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Asking someone out when there's no sign they're interested?
March 23, 2011 8:52 AM   Subscribe

Does it make sense to ask someone out even when there aren't any signs that the other person is interested?

I think I've gotten better at recognizing when women are showing signs of being interested in me. This has led to more success in dating than just asking out women that I like without any of these signs. But I feel like it's been a long time since a girl that I'm interested in in my area has flirted with me or otherwise shown interest in me in this way. Does it make sense to ask out the girls that I like in the hope that they might like me in that way and aren't showing it, or that they haven't considered the possibility and their interest will grow later?
posted by rwatson to Human Relations (24 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
Does it make sense to ask out the girls that I like in the hope that they might like me in that way and aren't showing it, or that they haven't considered the possibility and their interest will grow later?

Yes. I think it's a mistake to only date when the attraction is crystal clear to both parties. That's what a date is for! A chance to get to know someone and see what happens.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:55 AM on March 23, 2011 [2 favorites]


Depends on how resilient you are and how ok with rejection. I think it is fine to do that- you might just catch them off-guard and maybe they haven't thought of you as a potential date before for whatever reason and could say yes.
But mostly you will probably be rejected since they have not thought of you in that light or they have but then tossed the idea because they don't think xyz about you will be a match for them.
Just make sure you aren't asking in inappropriate contexts or making people uncomfortable with your propositions.
posted by rmless at 8:57 AM on March 23, 2011


Well, the worst that will probably happen is that the woman says no, so if you can handle that, why not go ahead. But what kind of context are we talking about? Do you plan on approaching women you don't know and asking them out? In general it might improve your chances if you give the woman a chance to get to know you a little (if that's possible in a given situation) before you ask her to spend a block of time with you.
posted by orange swan at 8:58 AM on March 23, 2011


I had no signs my wife was interested. Just got on Facebook since I was friends with her there and asked if she wanted to eat lunch together.

She's my wife now, so obviously it worked.
posted by theichibun at 8:58 AM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sure. I gave out tons of "I'm not interested" to some guy once. I even took up with another fellow for a few months. I finally went out with him a few times just cuz I felt like I was being rude and snotty to keep saying no. I knew his mother, after all.

Apparently there was some kind on sign from God or something tho. We've been married 27 years. And I think he's awesome.

Of course, YMMV.
posted by SLC Mom at 8:59 AM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Agreeing with all the replies so far, just want to add that there is nothing wrong with being rejected -- in fact that's one of the only ways to learn how to get better at dealing with rejection.
posted by hermitosis at 8:59 AM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yes! As a girl who is both bad at flirting and equally friendly/talkative to (mostly) everybody, I have the simultaneous problem of not pitching woo at dudes to whom I want to pitch woo and accidentally pitching woo at dudes who I'm just being friendly with. Just go ahead and ask. (The only time a problem would arise is if she shows no sign of being interested after you've given her a chance and you keep pursuing her. But you know that already.)
posted by phunniemee at 9:00 AM on March 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


Ditto on all the above re: worst thing that happens is she says 'No' and if you're okay with that. Also other considerations may be the potential for awkwardness if you're pre-existing friends, run in the same friendgroups, etc etc.

Words I live by:
Can't hit a home run if you don't step up to the plate.
posted by karmaportrait at 9:00 AM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, and his family has a history of this kind of thing. His father proposed 8 times before his mother said yes. They were beautifully married for 65 years before he passed away last month.
posted by SLC Mom at 9:01 AM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


there are lots of good reasons for doing it - if nothing else, it makes asking easier each time and you'll get more experience at recognizing when women are showing interest. you might make new friends and girls who might seem uninterested might take a second look.

my only note of caution is with a friend or coworker who might feel uncomfortable later.

just recognize when the answer is no. you can't imagine the ridiculous conversations i've had trying to be polite - only to have the guy try to shoot down the reasons i give. three hours later it's I JUST DON'T LIKE YOU AND NOW I HATE YOU.
posted by crankyrogalsky at 9:02 AM on March 23, 2011


I'm going to be the first dissent -- sort of.

