I’m a third-year associate at a pretty big firm, and over the last year and a half, I have developed a major crush on a partner. He’s handsome, he’s winning, he’s sharp, he’s charming, and he’s newly single. He was engaged for a couple years, but they broke it off about two months ago. No, not because he wants to runaway with me. To be honest, he only knows my first name.
Anyway, he and I have worked off and on together, and every time we’re in an office or conference room together, I realize that I think he’s a total “complete package.”
One night at a firm outing, he and I talked for over an hour, and I think it was more than a professional conversation, but I don’t want to read into it. Let’s just assume that there has been plenty of interaction between us that felt “sparky,” but it has never crossed any lines.
Without gushing about my attraction to him any more, I’m wondering what I can do about this. Is there any way for me to attempt to hit on him? Is it inappropriate to even try doing so? I’m not trying to be his next booty call, but I actually want to date this man.
Basically, I’m a female associate with thing for a partner. Can a dating relationship in this situation ever happen? If so, how do I approach it? If not, tell me, but don’t be totally insulting.
What you’re really saying is: I like someone, but I’m not sure if he likes me. The only issue here is that the “someone” you like is a partner. This is tricky terrain to navigate, no doubt—especially if you’re the aggressor, which is why I don’t think you should do anything too overt or bold to attempt to kick off the romance. (And that’s advice I’m typically loathe to proffer to young, eager women.)
In other words, there’s no upside to you getting all Sex and the City on this guy. If it doesn’t work, you’ll look like a fool and, quite possibly, hurt your career. So, regardless of what sexually precocious strategy your uber-hip “Samantha” friend might suggest, don’t do it. Showing up at this dude’s house naked in a trench coat for some surprise due diligence isn’t a good idea. Unless, of course, you’re model-quality hot. In that case, do whatever the hell you want—and it will work. I promise. (Yes, ladies, men are superficial. At least in the beginning…)
My honest advice here: Do nothing. He’s a guy. He gets it. He smells “availability” like a bomb-sniffing dog smells C-4. He already knows you like him, so there’s nothing more to do. Men don’t need much encouragement to take the next step. Especially a partner at a big law firm. Do yourself a favor by playing it cool. Be friendly, engaging, and find subtle ways to remind him that you’re single. But that’s it.
To be perfectly blunt, I’m sensing that Mr. Perfect Partner probably just ain’t that into you… If he were, he would have already asked you out. Sorry.