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How can I repair the damage done to our friendship?

Tagged as: Crushes, Troubled relationships, Trust issues<< Previous question   Next question >>
Question - (8 September 2017) 6 Answers - (Newest, 16 September 2017)
A female United Kingdom age 30-35, *eeley345 writes:

Hello folks. Just looking for advice. About 2-3months ago I meet a younger guy. I'm 33 he's 24. We met at work. I was between jobs and looking to earn while I looked for something else so found a part time job where I met, I'll call him Tom.

I worked with Tom and some other people and although we all got on well, Tom and I hit it off big time. We have lots in common e.g similar family problems with our parents and have mutual interests. Tom is a genuinely fantastic guy, kind,gentle, makes me howl with laughter and is very respectful to me. We quickly became friends and were making plans to get together as friends outside work.

Then...something changed. I started having feelings for Tom which I didn't want. Why? Because I've had a stressful few months. I was laid off from my previous job, I'm still trying to progress my career and I have been feeling overwhelmed and depressed by it all. So a relationship is the last thing I want. But I did consider telling Tom how I felt. The age gap bothered me too but overall I was not 100% certain what to do? Also Tom was giving me romantic vibes e.g flirting a lot, giving me neck massages when we were alone. So I felt something mutual there.

I then decided not to do anything and never to tell Tom how I felt. We're fine as we are. I've got a new job now so left the company where I worked with Tom. We parted on good terms. This week a lady we worked with whom I'll call Mary, asked me if there was something between Tom and I? She said since I've left, all he does is talk about me constantly but good things only. She says when she asked him if he liked me, he went red from embarassment. So she had a suspicion he might like me romantically.

I admitted that I liked him and told her that she could tell him. Tom and the other people who work there are a hoot. We always teased each other and joked a lot. So I figured it'd be amusing as well. I also said to Mary that if Tom liked me, he'd have to do the chasing.

So Mary did tell Tom and it didn't go down well with him. He didn't find it amusing, he asked why I was not telling him this myself, told Mary he hadn't considered a romantic r/ship with me, and told her what I already knew, that he is currently looking for work in the USA. Basically it was a disaster and I was mortified by how aggressive Mary was when she spoke to him. I'm a fool and should never have encouraged her!!!

Now Tom has severed all contact with me. Yes, I'm a grown woman so should know better but how if at all, can I mend my friendship with Tom?

View related questions: at work, depressed, flirt

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (16 September 2017):

Honeypie agony auntYep, the best thing you can do is learn from it.

And never involve other people like that again. Who knows what kind of agenda Mary had/has.... Or how she articulated the "hearsay".

Shit happens and we move on.

If he got THIS dramatic over it maybe it's better to just cut the contact and stay away from him. AND... not tell Mary anymore about anyone you are romantically interested in that she also knows...

Not saying this is Mary's fault but her being part of it all didn't help anyone.

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A female reader, Keeley345 United Kingdom +, writes (15 September 2017):

Keeley345 is verified as being by the original poster of the question

Thanks guys! Very helpful advice. Yes, it was stupid to let Mary tell Tom. I'd never planned on telling him because it wouldn't end well and because I was not 100% in it. Mary says he confronted her today,a week after she told him. He wanted to know 'exactly' what had been discussed between Mary and I and when she told him or reiterated what she'd told him last week, he started denying things e.g he never flirted with me, there was never anything romantic going on, no neck massages etc This annoyed me. Why is he denying stuff?

But Mary says he's very upset/angry. If he doesn't feel the same why not say so and drop it? I can handle rejection but he's behaving like I committed a crime by saying I liked him. Mary says he's in a mood at work and regrets trying to help. I apologised to him but have had no reply. I'm gonna move on and call this a lesson learned.

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A female reader, anonymous, writes (15 September 2017):

He's younger than you, most men are immature and if he's younger that's just another layer of immaturity. If he didn't want the message to be relayed to you he shouldn't have said anything to his co-workers. However, he didn't explicitly say he liked you, and probably was upset that Mary relayed this message to you like you guys are on reality TV. I agree, you should have not told this Mary to tell him anything. Or if anything, just tell him that you like him too and he could do whatever he wants with that. Saying that he should do all the chasing is not necessary, because for immature guys their ego gets hurt easily.

You'll find another co-worker, but if you really really want to do something, just apologize and tell him how you feel. Keep it short and if he chooses not to reply that's his problem. I know how it feels to want to get the guy back and be friends or mend the relationship, but sometimes it just makes things worse.

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A female reader, aunt honesty Ireland + , writes (12 September 2017):

aunt honesty agony auntAm really not sure you can mend this. It was silly and immature and am sure Tom was absolutely mortified, I know I would be anyway. He may have thought that you and Mary where gossiping about him and that is a horrible feeling. Maybe send him a letter off apology on you and Mary's behalf and then carry on with your life.

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A female reader, Honeypie United States + , writes (9 September 2017):

Honeypie agony auntI agree with Auntie BimBim,

You screwed up. You are not a kid and having other people tell yet other people you like them is immature and a dumb move. Why? Because you have no control over HOW it's conveyed and WHAT is conveyed.

He made the choice to SEVER all contact. YOU need to accept and respect that.

NEXT time you get in a situation where you like someone, be a grown up and tell them yourself.

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A female reader, Aunty BimBim Australia + , writes (9 September 2017):

Aunty BimBim agony auntTom is correct, if you wanted Tom to know you were interested in a relationship with him then YOU should have told him, not some random person he works with. I am going to assume she confronted him at work which would have been unprofessional and embarrassing.

It would appear there has been no contact between you and Tom since you changed workplaces, suggesting the friendship was workplace based only, Tom severing contact is a strong sign the "friendship" is not one he wishes to keep.

I recommend you accept his decision and move on.

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