To use info from a girl's online profile in talking to her offline?
July 26, 2011 4:54 PM   Subscribe

I've recently made chit-chat with an attractive barista at a coffee shop I frequent, mostly about the writing group I meet with there and a band we both like that she was playing over the sound system one day. This past weekend I signed into OKCupid for the first time in awhile, and she's one of the first matches that comes up for me. So now not only do I know that she's single, but that we both like several other bands, authors, shows and movies. We actually have a good bit in common. Do I exploit my new-found knowledge of her to make conversation in person (which is publicly posted, and it's not like I went looking for it), or do I message her on OKC in a "fancy meeting you here" sort of way? Which is less creepy?
posted by Zorz to Human Relations (39 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I dunno, I think reading about her, then approaching her about could come across as a bit stalkerish. I would just message her on OKC. (FWIW, I am a 40-something female.)
posted by WorkingMyWayHome at 4:56 PM on July 26, 2011 [11 favorites]

OKC. Showing up at the coffee shop to talk about her online presence is way stalkery.
posted by Lyn Never at 4:56 PM on July 26, 2011 [18 favorites]

I have totally had this happen on OkCupid! (I take it as a sign that their matching algorithm actually kinda works). What i've done (and what i recommend you do), is send her that "hey, fancy seeing you on here" note on OKC, and then just talk to her in person where it will now be non-weird that you know what her favourite band is. (And really, its still more fun to flirt in person than online, so do that.)
posted by Kololo at 4:57 PM on July 26, 2011 [7 favorites]

OKC. You may as well joke about it with her online and get some mileage out of it. If it works, you'll probably have permission to flirt with her personally in short order.
posted by Hylas at 5:03 PM on July 26, 2011

When I worked retail, nothing weirded out the girls I worked with more than "I saw you on MySpace!" or something similar. Go via OKC.
posted by griphus at 5:05 PM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]

Yeah - she's on OKC to get chatted up, not so much at work.
posted by bookwo3107 at 5:16 PM on July 26, 2011 [3 favorites]

To clarify, I'm wondering if I shouldn't sidestep the whole creepiness factor of "I saw you online" altogether, and instead just find ways to casually bring up one or two of our common interests the next time I see her. Hell, I have t-shirts for a couple of them.
posted by Zorz at 5:19 PM on July 26, 2011

Be honest and tell the truth via OKC. Say that you signed in from taking a break, and she came up as a match. Mention that it's nice knowing her in person, and that you would like to ask her out on a real date (or something to that effect).
posted by Mr. Papagiorgio at 5:23 PM on July 26, 2011 [8 favorites]

Just send her an OKC message. That's not creepy at all - you're both on there to meet people, and hey! it's working!

But dropping your common interests into conversation, or changing your wardrobe to reflect common interests, is going to be a noticeable change in your behavior. One which she will easily track to you having checked out her profile on OKC because, hey! She's ON THERE TOO. AND CAN SEE YOUR PROFILE. If she's not dumb as a box of rocks, she'll figure it out, and you'll look like a major creeper for trying to be subtle about something that is blatantly intended as a means of communication.
posted by amelioration at 5:24 PM on July 26, 2011 [28 favorites]

To clarify, I'm wondering if I shouldn't sidestep the whole creepiness factor of "I saw you online" altogether, and instead just find ways to casually bring up one or two of our common interests the next time I see her.

That's creepy. And unless you're browsing anonymously on OKC, she's probably already seen that you've checked out her profile. Message her through the site.
posted by donajo at 5:25 PM on July 26, 2011 [8 favorites]

If she shows up as one of your matches, it seems likely that you'll show up as one of hers. Might as well get it out in the open. It would be creepy to exploit any information you get from her profile in person without acknowledging that you saw it there, especially in this light.

I'd message her via OKC. I'd probably say something like "honest, I didn't sign up here expecting find you, but I'm glad I did."
posted by adamrice at 5:32 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

She has probably seen you on OKC. Send her a message. None of that winking bullshit, a real message made of complete sentences about a thing or two you've discussed in real life and a thing from her profile.
posted by bilabial at 5:32 PM on July 26, 2011 [3 favorites]

Yes, keep it out of her workplace (and your coffee place). Keep it online, keep chatting her up when you pick up your joe, but keep the two separate unless she decides to make that move.
posted by Gilbert at 5:42 PM on July 26, 2011

Oh. Also. For goodness' sake, do not ask her in the coffee shop or anywhere else if she got your OKC message.

