Hello everyone. I classically f'ed up a social encounter with an ISTP colleague of mine and was hoping for some input if you had a moment to spare.
The cliff notes version is a 25-year-old (M) ISTP started working in my department 3 months ago and I developed feelings for him. I (32, M, INTP) was assigned to do his training. We are both located in a fairly rural area and masculine in nature. We found it easy to talk to one another and hit it off pretty quick as we have a couple of common hobbies as well. He is mostly mature, sweet, and genuine but very selfish in nature when it comes to his outside life.
During month two, he asked in an indirect way if I wanted to go rock climbing with him. I said yes but it rained that day and he canceled. Within this same month, I started to notice him often staring at me when I was not looking. Certain equipment we have has a reflective surface and while he could not see my face, I could see who was behind me. I then started paying more attention to my peripheral view and found he keep looking up at me when my head was not facing his direction. I would turn my head and he would look down. I would ask if he needed any help and he would then politely decline.
This went on for three days and he finally got a bit bolder. Instead of deflecting his eyes when I would turn a corner toward his direction, we locked eyes. He boyish face was cute, intense, and freaked me out because even though I identify as bisexual I have never acted on the same-sex urge.
I write all that text above to give context to the actual problem. Two days ago, while sitting on break talking about life, he let his defenses down and really opened up about his upbringing. I did as well. It was the most real, unfiltered, frank, and engaging conversations I had ever had with anyone. I never met someone before that truly "got" the why and how of my personality. He even briefly skirted talking about an emotion before he caught himself! I was shocked and my emotions were rapid at this point.
I went home, calmed down, read more about ISTPs, and decided I needed to grow a pair and just directly ask. My plan was to go slow and ask if he would be interested in going hiking next week. I arrived at work and found he is making little eye contact. I notice he puts space (devalues) between us usually the day after we have deep conversations. He was in a great mood in general and laughing with others so I decided to proceed.
When I got him alone, I got so nervous I uttered out this really awkward question if he would make time to hang out with me to go hiking. He just stared at me after asking and when I followed up he said "we'll see" and gave a list of potential conflicts in his schedule. I took this as immediate rejection and instead of backing off, I grew even more nervous and stupidly blurted out that I simply never met anyone like him. He got nervous and asked what I meant by that. I stuttered some stupid answer about common behavior and hobbies. After about two minutes of dead silence, he jumps out of his chair to claim he needed to go get a pop.
I took this as immediate rejection and instead of backing off, I grew even more nervous and stupidly blurted out that I simply never met anyone like him. He got nervous and asked what I meant by that. I stuttered some stupid answer about common behavior and hobbies. After about two minutes of dead silence, he jumps out of his chair to claim he needed to go get a pop - which was a lie.
I felt like jumping off a bridge into evening rush hour traffic. I thought that I made that sound so awkward and would be no more than an acquaintance at this point. He then comes back in ten minutes later and sits back down at my table one chair closer to me than before. And he still says nothing. At this point, I am externally stoic but about to flip crap. I get up and leave the room to go back to work.
I work in a medical lab with many "job stations" and equipment on the floor. He returns to work in this hyper-drive, face-paced state bouncing from station to station around me. It was like he wanted me to notice he was there. At this point, I am depressed and just keeping to myself. He then starts asking me job-related questions that I know he knows, constantly looking over at me, and laying on the mannerisms heavier than he ever does when helping with common tasks. Given his age, he is still a bit emotionally immature and being weak in expressing emotions myself I just gave him the cold shoulder the rest of the day. I learned from this he is far more selfish than I originally thought and can not hold a conversation in this area. I am really confused if he shares any mutual feelings and I think he will freeze if I am direct again.
1. How do immature ISTPs show interest? Any different than the rest?
2. Given his immature/selfish nature, should I just cut my losses? I sense he keeps trying to gauge my interest and wanting maybe a "chase." I am not sure if he is toying with me or just really unhealthy in expressing himself back.
3. Depending on feedback from question 2, could someone share some insight if they have encountered a similar (general) experience and how they approached it?
Sorry for the wall of text. I tried keeping it as short as possible. Thanks for reading.