Mixed Signals From Coworker... Need Your Input!

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Jim103BMS

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I apologize for this post possibly being a little long-winded. I'll try to summarize it as best I can. Some information will be changed to better anonymize this post. I have developed feelings for one of my coworkers. We work in a large work environment, think of it like the size of a Walmart. I already know the downsides of dating a coworker. Please save your breath.

It is currently the fourth month of this ongoing situation. I started to slowly show my interest in the female coworker. Complimenting her, trying to strike up conversation, and buying her coffee…. I ended up getting her number and texting her when I could but never overwhelmed her. She is a shy girl and doesn't really have any friends at the workplace and will tend to stay to herself a majority of the time. I have been told that she has worked entire shifts with others, without muttering a word. Three months later, I eventually worked up the courage to ask her out to lunch, specifically mentioning the fact that it would be outside of work, and the reason for having lunch outside of work is so we could get to know each other better without the constant interruptions that having a conversation in the breakroom would involve.

When I asked, I made sure to ask her in person. Her initial response was "I will think about it" so I backed off for a week and decided to inquire about her decision over text. She responded something like, "I appreciate the invitation out to lunch, but if you are looking for something more than a working relationship, I am not the person to look for." I replied saying that I was surprised by that answer because I had genuinely thought that there was some interest there. I thanked her for her honesty and moved on.

A couple of days after that text, I was in the breakroom, in came the coworker of interest, and I noticed out of the corner of my eye that she was staring at me, for quite a long time. I wasn't sure if it was just my imagination or if she actually was truly staring at me. About five minutes later, another coworker that is aware of this current situation came in. I began to speak to her. After some time, the coworker of interest had gotten up and went back to continue her shift. She was in there because she was taking her break. Anyways, I had asked my friend if she had noticed whether or not the coworker of interest staring at me. I was told that she was going to bring that up to me before I even asked. She said that she was staring so long that she thought that she wanted to interject into the conversation that we were having. I find that to be odd behavior, especially after the fact that the coworker of interest had just turned me down.

Two or three days after that, I was in the breakroom again. There are about eight different tables to sit down at. When I was in the room, there was only one other associate, then the coworker of interest entered and decided to sit at the table I was sitting at... but on the opposite end. So, in other words, we weren't sitting directly across from each other, but we were sitting diagonally from each other. She could have sat anywhere in the breakroom, and she decided to sit at a location that was one of the closest positions to me. We began to have a normal conversation like we used, which was nice. After chatting for a little bit, she randomly asked if I liked to eat a certain food. I told her "yes", and asked her why she had asked. She replied that her family made some food and was curious if I would like some. I accepted, and visited her after our chat and picked up the food. I found out later that I was the only person outside of her department of 5 coworkers to receive the food offer that I had been given.

The thing to take away from this last interaction is the fact that I had no idea that she had brought any food into work. She went out of her way to ask me if I wanted anything that she brought in. This is the first time she's ever offered anything to me. I would think that a grown woman would understand the mixed signals that she is sending to the guy that both recently asked her out and declined. I must reiterate the fact that she's very shy. I don't know how much that influences the sequence of events. The hopeful side of me is thinking that she may have had second thoughts and actually does want to have lunch and see where things go.

I'm truly at a loss and I would like to get the opinions of the people on this wonderful website. I essentially want to save myself from getting my hopes up again only to be disappointed… again.
 

ringwood

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My answer in a nutshell: ask her. I agree - she does seem to be giving off mixed signals, but without actually asking her again if she’s changed her mind about lunch, it’s impossible to know what she’s thinking. Maybe the offer of food was just done out of politeness, maybe she’s feeling guilty and is trying in her way to ‘make amends’ for declining the lunch invitation. . . so many possibilities.

If, after asking her again about the lunch invitation, she still says ‘no’ then I think you have a definitive answer.
 

ewomack

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As you know, these are always difficult situations to interpret and her behavior is definitely hard to interpret. Some people do change their minds. Maybe something about you sank with her? But, she may also feel bad about turning you down and still wants to be your friend, so she's trying to make up for it. All you can do is ask again when you think the time is right. Sometimes these things take time. You won't get any answers trying to interpret her behavior, because it could honestly mean just about anything at this point. Good luck and let us know how it goes!
 
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U-122

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My answer in a nutshell: ask her. I agree - she does seem to be giving off mixed signals, but without actually asking her again if she’s changed her mind about lunch, it’s impossible to know what she’s thinking. Maybe the offer of food was just done out of politeness, maybe she’s feeling guilty and is trying in her way to ‘make amends’ for declining the lunch invitation. . . so many possibilities.

If, after asking her again about the lunch invitation, she still says ‘no’ then I think you have a definitive answer.

I wouldn't ask her. OP needs to ask himself if there's an attraction. To him. Naturally he's attracted to her. If she's not attracted to him, it's just friendly coworker signals and nothing more. Or maybe work related friendship. I'm in a different boat and don't know women anymore but i know from past and more recent personal experience if there's attraction there's hope. I've had a woman give me her number, food, pretended to be friendly and sexy and all that crap. I got so excited i was in "heaven". Meant absolutely nothing. Next day she ignored me like i'm invisible. I actually am. Now avoids contact and completely ignores me like i'm her ex-husband lol.

This is one red flag "I appreciate the invitation out to lunch, but if you are looking for something more than a working relationship, I am not the person to look for."

If there's attraction, connection comes next. I think. I'm not an expert. From my past experience few who rejected me never changed their mind. Few who discarded me also never changed their mind. Even most recent one who ignores me now won't change her mind. One doesn't simply change her mind. Attraction is instant. Connection also doesn't take long. Back in my days attraction and connection were instant. Life was simpler, internet was in its early stage. Netscape was browser of choice.
 

roses4all

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or you could let her lead

don't do anything she doesn't do first

Which means, ... you could offer some food... or choose to sit at the table where she is sitting.
 

medievil

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Mixed signals are the worst.... there is no right or wrong, go with your gut.... after all, you said she is shy, the initial no may have been her self-defeating reaction, being shy myself, self-confidence is an issue, and she may have been in the mindset that you'd be disappointed.... if you really like her, get closer to her, gain her trust, even if it is just break table deep conversation... open up to her, and maybe she will open up in return
ehhh but what do I know....
 

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