Dear Head Pro,
At the end of last summer, my assistant manager—and friend—told me he had feelings for me which although I saw coming was a very uncomfortable conversation. This had been a summer job and one employed by mainly college students filled with lots of employee-cest. So, this wouldn’t have been completely inappropriate relationship except I had absolutely no feelings for him past friendship. Knowing that I would be coming back this summer, which I did, I thought it was important to keep him on friendly terms. We did talk throughout the year and everything seemed fine but a mutual friend of ours told me he was pretty upset about the situation. Now that we’re both back at work it seems like the conversation we had last summer never happened at all and I can’t tell if he’s hopeful or actually thinks that my feelings have changed. But he’s still flirty and essentially seems to act the same way as he did last summer which is frustrating. I feel like even being friendly can be interpreted as more if he wants to see it that way. My question for you is how do I handle the situation? I want to be friends still but I don’t want to have to go through this all over again and also have to keep coming up with excuses as to why I can’t hang out after work, days off, etc.
I hate my job
Well, let’s be clear right off the bat: You can’t remain friends with someone who wants to tongue-punch your fartbox and has been explicit in expressing those feelings. Friendship is not what he wants. He’s told you that. So, hoping that his feelings will change and you two can just be pals is about as naïve as his hoping that your feelings have changed.
Your situation is untenable, because you simply can’t be in a situation where someone with so much power over your employment (even if this is just a shitty summer job) has feelings for you. Best case scenario is that your manager isn’t a complete scumbag and things just remain awkward, but your work is unaffected. Worst case, he holds it over your head and tries to use his position as a cudgel to coerce you into touching his boner. Neither situation is particularly palatable, obviously.
If the conversation went well (“well”) the first time, I say have it again. Since you’ve already done it once, it can’t be any worse the second time around. Since you claim he’s your friend (he’s not!), I’d like to think that he’ll have the humanity to be receptive to it and respectful of your feelings. Working together from that point forward is his problem, not yours, so he can handle it however he wants, probably by masturbating alone in sadness.
If that doesn’t work and he persists, HR is never your friend, but they can be an ally. Since you’re using terms like “summer job” and “assistant manager,” I’m guessing you aren’t exactly working at NASA. I would think that because unwanted sexual advances are a bad look for a company, they would be inclined to act on the relatively-disposable assistant manager, not the complaining employee (stranger things have happened, tho). It’s obviously the nuclear option, but one you need to keep in mind if he won’t chill the fuck out.
Dear Head Pro,
First time, long time! anyway…
I met this guy a month or two ago and we instantly hit it off. We weren’t exclusive, just hooking up and hanging out as I wasn’t into relationships due to recently ending things with a bad guy.
Everything was going well until I realized I was developing feelings for him. He had talked about how he was starting to like me as well. This is all bad because he is starting a new career far far away, so nothing could ever happen right now.
I was upfront with the fact that I liked him and it didn’t seem to bother him, we decided that maybe in a few years if we met up and things were the same we could see what happens.
Anyway, the last night I saw him he was talking about how we can’t be in a relationship and it had been on his mind. I told him I knew we weren’t in a relationship, but that I would like to keep seeing him until he left, and then move on. That seemed fine until later that night when he told me he couldn’t see me again as he didn’t want to develop feelings and leave.
He stayed at mine that night and I ended up being a little emotional when he was leaving, partly due to my hangover. I also asked him several times to reconsider.
For a week or so after I would text him every day or two asking him to see me one last time. I’m fully aware that I should have just left him alone. At the time I thought he might change his mind.
A few days ago I was texting him and he said he initially called it all off for his new career, but with space he felt we wouldn’t be any good for eachother and that we should only be friends.
I apologised for my behaviour and acknowledged that I had fucked things up, and he said it wasn’t my fault, but I know that it was. I told him I couldn’t be friends with him right now, but maybe in the future and I haven’t texted him since then.
I guess I’m just wondering is there any point in ever trying to pursue him again, when I sort my personal issues out? I really feel we shared a connection and the idea of us only ever being friends makes me sad. I feel had I left him alone and not been needy, things would be different. Is there any way to possibly get him back in the future or have I completely messed up?
Lolololol. Nah, this guy’s not coming back. First of all, he moved for a job. You knew that was coming, and was the impetus for this whole snafu. There’s no “back” to which he can come. He’s gone. He moved. But then you showed your crazy to a dude you admitted to only knowing for like a month (or two? Which is it?), and now he’s probably pretty happy with his decision.
Expressing affection for someone, and in doing so communicating the fact that you like them and don’t want them to leave, is generally a nice sentiment. Maybe one of the best sentiments, in fact—people want to feel wanted. And that’s probably how you justified your tantrums to yourself: sure, you’re going overboard and are aware of that, but how put-off can someone be by telling that you think they’re a cool guy and not like other guys, and that you want to touch his boner?
The answer is selfishness. Not all selfishness is created equal in terms of maliciousness, but it’s selfishness all the same. This guy was already having to deal with the fact that his career was going to uproot him and take him away from this cool chick he’s been hanging out with. That’s a sucky feeling, but it’s made 100% worse when said cool chick becomes very uncool and is all “wahhh, what about ME!?!?” You basically #AllLivesMatter-ed yourself, is what I’m saying.
It’s normal and healthy to acknowledge and express your feelings, but you took his struggle and made it about you. People HATE that, because they want to be selfish themselves. Losing someone sucks, and you’re obviously allowed to feel like shit, but you have to leave him alone at this point. Don’t beat yourself up too much, chalk it up as a learning experience and maybe he’ll get over it once he’s settled in. Mostly, though, you just have to put it behind you.