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Not Just Friends Anymore: A Disappointed Co-Worker

Published: March 31, 2022 | Last Updated: March 31, 2022 By | Reply Continue Reading
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They’re not “just friends” anymore. A guy is disappointed by his co-worker and can’t imagine why she’s keeping him at a distance. 



I have a female colleague with whom I was good friends. In fact, during the pandemic, we became pretty close. She and I would message each other frequently, mainly about our common interests and works. We had also been pretty chatty at work, too.

I’ll admit that I developed feelings for her but never acted upon them because she’s in a long-term relationship.

Over the last six months, she’s become quite distant. She still talks to me but it’s noticeable that it’s not as much as she did in the past. Another guy now seems to be her focus of attention. Am I jealous? Did I do something wrong? It’s really messing with my head.

Signed, Ray 


Hi Ray,

As you admit, you were “not just friends” with this co-worker. Over time, you developed romantic feelings although they remained unexpressed—for good reason. You realized that those feelings weren’t reciprocated and knew she had a long-term partner.

Then she switched her attention from you to another guy in the office.

There are a number of possibilities of why this woman may have backed off from being close friends with you: 

-Even though you didn’t verbalize it, she might have sensed that you wanted more than a friendship and she wasn’t interested in that.

-She may be fickle and thrive on male attention without ever really bonding emotionally.

-The person with whom she is in a long-term relationship may be jealous and threatened by her having opposite-gender friendships so she eventually backs off from them. 

-Also, the pandemic really had a dramatic effect on friendships. With people working from home and self-isolating or seeing people in social bubbles, they were likely to spend more time emailing, texting, and socializing over social media. Now that many are back in offices or having more in-person social interactions, your co-worker may be less interested in messaging or texting relationships, such as the one you describe.

When two people have different expectations (or hopes) of a friendship, it can be tricky and uncomfortable for both of them. Unfortunately, I don’t think you have too many options at this point. Since she doesn’t seem interested in a romantic relationship, you can only be friends.

It doesn’t sound like you’ve done anything wrong but If you want to have a closer, non-romantic relationship, you could speak to your friend and ask her why you’ve grown apart, specifically if you’ve said or done something wrong. I wouldn’t be surprised if the distance that has cropped up has nothing or little to do with you.

After this conversation, if you sense she just wants more space, you need to respect her wishes. Since you are co-workers, it is important to maintain a collegial relationship and make sure it doesn’t interfere with your work. In addition, I would try to find other less complicated friendships with colleagues at work for support and distraction.

Hope this is a bit helpful.

My best, Irene

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Category: Workplace friendships

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