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Best way to approach/move forward with this situation
October 15, 2012 9:37 PM   Subscribe

Went in to a clothing store, cute girl around my age who works there comes up to me and offers to help me out. She seemed interested in me (asked a lot of questions about me) but I'm not sure if it was because she was just being nice because she worked there or was really interested in me. I was however oblivious to any of her body language in the moment. She then goes as far as to offer me a job and told me to fill out an online application. Her immediate supervisor called me before I even had a chance to fill out the application after she told them about me (assuming she put in a good word). I did not get her number. I feel like I wasn't able to read her signals being in the moment. How can I salvage this and is it worth pursuing? How would I go about moving the relationship onward and upward in the best way? Thanks!
posted by nathanm to Human Relations (33 answers total)
 
Well, first consider that she might have had an incentive to get applications from people, especially with the holidays approaching.

But I think you could give it one try, and people in the thread who are slicker than me will have ways. But do be mindful that when people are work, they are being paid to be nice and get you to do certain things, like buy stuff and fill out forms. So always be a little cautious and don't press.
posted by Miko at 9:41 PM on October 15, 2012 [6 favorites]


Who knows? But just a thought, there is maybe a referral fee for new hires she wouldn't mind getting?

On the other hand...do you want to work there? Then get the job and you'll have your chance to talk more with her.
posted by ian1977 at 9:41 PM on October 15, 2012


This is sketchy. If you don't want to work there, then don't. I think you're a potential hire, mainly.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:44 PM on October 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


I feel like I wasn't able to read her signals being in the moment.

"You should get a job here," she said.

Do you need a job? If yes, you should consider getting a job there and not pursue a romantic relationship with a coworker named TROUBLE.

If you're only wondering if she wanted you to ask her out, then no. She would have said, "You should call me," and handed you her number.
posted by carsonb at 10:06 PM on October 15, 2012 [13 favorites]


She probably really wants someone to pick up her Friday night shifts, anyway.
posted by carsonb at 10:08 PM on October 15, 2012 [11 favorites]


Yeah, if I was interested in a customer, offering them a job would not be my first move. She probably asked a bunch of questions because she wanted to see if you'd be good for the job and/or needed a job.
posted by acidic at 10:12 PM on October 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


I also think there's a possibility she gets a financial reward (finder's fee) for new hires that she refers.
posted by Dansaman at 10:15 PM on October 15, 2012 [3 favorites]


Is there any way to explore this further without the preconceived notion that she was trying to recruit me? I'm not really interested in the job (as far as career advancement, I'm currently looking for a full time job, not in a retail environment) any who and it seemed like we clicked when I was talking with her. I learned that she is new to the area and newly single. I'm just not sure how to approach the situation (all I really know about her is where she works and her name) all recruitment notions aside.
posted by nathanm at 10:30 PM on October 15, 2012


Which clothing store was this? I'd say that she was buttering you up for recruitment purposes.
posted by These Birds of a Feather at 10:33 PM on October 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Head back in, and be forthright. "Hey, you seem pretty cool. I'm not really interested in a job, but here's my number. I've love it if you gave me a call sometime, maybe for coffee or arcade games?"
posted by TheNewWazoo at 11:05 PM on October 15, 2012 [23 favorites]


Go back another time, if she's there you can say "I'm not looking for a job, but would you like to get a cup of coffee with me sometime?"

If she's interested in you, she'll say yes.
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:06 PM on October 15, 2012 [5 favorites]


If she told you unasked that she is newly single, then go back in and ask her out.
If you asked about her relationship status, then don't do this.
posted by lollusc at 11:50 PM on October 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Her immediate supervisor called me

so does this mean that you gave her your number? if she has your number and is interested, she'll call you.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 1:30 AM on October 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


I think you were simply head-hunted for a referral fee, but since this is an all-round shallow scene, why not go back in and play it up like you knew all along? Like, you realized she was just going for the referral, and you weren't interested because you have a better job, but you played along since you thought she was cute?

You're not interested in the job anyways, so if she blows you off, you leave and that's the end.
posted by mannequito at 1:30 AM on October 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm just not sure how to approach the situation

The suggestions of "Hey, you seem pretty cool. I'm not really interested in a job, but here's my number. I've love it if you gave me a call sometime, maybe for coffee" or "I'm not looking for a job, but would you like to get a cup of coffee with me sometime?" are exactly how you play this.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:32 AM on October 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


I would bet you a dollar she's that friendly with everyone, male or female, that walks in the door.

If you filled out that form, then she already has your number. Leave the ball in her court.

Speaking as someone with a decade in retail, I thoroughly doubt you were much more than a conversion number to her. Sorry, dude.
posted by Jilder at 1:33 AM on October 16, 2012


Both answers are right.

I did retail also and it's 99.9 percent true that she was going to get her numbers bounced for getting you to apply. Where I used to work we'd do "Morning Rallies" in the middle of the store where we were routinely told that we had to keep our numbers up. People would be fired outright if they didn't there.

Having said this, retail is also a flirty environment (hell, you get paid to watch people all day.)
She might have thought you were nice. Go back in and see. But leave it there if it doesn't work out.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 3:35 AM on October 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


She probably really wants someone to pick up her Friday night shifts, anyway.

