Is this weird or not?
May 1, 2012 6:23 PM   Subscribe

At a physical checkup I met a med-school student who was touring around with the doctor learning to diagnose, etc. She seemed sweet. Would it be weird to call the office and ask her to lunch?
posted by uncannyslacks to Human Relations (27 answers total)
posted by phrontist at 6:29 PM on May 1, 2012 [8 favorites]

No, it would be creepy.
posted by monospace at 6:31 PM on May 1, 2012 [11 favorites]

I can't imagine a scenario where this works out, no.
posted by kavasa at 6:32 PM on May 1, 2012

Oh yeah. Not only weird, but you might have issues getting seen in the future by that office. At a minimum, there is zero chance you'd get past the gate keepers (front office).

Even if you managed to get her on the phone and invite her out, she is in medical school. She probably JUST took medical ethics.

Don't do it.
posted by arnicae at 6:32 PM on May 1, 2012 [2 favorites]

Please don't do this.
posted by jabes at 6:35 PM on May 1, 2012 [4 favorites]

I figured this would probably be a bad idea just due to the professionalism of the workplace, but I thought I'd ask anyway. Seems like the consensus is no.
posted by uncannyslacks at 6:40 PM on May 1, 2012

I'm a 'mid-level provider' student so I'm often in the same position as that med student. This has happened to me once, and it made me very, very uncomfortable.
posted by cobaltnine at 6:40 PM on May 1, 2012 [4 favorites]

This probably deters people that seem sweet from becoming doctors. Don't do it.
posted by oceanjesse at 6:42 PM on May 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

Sure, call up the office, ask to speak to the nurse you know from previous visits. Explain what you want to do, ask her if that would be ok. Listen to whatever she tells you.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:42 PM on May 1, 2012

What they said, plus: med students often don't have much time to date (outside their circle of fellow med students).
posted by Good Brain at 6:43 PM on May 1, 2012

posted by unSane at 6:44 PM on May 1, 2012

Actually, scratch some of what I previously wrote. Talk to the head nurse or reception, tell'em you'd like to take X out to lunch and then leave your name and number. Let the her, be it the receptionist or intern decide to even pass on the information or give you a call. No, you don't get to call and do a follow up. Give it your best shot, use the "i'm not a pyscho, but a guy who recognizes this could be really weird, but I'm not weird, so I'm gonna give this strange idea a shot" voice and then drop it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:49 PM on May 1, 2012

What they said, plus: med students often don't have much time to date (outside their circle of fellow med students).

Med students need love too!

As a med student, I would refuse any such offer. I feel that it's a pretty clear breach of ethical boundary setting to start dating patients as a student.

I would like to add that even if nothing embarrassing or private came out in the consultation, the doctor may have given her your biography before or after the consult. This makes it triply awkward to make that approach.
posted by chiquitita at 7:04 PM on May 1, 2012

Yeah, I get meeting someone and wanting to ask her out, but this would be a bad idea. If it were going to work, the only option I can see was to do it in person. Calling the office to try to get in touch with her that way would be plain weird.
posted by J. Wilson at 7:14 PM on May 1, 2012

And I mean, it had to be in person then. Going back now to ask her out in person would face the same problem as the phone call.

Plus it sounds like she would not be able to say yes because of ethical concerns.
posted by J. Wilson at 7:16 PM on May 1, 2012

It's weird because of two things 1) time and place are not appropriate and 2) it crosses the professional boundaries which exist for a doctor in training and even your role as someone that visits the clinic. The med student's purpose is to learn and assist you, your role is to ask for help, and these two lines should not be crossed at all. But, that's just my opinion.
posted by livinglearning at 7:31 PM on May 1, 2012

It would be exactly as creepy as asking out a doctor or nurse or physician's assistant or medical technician that you met in the course of your medical appointment. In other words, really, really creepy.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:42 PM on May 1, 2012

Don't do it, man.
posted by mleigh at 7:47 PM on May 1, 2012

With all due respect, the OP has already accepted the "please don't, it would be creepy" consensus gracefully, and doesn't seem to need more convincing or piling-on.
posted by Tomorrowful at 7:47 PM on May 1, 2012 [9 favorites]

Put me down as thinking it's creepy cubed.
posted by jayder at 8:13 PM on May 1, 2012

As a rule of thumb that certainly has some exceptions, people at work are not interested in people trying to pitch woo.
posted by box at 9:02 PM on May 1, 2012 [2 favorites]

This is like falling for the waitress or the bartender. She's not being sweet to you because she likes you. She's being sweet to you because that's her job.
posted by gnutron at 12:09 AM on May 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

Professional situations require a bit more polish. You're not in a bar or Place Designated As Appropriate For Approaching People. This is work. Thus, you need to maintain plausible deniability for both parties.

