5 Clear Signs a Coworker Likes You, According to a Psychologist

While some workplace traditions have changed over the years, one trope hasn’t: coworker crushes. Maybe you’ve noticed a coworker gives you extra attention, or you can’t keep your eyes off the new employee who looks like your favorite member of the “Brat Pack.” While these types of crushes don’t always make HR happy, they're inevitable, for better or worse.

But how can you tell if a coworker likes you *like that*? You know, they're not just friendly, they’re ~interested~? Moreover, what do you do if you feel the same way—or don’t? 

Dr. Mary Covey, PhD, a licensed psychologist with Thriveworks in College Station, Texas, specializes in relationships, careers and self-esteem. And she's here to fill us in on everything to know—including five clear signs your coworker likes you and how to tell if it's romantic or platonic.

Related: 11 Best Phrases to Close an Email, Plus the #1 Way You *Don’t* Want to End Your Message

5 Clear Signs Your Coworker Likes You, According to a Psychologist

1. Giving you more attention

So it seems like your coworker is trying to find or create reasons to talk to you and seek you out. You’re spending more time together during work hours. These are signs they may have a crush on you.

2. Asking you more personal questions

To some extent, getting to know your coworkers and engaging in small talk every now and then is standard practice. But questions that dig deeper or wouldn’t really be “normal” or “necessary” otherwise—perhaps about your siblings, what you do after work and if you have a partner—can be signs of a work crush.

Related: How to Flirt Using Just Your Body Language

3. Adding you on social media

In today’s tech-heavy age, social media is a common and simple avenue for engaging more with people outside of work. Unless your coworker is an influencer aiming for a higher follower count, asking for your social media handles is probably a sign they want to get to know you better and interact with you more.

4. Wanting to spend time together outside of office hours

Grabbing happy hour drinks? Going to the dog park together after work? Planning a Saturday outing? These are other big signs they have some sort of interest in you.

Related: 65 First-Date Ideas to Help Spark a Love Connection (Or at Least a Great Time)

5. Giving compliments

These compliments can be appearance-based, personality-based or ability-based. Dr. Covey shares examples of the three, such as:

  • “Did you change your hair/makeup/nails? I really like it.”

  • “You look so classy/cool/sophisticated today.”

  • “I love your sense of humor. You always make me laugh.”

  • “Your laugh lights up a room.”

  • “You are always so thoughtful.”

  • “I really admire how you took charge of that project/meeting.”

Just note that compliments aren’t always sure-fire signs your coworker has a romantic interest in you (no offense).

“These could just be signs that someone might be interested in you,” Dr. Covey says. “Using your best judgment and knowledge of the coworker will be your best tools to determine if they are interested in you.”

Related: 13 Red Flags of Gaslighting at Work and How to Respond, According to Psychologists

Are Those Signs Romantic or Platonic?

Compliments aren’t the only not-super-clear signal; those who have a platonic interest in you—or are just kind and friendly—may also engage in some of the other above behaviors. So how do you know if the person is crushing or not (so you can respond accordingly)?

“It really is a judgment call,” Dr. Covey says. While there’s no one sign, she continues, some factors to look for include an overall increase in attention, and that attention feeling different from what you get from other coworkers.

Additionally, how do they treat other coworkers? “Do they ask everyone for socials? Are they just very friendly, or do they only seek you out in this way?” Dr. Covey asks. “All of this varies from person to person, and using your knowledge of this coworker can be helpful when determining if they have a crush on you.”

Related: What Exactly Is a Platonic Friendship? Plus, How To Make It Work

What To Do if You Think Your Coworker Likes You…

First and foremost, consider how you feel (and how HR would feel). “Work relationships are tricky depending on roles and company policies,” Dr. Covey says. “It would be important to discuss all of the factors before starting a relationship with a coworker and explore the pros and cons.” The insight you gain can help determine next steps.

…and you don’t like them back

If you’re not interested, it’s okay (and good and important!) to set boundaries. “Sometimes we struggle being direct with people because we fear hurting his/her feelings; however, in the long term, this creates more problems than it avoids,” Dr. Covey says.

Some boundary-setting phrases to have in your back pocket, per Dr. Covey’s advice, include:

  • “I am really flattered, but I am not interested in dating or getting involved with someone from work.”

  • “Thank you for the compliment. Are you comfortable being friends?”

Related: 35 Phrases To Set Boundaries Firmly and Fairly, According to Mental Health Pros 

Other helpful mentions include keeping physical interactions professional (AKA a handshake or high-five over a hug), keeping physical space (sitting with someone else at meetings) and sticking to work-related topics rather than personal ones.

…and you’re interested too

Alternatively, let’s say the interest is mutual.

After checking HR policies, AKA whether employees can date, double check your coworker's vibes. “Based on the assumptions that you have no work implications dating this person, I would be sure that you are interpreting their behavior in a way that is accurate before making assumptions,” Dr. Covey continues.

Open communication is your best bet when it comes to avoiding an awko-taco situation. Dr. Covey suggests saying something like, “Hey, these are the vibes that I’m getting from you based on X, Y, Z. Is that what you mean? Because I feel the same way.”

Related: 130 of the Best Fun and Flirty Texts To Send the Guy You’re Crushing On

If they say yes, yay! The following step, she says, is discussing the best way to move forward. Otherwise, be proud of yourself for trying. “If not, then it can feel a bit awkward, but if both parties are respectful and professional about the misunderstanding, then you can both move on,” she continues.

Regardless, clear communication is key. “Being direct and clear about your intentions might be difficult at first,” she continues, “but over time, this is the best advice for the situation.”

Next Up: How To Tell if a Guy Likes You? These 23 Subtle Signs Prove He’s Totally Into You


  • Dr. Mary Covey, PhD, a licensed psychologist who specializes in relationships, careers and self-esteem