'Working from home has made me realise I have feelings for a colleague'
'Working from home has made me realise I have feelings for a colleague' Credit:  Rii Schroer/Getty

Dear Richard

Over the past weeks, I have struggled with the day-to-day realities of distancing and isolation, and mounting anxiety about the situation, as we all have, but the bitterest pill for me has been the realisation that I have strong feelings for a work colleague.

We don’t work closely together, so haven’t been in contact online since the lockdown – and we don’t have an “unofficial” friendship to speak of.

But in the good old days we often talked by the water cooler and had lunch together, etc, and I now realise how essential that contact was for me.

Should I try messaging her during the quarantine? Tell her how I feel when we are back in the office? Or simply smother the whole thing?

Anon, Kent

Dear Anon

Email her! Right now! Don’t even bother to read the rest of this!

Oh all right, you might as well, seeing as you’re here. Look, Thomas (I’m going to call you that after Doubting Thomas): I have absolutely no doubts about this. It’s clear from your letter that these were mutual “water cooler moments”. If she hadn’t enjoyed them as much as you, then they would have quickly fizzled out, wouldn’t they? And you wouldn’t have had all those lunches together, would you?

I suspect you’re both rather shy people and that’s why things didn’t go any further, although without the coronavirus I’m sure they would have done, eventually. But email is a gift to the diffident. You can write messages and then tweak and polish them to your heart’s content before pressing “send”. You can go at your own pace; consider your replies.

I’d bet a sterile wipe to a face mask that this girl is missing you and your water cooler conversations just as much as you’re pining for her. So, back to the top. Email her. Today. Tell her you miss her. Who knows? A few emails down the stream, you may be telling her you love her.