How do I know if my office crush is reciprocated?

Dear Meredith,

Almost two years ago, I started seeing a guy in the cafeteria at work. One day while I was eating lunch with my coworkers, he happened to be sitting at the table next to me. We made eye contact several times and I thought immediately that it was love at first sight. My stomach had butterflies and I became distracted by him for the remainder of lunch. Then one day when I was sitting alone he came over and began talking to me, and I felt that spark again. We started meeting up after work for drinks and texting, but then I realized I was the one initiating the majority of our conversations. I wouldn't talk to him for a couple weeks, and then when I'd text him he would answer as if everything was fine.

He would occasionally make comments/jokes saying "When we're married …," so that's what made me think he had the same feeling, too. Now, almost two years later, we still talk fairly frequently, but we don't hang out outside of work like we used to. We'll eat lunch together or meet up for coffee. It hurts me to think about how I felt when we first saw each other – and that we aren't together now. I don't know if he is reserved and waiting for me to express my feelings. Is he friend-zoning me? The relationship is beginning to feel draining and I'm not sure how to handle it going forward. What should I do?

– Friend-zoned?


You could ask him how he feels about you. I know that seems bold and scary, but getting a real answer might make life a lot more comfortable.

Please know: You should not have this conversation at work. You can ask him to see you socially, like you used to. If he joins you, have a simple conversation. You don't have to mention love at first sight or make any promises. All you want to know is whether there might be something more to your relationship.

If he's open to the idea, great. Ask him out on a real date. If he's not, you can make choices about how to have him in your life without feeling drained. You might decide that you don't want him around much at all, at least not outside of the office.

I know you probably hoped that I'd be able to read this man’s mind and tell you if he's open to dating you, but I have no idea what he's thinking or if he's sitting around at home wondering what every work interaction means. I do think it's important to note that he's been more passive about plans, but still, I won't jump to any conclusions about his feelings. With so many letters here, the answer is: Just ask. That's the best thing I can tell you.

– Meredith

Readers? Ask? Forget?