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Need relationship advice? Submit your questions for Meredith here.

Q. Last year, I met someone at work and developed a crush six months later. I’m super outgoing by nature, but something made me so shy around this person. I really struggled with the shyness because it made no sense. He is always ridiculously nice to me and I’ve really never, ever been shy.

Over the last five months, I’ve conquered the shyness and we have become very close — making lots of jokes, talking a ton, and acknowledging how much we like seeing each other. So many friends are telling me, “He likes you! Ask him to coffee!” But it never feels right to ask him out. Another part of it is that he’s here for his work in science, and he always tells me how busy he is. He confides in me and gives me a weekly talk about how overwhelming his life is. There’s no part of me that feels appropriate saying, “Well, perk up with me over some java!”

His work in town won’t be done for years, but his work in my department may be done. I don’t know what to do. I’ve dated soooo many science guys like him before; they move to town for their science and bend over backward to make a small amount of time for me . . . until they don’t anymore. I want to see where it could go with this guy, but I’m already tired of hearing how busy he is! Help?

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– Perking up

A. “I’m already tired of hearing how busy he is!” I was just thinking that his daily to-do list sharing might get annoying. And aren’t you busy, too? Does he care?

Also, if he has time to tell you how much he has to do, he has time to do it over a beverage. Ask him to join you for one. If he says no, move on.

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Think about how much he asks you, in general. He should be earning your interest with his own, even as a friend.

Fine-tune that “java” line and be specific about what you want from him. Tell him you’d love to spend time together outside of the office — to get to know each other better. This is a great moment for the request because his time in your department is ending. I hope that means he’ll disappear a little if this doesn’t work out.

Learn from your past relationships. If someone can’t make space for you, maybe skip it — unless you can be happy with temporary.

– Meredith

READERS RESPOND

If he says he’s too busy for coffee, lunch, or a drink (or whatever you suggest) and he doesn’t say something like “Lunch on Friday works, can you do that?” then drop the idea of dating him. Keep up the friendly talk at work but look for another person to crush on. FREEADVICEFORYOU

If you’ve dated lots of this type of guy before, and you don’t like the lifestyle, why would you go for another one? And who wants to hear someone babbling on about how busy they are? Everyone is busy. ZEPTEMBER

Why would you want to date him now? It sounds like you’ve already lost some romantic interest and are finding reasons not to ask him out. If that’s your gut feeling, listen to it. TERMINATER5

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