DEAR ABBY: A new co-worker started a few weeks ago. (FYI, I’m a gay man.) We share similar interests and have a lot in common. As I am getting to know him, I have become increasingly attracted to him and his personality. My joking around with him is borderline flirtatious. He hasn’t said anything about it or shown signs of being uncomfortable, and he jokes back.

Should I tell him how I feel, risking our professional relationship and things becoming awkward if he doesn’t feel the same way? Or should I back off for a while? I don’t know what to do. I honestly feel like we have a connection, but I have been out of the dating scene for a long while and therefore am ... – CLUELESS IN MINNESOTA

DEAR CLUELESS: This person has been working with you for a very short time, which is why I’m urging you to put the brakes on. Let the relationship develop for a few months. Your co-worker may already be involved with someone or may not be gay. If he is spoken for, do not risk your job by making any moves. However, if he isn’t, then it wouldn’t be out of line to ask him to join you for coffee, lunch – something innocuous – as friends only, and then see where it leads. I view workplace romances as potentially dangerous, because if they don’t work out, they can cause discomfort in the workplace. And some companies have rules against “fraternization.”

DEAR ABBY: My significant other and I recently bought an old farmhouse. We have been together for five years and have a great relationship. He has his quirks, just as I have mine, but one in particular has surfaced since buying the house. He stomps going up and down the three flights of stairs. It’s annoying and rude. If I head to bed early, it wakes me up. He claims he can’t help it. What can I do? The steps are wood and have thin carpeting on them. Am I being a nagging partner? – SICK OF STOMPING IN PENNSYLVANIA

DEAR S.O.S.: You’re not being a nagging partner. It appears you need thicker carpeting on the stairs. For the sake of your relationship, buy it SOON.

DEAR ABBY: The other day I had to leave my house in the morning because my son’s school called. He wasn’t feeling well and wanted to come home. I just threw on what I had worn the day before as I headed out the door. On the way out to my car, my neighbor yelled out, “Isn’t that the same outfit you wore yesterday?” I didn’t answer because I thought it was none of her business. Should I have explained the situation? – IN A HURRY IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR IN A HURRY: You were not obligated to explain anything to your neighbor – who may have just been trying to be friendly, or may be overly interested in your attire. Unless her intrusiveness escalates, let it go!

P.S. I hope your son is OK.

Happy birthday for Oct. 13: Set precise goals, but be willing to make changes as you forge into the future. Your numbers are 5, 13, 17, 25, 34, 37, 46.

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Spend time sorting out any differences you have with someone you love. Love is in the stars. HHH

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): Your changing attitude will push you to new levels. Consider partnering with people who share your opinion but have something different to offer. HHH

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Just do it. Take on a physical challenge that will encourage you to improve your health and fitness. HHHH

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Get involved in something you’ve never done before or with people who have something unique to offer. HH

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Say less, and do more. You’ll be remembered for what you contribute, not what you tell people or the criticisms you point out. HHHHH

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Catch up with an old friend, or attend a reunion that will allow you to take a walk down memory lane. The information you receive will spark an idea that will lead to future get-togethers. Romance is heightened. HHH

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Handle domestic situations with care. Be willing to compromise if it will help you get a piece of what you want as well. HHH

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Spend more time with the people who matter the most. A family gathering where you can express your thoughts and get feedback will reinforce what you want to do next. HHH

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Fix up your surroundings, host an event or start a new moneymaking project. A positive change will help you move forward. Distance yourself from people and situations that have dragged you down financially or emotionally. HHHHH

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): A steady pace and a calm attitude will help you reach your objective. Emotional arguments with someone who doesn’t share your opinion aren’t going to help. HH

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Work toward personal goals. Don’t follow others or buy into someone else’s dream. Financial, physical and emotional fitness should be what you strive to obtain. HHHH

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Lend a hand, but don’t let anyone take advantage of you. Offer solutions, and move on to matters that will improve your life. A financial gain or physical change is within reach. HHH

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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