DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: Younger men have never seemed attractive to me until this guy came to work at the same company I’m at. He went through university early, got two degrees, and now he’s shooting ahead where I work.
I can’t wait to see him when he walks in early, every morning. We have a quick coffee and a chat and then we both go to work like the eager beavers we are. I’m 30 and he’s in his mid 20s, but mature for his age. I know he’s attracted to me, because he mentioned it. I just smile, and try to hide the blush.
There aren’t many people working in-house right now, and we are often working all alone in the same office. Neither one of us has made a move yet, but the romance fairies are twinkling in the air around us. The other day his car was in for repairs, and we live close together, so he asked me for a ride.
We got near our workplace and I said, "Want to walk the last block so it doesn’t look like we’re sleeping together?" He looked over, winked, and said, "Let them think what they want. We’re the best workers they’ve got!" We’re headed for "something" and I’m not sure what it is. I think he really likes me back. What should I do?
— Crazy About Him, Wolseley
Dear Crazy: Some office romances can be avoided, but that’s usually when one party is less interested than the other, the age difference is extreme (yours is not), or one or both of the pair are married.
You two seem to be mutually interested and excited, and there are few people to notice your interactions in the office. Add that to your early morning arrival ritual, and you two have the makings of a romantic lift-off. But it’s not the beginning that’s the problem. When other co-workers start working in the office again, people will pick up on the romance vibes between the two of you, and may roll their eyes, or worse.
The politics of the office are often messed up when two people are super close and sharing pillow talk. That may make it harder for one or both of you to get promoted. And if and when you should break up, it’s murder to go to in and see your ex at a desk in the same office.
That said, there’s not a lot that can stop a romance that’s already ascending, except for a little crash before it gets started. Do you want to bring this budding romance up and talk about it with him? This fellow may be a flirt and not mean anything by it — he may just having fun with you. If you find out he doesn’t want the flirtation to go anywhere, you’ll experience a little crash but probably be quite able to get over it at this point. But don’t leave the talk much longer, or it could really hurt.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: Some of my casual friends got COVID from being out in bars and restaurant instead of staying the heck at home this summer. I backed off them completely. They are well again, but they remember my wagging finger and don’t want anything to do with me now. I guess I don’t blame them for acting so righteous. I was quite vocal about their being careless and my words got back to them — no doubt a bit twisted, but I did put them down to others and they heard. How can I make it up to them?
— Nasty Mouth, River Heights
Dear Nasty: You may have to apologize more than once. The first time you try, they may enjoy rejecting your advances and wonder why you condescended to speak to them. But if you leave it a week or so, and try a second time, it will be obvious you are really sorry you bad-mouthed them and they may listen to your apology. If you don’t get anywhere on the second apology, let it go. Nobody likes the sound of begging — and you won’t like yourself for it either.
Please send your questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or Miss Lonelyhearts c/o the Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., Winnipeg, MB, R2X 3B6.
Each year, the Free Press publishes more than 1,000 letters to Miss Lonelyhearts and her responses to the life and relationship questions that come her way.