I think there's a difference between "there's no sign they're interested," and "there's an active sign they are DIS-interested." It's one thing to ask someone out who's friendly, but you're not sure whether they like you or they're just gregarious; it's another thing to try asking someone out if they seem to not want to have anything to do with you at all. The first example may end up with her thinking, "huh. I never thought about it, but sure, why not and see what happens?" But the second example may end up, "ugh, I really don't want to go there, why is he after me?"

It's a fine distinction, maybe, but it's a real one. (Sorry -- i was just getting a little uncomfortable with the anectodes about "he proposed five times before she accepted," because I 'm afraid some people could use that as an excuse to pester someone who genuinely is disinterested. Sometimes it works out, but the odds are greater that this kind of persistence would be unwelcome.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:06 AM on March 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


While I was single, I made it a rule to go out with every dude that specifically asked me on a date, unless there was super creep vibes coming off him. I ended up having a wonderful time on all but one of the many dates i went on. I even ended up seeing a few of them for a while before I went on to a long term relationship.

Sometimes girls don't flirt with you because they genuinly don't notice you flirting first! As long as you are going to be ok with some saying no, I think it's a great idea!
posted by Blisterlips at 9:08 AM on March 23, 2011


Yes.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:10 AM on March 23, 2011


But I feel like it's been a long time since a girl that I'm interested in in my area has flirted with me or otherwise shown interest in me in this way.

That's the crux. Maybe it'd be ideal to only ask out women who are actively showing an interest in you. But if "it's been a long time" since you've had any such opportunities, well, you'll have to find other opportunities (if you want any, which you apparently do.)
posted by John Cohen at 9:12 AM on March 23, 2011


It's really easy from the outside to think that a person to whom you are attracted is confident enough to know exactly how to send out the right signals to those they'd like to respond. In fact, it's often that attractiveness to which we're attracted. But more often than not, they are just as unsure on the inside as you are,

I realized this one time when I ended up becoming best friends with a guy I'd somehow ended up in a 'friends with benefits" situation with even though both of us had avoided going after each other "that way" for quite some time, despite having tons in common and a mutual attraction. In a bit of non-sober soul confession, I asked why, if he'd been aware of me for so long, why it had taken him so long to make a move or seem interested? He bashfully told me that he'd thought I was out of his league, which, of course, was ridiculous to me, but also the exact same reason I'd similarly been inactive.

Such things are ridiculous, but this proved to be a boon to my sex life after figuring it out. Why did I end up always ending up with partners who were, in my opinion, easily way more attractive than me? Because I asked.

Just don't be a creep and try to consider that "no" is a rejection of the idea of the two of you together, not a rejection of you. There are plenty of reasons why somebody might say "no" -- consider it their loss and move on without being a creep and there's nothing wrong with the first ask.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:14 AM on March 23, 2011 [4 favorites]


I'm definitely not interested in pestering anyone or in hitting on anyone who is clearly NOT interested. I find the "he proposed five times before she accepted" thing just as horrifying as EmpressCallipygos. Thinking about dating acquaintances, not total strangers.

I'm not afraid of being rejected, but it's literally been years since I've been rejected on a first date request. I thought I had found a better way to date, and it was pretty nice while it lasted, but looks like it's over. It's a little scary to go back to what seems, in some ways, like cold calling.
posted by rwatson at 9:19 AM on March 23, 2011


It always makes sense to ask someone out if you want to go out with them. (Unless asking them out will cause personal or professional strain.) The worst they can do is say "no," and then you know for sure they're not interested, rather than guessing.
posted by litnerd at 9:32 AM on March 23, 2011


It couldn't possibly hurt to ask.

The worst case scenario here is that she thinks you're a dork. But then she's not attracted to you anyway, so who cares?

The only hint of advice I'd give is that, if you decide to ask her out, keep it low key, and don't be overly persistent about it. No professions of undying love, no haiku, no asking her once a week until she has to sic HR on you. Just, "hey, I was wondering if you'd like to get coffee with me sometime?"
posted by Sara C. at 10:06 AM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


My policy was like Blisterlips -- if I wasn't in a relationship, and a dude asked me out, I said yes.

