How do you ask someone out on Facebook?
September 12, 2010 6:24 PM   Subscribe

Is there any non-creepy way to make contact with a girl you only kind of knew 8 years ago in high school and you find out is single and in your town?

This whole thing is sort of embarrassing for some reason, but in high school I sat next to this girl in class. We flirted, but nothing really came of it. I hadn't really thought of her sense, but I do remember that we got along really, really well. Why we never socialized outside of class, I don't know.

I was visiting some friends and playing around on their Facebook account. I stumbled upon her page and find out she's in my city and she's single. In the way only a Facebook page can encapsulate, I find out we have a lot of the same interests. It has been several weeks and for some reason, I can't get her out of my mind.

I don't have a Facebook account, I just never set one up. My immediate thought was to just setup an account and see if she wants to meet up for coffee. My friends told me that this would be weird as not having a Facebook account is in itself an odd thing, and if I ask her out with only two or three friends it will be come apparent that I just setup the account to talk to her, etc.

We have no mutual friends, and I'm at a complete loss as to what to do. My friends have been telling me to just show up to a concert they know she's going to, again, due to damn Facebook updates, and just "run into her." This seems a little too romantic comedy, and would probably more likely result in me running around a concert looking for someone.

At this point I'm thinking there's no way to approach this, and I should either just drop it, or get an account, friend her and ask her out. How viable is the latter? What's the social etiquette for being listed as single on the Facebook, is it like a dating site? I assume if I put myself as single on an internet site, that people asking me out on a date would be something I should expect, but not having the experience, I don't know how things work.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (34 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
 
I think your friends are completely wrong. You should create a Facebook account, friend her (and some other people) and start chatting, first with a casual message on her wall asking how her life is going and then, if it seems to be going well, with a private invite for coffee. Showing up at her concert, on the other hand, might not work- what if you don't run into her? What if it's too loud? Facebook is not really a dating site, so you can list yourself as single without fears of loads of invitations for dates.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:29 PM on September 12, 2010 [9 favorites]


I assume if I put myself as single on an internet site, that people asking me out on a date would be something I should expect, but not having the experience, I don't know how things work.

Agreed. You don't have to put any relationship status on Facebook, so I tend to assume that if you do, there's a reason.

So, if there's no real reason you don't have a FB account, why not open one up and friend all the old friends with whom you're interested in catching up, including her. It won't look like you joined just to contact her if you friend a whole bunch of people, it will just look like you finally decided to give in and join up. Then contact her after a week or so (don't contact her right away or it's going to look like you joined FB to trawl for single chicks).
posted by amro at 6:32 PM on September 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is what Facebook is for. Set up an account, add some friends and ask her out. I think your friends are wrong in assuming that she'll think you set up an account to talk to her.
posted by kate blank at 6:32 PM on September 12, 2010


You have mutual friends, the person who's account you were using.

It is weird to not have a Facebook account in some circles. But not so weird that setting one up now and asking people you remember to be friends with you is weird. Definitely not as weird as asking people you went to elementary school with and that's it to be friends with you.

Just make contact with her any way you know how. Be ready for her to think it's creepy, and if she does just let it go. If she doesn't then you're off to a good start.

Really, even if she thinks it's creepy, it shouldn't be a big deal if you just ask once and that's it. So go for it.
posted by theichibun at 6:32 PM on September 12, 2010


Join, add a ton of people from your high school that you barely know a (join your town/school groups - even my elementary school has one,) add her, with the "comment" area note that hey, wow, you remember flirting with her during History in that one drafty room, and if she sees you around you'd love to catch up with her.

Putting your status as single on Facebook is like telling your third cousin that yeah, you're not with Mr. Last Year anymore, over pie in the local diner. It's more public than a phone call to your best friend, but not quite an invitation to be friended and immediately asked out by a guy whose name you swear you could remember if given a few days.
posted by SMPA at 6:32 PM on September 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


Fuck facebook. It's a time suck and it's a poor medium for communication, especially of the (potentially) romantic kind. Here's what you do:

Go to the concert. Don't plan on seeing her, just go to have a good time. If you see her and are introduced or recognize one another, say hi and have a normal conversation. It may go somewhere, it may not. You may meet other interesting women in the meantime, which is good and may put her totally out of your mind.

Be active in your interests. Enjoy them for their own sake, but if she shares them, you'll probably see one another before too long. Talk, share your enthusiasm, see where it goes.

If you're interested in facebook, get on it and do what you would otherwise do until contacting her becomes something you would do anyway and not a special thing.

