He gave me his number, BUT.....
August 31, 2010 11:59 AM   Subscribe

Isn't there some rule that a guy isn't really interested unless he asks for your number?

So I have this financial advisor at my bank and have seen him for the past 3 weekends solely for business stuff. Our first conversation was awesome. As he processed my accounts, we talked about school, work, family and pretty much everything else. I was really struck by how instantly we clicked. The second weekend, I ran in to him while doing other bank business and he was still really friendly and was so happy to see me. We got to chatting about the weekend and, from what I gather, he is definitely single. The third weekend, I had a set appointment with him and he called me Friday to remind me about the appointment. We ended up playing phone tag to confirm my appointment, but I was really surprised that he kept calling me back, especially since I had already given him the info in the voicemail. I have considered that maybe this guy is just really good at his job and not necessarily interested me.

When we met for the appointment, he was running late with a previous person, but he came out to tell me he would be right out and apologized. When we finally had our appointment, he kept apologizing and I told him I didn't mind and that I was hoping he would've taken longer because I was dreading a meeting I had after the appointment. He told me that we could definitely take our time. He then started to ask me what I did the previous night (Friday) and week. We caught up with some chat and, like our first meeting, our conversation was awesome.

When I told him a friend of mine was getting photos done, he asked if she needed a photographer and immediately started to ruffle through his wallet and started giving me business cards. He gave me two for his friends and then he gave me his, but he just said, "and here's my card." He never went on about what he did (which he went to at length with the other photographers' cards). So I am worried that he gave me his number just for a job and not because he is interested in me.

What do you guys think? I know he couldn't have asked me for my number because he was at work and that would've been unprofessional, and he would've risked a customer complaint if I wasn't interested, but isn't there some rule that a guy isn't really interested unless he asks for your number? Or is giving me his # (assuming he is interested) the safest way to approach the situation from his end?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (36 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
There are no rules. If you have his number and you're interested, call.
posted by The World Famous at 12:01 PM on August 31, 2010 [11 favorites]

isn't there some rule that a guy isn't really interested unless he asks for your number

No, there is no such rule.
posted by jrockway at 12:04 PM on August 31, 2010 [6 favorites]

I think it's his job to be friendly. Whether or not he likes you beyond that or would be allowed to date you, who knows. Call him and ask him out.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:05 PM on August 31, 2010 [2 favorites]

He might be interested, he might not, but either way you should call.
posted by 2bucksplus at 12:05 PM on August 31, 2010

Even before I got to the end of your question, I thought the answer was that he can't ask for your number because he's at work and you're a client. Now, if you were to call him, well then...

Short answer: CTG (Call the guy.)
posted by wuzandfuzz at 12:05 PM on August 31, 2010

No, particularly now that phone numbers are not what they used to be. I've been dating my current girlfriend for five months and even though we talk on the phone almost every day, I haven't a bloody clue what her actual number is.
posted by valkyryn at 12:05 PM on August 31, 2010 [2 favorites]

Or is giving me his # (assuming he is interested) the safest way to approach the situation from his end?

There's no way to know if this guy is just really friendly and good at what he does, or if he's actually interested in you. Wait a week then ask him if he wants to go out for drinks. You kind of have to put yourself out there, but that's just something you'll have to get over.
posted by geoff. at 12:06 PM on August 31, 2010 [2 favorites]

Nthing the 'there are no rules but call him' comment. I don't think you'd be at all out of line in asking him for a drink based on his behaviour. (And if he's not into you, he's probably accustomed to being asked out by women who mistake his friendliness for romantic interest, so no embarrassment if it's a misunderstanding.)
posted by nicoleincanada at 12:16 PM on August 31, 2010

He gave you his card in a kind of awkwardly dorky way, and he probably also feels it would be inappropriate to make an advance toward a hypothetical client, because it would make it a difficult professional relationship if it turned out that hypothetical client weren't interested. Together, they may not meen he likes you, but they're not bad signs. Call him.
posted by caek at 12:17 PM on August 31, 2010

What are these "rules" you speak of? You should let go of that concept because rules are more useful for people looking for excuses to not connect or not have something work out. If you're interested, get in touch. Best of luck!
posted by 2oh1 at 12:20 PM on August 31, 2010 [3 favorites]

You need the perfect thing to say that will open the door to him asking you out but gives you plausible deniability in case he's involved or not available. Like maybe say, "So what happens if you date a client, do you get fired?" Although that is way too obvious of course.
posted by mecran01 at 12:21 PM on August 31, 2010

A lot of people that deal with customer service or the general public are friendly people.

I have talked to my 50 year old dentist about what I have done over the weekend.
I've had conversations with my hairdresser, landlord, co-workers, the cashier, strangers, etc. ... I don't think they wanted to date me.
I've been handed a few Real Estate and car sales cards over the years by people conversing with me. I never thought anything of it.

