Dear Prudence

Help! I Made a Spectacularly Unsmooth Move on My Co-Worker.

Dear Prudence answers more of your questions—only for Slate Plus members.

Every week, Prudie answers additional questions from readers, just for Slate Plus members.

Q. Idiot move: I’ve been co-managing a rather ambitious project for our company with a female colleague in another department. In the months we’ve been working together we’ve become friends, and I’ve developed a little bit of a crush on her. Because of the scope of our project and the fact that our families live across the country, we both opted to stay here and work through the holiday weekend. At one point she made a joke—“All we need is dinner and wine and this will be a date”—but stupid me, I took that literally.

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On Saturday I arrived at the office with takeout and a bottle of wine, which she seemed happy about, but then I said, “We should finish our ‘date’ at my place,” and tried to be charming by making a joke about taking our project to bed. The look of horror on her face pretty much tanked what I thought would be a smooth move.

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In a nutshell, I’m an idiot, and I’m incredibly embarrassed. I want to clear the air, but another part of me thinks maybe the best thing to do is just pretend it never happened, since she’s acting normally and hasn’t mentioned anything about it. Please advise, I’d really appreciate your input.

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A: A brief, nonpersonal apology is definitely called for in this instance. “I want to apologize for my behavior last weekend. What I said was inappropriate and unprofessional, and I’m sorry for putting you in that position. It won’t happen again.”

Keep your remarks short and to the point, and talk to her over the phone or at the office so she doesn’t have to worry about being alone with you again. By the way, this was not a smooth move; even if she had reciprocated your feelings, it would not have been a great idea to transition directly from work to your bedroom.

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