Worth asking her out again? Careful! This is a coworker…
August 2, 2013 9:37 PM   Subscribe

Last month I finally decided to ask a coworker out. We had often chatted briefly yet friendly at work. I felt we shared interests, concerns, and values, at least to a degree that made a low pressure date look plausible. Is her not replying to my 2nd invitation a signal to move?

During our holiday period, I texted her if she would like to meet me for a drink. She accepted and “the date” (to give it a name) went down pretty well. I confirmed we had several things in common, we talked for around 1 and ½ hours, and I found her a warm, attractive and interesting person. I know from experience she is compassionate and caring (our jobs partly involve assisting people in dire need) and couldn’t think of her as materialistic or shallow. However, there was one moment in our date when the conversation shifted from rising cost of living in our town, to salaries and then somehow we both ended up disclosing how much we actually earned. We learnt that she makes almost twice as much as me. The fact that the salary for my position was, according to her, so unfairly low really surprised her.
Our first date was on a Friday afternoon and I was travelling on Sunday night (I was going away for 10 days). As I felt we had spent a nice time together and–except maybe for the salary part–the conversation had flowed pretty pleasantly, I thought a 2nd, slightly more intimate date could happen. There was also a new indie movie I had heard great things about playing only till Sunday, only at one theater. I thought we might both enjoy it, so I texted her on Saturday telling her I was planning to go to watch this apparently great film before leaving, and asked her if she would like to join me. I got no response. She had also failed to respond once before, a couple of days prior to our –then still unscheduled–first date. That time it had not been an invitation but rather a sort of pre-invitation, something like this:

Me: Hey X! Are you in town?
Her: Hey Y! How r u doing? No, I’m with some friends in (nearby tourist site). Budget holiday! Are you in XXXXXX(my native town)?
Me: No, I’m having some relatives staying over with me for the week. I’m travelling back home next Sunday. So, what’s going on in (nearby tourist site)? Are you planning to stay for a couple of days?

No response

She did however, text me back other times (as, for instance, when she agreed to go for a drink a few days later), so I almost rule out her not getting the messages.
So, I wonder whether one more (and last) attempt would be wise given the circumstances. We are both back to work now, but other than saying hi have barely spoken and there have certainly been zero reference to our meeting, or the failed movie plan. I like her and think of her as a great person. I would be willing to give this issue another shot. However, I’m also aware that there is more than a slight chance that she is turning me down, and given the fact that we will be seeing each other almost daily, I want to handle this as graciously as possible.
Does it make sense? Views on how to proceed on this matter from both experts on human interaction and regular folks with some insight are very welcome
posted by Basque13 to Human Relations (22 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Hey, is this the woman you had a coffee date with?

She probably didn't realize that the coffee or drinks or whatever was a date, and then thought to herself, "Oh shit" when you asked her out to see a movie. She's politely brushing you off.

I'm not opposed to interoffice romance on principle, but it sounds like everything that you've interpreted as possible interest on her part was just plain ol' coworker friendliness. Women aren't helpless creatures. Even if she expects or wants you to make the first move, she's not without the ability to make it known that she's into you.

Also, as a woman who has been asked out by a lot of coworkers and just thought, "What the fuck?":

Is she the only attractive, single woman you work with? Because if she is, she probably deals with this shit constantly.
posted by ablazingsaddle at 9:45 PM on August 2, 2013 [8 favorites]

If this is the same person from your last question, I would just drop it.

I've seen office flirtations go from cute to creepy. Don't be that guy.

On the other hand, it kind of sounds like maybe she was just busy being on vacation with her friends? I would probably either opt not to reply in that situation, myself, or find myself trailing off after a few messages were exchanged.

Can you not just ask her out verbally, in a completely clear way that will require her to answer either yes or no unequivocally? That's really your only hope for continuing with this without coming off like a creep.
posted by Sara C. at 9:47 PM on August 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

In my opinion you haven't clearly expressed a romantic interest to her and your I stuffed could have been seen as mere friendliness but suggesting a movie so soon after getting together, and her not responding to two txts, and the lack of iniative at interactions at work indicate to me that she is avoiding giving off any romantic vibes without making things awkward with a direct rejection.
posted by saucysault at 9:47 PM on August 2, 2013 [6 favorites]

Did she realize the drink was a date? I am a girl and I have gone out for one-on-one drinks/coffee/dinner with male coworkers on multiple occasions and they aren't anything I would consider as remotely date-like. They're just me & my coworker having a drink and bitching about our boss and talking about TV shows.