If she doesn't reply it's either because she hasn't enabled the message sending/reading feature (usually that's done with dollars) or she's not interested.

If you ask, either answer is going to be potentially embarassing or awkward for her.
posted by bilabial at 5:47 PM on July 26, 2011

OKC. Definitely. She's on it, she might know you're on it, so might as well message "Hey, look, you're on it and I'm on it, and I'll never ever mention that fact when I stop in for coffee, but considering how closely we match from our profiles, perhaps we should go somewhere else for coffee one of these days."
posted by davejay at 5:52 PM on July 26, 2011 [3 favorites]

To clarify, I'm wondering if I shouldn't sidestep the whole creepiness factor of "I saw you online" altogether, and instead just find ways to casually bring up one or two of our common interests the next time I see her. Hell, I have t-shirts for a couple of them.

Not only is that creepy, it's manipulative. Just message her on OKC.
posted by runningwithscissors at 6:08 PM on July 26, 2011 [8 favorites]

"fancy seeing you here!" on OKC is creepy

"hey, i saw you're on OKC" next time you stop by the cafe is creepy
:subtle hey I know everything about you: next time you stop by the cafe is creepy

"Hi, I met you the other day at (X Cafe), you were the cute barista I talked to about (Band X) that was playing on the sound system that day. It's awesome that you like (obscure artist/author/movie/show) too, my favourite is (song by artist/book or part of book by author/part of movie/episode of show) because (cite reason here). How about you?
Nice to meet you again, hope to hear back from you. (signed You)" is cool. And then leave it, if you see her again be friendly but mention nothing, wait for a sign from her.
posted by lizbunny at 6:18 PM on July 26, 2011 [8 favorites]

You could send her to a link to this thread on mefi, get all self-referential about the whole thing.
posted by iamck at 6:32 PM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]

Secretly researching someone behind their back and then lying to them about it is creepy. Messaging them on a dating website is not creepy.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:51 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

Have you seen that episode of The Office where Andy wants to ask out Stanley's client Julia, so Andy goes out to the parking lot to look in Julia's car, gets excited that she has a Feist CD meaning they like the same kind of music, and then he drops in on Stanley and Julia's sales meeting and starts singing Feist's "1 2 3 4," changing the lyrics to be about how he's bringing them coffee? This was a sitcom plot because surreptitiously finding out information about someone and then bringing it up unexpectedly is likely to go ridiculously awry. Andy thought he was being really clever, but his scheming made him look like he was trying too hard. Just stick to one setting or the other: either talk to her at the cafe (and forget what you saw online), or send her a message on OKCupid.
posted by John Cohen at 7:02 PM on July 26, 2011

and instead just find ways to casually bring up one or two of our common interests the next time I see her. Hell, I have t-shirts for a couple of them.

it's creepy to deceive.
posted by philip-random at 8:01 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

Hmm...yes, there's really no way to avoid some level of creepy factor at this point, unless I find a time machine and go back and unsee her profile. Barring that, I'll just try to minimize the creepiness and convince her it actually was a coincidence. Thanks all!
posted by Zorz at 8:05 PM on July 26, 2011

Convince her what was a coincidence?
posted by bilabial at 8:10 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

Do what lizbunny says. That is the most approachable, least stalkery method here. Remind her who you are and put the ball in her court.
posted by cmgonzalez at 8:11 PM on July 26, 2011

As a former barista, allow me to beg you: please, please, please do not ask her out at work.

Don't do it for two reasons, the first of which is that it's obnoxious, the second of which is that it won't work. Because not only will you be not the first guy who has asked her out at work, you may not even be the first guy that day who has asked her out at work. And even if she likes you and thinks you're cute, she is not at work to be asked out. She is on okcupid to be asked out. So send her a message there.