He may have not went into detail about his card because he didn't want to look like he was pressuring you or trying to sell his services to you.

Also, I mean, there is a chance he could be interested.

The worst that could happen would be this:

Guy: This is Bob.
You: Hi Bob. This is Jane Doe... I met with you last Friday about my accounts
Guy: Oh Hi Jane. How are you?
You: Good.... Good.
Guy: What's up? Were your friends interested in getting their photos done?
You: Well, no. I just wanted to see if you wanted to get a drink sometime.
Guy: Oh, well. I appreciate the offer. [insert: 'i just got out of a bad relationship', 'i'm gay')
You: Oh, no problem.
Guy: Well, let me know if your friends need some photos done!
You: Okay

And then any other future meetings would probably be awkward.

But if it goes, well, then maybe it could turn into something.

The answer could be entirely different if you are also a guy.
posted by KogeLiz at 12:24 PM on August 31, 2010

Wait, doesn't he already have your number if he called you to remind you of your appointment? I think it sounds positive, so go ahead and ask him if he'd like to go for coffee or a drink sometime.
posted by lucysparrow at 12:25 PM on August 31, 2010 [1 favorite]

as an addendum, I consider it a lot more respectful when people offer their number rather than ask for yours. Less pressure for everyone. So I would definitely not consider a number offered, rather than requested, a bad sign.
posted by nicoleincanada at 12:26 PM on August 31, 2010 [4 favorites]

I'm kind of allergic to calling guts/asking for dates/making first moves, but in the situation you've outlined, I would work really hard to get up the guts to call the guy. If I was attracted to him, and wanted to get to know him in a romantic way.

For exactly the reasons listed above, it's a big risk for him to ask you out, or even to ask you directly for your personal info.

Good luck!
posted by bilabial at 12:32 PM on August 31, 2010 [1 favorite]

Yea, in a employee-client situation, the whole phone number rule is pretty much out the window. He could easily lose his job if he called you up, using the number on file with your confidential financial papers, and asked you out on a date. You're going to have to take action on your own.
posted by T.D. Strange at 12:32 PM on August 31, 2010

No such rule. Consider shy guys. Consider all the guys who make it a game to collect women's phone numbers as possible. Etc.

If the actual question is "do you think this guy likes me," it sounds to me like he's just really good with people.

But if you want to date him, and you think it's worth risking your advisor/client relationship (what if he says no? what if you have a really bad breakup?), call him.
posted by Metroid Baby at 12:35 PM on August 31, 2010

Um. That's calling guys. I'm not phoning anybody's guts.

except maybe scody's guts, to tell that cancer to fucking get lost. that's a phone call I would make.
posted by bilabial at 12:36 PM on August 31, 2010 [1 favorite]

Isn't there some rule that a guy isn't really interested unless he asks for your number?

. . . he called me Friday to remind me about the appointment. We ended up playing phone tag to confirm my appointment, but I was really surprised that he kept calling me back, especially since I had already given him the info in the voicemail.

There would seem to be a pretty good reason why he didn't ask you what your phone number is.
posted by John Cohen at 12:40 PM on August 31, 2010 [6 favorites]

Isn't there some rule that a guy isn't really interested unless he asks for your number?

Haven't seen it in the Bible, nor in any of the laws of the United States, haven't checked the laws elsewhere in the US.

Just ask. More importantly, why must he be interested in you for you to let him know you like him? I'm pretty certain you've been asked out by guys you really didn't know about yet. Let him get to know you.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:46 PM on August 31, 2010

Hmm, I seem to recall a similar question asked a week or two ago, and if this was you, it seems to indicate a bit too much beanplating. Call him already!

I don't think he would have given you his number if he didn't like you, at least as a friend. But this really is up to you because of your professional relationship.

And he let you know he was single. If I were in your position I'd probably be all giddy thinking the guy liked me. Of course, I wasn't a fly on the wall, but from what you've posted it sounds like good vibes going both ways.

It also sounds like it goes way beyond professional chitchat. I don't recall ever having a financial consultant get quite as chummy with me as yours. Of course, my financial consultant is a married, 50-year-old, straight woman, so she's not going to be flirting with me.

I think he was flirting with you, but trying not to be creepy.

Ask yourself this: what's the worst that could happen? Would it be WAAAY to awkward to ever deal with him again if he says no? Will you forever regret not going for it?
posted by xenophile at 12:51 PM on August 31, 2010 [1 favorite]

Whenever I was talking to a girl in whom I was interested, I would often completely forget that telephones even existed, much less, remember to ask for a telephone number...

Then again, I'm kind of absent-minded.

