -and have more knowledge about these sorts of things -likely will step up more than those who were raised secular or not particularly religious.  I think people who are kind and compassionate and thoughtful and also religious might get some of their qualities -some of their choices -from their religious teachings. 

Like choosing to give to charity or choosing to do a volunteer activity might come from a religious value that person has but people who are not religious may do the exact same thing simply because they like being a good human.  

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I'd look at it from the following angle:

Him and his girlfriend broke up. So, depending on how amicable the break-up was, he's most likely vulnerable and in need of emotional support.

Now, here's this woman, you, who is working in social justice for a cause that he is fervently dedicating his life to. How many women are as devout as him about the cause? You are fully committed to it and he admires your passion - albeit a tad too much. Plus, you're responsive towards him in a friendly way. No wonder he's wanting to connect with you even further. Time will tell as to whether he's genuinely romantically interested in you.

I'd set boundaries if he's making you uncomfortable.

 

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I don't think that his religion is any of your concern, unless he makes it so by   proselytizing.   Hopefully he won't do that, it would be pretty out of line in the workplace.

Just do your work and assert your boundaries if you feel like he's encroaching.

Honestly, this seems like one of the dozens of posts that show up here, always by a "first time" poster, about some guy at work that says or does this or that, and what does it mean?   

It doesn't matter what he means.  What matters is that you can get your work done, go home and enjoy your personal life.  If the guy is behaving in ways that interfere with you executing your job, you will need to address it.  As it stands, if I were in your shoes, I would demur from the extra "catchups" since they are not necessary and say "thanks but no thanks" to the book.  Hopefully he'll get the hint and mind his own business a little better.

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A man who is into you will ask you out on a date asap. Point blank.

Did he ask you on a date before? Do you want to go on a date with him?

I agree with everyone that you could use some healthy boundaries at work. Tone down the people pleasing and learn how to say No. As people mentioned, quit the catch-ups, say you gotta go, and then see if he asks you out. If he doesn't, you're wasting your time and energy on him. You're just a friend/support to him.

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12 hours ago, sunstoppedshining said:

 he was pretty upset and opened up to me a lot about it.

This needs to be shut down asap. As does personal chitchatting, texting and other non-work related interaction. The question is what's your role in this? Why entertain all this?

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It sounds unprofessional, clingy and emotional. I’m not seeing how any of this is endearing at the workplace and none of this has to do with Christianity. He treats work more like a social and I understand some workplaces are more easygoing and there’s time to socialize but not like this. Ignore any religious comments in the workplace and don’t bother validating these comments.

Keep the conversations very brief, no longer than a few minutes. Leave out personal issues like relationships and break ups. Since you don’t work directly with each other, limit the IM or messages. There’s no reason to “stay close”. Network outside the company and make friends through hobbies and interests of your own. 

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Stop and go over/reassess all interactions, while setting feelings aside,...ask yourself do they look sort of "inappropriate" for the workplace. What if you didn't find him attractive? what does it look to you then? I know it's hard because you have been emotionally pulled in by his charm...he's different, and it's confusing you. That's a dangerous place to be. Step back the interaction, take a closer look when the fog lifts. 

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Frankly, I don't understand this whole stance of "what does this mean, is it because he is a Christian?"  It doesn't matter.

OP. These interactions are fully in your own control.  He may be acting this way or that way but he hasn't done anything "wrong" or particularly weird.  He hasn't asked you out, either, which would be the only meaningful piece insofar as how he's feeling about you goes. 

Otherwise, just let him be him.   As it affects you, deal with the instances as they come.  We teach people how to treat us.   If you are enjoying all of this attention, I don't see that it's hurting anything, but your wish to focus on it and analyze minutia is a problem.   Just do your job and if your interactions seem  to be veering into inappropriate territory, let him know that you want to remain within professional lanes and see to it that you uphold that yourself.  That means not engaging in much personal stuff.  Behave professionally.

I have the sense that you are trying to get people here to tell you that he secretly loves you or something like that - it's not likely to happen.  We are just getting your perspective.  If he wants to have a relationship with you, he will ask you out.  At that point it would make sense for you to think about whether you'd like to date him, how this would influence your work life, how his zealous Christianity would fit with you, etc.  As of now, he is a co-worker with a personality.  

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On 9/14/2022 at 4:11 PM, sunstoppedshining said:

4. I'm taking a while off. He sent me a message saying he was gutted and that he'd wished I'd have talked to him as keeping me around would be his no. 1 priority

5. When we were in the same office I was working late and he said we never get to hang out and spoke to me at 6pm for 90 minutes.

6. Our team mate asked why he met an external person when he was ill yet cancelled his meeting with me. He said I was no. 1.

I have no cares for No. 6 but as for 4 & 5...

I am not comfy with such a statement like 'he'd wished I'd have talked to him as keeping me around would be his No 1 priority - and why?? ( Is almost like you are a possession) 😕 

As for No 5.. Yeah, okay, so you were having to work late.. What's it to him?  You'd never get to hang out, then continue to talk.

In ways, he sounds kind of needy and 'expecting' a little too much from you.

As mentioned, this has nothing to do with this guys 'faith'.  is more his behaviour.

What is it YOU want here? ( Watch how he carries on and make sure it will not interfere in your work place etc.).

Tread carefully.

 

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