And really do not wear the shirt of a band she likes hoping she'll notice and start chatting you up. If you want to talk to her, you should start talking to her, not attempt to passively lure her into talking to you. Especially since I'm sure she knows that you looked at her profile.

lizbunny and davejay have both given you great scripts. Use one of them! Or make up your own, if you want. But really just don't ask her out at work.
posted by dizziest at 8:47 PM on July 26, 2011 [4 favorites]

Hmm...yes, there's really no way to avoid some level of creepy factor at this point, unless I find a time machine and go back and unsee her profile. Barring that, I'll just try to minimize the creepiness and convince her it actually was a coincidence.

I hope you're listening to the general consensus on this one: contacting someone via OKC is not inherently creepy. Yes, there are ways of doing it that could be creepy, but that can easily be mitigated - people put their profiles up there in order to contact and be contacted by other people they might like to date. It isn't creepy to contact her there! Just listen to the advice to leave it be at the one message, and let her bring it up later if she's interested.

OTOH, trying to sneakily use whatever "intelligence" you've gathered on OKC, no matter how much you try to make it seem like a coincidence, is creepy. I really like John Cohen's point about something similar being a plot point on a sitcom ... it does make it look like you're trying too hard or that you think she's too dim to figure it out if you do all these "subtle" things and try to pass them off as coincidence - especially if there's a chance she can see you've looked at her profile (or even if she can't). Even if you're sure she won't figure it out, as others have pointed out, it still smacks of manipulation.

Just come clean on OKC! She might be happy to hear from you - and if she's not, you'd be contacting her in a way that would be less awkward for both of you.
posted by DingoMutt at 8:51 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

she is not at work to be asked out. She is on okcupid to be asked out. So send her a message there.

This, a million times.
posted by jacalata at 8:53 PM on July 26, 2011

Yes, I will be messaging her. Just really hoping that she doesn't think I scoured the internet trying to find her profile because I really didn't!
posted by Zorz at 8:55 PM on July 26, 2011

So two things...

First, you NEED to post an update once you have done this and tell us what her response was. This is the reward for all of the great advice here, you damned well better deliver! :)

Second...seconding the other poster who said OKC her but don't mention it in person. If she is interested, she will respond online or when you see her. If she hasn't received the message yet, then just wait it out. Asking her about it makes you seem overeager/desperate and you are then bringing creepiness into her workplace and making that an uncomfortable environment for her which is the last thing you want to do.

In your message to her, try to be super casual as well. Something talking about how random it was that she popped up on your list and laugh it off.
posted by Elminster24 at 8:59 PM on July 26, 2011 [2 favorites]

You are way overthinking this plate o' (coffee) beans. I don't see the problem with the "Oh, hey! Fancy meeting you here" on OKC. That is what it is there for.
posted by thebrokedown at 9:02 PM on July 26, 2011 [1 favorite]

I was actually a barista who used OKCupid, and I was recognized on there by customers! Twice! The first guy was just basically a friendly hello, but the second... this guy sent me a non-straightforward message that was clearly flirty but hedging his bets in case I wasn't into it. I wasn't, since we had literally nothing in common, and replied as such (in the most gentle way I could think of). He was then super awkward around me for the rest of the time I worked there. THE WORST!

Alas, I was never recognized by a customer I actually liked. But if it had, I would have preferred a message that acknowledged the inherent weirdness of the situation while being upfront about WHY he was interested in me- aka, he was not messaging me just because I was his barista, but because we had X Y and Z in common. Like, hey, I wouldn't normally ask out my barista BUT you seem cool for [concrete reason] so I figured it was worth a shot. And then- this is key- DO NOT ACT WEIRD AROUND HER AT WORK. Not friendlier than normal, not more standoffish than normal, don't tip more, nothing. Once you send that message out, forget you sent it unless she replies. In other words- do everything in the exact opposite way from Guy 2 above.

(I know a lot of people say "Oh, baristas don't like dating customers," but that's not exactly true. I could name 5 or 6 regulars who I would have gladly gone out with. But the thing is, since the barista is being paid to suck up to you, you can't actually know for sure if you are in your barista's 5 or 6, or if you are one of the legion other guys she doesn't care about either way. Messaging her TACTFULLY on OKC is actually probably the only way to be sure.)
posted by showbiz_liz at 9:48 PM on July 26, 2011 [9 favorites]

I was once messaged by a barista lady that invited me to stop by her place of work to say hi. I came by, introduced myself, bought a coffee, sat down, and she said she would come sit down and chill for a bit once she got a minute off. She ended up not coming to say hello and didn't acknowledge me again until I left 45 minutes later, during which she had a break and sat with a friend.

