Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Tipping over from colleague to friend.

(34 Posts)
CassieMortmain Fri 03-Jul-15 21:35:12

I have a colleague, slightly senior to me although different departments so we are not really connected- my department provides a service to hers.

She is powerful and a bit of an 'alpha'. She is highly respected and a lot of people either try to win her favour or are a bit scared of her, she has great people skills so it is hard to tell whether she likes people or is just managing them well.

I really like her and we have been having an increasing amount of interaction. What do I do to work out whether it is a potential friendship or just her managing me?? I really can't tell!

Walkacrossthesand Fri 03-Jul-15 21:47:12

Does it really matter? It's great to have colleagues that you get on really well with. If she's a boss and an 'alpha', I personally wouldn't make any moves towards a friendship out of work - the risk is that she is just a manager with a very friendly style and it will be awkward all round.

CassieMortmain Fri 03-Jul-15 21:56:42

Yeah I am worried about that. It would be a shame to miss out on a potentially good friendship though for the sake of assuming it is just cunning management.

I have moved areas recently so the thought of local friends appeals but I definitely would not want to make work awkward by getting it wrong.

SelfLoathing Fri 03-Jul-15 21:57:03

Well the normal test is whether you start doing stuff outside of work.

Friendships grow because you start having coffee together, then lunch, then someone says "fancy going to the wine bar/pub after work", then "I'm going to xyz at the weekend, do you want to come? give me your mobile no" etc etc.

CassieMortmain Fri 03-Jul-15 22:07:36

Who says that then? Do I have to wait? It has to be her, right, because technically she is senior?

I feel like we are in a bit of a void where we have shared quite a bit and we are leaning over the precipice and the next move is that one of us would suggest an out of work thing... that can't be me though can it?

rumred Fri 03-Jul-15 22:13:13

God yes ask her out to lunch. Don't be intimidated by rank. It's about being human

SelfLoathing Fri 03-Jul-15 22:16:07

Do you have sexual/attraction feelings for her?

I only ask because your posts seem a bit intense and over-worrying about something that would normally flow naturally and not be a concern.

Not trying to be unkind at all, just observing - but your last post is kind of what a teenage girl would post about a boy she has a crush on. Read it back to yourself.

CassieMortmain Fri 03-Jul-15 22:25:35

Yes I am attracted to her but that does need to be beside the point. It probably does make me more worried about getting it right though.

SelfLoathing Fri 03-Jul-15 22:29:39

No it's not beside the point at all - because initiating a friendship for friendships sake is a totally different product to initiating a friendship for the purposes of developing a relationship.

It's a different ball game for all sorts of reasons.

CassieMortmain Fri 03-Jul-15 22:37:17

We are both in marriages with children and neither of those relationships are in question.

The only question is can it be a friendship. I don't want to bowl into it, especially buoyed by attraction, too fast. I'm just considering how to work out whether it's ok to suggest lunch.

I might just not! Seems safer!

CherryPicking Fri 03-Jul-15 22:37:42

Aw, this is really sweet. I love how you just drop it in that you have a crush on her, after all the turning tavern style threads with women driving themselves crazy trying to work out their "women in question". This may be a landmark MN moment where that sort of thing is just 'beside the point".

CassieMortmain Fri 03-Jul-15 22:42:19

Glad to be MN landmark.

I still need to know about lunch though?

SelfLoathing Fri 03-Jul-15 22:45:14

Personally, I'd just leave it because you sound a bit weirdly over intense about it.

Friendships develop naturally. If you are this anxious about it, it probably isn't really clear and she may just be managing you.

Carry on as you are and see what happens. She may suggest lunch/coffee etc.

CassieMortmain Fri 03-Jul-15 22:47:25

Well, I definitely do not want to be weirdly intense. I will let it ride!

SelfLoathing Fri 03-Jul-15 22:47:43

We are both in marriages with children and neither of those relationships are in question.

Well you say that - but what kind of responses do you think a man here would get if he posted what you have posted and then said "we are in marriages/relationship out of the question."

People would be saying "stay away" "emotional affair" "leads to physical affair" etc etc.

As I said, you sound a bit "in the middle of a crush" about it.

CassieMortmain Fri 03-Jul-15 22:54:55

So.. is it not ok to be friends with someone you are attracted to? I'm not sure that friendship must be 100% avoided because of, on one side, another dimension in the background.

I do have enough self control for it not to be an issue! I was just being honest in the anonymity of the tinterweb.

Howsithanging Fri 03-Jul-15 22:55:23

How is it "really sweet?"

rumred Fri 03-Jul-15 22:56:49

Ask if she fancies going for lunch. If not, nothing lost

CassieMortmain Fri 03-Jul-15 23:01:25

Yeah, that is the problem. If I ask if she fancies going for lunch and that is a total faux pas it is a work issue. I am looking for some cues that suggesting an out of work thing is ok to suggest.

Waterandtea Fri 03-Jul-15 23:14:52

What do you usually do for lunch at your workplace? If you get sandwiches and eat at your desk then as it's nice weather you could casually say you're going to eat yours in the local park (or something) does she fancy joining you - that sort of thing would be totally normal where I work and not really an 'out of work'/formal 'going out for lunch together' thing.

TummyButtonFluff Fri 03-Jul-15 23:18:03

Sorry, you are asking for advice on how to start an emotional affair, or what? If you are getting friendly with senior management I suspect you have enough about you to form a friendship without asking a bunch if strangers.

Why not ask your partner? I am sure they can guide you on how to develop this friendship.

CassieMortmain Fri 03-Jul-15 23:27:18

You mean talk to my DH? It doesn't bother him that I have a degree of attraction to this woman. We have been together nearly 20 years and both met and seen other people we are attracted to.

I have no intention of starting an 'affair' with this woman- it just isn't even vaguely on the cards! Yes, she's attractive, but really I like her mind. She's interesting. I just want to move from dogs body to mate without fucking it up. Not fucking her.

NomNomDePlum Fri 03-Jul-15 23:34:22

mention somewhere you're thinking of checking out for lunch, ask if she's been/if it's any good. if she wants to have lunch with you, she'll probably suggest you both go. if she doesn't, she's a friendly colleague, and you should let it go.

CassieMortmain Fri 03-Jul-15 23:43:25

I don't think lunch is quite the right medium as we don't leave the premises for lunch, but yes that sounds like a good plan if I can think of the right thing to open conversation about.

Part of the problem is that I sense the same hesitance on her part that I have. I think to have the jobs that we respectively have we probably both spend a lot of time 'reading' other people and 'covering' ourselves (think HR) and there seems to be a bit of an impasse.

SelfLoathing Fri 03-Jul-15 23:47:54

Well I look forward to the "Tipping over from friend into affair: I'm having an affair with my female manager but my husband doesn't know.What should I do?" thread in about 3 months time.

Good luck. It maybe you are sensing hesitance because you both know this is actually an inappropriate relationship likely to lead to a sexual one.

You are married. Just because she is a female and you are married to a man doesn't make it somehow OK to embark on an obvious emotional affair that's likely to lead to a physical affair.

You are lying to yourself if you are pretending this is all about "being friends".

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now