Thursday, March 7, 2013

Same Sex Crush Has Office Worker Uneasy

Dear Tazi:

I work with a very sweet woman I will call "Lisa". I enjoy Lisa's company at the office, and often refer co-workers to her when their projects fall under her domain, just to make sure that they are not making her job harder by re-contacting her contacts and undoing her work (we work in Sales and Marketing). Because I pass by Lisa's cubicle on the way to my own, I will wave hello or stop for a minute to say hi. I am afraid that this has given Lisa the wrong impression of me.

Lisa is a lesbian and I am straight. Although she does not talk about her love life, others at the office are much closer to her than I am, and they have confirmed to me what I have suspected: that Lisa has a crush on me. At first I thought this was not possible - I didn't think gay people were ever attracted to straight people - but after thinking about it I realized that just because someone is not attracted to you does not mean you cannot be attracted to them. Isn't this the theme of every Taylor Swift song?

I do not wish to distance myself from Lisa, but every time I walk past her she looks at me with this dreamy look on her face; if I stop to say hi she practically begs me to stay and converse with her a little longer, so making my exit is quite awkward. I have considered talking to the HR Department, but I don't know what to say without embarrassing either of us, and I am not really certain how I might word a complaint. Lisa knows that I am straight - she has even commented on the picture that I have of me and my boyfriend that sits on my desk. How should I deal with this situation? Ignore it and hope it runs its course? Talk to HR? Talk to Lisa directly? What?

Crushed On

Dear Crushed On:

I am glad that you figured out that just because someone is homosexual does not mean that they cannot feel an attraction to someone who is heterosexual! The class nerd may have a crush on the Homecoming Queen, even though he recognizes that his chances are about as close to zero as in your situation, but that does not change how he feels. Lisa is a human being, regardless of her sexual preferences, so please treat her heart with care.

I suggest that while you are at the office you remain 100% professional; this means no slipping into casual terms of endearment that can be mistaken for more than they are. Off the cuff comments like "thanks, hon!"or "got a second, sweetie?" can easily be misconstrued by one who has a crush on the person saying them. When Lisa stops you to speak to her, be polite but firm and tell her that you only have a minute, that you need to get back to your desk. If, on the other hand, her reason for stopping you is business-related, give her the same time you would give to any other co-worker. Lisa should get the picture that you know how she feels and are not interested in her that way; you should not need to spell it out for her.

If the situation does not improve and you are still feeling discomfort when dealing with Lisa, I suggest you ask HR for a desk reassignment. Explain that your current desk requires you to pass by an employee that has an unrequited crush on you, and the attention you are receiving is making you uncomfortable. There is no need to name names - if it is a small office, HR probably already knows about it.

Overall, you must remember to act like the adult you are, and handle the situation with courtesy and aplomb. As awkward as it may seem, take Lisa's affections as a compliment to the woman you are, and remind your boyfriend how lucky he is to have a woman as wonderful as you!


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

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