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Best way to approach a girl in a library?
December 20, 2013 12:27 PM   Subscribe

So I'm going to this library practically everyday to study (I can no longer study at home) and there's this girl who sits 5 meters or so from me in another table. We just stare at each other for seconds and then look away.

I think she's really cute and would like to get to know her, what is the best way to do that?

-20 year old male, a bit shy.
posted by Attozes to Human Relations (28 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
"Hey there. I was thinking of taking a coffee break in a minute - want to come along?"
posted by Tomorrowful at 12:28 PM on December 20, 2013 [18 favorites]


"Hi, I'm Attozes."
posted by Rob Rockets at 12:29 PM on December 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


1. Smile at her.

2. If she smiles back, walk over and say Tomorrowful's line.

3. If she doesn't smile back, leave her alone.
posted by bearwife at 12:32 PM on December 20, 2013 [15 favorites]


What is Tomorrowful's line?
3. What if she's just shy?
posted by Attozes at 12:38 PM on December 20, 2013


What is Tomorrowful's line?

"Hey there. I was thinking of taking a coffee break in a minute - want to come along?"
posted by Tomorrowful at 12:28 PM on December 20 [5 favorites +] [!]


posted by tylerkaraszewski at 12:41 PM on December 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


if she's shy, let her be :)

tomorrowful's line is "Hey there. I was thinking of taking a coffee break in a minute - want to come along?"
posted by raihan_ at 12:41 PM on December 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


The possibility that she won't smile back because she's shy is pretty equal to the possibility that you just happen to be sitting in her stare-line. Please make some explicit acknowledgement of her gaze, such as a smile or a wave, and give her a chance to return it, before approaching. That way it won't be out of the blue!

Also, if you smile at her, she might approach you :)
posted by muddgirl at 12:44 PM on December 20, 2013 [7 favorites]


"Hi. It's funny how we see each other almost every day. My name is *insert name here*. Nice to meet you."

Pretend she is a customer in your store or a business colleague at a luncheon. Fall back on conventional polite introduction customs and you can go too far wrong.
posted by Foam Pants at 12:44 PM on December 20, 2013 [9 favorites]


Bring an 8x10" piece of paper with a large HI! on one side. Next time you lock eyes, tilt it up.
posted by JoeZydeco at 12:49 PM on December 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


Bring an 8x10" piece of paper with a large HI! on one side. Next time you lock eyes, tilt it up.

Please don't. Either Tomorrowful's or Foam Pant's line.
posted by windbox at 12:54 PM on December 20, 2013 [28 favorites]


If she doesn't smile back, leave her alone.

This attitude could sadly result in a lost opportunity for both.

It is fairly common for shy ones to absolutely not smile back, even though there is interest.

OP, you are not bothering her if you were to go up and introduce yourself. That is perfectly acceptable social behavior. Be polite, walk over with a smile, and talk to her.
posted by Kruger5 at 1:17 PM on December 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


"I'm working on a master's thesis on the Effects of Employing Semi-Random Social Inputs from Total Strangers in Electronic Media to the Socialization of Graduate Students in Real World Situations;"* what are you working on?"

*or whatever it is you're really doing there.
posted by randomkeystrike at 1:21 PM on December 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


Please make some explicit acknowledgement of her gaze, such as a smile or a wave, and give her a chance to return it, before approaching.

Yes, absolutely this! It would be a bit awkward if it turns out that she's just been staring out the window behind you, or looking at a poster or interesting art on the wall behind you, etc.
posted by elizardbits at 1:22 PM on December 20, 2013 [10 favorites]


Since you're in a library, you can use the excuse of no talking to write her a note instead. Smile the next time you make eye contact, and drop a note in front of her on your way out.

Something like "Hi, I'm __. I'd love to take you out for coffee sometime. If you're interested, please let me know! My email address is __ and my phone number is __."

This is not a big intrusion on her time or space and puts the ball firmly in her court. Plus then it's not as scary to approach and not as embarrassing to possibly get turned down.
posted by rmless at 1:25 PM on December 20, 2013


Don't write a note. That's some middle school stuff.

Tomorrowful nailed it. Ask her out. If she doesn't come along, her loss.
posted by meadowlark lime at 1:29 PM on December 20, 2013 [9 favorites]


The line is good but I'd also suggest a bit of small talk first so it's not so out of the blue - maybe ask how her studies are going or comment on the weather or the holidays or something.
posted by randomnity at 2:04 PM on December 20, 2013


Bring an 8x10" piece of paper with a large HI! on one side. Next time you lock eyes, tilt it up.

Please don't. Either Tomorrowful's or Foam Pant's line.


You have to admit it'd be pretty adorbs if the sign was upside down and she squinted at it and he got nervous and checked and then panicked and dropped it and when he came up from the floor red-faced she wasn't there anymore and he sighed and crumpled the paper but then heard someone psst and he looked up to see her near the recycling bin holding up her own HI! sign upside-down and smiling shyly.

