Dear Thelma: I flirted with him, now he thinks I'm attracted

  • Family
  • Sunday, 09 Dec 2018

My colleague recently confessed that he was attracted to me. Here’s the thing – I have to admit, I have flirted with him a few times, just to test the waters. But as we got closer, I realised that I didn’t like him that way – he tends to be overly dramatic, and he does certain things that irk me. So I decided that he would stay a friend and nothing more.

Unfortunately, I think he took my flirtation as real interest, hence his confession. I told him that I did not like him that way. While I admitted I was attracted before, that attraction did not grow into anything more, and will never grow in the future. I am well aware of the kind of person he is, and though he is not a bad person, he and I just aren’t compatible.

He was insistent, and told me he would wait. Very well, I replied, do whatever you will, but it will not come to anything.

Since then, he has not done anything that crosses the boundaries of friendship. However, he has been chatting with me daily, asking me how I’m doing, being concerned and inviting me to meals – all of which I’ve rejected. He has not been creepy or stalkerish.

However, I have found his attention (as polite and friendly as it is) extremely annoying. I detest the fact that I need to reply to his texts every day. As he is someone whom I need to work closely with at the office, I cannot ignore him completely. I have tried to be cool and curt in my responses, hoping he gets the hint, but all he does is brush off my actions as me having a “bad week”.

Thelma, am I being unfair and cruel? After all, it was my fault for making him think that he had a chance in the first place. How do I make him stop saying “good morning” to me every single day?


Dear Annoyed

Of course it’s fine to flirt and then to change your mind! What kind of world would it be if you had to marry everyone you thought you might be interested in?

But I think you’re right to be a bit worried.

You flirted, changed your mind and he was flattered and interested. That’s all fine. I’m not so happy about him not taking your change of mind to heart.

“I will wait for you forever until you finally fall for me” is great for romance stories but in real life, it’s not so good. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: love is not a gift you bestow after someone has passed a virtue or endurance test.

This man should move on and find a nice girl who loves him for who he is.

I’m also concerned about you. From your letter, you are crystal clear when it comes to expressing your relationship needs, and that’s great.

However, why are you angry? And why do you detest him? The man is a little misguided but you yourself say he’s not done anything to warrant this kind of reaction. As for wanting him to not say, “Good morning”, that’s just not sensible at all. It’s common courtesy.

Is it possible that you’re embarrassed? That seeing him makes you uncomfortable and that you are taking it out on him? If so, then time will get you over it. You might also get over it by laughing a little with friends over crushes that haven’t worked out.

However, I’m also going to suggest something else. You write an excellent letter that’s full of personality. In it, you come across as a very black-and-white person, and that kind of attitude can be a sign of perfectionism.

Perfectionism is not a virtue; it’s not a healthy attitude at all. If you feel pressured to always do the right thing and if you’re intolerant of errors, then small issues like these can lead to a stress reaction. This would explain the anger you feel.

I think you need to look at other times you have felt unreasonable or inexplicable strong emotions. If you think it’s perfectionism, talk to a pro and get it addressed.

Good luck and I hope you find a suitable match soon.

Have a problem? Email or write to Dear Thelma, c/o Star2, Menara Star, 15, Jalan 16/11, 46350 Petaling Jaya, Selangor. Please include your full name and address, and a pseudonym. No private correspondence will be entertained. The Star does not give any warranty on accuracy, completeness, usefulness, fitness for any particular purpose or other assurances as to the opinions and views expressed in this column. The Star disclaims all responsibility for any losses suffered directly or indirectly arising from reliance on such opinions and views.

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