Earlier this week, a woman wrote to Betches Love This for advice about a case of “the work weirds.” She complained about a “clingy male coworker” who seems to be paying “special attention” to her:
“He invites me to random parties he hosts, pries into my personal life, and offers to help me with my work (when it’s unnecessary). I always say I’m busy/ignore him/give one word answers but he isn’t getting the message. He will also do things like comment on a phone conversation he overheard me having or talk to me on office communicator while staring at me.”
Although the advice columnist didn’t seem to pick up on it (she suggested that the guy isn’t interested, he’s just weird), it seems pretty obvious to me that this “clingy male coworker” wants to date this woman. Here’s the thing: male/female office relationships can be confusing. Sometimes it’s hard to tell if that dude at work is flirting with you because you spend so many hours sitting next to each other, eating breakfast, lunch and sometimes dinner together, that you can become immune to signals. Romantic feelings can easily be mistaken for the kind of intimacy that blossoms when you’re comfortable enough to fart in front of someone. So how can you tell the subtle difference between an office crush and an office husband? I’ve laid out a few behavioral tip-offs so that you can turn that “clingy male coworker” into a committed office husband (seriously! If that’ all he wants, put him to work and have him refill your water bottle!) or let him down gently if he’s crushing and you’re not. Or better yet…if you’re both into each other, go make out with him in the break room right now (but we urge you to consider the pros and cons of dating a coworker first).
Office Husband Behavior:
1. He refills your Camelback automatically when he goes to the water cooler because he knows you drink 8 -10 glasses day.
2. He asks you to join him and a few others from the office for a quick beer at happy hour.
3. He compliments on your new boots or tells you how good you look in emerald green because he’s seen everything in your closet, so he knows when you went shopping. And after 2 years of working one cubicle apart, seeing you at your best and worst, he feels entitled to have an opinion about your wardrobe.
4. He nominates you to lead a new project because you’d be great at it and it will beef up your resume.
5. He subtly lets you know if one of the buttons on your blouse has popped open or you have lipstick on your teeth.
6. He picks up a salad for you at lunch because he knows that you like no onions, extra olives and dressing on the side.
Office Crush Behavior:
1. He walks by your desk about 10 times a day and asks you if you’re thirsty because he’s trying to start conversation with you…or scope out your Gchat to see if there are any dudes who you’re pinging with.
2. He asks you to join him for a glass of wine at that romantic spot around the corner to “discuss tomorrow’s meeting.” Yeah riiight.
3. When you arrive in the morning he stares at you with googley eyes and mumbles something like, “Whoaaaa. You look good today.“
4. He will nominate you AND him to lead a project as a team because that means more time together in your work quadrant.
5. He’ll neglect to tell you if you’re blouse is see-through because he’s staring at your bra all day, drooling.
6. He brings in REESE’S Peanut Butter Cups for you because he assumes chocolate is the way to your heart.
[Photo from Shutterstock]