When I waited tables, I had a crush on a cute, outgoing coworker. One day, he approached me and asked, "are you doing anything Friday night?"

"No," I replied breathlessly.

"Great! You can cover my shift!"

Some people have a natural friendliness that reads as flirtiness, some people turn on the charm to make a sale. Go back in and ask her out; why not? Just don't beat yourself up if she says no.
posted by Metroid Baby at 4:23 AM on October 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


This is one of the few situations like this where I actually think she *might* be interested, but hard to say, and I think it would be totally fine drop by and casually ask her out.

However, steel yourself that there are many other explanations for her aggressive interest in you, so be prepared for her to say no.

But yeah the full on level of being super chatty, volunteering the fact she is single, and trying to get you a job there (that you appear to have no interest in?) leads me to believe you have a shot. And really if she was interested in you gettin you a short term gig there is basically the ultimate win-win. I mean she will probably get some kind of bonus for recruiting you and she'll get to hang out with you more. And if it all goes south well it's just for the holidays no biggee. However she also just may really know how to make a commission and flirts with everyone.
posted by whoaali at 4:25 AM on October 16, 2012


Maybe she is naturally flirty.

Maybe she was just trying to get you to work there for her own selfish reasons.

Maybe she fancies you.

I know one way to find out. Go into the store, speak to her and tell her that you enjoyed talking to her and that you'd like to do it again over coffee and is she free tonight?

If she declines, then you'll know.

If she accepts, then you'll know.

Either way you'll know.
posted by inturnaround at 5:58 AM on October 16, 2012


Is there any way to explore this further without the preconceived notion that she was trying to recruit me? I'm not really interested in the job (as far as career advancement, I'm currently looking for a full time job, not in a retail environment) any who and it seemed like we clicked when I was talking with her. I learned that she is new to the area and newly single.

It's not a preconceived notion that someone in a retail establishment displays interest in you for financial reasons. The smiley face drawn on your receipt does not mean that your waitress thinks you are cute. No, that stripper didn't like you.

But, to answer your question of salvage, this is easy. Go back to the store and ask her out.
posted by Tanizaki at 6:33 AM on October 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


On the one hand, this was almost certainly just her being nice to get you to apply so she'd get a recruitment bonus. I never really trust flirtiness if the other person has something (other than my scintillating company) to gain by being flirty. But that's me.

On the other hand, you have nothing to lose by heading back and asking. So go for it!
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 6:33 AM on October 16, 2012


Is there any way to explore this further without the preconceived notion that she was trying to recruit me?

It isn't a "preconceived notion." It's a rational conclusion based on the facts you've told us. Everything you've mentioned clearly points to the fact that she was trying to recruit you. She was just doing her job. This is a professional situation, not a dating situation.
posted by John Cohen at 7:48 AM on October 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


Whenever someone flirts with you on the clock, they're flirting with you because it is their job, or at least because it will bring them financial gains (larger tips, etc.)

This is a reasonable rule to go through life with, as it will help prevent you from being taken advantage of. If she'd paid all of this attention to you because she was actually interested, she would have made sure you'd gotten her number. You're not obligated to do anything here, including accepting the job -- you owe nobody anything, and they owe you nothing.
posted by davejay at 8:52 AM on October 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


As others have said, the way to find out whether she was flirting with you is to go back to the place and ask her for her number or if she wants to go out or something.

That said, I am not what you'd call an expert in flirtation, but I'm not sure that one of the usual steps is 'encourage the person to fill out an online job application.'
posted by box at 5:28 PM on October 16, 2012


Whenever someone flirts with you on the clock, they're flirting with you because it is their job, or at least because it will bring them financial gains (larger tips, etc.)
If I had had that attitude a number of years ago, I wouldn't have had a wonderful 9-ish months with a waitress at a local dive bar. Sometimes people flirt because they're interested.
posted by TheNewWazoo at 8:55 PM on October 16, 2012


    Whenever someone flirts with you on the clock, they're flirting with you because it is their job, or at least because it will bring them financial gains (larger tips, etc.)
      If I had had that attitude a number of years ago, I wouldn't have had a wonderful 9-ish months with a waitress at a local dive bar. Sometimes people flirt because they're interested.


Can we get more insight on this perspective?

It seems that it is taboo to pick up people at their place of employment but I don't understand why a romance can't originate out of a place where one spends their working day. I can understand why it may be frowned upon to develop romantic relationships with coworkers and roommates for situations in which the relationship sours. What if one was legitimately interested in the other party but was masked by the fact that the other party was merely trying to be nice?

I would like to hear more from the vantage point from people who have cultivated a relationship that originated in a work environment.
posted by nathanm at 9:56 PM on October 16, 2012


I would like to hear more from the vantage point from people who have cultivated a relationship that originated in a work environment.

I think this is beyond the bounds of answering your original question.

The point of the responses is that chances are 99% that she was just getting you to fill out the application because there's something in it for her. That's common stuff in retail.

