Does my male coworker still like me after I unintentionally pushed him away?

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    Hello. I have a male coworker who I’ve been crushing on hard is on the same floor as I am. We sit on opposite ends of the floor and don’t always work directly with each other and so I don’t see him everyday. He is a reserved/shy guy who largely keeps to himself although he has a small group that he talks to during lunch breaks. Last year, there were moments where he and I built an acquaintanceship/mild-friendship in the kitchen during work-related moments or just moments where we would catch each other getting coffee. I think we had chemistry and were to build a rapport. He would wave to me or smile at me whenever I would pass him by which I would return.

    Eventually due to my own insecurities and overwhelming feelings for him, I started to resort to avoiding him. I realized the feelings I had for him went from crush to possibly love and it overwhelmed me. It changed me too, I became a little closed off and avoided him. If I couldn’t avoid him, I didn’t respond much when I saw him. I inevitably pushed him away all the while secretly hoping he would, in some weird way, also rescue me from my feelings.

    He eventually stopped acknowledging me in the hallways. In the meantime, I kinda worked on my insecurities a bit and decided to take responsibility and some ownership for my inaction. A few days ago, we were passing each other in the hallway and I caught his eye. He gave me a long, intense stare for about 2 seconds as we headed towards each other. Neither of us looked away and neither of us smiled. Once he passed by, I felt sad and guilty, and longed for the small friendship we had had. Later that day, it so happened I had to be near his desk to talk to another coworker. We were making small talk, when my crush joined in on the conversation. I tried to keep my crush as involved and bantered with him where I could. He was receptive.

    The next day at work, I saw him enter the kitchen and I was near my desk, coincidentally also heading to the kitchen (to get to the washroom). We caught each other’s eye and he smiled at me across the distance and yelled a greeting as I made my way to the kitchen. He grabbed what he wanted from the fridge and then seemed to hover/linger for me to catch up. He then made small talk about a bunch of burritos that had been lying on the counter. I joined him and then together we walked back to his desk (where the women’s washroom is). He sometimes walked in-tandem and sometimes a little ahead of me.

    My question is, does he like me? And if he does, is it as a friend or as a romantic interest? I am terrified of one-sided friendships and also don’t want to be used in any way.



    Hi Priya,

    Your coworker most likely doesn’t like you romantically, but more so as a friend.

    He is a reserved, shy guy.

    Given his nature, he would be more comfortable socializing with people in small groups or on a one on one basis.

    That was why you were both capable of building an acquaintanceship or mild friendship in the kitchen during work-related moments or moments where you both caught each other while in the process of getting coffee.

    Perhaps there was a chance that your acquaintanceship could have built up to something more romantic if you hadn’t started avoiding him.

    Whatever rapport or momentum that you had built up with him up until that point may have been lost not long after you started avoiding him.

    At this point in time, he may be becoming more receptive to you because you are becoming friendlier. Your friendly conversation in the kitchen would indicate that the tides may be turning.

    However, try not to misinterpret his friendliness as an indication of romantic interest. Again, being a reserved and shy guy, he works better in small groups or talking to people one on one.

    As of now, despite the moment where he gave you an intense stare for 2 seconds in the hallway as you were both headed towards each other, he hasn’t shown any consistent and definitive signs of romantic interest in you.

    Thereby, any fondness he may have for you would be in the vain of friendship.

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