Staring competition

Let's help a New Yorker named John read his co-worker's mind:
I am in a strange situation. I'm attracted to a girl who works in my office. She sits in the same area but works for a different team, so there is no chance of going out for lunch together because it would be awkward. I started to stare at her to show my interest. For last 3-4 weeks she has done the same thing. Now she stares at me 10 times more than I stare at her. I said 'hello' and talked to her on 3 separate occasions and she said hello and talked in a polite manner. The situation now is that she shows her interest (I believe) by staring at me on various occasions throughout the day. When our eyes meet she keeps looking for longer than usual but doesn't smile. She looks a bit stressed for some reason (which I am sure is because of this situation between us). She is always attentive towards me and looks at me whenever changing her sitting position. The problem is, when we are in front of each other (example, in kitchen, etc) she acts strangely and looks at the floor and does not make eye contact with me, though I keep looking at her to talk. I am confused about what's going on in her mind and what I should do. She doesn't give me a smile, nor does she looks offended by something (may be she did not like me looking at her). Also once I talked to her in a usual manner she seemed a bit nervous to me. The next day when we saw each other in the office she did not say 'hello' and walked past me. I said 'hello' and then she gave a nervous smile and said 'hello' and then again started to look on the floor. She is not a shy girl and comes across very confidently with her colleagues (mainly male). Can you please tell me what is in her mind? Shall I ask her out???? if yes, then how and when? -- John, New York

A: John, I'm shaking my head here. There's a whole lotta staring going on, and I have no idea why. This woman either likes you, or, more likely, she's wondering why you keep staring at her like a crazy person. You said she stares back -- but perhaps she's trying to figure out what it is you're looking at (something in her teeth? smudged eyeliner?). As of now, you're both uncomfortable and confused. That's bad. My advice -- assuming you are not her superior at work -- is say to her: "Hey, I know I've been staring in your direction quite a bit. I hope I haven't been freaking you out. It's just that I kind of wanted to ask you out but I didn't know if you were interested." At that point, she'll either say, "Wow -- me too! Let's grab dinner!" Or she'll say, "Oh, I'm busy tonight," which is code for, "I'm not interested, and please, for the love of cupcakes, stop staring at me all day." Get your answer soon, because you run the risk of becoming "creepy staring guy." No one likes that guy. Honesty is always the best policy. Tell her how you feel so you can either get yourself a date -- or stop making a weird situation worse. Readers? Agree with me? What's this staring all about? Share your thoughts for John here. Read yesterday's chat here. Tell us your problem here. - Meredith