Protip: Keep the date sort-of low-key, traditional, and somewhere you can chat. Going out for dinner to a mid-range restaurant was a lot better as a first date with "guy I don't know from Adam" than fancy-dinner-and-a-dark-movie or hiking or whatever. It's reasonably public, it's datier than coffee, and you can talk. Save the romantic or very expensive dates for if it goes well. The low-key, public, date-where-you-talk has a non-creepy, I'd-like-to-get-to-know-you vibe.

Sometimes what happened was we discovered we liked to chat but had no spark, and that was fine. Sometimes we went on a few dates. Also fine. Sometimes I asked. Sometimes I got shot down. All fine.

The only guys I said no to were guys I knew by reputation (were already dating someone, were creepy as all get-out, were stalkers) or this one guy who spouted sexist nonsense for HOURS ON END before asking me on a date because, ooooooh, sexy! Another bad opening line is, "I can chug a whole sixpack!" Again, um, sexy.

And it's totally like cold calling. But, worst case, she says no. No skin off your nose.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:26 AM on March 23, 2011


You should go for it. As other people on here have said, the worst that can happen is she says no. Just be confident, keep it casual, and have a sense of humor. Always go in with the mind set that if she says no...you've lost nothing. If she says yes...then great! Rejection sucks but it's a big part of dating. Try not to take it too seriously and you'll do a lot better. So get out there and ask that girl out!
posted by ljs30 at 10:39 AM on March 23, 2011


I have also done the "date anyone who asks" thing, but I hated it. I am pickier than God, though, which might have a lot to do with it.

I'd like to point at what the Empress said again:

"I think there's a difference between "there's no sign they're interested," and "there's an active sign they are DIS-interested." It's one thing to ask someone out who's friendly, but you're not sure whether they like you or they're just gregarious; it's another thing to try asking someone out if they seem to not want to have anything to do with you at all."

Right. This is where I think there's a problem because (a) a lot of guys want to see what they want to see and ignore DIS-interested signs, or neutral signs (i.e. she acts perfectly pleasant when she sees you and you say hi, but never starts a conversation herself), and (b) some women are actively nervous at the idea of turning a guy down, as has been covered on other threads around here. They may not want to encourage you, but they have to stay nice at bare minimum.

Please, if you're going to do this, stick to women who seem friendly when they see you on their own recognizance, and try to figure out if they are actually interested in initiating conversation with you. If that's the case, gregarious or not, you have better odds trying. But don't ask every woman out blind Just In Case they change their mind.
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:51 AM on March 23, 2011


YES, just don't be a douchenozzle

And keep in mind that NOTHING is more attractive in a dude than being able to handle rejection well. Do this one thing well and women will flock to you, just not the ones who reject you, but this is why its a rare attractive skill.
posted by Blasdelb at 1:06 PM on March 23, 2011


I think it's a good idea to flirt with a girl a bit before you ask her out. Put the idea in her head and see how she reacts.

Flirting can be subtle at work. Look at her more often, whatever, send out those VIBES. You gotta get those vibes going and see what happens. Then you can judge her reaction. Watch and be attentive. Don't be a cheeseball, though. There is a guy I work with who gives me these dewy looks and I am a little like....no. Sorry. Of course, he is way older and not my type, too.

I wouldn't just go around asking anyone out. Only those who you like and are also responsive. You might get a reputation as someone who asks whoever out, if you care about that sort of thing. I do, but a lot of people don't, and I respect that.

If you are concerned with one particular girl, perhaps she did get bored waiting for you to make a move? Change up your approach a little, be dynamic. Ladies like confidence, in general. Everyone does, I think.
posted by amodelcitizen at 4:50 PM on March 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't know why I thought this was about women from work. The flirting still applies. Maybe less subtle if not in a work environment.
posted by amodelcitizen at 5:00 PM on March 23, 2011


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