You're bound to either get a chance to ask her out or meet another woman you're equally/more interested in, and there's no awkwardness involved.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 6:33 PM on September 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh, I forgot to mention, I asked my wife out this way the first time. Only it was someone I'd met a few months ago in college and I asked her out to the school cafeteria. Admittedly her friends thought it was a bit creepy how I just appeared out of nowhere like that, but my future wife didn't care at all.
posted by theichibun at 6:34 PM on September 12, 2010


Your friends suck at this. Listen to the advice from ThePinkSuperhero, above.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 6:35 PM on September 12, 2010


Uh, ixnay on the "run into her." You never, ever want to end up having to explain that to her. Or, for that matter, have to lie every time people ask you two how you met. Admittedly, there are a few women who would find this sweet. Most won't and gambling on it is a losing bet.

Anyway, this is easy as pie. When most (albeit not all) people start a a Facebook account they friend everyone. I friended/was friended by people I exchanged six words with in elementary school. I friended people I had to check mutual friends of to figure out who the hell they were. This behavior is pretty much a given. So, just add her into the mix. If she accepts, send a message ("Hey I totally like Author's Name as well! Did you read Latest Book?" or whatever,) and figure out if you have even a bit of rapport. Then it's as simple as "hey, wanna get some coffee/a drink?" Few people care how you found them; there's just a million ways as far as Facebook is concerned. "I saw you on a mutual Facebook friend's wall" is as valid as any. Just make sure you go through the effort of setting up an account real-style, not simply to meet her.

Take "single" for what it says and feel free to ask her out. If she's not truly "single," she'll tell you and, well, you're shot down. No big damn deal. Don't make it a point of contention. Don't call her a liar.

Good luck!
posted by griphus at 6:37 PM on September 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


I want to amend what I said above. Contact her right away if you want, but don't ask her out right away.
posted by amro at 6:37 PM on September 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


My friends told me that this would be weird as not having a Facebook account is in itself an odd thing, and if I ask her out with only two or three friends it will be come apparent that I just setup the account to talk to her, etc.

Ignore this. Your friends are giving you terrible advice.

My immediate thought was to just setup an account and see if she wants to meet up for coffee. My friends told me that this would be weird as not having a Facebook account is in itself an odd thing, and if I ask her out with only two or three friends it will be come apparent that I just setup the account to talk to her, etc.

Who said you have to have only two or three friends? Add 100 friends, including her. Then start messaging her. You'll be under no obligation to keep using Facebook for anything else; many people have accounts as placeholders that they never really use.

What's the social etiquette for being listed as single on the Facebook,

You have the option to put info in one section of your profile, which people generally won't read unless they're specifically interested in these details. For instance, my profile includes this text, in the midst of other details like my birthday and employer:
Relationship Status: Single
Interested In: Women
Looking For: Friendship
Dating
A Relationship
Networking
It's pretty inconspicuous. Most of the action on Facebook takes the form of day-to-day updates that you post to your "wall" and show up in your friends' "feed."

is it like a dating site? I assume if I put myself as single on an internet site, that people asking me out on a date would be something I should expect

Nope. Facebook no longer allows you to search for people based on relationship status or what people are "looking for," so a random woman in your city who's hoping to find a date online won't find Facebook a very useful tool with which to find you. There's no reason in principle why any social networking site can't be used as a dating site (I've been asked out on Friendster by someone who decided to do exactly this -- smart move!), but it depends on how the parameters are set up. Since Facebook has specifically tweaked the site to discourage people from using it for dating, you shouldn't expect messages from people you don't already know as if it were a dating site.

However, that doesn't mean you can't use it as a dating site in this case.
posted by John Cohen at 6:50 PM on September 12, 2010 [4 favorites]


Ask your mutual friend for an introduction. Forget the "run into her" stuff, because it's hit or miss. And even if you do see her, maybe she won't recognize you right away or maybe it'll be loud, or she'll be too busy trying to enjoy the show.

This isn't school anymore. You're an adult, she's an adult. You can ask the friend whose account you were using to (re)introduce you.
posted by cmgonzalez at 6:52 PM on September 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


Face to face is going to trump any other way of communicating. It always has, and I doubt anything is going to change that anytime soon. What do you think has a better and more realistic chance of working; a passive, out of the blue, "winkysmileyface" text? Or actively looking into her eyes, flirting with her, and then telling her you would really like to get together?
Hint: the second one.
posted by P.o.B. at 7:00 PM on September 12, 2010


FWIW I think the OP was serious when he said they have no (apparent) mutual friends. It seems likely that when on his friend's FB account he simply searched for this lady's name.
posted by edgeways at 7:33 PM on September 12, 2010


You have mutual friends, the person who's account you were using.