I guess the point is, no.
posted by chicago2penn at 12:51 PM on August 31, 2010

Just ask him out already. The worst that could happen is that he says no.
posted by Fuego at 12:55 PM on August 31, 2010 [1 favorite]

You can't go by a rule like that - every guy is different, just like girls. I know for myself, that even though I'm a pretty decent looking guy (or so I've been told); I tend to be very shy at bars or in certain social situations.
Often I wouldn't even talk to a girl unless she somehow made the first move, and even then, it took me years to learn how to talk to women and be comfortable asking them out - I was almost through college when I felt confident about how to do it.

Best thing you can do is give him some signs that you're interested and try to see how he reacts. If you sense some interest, or aren't sure, maybe just give him your phone #, or ask for his.
posted by absolutshrk at 1:00 PM on August 31, 2010

Call him and try. You're not going to find out any other way.

Are you going to be able to handle this well if he turns you down? You seem really into him, which is nice. But if you have to deal with this guy in a business setting at some point in the near future, be sure that you'll be OK if he says no, for both of your sakes.
posted by Solomon at 1:03 PM on August 31, 2010

Don't know if this helps, but as a counterpoint - at the end of a first date I always at least attempt to exchange phone numbers with the woman, even if I have no intention of using the number . . it seems rude to me not to. Maybe that's not universal, but it does go to indicate that a guy's attitude towards your phone number is not going to tell you anything important.
posted by chaff at 1:15 PM on August 31, 2010

YES, there is such a Rule.

There, I said it.

However, like others have said, your professional relationship could make it awkward/against the rules (of his job) for him to make an obvious romantic move.

And also, doesn't he already have your number? Since you guys are doing your financial whatever together? Which also makes me confused about why he'd need to give you his card. Wouldn't you already have it, or have his contact information, in order to get in touch with him or "play phone tag" to do your financials? Or was this a card with his personal information, like his cell phone and personal email?

Anyway, the whole idea behind this Rule is that if a guy doesn't get some kind of contact information from you, if you are the one with his number and not vice versa, and you lose it or forget him or are unsure or too busy with the fifty other guys you're dating, then he might never see you again, and for our Dream Guy, that possibility is just unacceptable, so he'll take fate into his own hands and make sure that he can get in touch with you again. So while the short answer is that he gets your number, this can slide if he has some other way to find you (he knows your friends, he can find you on Facebook, you're a regular at that Starbucks, etc).

In your case, although I'm kind of confused about your professional relationship I guess, it seems like you'll see each other again or at the very least he has contact information for you.

But all that means is that his giving you his card instead of asking for your number or asking you out doesn't mean that he's not interested.

It definitely seems like the whole "here are my friends business cards, and oh WHAT THE HELL, here's mine casually, too" was contrived so that he could give you his card (if, in fact, it is his personal info).

You didn't ask what you should do, but I'll also throw out there that it's also a Rule that you shouldn't call him or ask him out.

Oh wait, is he a photographer, too??? That would make a lot of sense. I wish you weren't anonymous. If that's the case, then I'd try to finagle some kind of meeting with your friend who wants the pictures, you, and the financial planner. Like all of you guys are going to meet up to talk about the photo job or something. And that way you've moved things beyond your financial-planning relationship into a more personal zone without moving too quickly/prematurely into romance. Better yet, have the friend call him, say they want the pictures done, that they should get together somewhere to meet and talk about it, and then you just be there, too.
posted by thebazilist at 1:51 PM on August 31, 2010

YES, there is such a Rule.

There, I said it.

OK, you said it, but it's still not a Rule. And if it were a general rule, it still wouldn't apply here.

People (including the OP) just aren't paying attention to the specific facts in this situation.
posted by John Cohen at 1:54 PM on August 31, 2010 [1 favorite]

> I know he couldn't have asked me for my number because he was at work and that would've been unprofessional, and he would've risked a customer complaint if I wasn't interested

This is the central point.

He can't ask you out.

He can, however, say yes should you choose to ask him out.

So as everyone above has written, just ask him out.
posted by darth_tedious at 2:00 PM on August 31, 2010

My boyfriend and I met in a similar situation. He is a salesman and I was a customer. Obviously he couldn't ask me out much less for my number at his workplace. He gave me his business card and wrote his personal number on the back. I figured he just really wanted to make a sale..right?? I've been the store a bunch of times before and all the other cards I received had personal numbers already printed. There was a lot of pacing, going back and forth, does he like me? It took me a month after first meeting him to call.

In the end, I decided what mattered more is I like him and if I waited any longer the opportunity would pass. So if you like this guy, why not? Most guys will say yes if they're single and the girl is sane/attractive. If he says no, his loss and you're not worse than never asking him. If you're worried about being embarrassed, you might be surprised how often this happens. My boyfriend gets propositioned at work on a regular basis.

