Would it be alright to initiate a conversation?
Hello Alan! =) I’ve been a follower of your site for a few months already and I like how warm you come across in all your posts. I’m sorry I hope you don’ t mind my msg as you probably read a lot of these sorts. Mine is however, pretty “pathetic” in comparison as we are strangers at this point.
To get to the point, I’m from Asia and work in a service-office and there’s a Pisces guy who has piqued my interest. He works for a different company next door. We’ve been neighbours since end-2015 but I’ve always not thought much of/noticed him, except that he might be an ungentlemanly sort. Based off 1 incident early in the year when I was trying to get off the lift but he entered it before I did. And another incident when I was in the lift with his group of colleagues and one of them whom he’s pretty close to kept turning right round to “stare” at me, which at that time I found pretty off-putting.
So I dismissed him and his colleagues as a weird bunch of ppl on my floor. Fast forward to one fine day in August this year when I happened to observe him stare at me each and every time he passed my office (I sit near the door) that day. I was like. Alright…what’s going on now?
Abit about me is that I’m pretty quiet/pokerfaced when I’m alone and quite oblivious to my surroundings. I can be quite chatty and laugh a lot when I’m with others. Also, I look pretty ethnically confusing (I’m mixed) and I know that invites quite abit of attention from random strangers probably wondering where I’m from.
So I continued observing over the next few weeks and until today I’m pretty sure of some things. First, while he’s more discreet, I still do see him look my way as he passes my office, particularly if I’m very near the door. He does “notice” me, and seems to be able to “sense” when I’m in the vicinity though I make no noise, and will definitely look my way. I find this really freaky actually. He used not to be able to look straight at me whenever we pass each other in the corridor, but ever since one random incident when we were both alone and he smiled at me, he’s been pretty good at holding eye contact. We also seem to bump into each other a fair bit. Another is, he seems to like to dothings to attract my attention. I know this sounds weird and childish. Butit’s anything from talking quite loudly with his colleague when I’m nearby to making some sort of noise when he passes my office. Another is, there’s a group of his colleagues who always seem to “check me out” longer than is necessary when we see each other.
I always felt abit unnerved by it and I found out recently that these same people are his project team members. It’s an interesting co-incidence. Bits that I know/observe about him. He’s from a very conservative, homogenous Asian culture but has worked in many countries over the past decade or so. It’s pretty rare for someone from his age-group to do so. He’s in his early 40s (I’m in my late 20s) so I have no idea if he’s married/attached/single. He strikes me as really driven/hardworking. He gets a lot with women really, really well andis very jokey/warm with his female colleagues. Doesn’t seem like the physically touchy sort in the sense that he keeps to his own personal space and doesn’t look like he has time for random strangers.
I recognise whatever he’s doing may sound weird given his age. But Ido sense a sort of tension in the air between us and I think it’d be nice to say hi and start a conversation but I’m abit hesitant. It’s uncommon to speak to strangers here and I’m not sure ifhe’d interpret it wrongly and it might become really awkward. I’m also thinking he’d have said something if he wanted to already, ha. We do very similar work and I’m actually pretty fluent inhis native language, so it would be nice to make a new friend. But I don’t know if I’m reading this whole thing/his signals (if any) right. Thanks so much for reading this really long wall of text!!
Based on what you wrote and assuming things like your comment about him doing things to get your attention is true then I would be inclined to say at the moment he wants to ask you stuff but doesn’t know how without it feeling awkward.
This isn’t exactly the case for you by the sounds of it, but just as an exaggerated example to hopefully shed a better light of the potential emotion imagine every day at work across from you there was a person who always needs to walk with the aid of like a prosthetic arm or leg. Because of that you can’t help but to wonder why the person has those and how they can function in everyday life. However, it’s super awkward to just ask someone things like that as it can be a sensitive topic as an example.
So instead like there most people who are just super curious would wait for an opportune time to ask. Or, they hope the person would go up to them for whatever reason to build the relationship for them to then feel semi comfortable to eventually ask. So in essence I feel for your situation this is kind of what is happening. It would make sense in many ways as you mentioned you are of a mixed race where you must stand out to many people I would assume in your area as an example.
At the same time we can factor in that you mentioned it’s very uncommon to talk to strangers which makes it even more complicated to be able for a person to just approach you as an example. Would it be alright to initiate conversation? From a personal standpoint I would say for sure. In many ways it sounds like that is what you need to do or find the best valid reason to do so such as something profession related. I would say the biggest question here is just the cultural factor on how people feel about certain actions in general. For example, in some places it’s not uncommon for strangers to greet each other by like “buddy punching” another on the shoulder whereas I am sure in other places that would be super awkward where you better just stick to the handshake.