Hi Doc,

I'm a Desktop Support Technician for a major company and I'm attracted to a woman in my office. This started when I serviced her computer one afternoon, and she struck up a conversation with me. Her idle chatter and the way she kept leaning over me while I worked made me think that she was flirting with me. When I finished with her computer, she asked me if I liked classical music, and when I said, "Yes," she handed me a CD, neatly wrapped. I could see her blushing as I took it from her hand!

When I told this story to my supervisor, he told me that he and a coworker had done work for her before and had never received so much attention, much less any gifts. At the time, I had been seeing someone for a couple of years and had never been unfaithful to anyone - ever - but I kept thinking that if I were available, I would have done something.

During the next few weeks, I often stopped by her office just to say "hello" until one day, I decided to e-mail her to ask her how her machine was working and to find out what kind of music she liked. That night, I bought her a CD and wrapped it for her (at this time, my relationship with my girlfriend was really on the outs). I spent that night rehearsing what I was going to say when I gave her the present.

The next day I waited until she was back from lunch. Finally, at 1:30pm, I got up the nerve to knock on her office door. She was on the phone, so I waited until she hung up. When she did, I told her that I came across something at the music store, which made me think of her. When I handed her the CD, she said "Thank you" and seemed to like it.

I returned to her office a few days later to ask her how her weekend went and how she enjoyed her CD - then I asked her to have lunch with me. She replied that she didn't eat lunch and that she always runs errands during her lunch break. As I left her office, I felt like a jerk.

My supervisor later told me she wasn't seeing anyone as he had a long personal talk with her about three months earlier, but I had my suspicions that she was.

What do you think, Doc?

Carl - who wants to know if he misread her signals

Hi Carl,

She sure set you up like a bowling pin and knocked you down - what a strike! First, she gave you heavy Buying Signals, then when you were hot and bothered - Powee! She hit you right in the kisser!

You're right, Carl - when a woman tells you she doesn't eat lunch and that she's too busy "running errands" during her breaks to sit with you for a few minutes, it's Womanese for "Take a hike!" If this girl liked you, all she had to do was write down her number - but she didn't.

Yes, it's possible that she had a boyfriend and had given you the gift because she was getting ready to drop him - then, by the time you asked her out, she had made up with him. It's also possible that she was unattached, but she only wanted to play with your heart (these women actually do exist!). The common denominator in both of these scenarios is the girl's lack of integrity.

Carl, it's true that you lost points when you constantly went out of your way to talk with this girl and when you bought her a present. You were too available, and therefore - not a Challenge. Nevertheless, I suspect her change of demeanor had more to do with her integrity deficit than with your mistakes. After all, the amount of female Interest Level required to give an acquaintance a wrapped gift is too high to be wiped away by a couple of mistakes. My guess is that this woman never had high Interest Level in you to begin with. Good thing you found this out sooner rather than later.

In spite of the way you may feel, Carl, you got off very lucky. Things could have been much, much worse. In today's legal climate, it is very risky for men to date their coworkers. Men are extremely vulnerable to baseless accusations (remember what Anita The Hun did to Judge Clarence Thomas?). After you asked your coworker to lunch - if she wanted to - she could have put a serious crimp in your career simply by whispering the words "unwelcome advances" into your supervisor's ear (It's amazing how differently men and women define sexual harassment: if a guy gets hit on, he feels lucky, but if a woman gets hit on, she sees a lawyer!).

But pursuing your coworker was only your first mistake - your second was telling your boss about your love campaign. This put you in a very vulnerable position. If he had been the uptight and competitive kind, and had had the hots for her, he could have blocked a promotion or a raise; or had you transferred out of the department - even out of your job (Heck - if I spoke with your girl and stared at her angelic face for an hour like your boss did, maybe I would want to fire you too!) My point is if you hunt for romantic prey at the office, you've got to keep your yap shut.

Guys, you date coworkers at your own peril. If the risks don't frighten you, then at least follow this advice: First, ask yourself, "How much do I love my job? Am I prepared to lose it over a girl who may not even care about me?" If the answer to the latter question is yes - then let her initiate a meeting outside of the office. If she doesn't do this, then forget her and get back to work. But if she does push for a date, save the piece of paper on which she writes her home phone number - it can be "Exhibit A" of your defense at your court appearance!

?Copyright DocLove DotCom

Author's Bio: 

E-mail me at doclove@doclove.com with your love challenges. All letters will be answered, but because of space, only those of general interest will be printed. To find out more about The "System" visit me at: www.doclove.com or call (800) 404-2644.

Doc Love is a talk show host and entertainment speaker who coaches men in his seminars. For the past 30 years he has asked thousands of women, "Why do you stay with one man versus another?"