I have had relationships that started in a work environment - but only with co-workers. I have had friendships that started because I was a waitress and liked the people I was waiting on. It is a slow process that takes time, and it takes time because you need to test the idea that both parties are sincere enough and have enough genuine liking for one another, outside the social contract of "I am nice to you because this is my job" + "I am nice to you because you are serving me food and I am not a rude individual."

In your specific case, the only way you can tell is to find some way of asking if she's interested in a coffee on her break or something. But serious warning: when you hang around someone's place of work hoping to draw their interest and trying to figure out their work and life patterns, you're getting uncomfortably close to stalking. So please limit your attempts to what's reasonable -one friendly, clear, appropriate effort, and drop it if no further interest - and do not harass her.
posted by Miko at 6:39 AM on October 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


If I had had that attitude a number of years ago, I wouldn't have had a wonderful 9-ish months with a waitress at a local dive bar. Sometimes people flirt because they're interested.

Can we get more insight on this perspective?


I agree with Miko, this is moving away from your original question. If you're interested in this person, take the advice offered above and ask her out, directly, politely, and once only. Your latest update makes it sound like you're more interested in justifying why it's okay to hit on people at work in a "well, it has sometimes worked for some other people, so why not me?" way. That's sort of navel-gazey when you have a clear, reasonably straightforward course of action you could take right now and have this whole situation either over with or moving forward.

What if one was legitimately interested in the other party but was masked by the fact that the other party was merely trying to be nice?

Then they probably would ask the other party out, or at least make a more relevant gesture than pointing them to an online employment application form.

Just ask her out, bearing in mind that a) she is there to do her job so you need to find a way of being quick and unobtrusive, b) if she says no you need to respect that and leave since she has to be there and can't easily get away from you there, and c) you may be reading what you want into behavior that has more to do with having to be friendly to customers as part of her job.
posted by DingoMutt at 8:25 AM on October 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I would like to hear more from the vantage point from people who have cultivated a relationship that originated in a work environment.

That is, you would like to hear more from people who will reinforce your existing opinion. Thing is, though, the majority of people who have commented here don't share that opinion.

(You might enjoy reading this older post, which also discusses both asking people out while they're at work and that niceness-as-a-job-duty thing.)
posted by box at 8:35 AM on October 17, 2012


It seems that it is taboo to pick up people at their place of employment but I don't understand why a romance can't originate out of a place where one spends their working day. I can understand why it may be frowned upon to develop romantic relationships with coworkers and roommates for situations in which the relationship sours.... I would like to hear more from the vantage point from people who have cultivated a relationship that originated in a work environment.

*raises hand*

I dated a coworker when I was much younger, and I've been asked out by customers in the past as well. It's natural that people who spend time together, at work or wherever, develop complicated relationships. However, neither has ever worked out well for me, and now I follow a strict personal rule to not date where I work. I think of it like not shitting where you eat.

Of course, love overcomes all, right? There's probably seven people who could raise their hand against my bad experiences and tell you how they met the love of their lives on the clock. I've even worked in retail with a coworkers who remain a happy couple to this day, having met on the job. Yes, you could totally go back and be suave and get a date. There aren't many Casanovas who could pull it off without either being crass or really awkward, but I suppose you have a chance. (You're a bit tone-deaf to the answers you're getting here though, I wonder how you'd react to her rejection?)

Keep in mind that if you ask her out while she's on the clock, she can't leave. She isn't really allowed to express herself (especially negatively) without direct consequences from her boss. This is the part you really need to understand about your situation. While she's there she's supposed to be working, not being chatted up. This is also why people naturally assume she was 'working' you for an application. She's there to work, assume she's busy working. If she's busy she can't just up and leave, whether it's to go with you or get away from you. It's an inherently awkward situation, so tread carefully. There's the possibility that not only will she reject your advances, she might have you kicked out of the store. Part of her work agreement probably requires the employer to provide a working environment where the employees aren't harassed, so.

But it seems you've got your heart set on this girl and want to know how to go back in there, so here's one thing you do:

Go back and buy something. If she is there give her your card and say "I know you already have my number on the application, but that's for the store. This is for you. I'd like to hear from you." Smile. Then leave. You don't even have to wait for her to say anything. She might say 'thanks' or maybe you can. Leave it at that. Walk away with your shiny purchase, and be prepared to never show your face in that store again.

If she's really into you, she'll call.
posted by carsonb at 12:20 PM on October 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh yeah, if she's not there, you have two options. Repeat the process later—go back, buy something, hope she's there, etc.—or 2) give your number to a female coworker of hers. (The guys will laugh at your back and throw it away.)

"I put my number on the store application, but this is for ____[her name]______. Would you please give this to her? I'd like her to call me."
posted by carsonb at 12:25 PM on October 17, 2012


(The guys will laugh at your back and throw it away.)

I'm a female and I would probably throw that away. I would resent being put in an awkward position. And if I got something like that secondhand, I would be a little weirded out and also wonder if it was a prank, and might also have a very hard time figuring out who the hell it was from (since I probably give out 10 applications a day), trying to base it on my co-worker's description.

In person, once, or not at all.
posted by Miko at 12:35 PM on October 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


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