We have no way of knowing that.
posted by John Cohen at 7:45 PM on September 12, 2010


I dunno, as a girl, I say set up an account, contact her and ask her for coffee. The worst she can say is no, and it's not like you were good friends or anything and will make things awkward.
posted by elpea at 7:46 PM on September 12, 2010


A lot of facebook profiles show email addresses for contact info. Check her profile and see if her email address is shown. If so, just send her an email saying what you posted:

I was visiting some friends and playing around on their Facebook account. I stumbled upon your page and found out you're in my city. Would you like to meet for coffee and catch up?
posted by raisingsand at 8:17 PM on September 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


Agreed with those who say your friends are wrong. This is exactly what Facebook is for. I don't think it is creepy when I get friended by people I haven't spoken to since high school (or grade school!) - I think it's cool.
posted by SisterHavana at 8:17 PM on September 12, 2010


I think that in this day & age, anybody who doesn't have their head completely buried in the sand realises that they can be Googled, facebook-searched, or any number of other kinds of searches.

Why not just be upfront & say you were killing time on the internet, and you got around to thinking "I wonder what happened to so-and-so?" and you typed her name & found her?

Whether she finds that stalky or not is up to her, but at least it's more genuine than contriving a "random" meeting at a concert. And you did have some kind of prior 'relationship', so it's not like stalking a faraway crush who never knew you existed.

I'd say give it a go; there isn't a whole lot to lose. But also be prepared that you both may have changed a lot in the past 8 years.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:40 PM on September 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


Jeez I get FB messages from all sorts of random people from my past wanting to meet up. Given that I am only slightly less hard to find than Pamela Anderson on the internet, I find this "oh gosh I'm so glad you're here i've been looking for you forever!" bs, but I still take it for whatever it is. Facebook stalking is a perfectly acceptable thing to do these days, and even if you DID set up the account just to get in touch with her, so what. I only keep my FB account these days because there's a set of people with whom it is easier to stay in touch with via FB than any other way.

Do it. The concert thing will be more contrived and awkward than a simple "Hey, saw you're here, I'm pretty new to the area, would love to meet up for coffee".
posted by micawber at 9:01 PM on September 12, 2010


After reading through all the advice like a trooper, I was almost disappointed to see that raisingsand had gone almost word for word what I would have said -- exactly down to the email I would write. So I'll just copy it like a lazy bastard/

: A lot of facebook profiles show email addresses for contact info. Check her profile and see if her email address is shown. If so, just send her an email saying what you posted:

I was visiting some friends and playing around on their Facebook account. I stumbled upon your page and found out you're in my city. Would you like to meet for coffee and catch up?


There is no reason to do more than this. If you don't, you haven't embarrassed yourself, nor have you really pressured her or made her feel uncomfortable. Doing less in this case is more because writing a more detailed letter out of the blue could seem creepy. Let the ball go into her court casually.

Also, if she doesn't have an email address in her Facebook account so the only way to virtually connect would be for you to set up a Facebook account, go ahead and do it. I didn't get one until long after everyone else did. And though it's been nice to have, it is also incredibly easy to ignore. (Especially if you put into your profile something like the following:

I hardly ever check this, so if you try to communicate with me only through Facebook, I'm not ignoring you on purpose.

(The only bad thing about this disclaimer is that, well, to be honest...the last phrase isn't entirely true for everyone. But what's it they say about kind little white lies.)

posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:16 PM on September 12, 2010


I'm pretty much in full agreement with ThePinkSuperhero. The reality is that you're dealing with a real longshot here, in a virtual absence of information. Facebook up, build a bit of a network, request her as a friend. If she ignores you you've pretty painlessly put the issue to bed. Definitively not interested. If she accepts the invitation it doesn't mean much, but there is no reason, given how you feel, to drop her a low key private message of the "glad I came across your profile, how have you been" sort. The response, if any, will provide further input on whether she has any interest in pursuing any sort of connection with you. If she seems interested in chatting, go with the flow and when the time seems right ask her if she'd like to catch up. Remember that there's nothing at all there but a bit of shared memory and some superficial and potentially misleading bits of encouraging information up to this point. If she does want to hang out, it is no different at that point than reconnecting IRL with any old friend/crush, and away you go, or not. Doesn't much matter if she suspects that you got onto Facebook just to say hi to her, if she's into you, it's cute, if not, its irrelevant.
posted by nanojath at 9:57 PM on September 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


(no reason NOT to drop her a low key message, duh)
posted by nanojath at 9:58 PM on September 12, 2010


Much as I loathe Facebook, it's the easiest and most socially acceptable method of stalking people from the past any more.