I have dated a coworker and I have also been hit on (pushily & undesiredly) by some coworkers. Dating a coworker is something that can get really weird and turning them down can get even more weird: she may have thought the first thing was a date but then realized 'oh, shit! don't want to deal with that' when you escalated to a movie. She may not have realized it was a date at all. Or she just may not be that into you. Whatever it is, it sounds like she's trying to pretend the whole thing never happened to avoid awkwardness, so I would respect that and drop it completely. If she's into you, she will ask you out herself or make her own overture.
posted by angst at 9:58 PM on August 2, 2013 [10 favorites]

She accepted and “the date” (to give it a name) went down pretty well.

if you didn't use the exactly language of "a date" it was not a date. sorry dude, it's a cruel trap to be in. you have to act cool and easy going, but all the pressure is on you to escalate things, and because of her need to keep plausible deniability, she can't give you a green lite to escalate. so, you'll either hit the jackpot or strike out (the more likely scenario) in these situations.
posted by cupcake1337 at 10:35 PM on August 2, 2013 [1 favorite]

Leave it be, she's being polite with the brush off. Don't make her tell you to back off. Like others have pointed out, being social with a coworker outside of work doesn't mean it's a date. If she were interested in a romantic relationship with you, she would have been enthusiastic about seeing a movie with you.
posted by quince at 10:49 PM on August 2, 2013 [7 favorites]

Oh, I don't think you went on a date, man.

Lots of people don't date people they work with - too much potential for crap.

She's telling you to back off without telling you that (because she doesn't know how you will respond to her rejection - like, make her life hell - and she has to work with you!)
posted by heyjude at 11:17 PM on August 2, 2013 [3 favorites]

Yeah, gotta agree with the posters saying to drop this: you've made multiple attempts to have a social relationship with this woman, and she's politely brushing you off. Whether she's not into you -or- she doesn't like to date coworkers, it looks like this relationship isn't going to work out.

I hate to say it, but at this point, just from your postings here, you're starting to come across as a bit of a stalker: she's been trying to nicely tell you 'no' for months now, but you're not listening. You probably don't MEAN to act like a stalker, but that's the vibe you're beginning to give off.

And too, a lot of people simply don't like dating their coworkers: there are way too many possibilities for way too much drama if things go wrong. Indeed, that's why some companies actually FORBID it --- and from what I've personally seen, I've got to say I think it's a bad practice..... I've seen too many workplace romances go sour, and the resulting fallout can make EVERYONE (not just the couple themselves!) miserable.
posted by easily confused at 1:48 AM on August 3, 2013 [10 favorites]

When it comes to sex or sexual relationships, view anything other than Yes as No.

"Yes" can be:
1] The other person responding with a Yes to a direct question, such as "Do you want to go to the movies on Friday night?", and then making plans about what to see and what time to meet.
2] The other person suggesting to you that you go to the movies on Friday night.

"Yes" is not:
1] The other person saying "we should totally do that sometime" when asked about going to the movies and then not making actual plans to do it.
2] Them responding with "...uh, sure..." when asked if they want to go to the movies.
3] Them having your contact details and then not contacting you. There are a couple of corollaries to this - if they're somewhere where they can't get a signal to contact you, such as deep underground, inside a lead box or Antarctica, or they're in a middle of a crisis such as their house burning down, then they have good reason to put you on the back burner. Once the crisis is over, you might consider having another try.

If the other person actually laid eyes on you since and hasn't made any effort to push the relationship forward, let it slide. They're either not interested at all, or not interested enough. In either case, all signs point to No.

In your specific case, OP, I'd be inclined to be work-polite to Coworker, and never suggest any kind of one-on-one social activity to her again, lest things be misconstrued. She is now exactly like every other coworker who you haven't asked out - treat her the same as you'd treat them. That will help you both save face, not that there was really a lot lost in this instance.
posted by Solomon at 4:55 AM on August 3, 2013 [16 favorites]

Move on.
posted by Dansaman at 6:37 AM on August 3, 2013 [2 favorites]

I agree that she didn't know it was a date, and that she doesn't seem very interested in you. Drop it.
posted by windykites at 6:38 AM on August 3, 2013 [2 favorites]

Yeah, she's not interested and is trying to be polite about is so you won't cause her trouble at work. Which is why it's a bad idea to date coworkers anyway.

Might I suggest that you start reading Doctor NerdLove for dating advice? A few posts here seem pretty relevant to this situation.

