‘We’ve only made small talk in his shop but I want so much more’

By Staff

Agony aunt Coleen Nolan has some relationship advice for a reader who has a crush on a man he does bits of work for, and would like to take things to the next level

Dear Coleen,

I’m a guy in my mid-30s and have fallen in love with a local business person, who works hard like myself and has the loveliest smile. I’m a writer, although my pieces are voluntary, and I like to support this man’s business.

I know his family and friends well, but not him personally. I pop into his store on a regular basis, we chat, laugh and make small talk about how the day’s going, the weather and so on.

I’ve recently spent longer chatting to him and I’ve noticed he’s starting to open up more to me. He’s also said if ever I need anything, he’ll order it for me. Another thing I’ve noticed is that while he seems to be comfortable chatting to me on his own and in front of his boss, if I go in with a family friend he tends to shy away.

I also once made the mistake of asking his name and saw a different side to him, not angry or anything, but he seemed as if he was trying not to cry! I like this person a lot, but with my special needs and ­disabilities, it’s very difficult to approach this with him. What shall I do?

Coleen says:

OK, well, firstly, I think it’s a stretch to talk about falling in love. It’s clear that you like him and find him attractive, but I think you need to get to know him more before talking in terms of love.

You both seem shy to me and worried about taking the next step or giving too much away about yourselves. But I think you’re doing the right thing by going into the store regularly and chatting. At some point you have to bite the bullet and make the next move, though, or this friendship will stay in the small-talk zone.

Why not suggest going for a coffee one day? Next time you’re in the store, before you leave, say something like: “You know, we should grab a coffee one day if you have time”, and see how he reacts. You will be able to open up the conversation and get on to different things.

If you ask him and he’s not keen, then you’ll know he doesn’t want more than what you already have. But you’ll know where you stand and, if it’s a relationship you’re looking for, then you’ll feel free to look elsewhere.

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