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The office hook-up

As a self-confessed 20-something male who enjoys his independence, Ed Jones regrets the day he got involved with a colleague and strongly advises against the office hook-up.

the-office-hook-upAs the saying goes, never mix business with pleasure. I am not a fan of getting involved with co-workers. It’s not so much the embarrassment of your actions at the time of hooking up, it’s more the fact that everyone in the office knows about it. I mean, it’s only awkward if you make it awkward, but if you date someone that you work with and then you break up, that’s when things can turn nasty!
Recently I started ‘seeing’ a colleague and when I say ‘seeing’ I mean that’s all it was. And before anyone starts accusing me of leading her up the garden path, let me just point out that I made it known from the start that I wasn’t looking for anything serious. I had just come out of a three-year relationship, although that relationship had ended two years previously – but naturally I didn’t tell her that. I am a 20-something male who enjoys his independence and I thought it was a good idea to lay down the marker from the start.
I was based in Dublin and she was based mainly in Kilkenny, but she used to spend her weekends in the capital. And still does, or so I think. Anyway we would speak regularly on the phone (for work purposes) and one drunken night we had a bit of a kiss. That’s all it was. Well to me anyway. If the truth be known I woke the next morning (in my own bed and without company in case any of you were thinking anything else happened) and didn’t remember anything.

The stalking begins
The following Monday morning came and then the e-mails started – it was like I had opened a world of pain for myself. I was always friendly to Karen (not her real name of course) but then again I’m friendly to a lot of people. Clearly she thought I was into her and wanted to meet up again, and I did what I do best and quickly changed the subject. This would bide me some time and I thought if I showed no interest then the problem would take care of itself. Simple, right? Boy was I wrong!
Then the texts started coming (I haven’t a clue how she got my number, I blame that on a moment of weakness in my drunken stupor) and before I knew it Karen was making plans to meet me when I didn’t even agree to it in the first place. I would make every excuse imaginable not to see her: “Sorry I have a match at the weekend so I can’t go out”….“I have football training all weekend”…“I have a team bonding weekend in the Wicklow mountains.” Hell, I was even ready to say I had just been selected to go The Kennedy Space Centre in Florida for a month of civilian training. How I was going to explain this was another matter but desperate times call for desperate measures.
A few weeks passed and one of my friends was leaving work to go travelling for a year (lucky sod!), so everyone from head office went to the local one Friday evening for bon voyage drinks, and a few stragglers from the branches, including Karen, were also in attendance. After ignoring her all night (not because I am a b*stard, but because I didn’t want to lead her on), we ended up talking, mainly about work. Anyway after a while and after way too many VRBs she lunged and I just went with it – innocent enough stuff really.

Dealing with persistence
This became a common occurrence over the next few months but as I said earlier, I made it clear nothing serious was going to come of it. E-mails were followed by texts, which were followed by the obligatory drunken phone call that of course I didn’t answer for obvious reasons. I had no interest in this girl and decided that enough was enough. I confided in a friend and she gave me some advice. The first thing was to go ‘cold turkey’, which involved the art of no direct contact and ignoring all e-mails/texts etc. Do nothing basically and hope that eventually the person involved would give up and move on. In theory the plan should work but this girl was persistent!
The second piece of advice was to do the decent thing and tell her I wasn’t interested! It’s a little in your face yes, but honesty is the best policy, or so they say. So I phoned her and now for the best part. After bawling down the phone for a good five minutes she said and I kid you not: “I have never been dumped before.” I
I thought my hearing had just gone at that very minute! Did she just say what I thought she said? First of all we weren’t going out, we weren’t even close to going out and I told her this. Well I left out the bit about not being even close to going out as I feared this might tip her over the edge. I didn’t do the whole it’s not you, it’s me speech either because sometimes that can be a little condescending. So I just said I liked her but that I wasn’t ready for anything serious. OK, so I didn’t like her, mainly because she scared the hell out of me, but a little white lie might make her feel better right?

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