Obviously she didn't like what she saw and chose not to pursue, but what a terrible way to let someone know, it felt pretty shitty. Her loss.

Like others have said message her on OKC, I like davejay's script most. Best of luck!
posted by masters2010 at 12:37 AM on July 27, 2011

Funnily enough, all a moot point! Looks like she took down her profile this morning. Such is life.
posted by Zorz at 6:04 AM on July 27, 2011

I would actually think that messaging her on OKCupid would be the worst option. Sending her a message rather than talking in person would seem odd and might make her think you have social anxiety - never a good sign. In most social circumstances, it is better to talk in person rather than through email unless you are halfway around the world or are in bed, paralyzed from the neck down.

Even though the profile is down, it doesn't hurt to ask her out. Save it for after her work day when she isn't preoccupied treating you nicely because you are a customer. Asking her when you are buying coffee is always weird and puts her on the defensive. You probably don't want to immediately mention you saw her profile or talk about stuff she didn't tell you.
posted by JJ86 at 6:43 AM on July 27, 2011

Guess she's a mefite.
posted by screamingnotlaughing at 4:31 PM on July 27, 2011 [7 favorites]

I ran into one my of OKCupid matches at a charity party once. I hadn't messaged her because I was dating someone else at the time, but I approached her and brought it up. It was a good icebreaker and we had a good chat.

Ask her out in person. Mention the profile later and you can have a good laugh about it.
posted by BeaverTerror at 7:44 PM on July 27, 2011

Go talk to her in person. When the time is right, ask her out. OKCupid is for meeting people. You didn't meet her there. You met her at her coffee house. Messaging her on the internet after you accidentally found her profile is weird and you're a more awesome dude than that anyway.

posted by phoebus at 11:50 PM on July 27, 2011

I didn't see what the deal would be about mentioning the OK Cupid profile in person. You stumbled onto it on a dating site you both were on, it's not like you Googled her. And you've already chatted before in person, so it's not like it's just a one-way acquaintance (though I'm not sure how much chatting actually went on). If it were a classmate you don't know that well, wouldn't messaging her online out of the blue be kind of weird?

The fact that she pulled it down muddles things a bit, eg, did she just get cold feet, or did she find someone? The timing does seem kind of funny, though. Even if she saw this thread, pulling it seems kind of drastic.

By the way, did you actually visit her page, or were you going by the excerpts in the search results? And isn't it likely that she'd seen you as a match at some point? So many questions.
posted by TheSecretDecoderRing at 1:25 AM on July 28, 2011

She probably didn't take down her profile, more likely she just turned it off. Could be for many reasons. But definitely worth making an effort to talk to her sometime soon. Meeting in person (in my experience) after seeing the person online takes some navigation, but if you play it cool it's ok. I already said what not to do, but I've been in the situation of subtle recognition, spark of interest and attraction acknowledged, and progressing from there.

You managed to have a bit of a conversation with her once, you can do it again. And if she seems smiley and flirty then yeah - you can sheepishly admit you saw her profile online just a few days ago but she'd taken it down. Too bad, because you'd wanted to send her a message, you have a lot in common - make brief small talk about an example here - And gauge her reaction. No mention of dating someone or some other excuse? Any spark of interest? Chat for a bit, while it's comfortable (don't overstay your welcome), and then say you like her, you'd like to take her out some time. Maybe not for a coffee (she works at a cafe), but a drink at a nice trendy martini bar, or wandering around some local attraction (like an art gallery or a street festival that's on, nearby nature trails, whatever). Swap numbers, set a date, mention you'll text her to confirm on the day of, then you say "well I should get going, hope you have a lovely afternoon" and make your exit.

If she backs out at any time, well there you go. Leave her alone forevermore.
posted by lizbunny at 2:04 PM on July 28, 2011

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