Mind you, I'd rather prefer that whoever it was who let you peek on Facebook introduce you in person, if that's not possible, you're gonna have to bite the Facebullet.

I mostly say this because concerts are zooey and I kind of doubt you could even find her all that easily at one in the first place.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:00 PM on September 12, 2010


Make the Facebook page. Friend the friend that had a link to her. Once they've accepted, send a request (without potentially creepy message) to her. If she has fond, or even neutral, memories of you, then she'll accept. If the has bad, or no, memories of you, she won't.

I completely pulled myself out of Facebook for a while, but got back in because, as much as I loathe to admit it, it's where everyone I know shares stuff. Suck it up and do it.
posted by davejay at 10:09 PM on September 12, 2010


Oh, and don't ask her out on Facebook. "Like" a few of her comments that you generally like, drop a comment or two when you have something to say, and if you see she's attending something you'd like to attend, get another friend to commit to going with you first and then drop her a note that you and [friend] will be there, wanna meet up and catch up?
posted by davejay at 10:11 PM on September 12, 2010


If an attempt by a man to attract a mate proves folly, then he will be remembered as such; however, if a man succeeds in attracting said mate, the means necassary will be proven as "the cutest or attractive thing he ever did."

(Same thing with conspiracy theories: If they are proven true, it's subsequently called history.)
posted by captainsohler at 12:20 AM on September 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


With others, I would recommend that you join Facebook and send her a friendly email. You can always say casually in the email that you've just joined Facebook, which will explain why you don't have so many "Friends" yet in case she's wondering..
posted by orange swan at 6:21 AM on September 13, 2010


I will be the lone dissenter and say that asking her out based on what she was like in high school isn't a great idea. People change. Are you sure you guys were flirting? Would she have seen it as flirting? You haven't come across any other women that you're interested in recently? It seems odd to fixate on someone from high school you weren't good friends with. If she wasn't even friends with you, then that probably means she didn't like you as more than an acquaintance.
posted by anniecat at 6:58 AM on September 13, 2010


Also, your friends sound like they don't have much experience with women because running into her and premeditating meeting cute sounds creepy. Not a good idea.
posted by anniecat at 7:00 AM on September 13, 2010


There's nothing inherently creepy about what you'd like to do! Totally normal! I agree that your friends' roundabout approaches are weird and unnecessary.

You could drop her a line on facebook. You could do it off facebook. Yay!
posted by grobstein at 9:09 AM on September 13, 2010


Inspector.Gadget: Fuck facebook. It's a time suck and it's a poor medium for communication, especially of the (potentially) romantic kind. Here's what you do:
Go to the concert.


Um, yeah. So Facebook is a poor medium for communication, but you recommend it for stalking her and then faking a meet-up? Not a good plan.

Friending her is exactly the thing to do, and add a note with your friend request.

Also, Facebook is only a time suck if your time management skills are poor. Otherwise, it can be an excellent (and time-saving) supplement to email or IM.
posted by coolguymichael at 12:21 PM on September 13, 2010 [3 favorites]


Before I read the "read more" of your question, I thought, "Facebook. This is what Facebook is for."

Look, spend a couple weeks fiddling with Facebook before contacting her, if you want a better sense of how the site operates.

When I first got on Facebook, one person who contacted me was a guy I'd gone on a single date with in high school (and we're talking 20 years ago.) I was astonished that he still thought of me. We exchanged a couple messages and that was it. Did he want something else? Maybe, it's hard to tell. Was it creepy? No, not at all.

Facebook is a brilliant medium for making casual, low-weirdness contact with people you knew glancingly a long time ago. That's what it DOES.

And, FWIW, I don't even understand the whole "facebook as timesuck" thing. Of all the things I have leechblocked, FB isn't one of them. I dunno if everyone else is spending all their time playing MafiaWars or what.
posted by endless_forms at 7:40 AM on September 15, 2010


Oh, and: the concert business IS creepy. It's the kind of thing that gets women's backs up fast. Besides, she's likely to have her own agenda that night. Bad things happen when you try to act out a romcom and realize that the other party doesn't have the script.
posted by endless_forms at 7:44 AM on September 15, 2010 [3 favorites]


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