Call the office, tell her you're going to be in the area the following day/week/whatever and ask her if she knows a nice place for lunch. Or afterwork drinks or whatever. First step is to see if there is a non-professional relationship there.

If she says no, take it gracefully and move on. Next time you see her, you know the boundaries are professional.

Point is to give her a completely no-risk opportunity.

And as far as the people that say no, why not? People meet in all kinds of places. In the workplace, at funerals, on sinking ships, in wars. There's no "right" place to meet people. There are "better" ways to behave, depending on the situation.

Of course, I'm biased. I had quite a shine for the receptionist of a lawyer. Very attractive to me, no ring, very professional.

I was sitting in a cafe not near to her office and happened to see her walking toward a train station one day about 1800. So the next day, I went back and sat outside the same coffee shop. She walked by again and this time smiled and stopped. Oh joy! right? Ha. She said, "so good to see you," and was very warm and friendly, much more so than at the office.

"My boyfriend and I love this place. We spent a lot of time here after work when we were shopping for our house."

Like everything else in life, go for what you want, but don't be an ass.
posted by nickrussell at 3:14 AM on May 2, 2012

I have a pretty good relationship both with my doctor and the main nurse, so I'd be comfortable bringing it up with one of them, and relying on them to either get excited about being a potential matchmaker or to say "nope, not going to work, ha ha." I definitely wouldn't ask twice, and I am only saying this because there is enough of a friendly relationship there that I know it could be asked without looking creepy or weird.

If you aren't 1000 percent confident in your ability to mention it without even a possibility of someone thinking "Ugh, this is awkward," don't even hint at the thought of bringing it up. And if there is going to be an ongoing patient/dr relationship with her (say, she is going to continue interning in the office), don't do this.

And figure that she has seen your file and seen you get your nuts palpated, so I'd think twice about that being a fabulous basis for a relationship.
posted by Forktine at 6:26 AM on May 2, 2012

Here in the UK, doctors are strongly discouraged from dating patients, and such a relationship could get a doctor reported to the General Medical Council. I don't know where you are, but even if she's interested in you, asking her out is likely to put her in a difficult position ethically. Don't do it.
posted by Perodicticus potto at 6:30 AM on May 2, 2012

This advice doesn't relate directly to your question (everyone's already agreed you shouldn't ask her out), but may help you in the future with stuff like this.

1) Yes, you can ask somebody in this situation out. It may not be ethical for her to date you, but that doesn't mean she won't do it.

2) However, there is a limited window of time (which has long since passed) in which you can do it without seeming creepy. Generally you need to ask in person on the spot.

3) The best way to do this is to have a short list of fun events which are happening in the next few months. Then, if she happens to mention an interest which coincides with one of those events, you say "I'm a huge jazz fan too - in fact I'm so psyched about that jass festival coming up in Rockport. I'm sure you must have heard of it; will you be going?" (This is only an example - actually I loathe jazz). That is a more natural way to transition into asking her out.

Good luck meeting Ms. Right in the future. :-)
posted by wolfdreams01 at 12:35 PM on May 2, 2012

"However, there is a limited window of time (which has long since passed) in which you can do it without seeming creepy. Generally you need to ask in person on the spot."

Oh hell no. Speaking as a medical student going through rotations myself, we are always aware that we're being evaluated by our preceptors when we're working with them. Of course being asked out would be flattering, but it could very likely place her in a very awkward position, not only because of professionalism-ethics but because "on the spot," we are very aware that our preceptor is grading us and will not appreciate being placed in such a complicated or awkward situation.
posted by qxrt at 4:11 PM on May 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

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