Dear Dude Whisperer,
Here is my question:
There is this guy at work and I have no idea where I stand with him. With other female co-workers he is professionally friendly and has no problem striking a conversation with them. With me, it’s as though he avoids me like the plague. But in a group setting, he has no problem talking to me.
Every so often we attend group happy hours together. Sometimes he will bring his friends. Once, I chatted it up with one of his friends and we exchanged contact info. When I told my co-worker in passing that I was planning on meeting one of his friends for a drink, my co-worker cocked blocked his friend. And told me that his friend was a recovering alcoholic. It turns out, my co-worker had stretched the truth a bit.
My co-worker and I have never had a negative interaction whatsoever. In fact, when we do hang with a group, we always end up having an okay time. What is my co-worker’s deal?
Do you have that friend who says, “Who’s that?” every time a character makes a first appearance in a movie? The DW sure does. Let’s call him Dinosaur Neil.
Opening credits- Rachel McAdams quickly walks the dark, rainy streets of New York, using her purse as a makeshift umbrella. She rings a doorbell. No answer. She looks over her shoulder. Cut to the inside of a running car. A man wearing black gloves takes several photographs-
Dinosaur Neil: “Who’s that?”
DW: “Bob Hope.”
Dinosaur Neil: “Come on.”
Dinosaur Neil: “Seriously.”
And it will go on like that as long as Neil wants to ask about the dude in the car, because there is no way to know. There’s not enough information. It’s like asking who’s going to win The Bachelor in 2013. And more than that, not knowing is supposed to be interesting, not frustrating. Finding out who that dude is could easily be the plot of the whole movie. All possibilities are on the table. Assassin? Protector? Stalker? Spy? Alien? Evil Twin? Assassin twin spy alien stalker from the future?
Similarly, it’s waaaaay too early for you to have any idea what the deal is with your coworker. In fact, he doesn’t even know what his deal is. He doesn’t know enough about you to have a deal. If he had questions at all they might be, “What’s her deal? Is she interested in me? We get along, but what about that time she chatted up my friend? Why the friend and not me?” But more likely, he hasn’t even gotten to the point of thinking of you two as being very much on each other’s radar.
Because when you strip this down to the facts, there are a hundred people you get along with in group situations, but have very few direct communications with. Tons of people you see in bars and never have a negative interaction with. It may be true that he talks more easily with other women around the office, but it could also be that you see it that way because you wish he singled you out more, or it could be that he is more nervous around you and comes off as rude instead of wanting to bone the bejeezus out of you. Like the dude following Rachel McAdams, could be anything. So what actually makes this dude stand apart from being just another acquaintance?
The only real unique information you have to go on is the cockblock episode, and even then you’re assuming a lot of intent that it was a cockblock in the first place. Honestly, the only thing that night tells the DW for sure is that your coworker dude showed some seriously questionable discretion by mentioning a friend’s substance abuse problem and then even worse judgment by either being too lazy to have the facts straight about the problem or too immoral to care about exaggerating them.
Anyway, look. The DW isn’t trying to give you a hard time. It’s the most natural thing in the world to see things in things in things in things when you’re smitten with someone. The DW’s just suggesting you don’t sweat anything just yet. If you like this guy, keep making excuses to hang out with him. In groups for sure, but try to catch him alone, too. The more time you spend, the more you learn, the more it gets easier for him to see you’d like to go out with him, if that is your goal. But as of right now, dude’s just entered the picture. Finding out if he’s a spy or an alien or an evil twin from the future is supposed to be the interesting part.
Here’s to avoiding evil twins.
[DW UPDATE: Okay, so Dinosaur Neil was actually a stand-in for The Wifey. Didn’t get a chance to ask her before posting if she’d mind being outed as a serial movie questioner, but turns out she’s fine with it. Which got the DW thinking- has he ever had a dude friend who asks, “Who’s that?” waaay too early in a movie? Answer-no. It’s only been women. So, here are the DW’s questions for you, sexy readers. Are your friends that do this mostly women, too? And if so, what’s the psychology behind wanting to ruin the DW’s movie experience with these questions, er, I mean behind being so insatiably curious about movie characters and plot lines.]