Sending Mixed Signals
Q: There's a new girl at work I'm interested in. We work in different departments, but she finds reasons to come talk to me several times a day. She often stands very close to me and touches my arm or messes with my hair. I was sure she was flirting until she mentioned her boyfriend! What's with the mixed signals? Is she just after attention or is there really something there?
Dr. Pamela: I imagine it's a frustrating thing to be on the receiving end of a girl's mixed signals. And it's worse when part of the mix a boyfriend! Before you do anything else, check with Human Resources and find out the company's policy on co-workers dating. Then you'll know if pursuing her is an option, an option I advise against. Here's why. While sexual attraction is usually the reason an attached guy pursues a girl, there are usually other reasons when it's the girl doing the pursuing.
If you flirt back, you won't be courting her, you'll be courting trouble. Even if you are looking just for a good time, chances are the triangle will get messy, especially since it's in the work place. And if you are looking for a serious relationship, there's a good chance you'll get hurt. Always be on guard when tempted by a girl who's already taken. Don't fall for her unless she becomes 'untaken.'
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Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.