Naw, Tomorrowful's line.
posted by Beardman at 2:07 PM on December 20, 2013 [13 favorites]


When i was in university, i got asked out or hit on in the library a bunch of times, and i ALWAYS thought it was sweet or cute, and i always liked that we were in the library. It was just adorable!

Have you thought about sitting at her table? Or asking her to watch your stuff while you go to the washroom? Or saying 'we're always here at the same time, funny huh?'? Or commenting on the coldness/warmness/crowdedness of the library?

(A couple of people passed me notes in the libary, but one of them did it in a way that was weird/creepy, and the other one did it in a way that was sweet/creepy, so either way i'd advise against notes.)

don't be afraid, she probably thinks you're cute too!
posted by Kololo at 2:27 PM on December 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


She may be wondering who the creepy guy is who keeps staring at her when she's in the library trying to study, or she may also fancy you, there's only one way to find out. The next time you see her, casually say hello and ask her if she'd like to take a study break with you and grab a coffee. Don't take it personally if she says no. She may have a boyfriend.
posted by OneHermit at 3:24 PM on December 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


Ask her about the book she appears to be studying (which is a totally neutral , not necessarily a hit on) and if that goes well then try the coffee break trick.
posted by bananafish at 3:36 PM on December 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'd go with "What's happenin', hot stuff?"
posted by spilon at 7:15 PM on December 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's hard to go from never having talked to chatting for the first time to talking. Even in purely social contexts, this type of thing where you run into people often but have never talked is pretty common. I'm partial to starting conversations with such people in the following way:

"Hi! I realized that I see you basically every day, but we've never properly met. My name is C—, it's nice to meet you!"

And then you can do a bit of small talk and feel out their personality a bit. Speaking for myself, I probably wouldn't ask her to coffee the first time you spoke, but there's certainly nothing wrong with that approach. The general approach to the question Tomorrowful suggested is a useful one, the whole "I'm getting coffee, maybe you need a break too?" which is very low pressure for everyone involved. It's a lot more likely to be agreed to if you already have introduced yourself, I suspect. Good luck!
posted by Schismatic at 8:24 PM on December 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


How old is she? Is there any possibility she might be under 18? If so, don't do this.

If you're at the university library, and she hasn't changed tables or anything, then smile at her. Don't just stare. Smile warmly, not like a creeper/serial killer. If she smiles back, then at the end of your study session slip her a note with your number and email address and ask her for coffee.
posted by discopolo at 8:38 PM on December 20, 2013


Also, she may just be resting her eyes. It might not mean anything.
posted by discopolo at 8:39 PM on December 20, 2013


How old is she? Is there any possibility she might be under 18? If so, don't do this.

There is nothing wrong or illegal about talking to someone who turns out to be under the age of 18. I think the OP can be counted on to find something out about her, like whether she's in high school, before he gets to the point of sleeping with her. There's no need for a 20-year-old to be hyper-paranoid about avoiding contact with someone who might be a minor.
posted by Tomorrowful at 9:49 PM on December 20, 2013 [5 favorites]


There is nothing wrong or illegal about talking to someone who turns out to be under the age of 18. I think the OP can be counted on to find something out about her, like whether she's in high school, before he gets to the point of sleeping with her. There's no need for a 20-year-old to be hyper-paranoid about avoiding contact with someone who might be a minor.

She's not in high school for all I know. The library I go to belongs to a university and all people who go there attend college.
posted by Attozes at 10:38 PM on December 20, 2013


I sense that you may be a little too shy to try Tomorrowful's approach out of the blue. Why not sneak up on it by bringing her into your comfort zone gradually?

The fact that you are frequently there together gives you a shared experience, thinner than a coworker relationship, but similar. It would not be unusual or forward for coworkers who encounter each other regularly to acknowledge each other's presence with some friendly gesture.

Perhaps the next time you enter the library and walk past her table, wait for your eyes to meet and give her a friendly little wave, as if to say "Hello, nice to see you again". If she responds in like manner, you've both dipped your toes in the water, and may be ready to wade in a little deeper next time.
posted by dinger at 5:44 AM on December 21, 2013


I like Schismatic's approach, and as an awkward and shy person use it all the time, whether I am chatting up a cute guy or not. I used it on the (female) janitor who keeps my workspace livable - I didn't want to just keep doing the head nod in the hallways, so I said, "Hey! I'm CoF, the Spanish teacher. I see you every day but I don't know your name. *friendly smile*" This is how I now know that when it is time to give "Thank You" cards to the staff, I can write, "Thanks, Mila!"

I guess I'm saying, it's just like meeting any stranger. You won't know if you like each other until you say hi!
posted by chainsofreedom at 6:45 PM on December 21, 2013


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