* Why Women Flake.
* Does She Like You? Especially read page 3 about being polite and friendly at work and how that doesn't always mean she's interested.
* Read Her Signs.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:14 AM on August 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

No. Also, don't shit where you eat.
posted by Rob Rockets at 7:17 AM on August 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

She is your coworker. You guys hung out. Then, you asked her to go see a movie by text, and she ignored that text. She is trying to be friendly without being flirtatious or leading you on.

But back to the coworker thing. Even if there were some ambiguity here and in other circumstances you could give it one more shot, she is your coworker and you need to back away gracefully when you receive anything other than a "yes."

Especially, I would add, when there was no chemistry. You did not describe any chemistry on your "date," and if it had been there, you would have mentioned it. Stick to being coworkers and maybe friends.
posted by J. Wilson at 7:29 AM on August 3, 2013 [3 favorites]

I would let this go. The movie invitation was your clearest expression of romantic interest, and her lack of response suggests the interest is not mutual. If she did want to date you, I think she would have responded even if she couldn't make the movie. Stopping at this point allows you both to maintain a professionally friendly relationship without any awkward exchanges that could make her uncomfortable at work.
posted by Area Man at 8:01 AM on August 3, 2013 [4 favorites]

She's barely speaking to you, and hasn't brought up the date plans. The drink wasn't a date, it was just two coworkers getting together.

She's not interested. It's probably not about your salary. Don't push it. Don't fixate.
posted by RainyJay at 8:51 AM on August 3, 2013 [3 favorites]

Simply ignoring your texts really doesn't sound to me like "letting you down easy"--it's just rude. As you don't seem to think she's a rude person, it seems to me that there might be more to it (who knows what--some problem with her phone?). The simple, straightforward, not at all creepy and above all GROWN UP thing to do is to just ask her, face to face, if she'd like to go on a date with you. If she says no then you make that not a problem by not treating it as a problem and taking an actual "no, thanks all the same" as a "no." All this desperate attempt to read what exactly a text message which she did not send means is some pretty middle-school nonsense.
posted by yoink at 9:07 AM on August 3, 2013 [1 favorite]

Since meeting for drinks, you have texted her one time (the movie invitation) which she did not respond to, and you have not exchanged texts at all since then. She has not initiated any contact with you via text, and has not pursued a "brief yet friendly" chat with you since you've both been back at work.

She isn't interested. You don't need to devote any more brain space to this.
posted by sm1tten at 9:56 AM on August 3, 2013 [3 favorites]

I agree that the "date" wasn't really a date in her mind. The lack of response and interest indicates to me that she's not interested in dating you. Don't make the situation even more awkward than it is already by asking her out again and making her blatantly reject you.
posted by parakeetdog at 10:23 AM on August 3, 2013

There's a disconnect between what you write about her and how you write about her.

You've now spent two asks on this one woman, going on at fair length in each, about how to try to date her even in the face of her unspectacular response. But all you will commit to about your feelings is "I like her and think of her as a great person. I would be willing to give this issue another shot."

On the contrary, you seem really really into her and kind of desperate to figure out a way to have another shot. There's nothing wrong with that!! We all get crushes. But I think being honest with yourself about what's really going on with your feelings will let you interact with others in a way that is more genuine and attractive, and less likely to be creepy. That's not to say it will 'work' at getting you who you want - lots of crushes stay unrequited. But I think that people are much more sensitive to insincerity than they even realize, and it can come off badly for you.

Otherwise you have just somehow gotten really fixated on this particular apparent romantic opportunity, despite not being so very into her, which indicates that it might be a good idea to try to get some more dating activities and interests going on and avoid putting undue pressure on any one situation.

I agree with other posters that she's trying to maintain platonic distance in the least disruptive way possible. Good for you for trying, and good for you for moving on peacefully when it doesn't work out!
posted by Salamandrous at 10:36 AM on August 3, 2013 [6 favorites]

If she was interested in pursuing things further on a social level, she would have indicated it by now.

As many others have said, please do not ask keep pursuing this until she's forced to reject you explicitly. This will make things awkward and unpleasant for both of you, it will damage your professional relationship with her, and may damage your professional relationship with other coworkers.

By all means, you should continue to be cordial and professional when you see her at work, but it's high time you stop asking her out on dates.
posted by scody at 10:43 AM on August 3, 2013 [10 favorites]

She's not interested. Leave her alone.
posted by htid at 12:29 PM on August 3, 2013 [3 favorites]

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