Flirting at work

Hello, My name is Adam. 

I am here to try and seek some knowledge and advice regarding someone I work with who has Autism and Asperger's. I've known her for over a year and half. Back in March 2020 she started working with us and unfortunately we all went on furlough by April and due to the nature of our work at an airport we couldn't go.

I took a real liking to this young lady and told her instantly how I felt about her. Things were a little rocky and up and down between us during lockdown. Not seeing each other was an issue for me because I prefer to see someone than hide behind messages, although we did occasionally do video calls. 

Around last winter time I didn't know where her head was at. Since the day she started working with us, she has been nothing but flirty with me and everyone else can see it too. It's only in recent months where we really got back on track and established we both like each other a lot. Our understanding for each other has grown and blossomed significantly with her perhaps opening up more than she used to. 

However, once again things have turned a little sour you might say. My feelings for her have grown considerably. I've hinted at meeting up outside of work. As friends. A coffee date, a shopping date, a leisurely walk, or even welcoming her to my home or vice versa. Both of us live with our parents. We are both of similar age too. I can tell instantly when she is not herself because goes very quiet, and others can sense it too. In the whole time I've known her I have given her the opportunity to tell me where she is. She has never pulled me to one side and told me she doesn't want to advance to anything more. The last shift we worked together, on Monday night, I feel like I might of pushed to her to tell me something that is not all that true. She said she doesn't see us been anything more than friends. But, the way she continues to flirt and look at me, like I do with her, tells a completely different story. Not just to me, but to many others too. 

I take it that she is perhaps scared or not willing to tell me something. She can't tell me what it is that makes her see me as just a friend. I'm finding it hard to understand how someone can be like she is, but not feel anything inside. Or maybe perhaps she doesn't know what the feeling is if any. 

You might think that I need to let go, just like if anyone else said they just want to be friends. But, I stumbled across a video online today too where a male explains that his friends had to tell him that he likes his now girlfriend, as much as she likes him and the transition from friend to girlfriend was a big step for him. With this story in mind, that's how I am vision what it is like for the girl I adore at work. 

I will just touch on that we have both spoken about it maybe difficult to work with each other and see each other outside of work, but our shift patterns do not always match or cross since I am full time and she is part time. So in theory she could go a whole month without been on a single shift with me. (I know this from when I was part time). 

Any insight at all would be very much be grateful to help me get a better understanding. 

Thank you for your time. 

  • why not ask her what you can do together as friends. Offer to set up whatever she would like - a trip , a show. wahtever

  • Does she know she's flirting? Cos I think sometimes I've flirted when I had no idea. Also she might not fully be aware herself how she feels about you.

  • Autistics have problems with communication, and flirting is a type of communication we certainly have trouble with. What is obvious and unconscious in flirting to an allistic (non-autistic) person, has to be learned consciously by the autistic. So receiving and sending signals might be inaccurate. We also have problems with eye-contact and equally can stare at someone without there being any subtext whatsoever. We also tend to be bluntly honest. It is possible that what you see as flirting is not from her perspective and that what she said is a true reflection of her feelings. On the other hand autistics often have poor interoception which extends to emotional states, so that she may not be fully aware of how she feels towards you. Complex ain't it?

  • Thank you so much for all your responses. It's so helpful to get a better insight and more understanding. 

    I would like to say I believe we (me and who I like) have established the main reason why she is finding it difficult to advance. Unfortunately she has had some bad experiences in previous relationships and it seems she is possibly worried and scared of future possibilities in future relationships. This seems to be the only true liable explanation. 

    My next question is though, should I leave it where we are just friends at work, or should I take the opportunities to invite her to meet up outside of work with the idea that the more trust she has with me, the chance of something more may happen in the distant future? You could say we could still do that even if nothing does materialise further. I just feel like my feelings won't just shut off for her immediately and deep down I am in fact hopefully one day her mind will open to giving it a chance.

  • Take her at her word. When you have a moment that’s slightly private let her know: 1. I really like you and 2. will 100% respect where you’re at. 3 I would love to you on a date but since you see us as friends, maybe just coffee whenever you want - I won’t bug you (you let me know). 4. If you change your mind, let me know so I can ask you out proper. 

    Full stop. Assume nothing. If a woman draws a boundary respect it and that may actually afford them to appreciate you more.

    She might value kindness and respect and be looking for someone with shared values.  Or really happy with her freedom. Often females want to be considerate just because. And that can come across the wrong way. 

    I've had my fair share of men I’d like to be kind to who work in my industry who have read too much into my kindness. One just made me a bit uncomfortable another spoke about his ex’s in slightly disrespectful ways. Another is just too touchy and close too fast/often and I didn’t have the heart to tell him it was overwhelming. Everyone has a past and enough to deal with. The best advice I can give is to always be outwardly respectful (even of individuals who are unkind) and find ways to lighten the burden of another in small practical ways. I’ve personally yet to find someone who won’t add to my overwhelming schedule but lighten the load. Women need someone helpful not more demands/expectations/less space to breathe. We’re still paid less with the same expenses if not more.