If you want to look before leaping, ask yourself what has his body language been like? Coincidentally, my boyfriend and I went over this last night. As a word of caution, he admits he sometimes flirts very lightly to get sales. The difference in earnest display of attraction can be subtle. Good eye contact and a smile is the standard in good customer service. Standing closer than arm's length while talking isn't. Small talk is basic tactic in getting customer to relax and open up. Lengthy conversation after business is conducted isn't. I was oblivious to his flirtation the first meeting, literally delirious (onset of flu) the second and insisted I didn't have a crush on him until after the third. He said he knew I liked him from the get go. I guess your body doesn't lie. What is his saying?
posted by vilandra at 2:25 PM on August 31, 2010 [1 favorite]

Call. Him.
posted by komara at 2:39 PM on August 31, 2010

Well, now, hold on a second. There is a Rule, among classy guys, that we ought not to hit on women whose job requires them to charm us just because they went a bit beyond being professionally personable and friendly. Walking that line with every client can be demeaning and difficult, and it's made more so by each customer who puts you in the awkward position of saying "no" to them when your success — or your job — may depend on saying "yes" as often as possible.

On the other hand, the first rule of Double-Standard Club is: you do not talk about Double-Standard Club! And given the unanimous opinion above, I guess I'm the new member. So: go ahead and ask him out, but please do it in a way that gives him the easiest possible way to say "no" without any fear that he's compromising your professional relationship.
posted by nicwolff at 3:33 PM on August 31, 2010

To me, this sounds like one of those "is the cute barista interested in me?" questions. In my opinion, he's just being professionally friendly. If I (straight male) were in this situation with a female advisor, I would tend to think the relationship was still more or less professional. I mean, it sounds like there was a bit of conversation about personal lives mixed in with work. If it was "the meeting lasted an hour longer because we just got to talking..."

BUT: I could be wrong. I frequently am. What have you got to lose? Worst case: a few awkward moments, and a week later it's all but forgotten. But--think of the best case! The risk/reward here is way in favor of action.

You look like you're looking for "should I make a move?" more than "what should I do now?"--and I'm not that good at the latter--but in case you're looking for the latter I have a suggestion. I'd simply wait for the next time a meeting went long or it looks like things are going well but unfortunately there's a meeting coming up, and then bring up having lunch to continue the conversation. Optionally, just drop off *your* number instead, bringing up how much fun you're having and wanting to meet outside of work.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 3:39 PM on August 31, 2010

I work in a bank and there's most definitely been a couple of times where I didn't want to creep out a customer who's checks I will likely be cashing every other Friday unto eternity, but we'd talk and flirt and I would hope they would just ask me out and I can kind of tell that they're not because I'm Professionally Friendly Worker Bee and they don't want to skeeve me out or get me in trouble. So we just kind of leave it at friendly flirtation, like where you're stuck right now.

However, there was also the time where I looked up a cute boy's information and sent him a card asking him to call me (yes, I could have gotten into trouble with my employer if he complained). We've been dating for two years.

There was also the time where I told a customer that the reason I was blushing and stammering during his transaction was that my coworkers were teasing me over IM about my huge crush on him and he totally didn't say ANYTHING back to me and I felt like a megacreep until I found a Missed Connection saying he didn't want to get me in trouble at work but he had a crush on me too. We had a really excellent first date last night, actually.

There was also the other other other time where a customer asked me out while I was working and I had to shoot him down and we gossiped about him behind his back but did his transactions and were friendly to him like normal.

Ok, so these rambling anecdotes aren't really relevant to your situation, but here are the lessons I can come up with:

-Asking out someone you have a banking relationship is awkward but not impossible

-Yeah, using someone's personal information to hit them up for dates is a risky move (I live on the edge! He's real cute, y'all)

-Even if he's not interested in the interest of keeping things unawkward and civil he will not be crushing or jerky in his rejection

-At the banks I've worked at, we tease each other about dating customers but no one really cares and it's not against the rules; I mean, if you work at one of the top 5 banks in the US and you couldn't date customers it really narrows down the options, and what about all those people who bring in their significant others on joint accounts?

-The whole "do you want to hang out sometime" thing really requires someone to grow some huevos and just do something awkward and possibly creepy, honestly, or y'all both might be missing out.
posted by Juliet Banana at 4:04 PM on August 31, 2010 [1 favorite]

does his card have an email address on it? I would take the easy way out and email him, ask him if he'd be interested in grabbing a drink, and he can shoot you down nicely over email if he isn't interested. Again, drinks may mean nothing so you'll have to do more feeling out when/if you do get together for drinks. on another note, does he know whats in your bank accounts? Wouldn't that make you uncomfortable?
posted by dmbfan93 at 4:24 PM on August 31, 2010

I think when the genders are reversed the usual answer to this type of question is please don't sexually harass people in their workplace. Customer service people are nice to you because they're paid to be.
posted by Jacqueline at 12:58 PM on September 1, 2010 [2 favorites]

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