First I just want to say, I think Ive acted like an asshole. well, I know I have.
I recently had a job, and one of my coworkers was this amazing girl, we hung out a bit and I can honestly say that I had so much fun, she’s smart, she’s funny, I loved our conversations.
Then I asked her out and she said no. Now, I have never, and will never, resent her for saying no, but I did become quite sad and working in the same office was HARD. I don’t have a lot of friends and so I really wanted to get over my feelings and keep up our friendship. She was happy to keep talking to me, but in hindsight I should have stopped, although it’s not like I could’ve avoided her anyway.
Then, when I found out I wouldn’t get my job back the next year (1 year contract) I just spiralled. I stopped sleeping, I became convinced, that it would be the end of our friendship, and I was so desperate to hold onto it that I started feeling really ashamed of having feelings for her, and sort of tried to repress them. Cue neurotic obsession and feelings of guilt.
Next thing I know It’s 3am and I’ve just sent a message saying how I’m ashamed of my sexuality, how maybe I only said I loved her because I wanted to sleep with her.
This isn’t true at all and looking back I can see that I had become so so manic, and while I did feel an attraction to her, it was never something that I cared that much about. Mostly I just enjoyed her company.
I’ve apologized and am planning to wait 2-3 months and then try to contact her, but I’m not sure if I should. Should I just wait and see if she gets in touch with me? Is there any way back to being friends? I really miss her.
P.S. Actually, as a follow up question, I feel like real bastard, but I can’t tell if I did act like one, or if it was just an embarrassing and unwelcome overshare? I’m not actually ashamed of my sexuality, but I am ashamed of the way I acted, as a general question, how should you deal with feeling of shame in social situations?
Pronouns: He, him
Hello Dear Heart,
True Story: Once when I was 23, I had a huge crush on a close friend who was also a coworker. Did I tell him how I felt? Ask him on a date? Better! I wrote him a giant letter spelling out all my feelings. Then I went to his house when he wasn’t there and had his roommate let me in so I could leave it (all my feelings) on his pillow. Then I sat at work all the next day waiting to see him to know if he’d read it and what he thought. I heard nothing, so finally I called his extension around 4:55 pm and we had a conversation so awkward and terse that my memory has blocked out that 10 minutes forever.
Around that same time in the late 1990s, Awkward Spouse had a crush on a coworker. Did he ask her out? Did he say hey, I like you? Oh no, that much was too simple! Instead he bought two packages of little kid valentines on clearance, numbered them, and wrote all his feelings out serially. His crush’s response was along the lines of “Um, well, I definitely had no idea you felt that way. Thanks?”
So when I say other people have known something pretty close to this exact shame you’re feeling right now, I mean it.
And when I say we survived the shame, I mean that, too.
I don’t think you are a terrible person or that having crushes or expressing attraction to someone makes you bad. I do think you got a little bit fixated on this nice woman at work and over time you made her the vessel for your daydreams and that rolled down a slippery slope into weird texting. It’s important not to make that same mistake again. Remember, you are having all these feelings, she is just trying to get through her day at work. I say that not to make you feel worse than you already do, just, figuring this all out is not a priority to her the way it is to you and further action on your part is just gonna make it weirder and unbalanced. To that end, I think that “planning to contact her in 2-3 months” demonstrates that you’re still slightly too invested in her, and a smarter (for you) and kinder (to her and to yourself) choice would be to “kiss this one up to Jesus” as my best friend would say. Leave her be. Stop running scenarios. For now, stop screenwriting the scene where you run into her again and fix everything.
It completely sucks to feel like you’ve screwed something up with someone and that you have no control over what happens next. You’ve apologized, which was the right thing to do. The part that a lot of people forget about apologies is that it’s also a promise not to do the behavior anymore. For you, that means letting her be the one to contact you. If down the road she does reach out you, you’ll know that she really wants to be your friend. She seemed to handle the initial crush confession pretty well, so, it’s not impossible. If she doesn’t get in touch, that will sting, but with time the sting will fade.
More true stories: I have run into *multiple* people with whom I have exchanged Intens-o Feelings Communiqués, later, in different circumstances. As long as there was no renewal of said intensity, everyone was 99.9% super cool about it and let everyone else save face. The only times that have not been cool have been when the person tried to jump right back into that intensity – dropping old jokes, flirtations and long-discarded screennames into conversation in an attempt to recreate an intimacy that no longer exists or ambushing me in public with more feelings (including elaborate apologies).
A year from now, let’s say you run into her somewhere. We can screenwrite this part together: You’ll smile and say a quick “Hi, good to see you!” She’ll say something back. Maybe there will be an awkward pause, after which, you can go about your business of why you are there in the first place – running errands, out with friends, maybe on a date with another person – and so will she. Maybe you’ll have a great conversation with her and feel a little wistful, maybe you won’t. Whatever happens, don’t do or say anything dramatic. Running into her isn’t a sign(!) or a chance to make everything right(!) and also I don’t think you are actually in a musical about a dude who felt a little lonely at work and then died of shame one day. Seeing her again will just be a weird little moment in a lifetime of weird little moments, and you’ll both survive it and be okay.