How to ask out a coworker?
August 31, 2013 1:52 PM   Subscribe

How to/Should I ask my coworker, who may not even know my name, out on a date?

I have a crush on a bartender I work with and would like to ask him out on a casual date like coffee or a drink.

I am not a bartender and my work only requires me to interact with him at the beginning and end of my shift for a minute or so. Usually during these brief interactions we just exchange pleasantries. It is unlikely that I will see him outside of work and I don't have him as a friend on Facebook so, unfortunately, I will be asking him out while he is working (he will be away from the bar though). Due to our limited interaction at work, I'm not concerned with things becoming awkward.

My question is fairly similar to this with slight differences.

We're both in college and in our early twenties; I'm female.

Questions:

How should I ask him out (assuming I should)?
I don't drink coffee or alcohol. Is there another casual date idea I can suggest?
I've never asked someone out before, so I've never been rejected. What is a good thing say/way to react, if he declines?
posted by Robocat to Human Relations (22 answers total)
 
I don't drink coffee or alcohol. Is there another casual date idea I can suggest?

Do you drink hot tea? Bubble tea? Italian soda? Do you like ice cream or frozen yogurt? Those will all get you similar experiences to going out for a coffee.
posted by grouse at 2:03 PM on August 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


What is a good thing say/way to react, if he declines?

Say "OK, cool". Then smile and change the subject to something completely innocuous. Within a short span of time, vacate the area. The next time after that that you seem him, behave as you normally would. Don't bring this up again.

You might also want to look at most (if not all) of the previous questions here about dating coworkers.
posted by Solomon at 2:05 PM on August 31, 2013 [4 favorites]


Yeah, "let's get coffee" as a date invitation doesn't mean you have to drink coffee. It means you go to a coffee shop together and drink hot chocolate / eat a muffin / take up space and smoke too much / whatever, and have a bit of a conversation.

(Though if you ask someone out to a bar and then don't drink alcohol, that's potentially weird.)
posted by Now there are two. There are two _______. at 2:07 PM on August 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


Asking him out would be creepy. You know nothing about him other than his appearance, and it's tacky and weird to ask people out just based on how they look. Don't be a creeper.

Plus, there's the standard set of problems with dating co-workers.
posted by Unified Theory at 2:07 PM on August 31, 2013 [4 favorites]


You know nothing about him other than his appearance, and it's tacky and weird to ask people out just based on how they look.

Eh. They're in college. I don't think this is creepy at all. He'll probably think it is cool that you are asking him out.

Just say, "Hey, wanna grab a cup of coffee or something?" If he pauses then say something like, "Yeah, it might be weird since we work together," and laugh it off. Either he will be thankful you gave him an "out" or he will disagree with you and agree to going out.

If he takes the out then smile and act exactly as you would have if you hadn't ever asked him out. Continue to never bring it up again and act totally normal in all future interactions.
posted by magnetsphere at 2:14 PM on August 31, 2013 [9 favorites]


Unified Theory is being too harsh. You're young! Go for it! If you date and it ends badly, just get a different job. I assume you work in a restaurant or club, so it's not like you're both entrenched in a corporation that would be difficult to leave.
posted by desjardins at 2:14 PM on August 31, 2013 [5 favorites]


No, because it's unfair. He doesn't even know your name and so he doesn't have time to think. And whenever someone I interact with asks me out and I say no, I feel sorry and embarrassed for them. And if they work with me, it just makes my job environment awkward.

Go ask another guy out. World is full of lovely guys:-)
posted by discopolo at 2:15 PM on August 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


I wouldn't ask him out for coffee yet. Instead, expand your exchange of pleasantries into some actual conversations (they will probably be brief, but that's okay), so that you can both determine if you have a little rapport and -- more fundamentally -- to make sure that you both know each other's name. Assuming that goes well, then ask him out.
posted by scody at 2:19 PM on August 31, 2013 [28 favorites]


my work only requires me to interact with him at the beginning and end of my shift for a minute or so. Usually during these brief interactions we just exchange pleasantries. It is unlikely that I will see him outside of work

Is there any way you could interact with him more at work? It's a lot easier to ask someone out when you've already established that you have at least a few interests in common and get along at least well enough to get beyond pleasantries. I think "coffee" is fine even if you don't drink it, but other casual dates will suggest themselves if you know he likes certain kinds of movies or activities.

On preview, what scody said!
posted by DestinationUnknown at 2:21 PM on August 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


(as somebody who worked in a restaurant when young) Can you not get together a group thing and invite him along on that? 'A bunch of us are going to XYZ after Tuesday's shift, can you make it?' It shouldn't be difficult to round up a small group, and that would eliminate all sorts of pitfalls here.
posted by kmennie at 2:31 PM on August 31, 2013 [12 favorites]


I don't think it's a good idea to date coworkers. Things tend to get... awkward if the relationship doesn't pan out.
posted by alvin545 at 2:57 PM on August 31, 2013


Is there any way you could interact with him more at work?

Look, if a guy was talking about asking out some girl at work, and people suggested he find a way to interact more at work as a way of submarining closer to get a chance to ask her out specifically because of physical attraction, that would be 100% flat out creepy.

Same here.

Let it go.
posted by rr at 3:58 PM on August 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


As a rule, dating coworkers is a bad idea, especially in a smallish situation like a restaurant or small office --- if you worked for different departments in a big corporation, where your jobs had zero interaction, then and only then would it be okay.

The problem is, any office romance automatically includes your *other* coworkers, both if a relationship worked out AND if it goes bad. When all is hearts & flowers between a coworking couple, especially if one of them is a supervisor, there's a good chance other people will be shafted on desirable shifts and assignments because of the favoritism involved. Drama will ensue with other employees often-justifiably feeling cheated, and everyone will be sucked into it.

Ah, but what about if the romance fails? MORE drama, as everyone else in the place is caught between inbetween --- the former lovers will try to make their coworkers take sides in the breakup; I've even seen excouples try to pass messages to each other only through their coworkers: "tell John to do the X report"; "I'm not speaking to Jean, tell her to bring me Z". Almost worse than a total breakup though, is the normal spats any couple goes through: dragging your coworkers through that up/down now-we're-together, now-we're-not is a guarenteed way to give them all a royal pain in the butt.

And honestly, after having been forced to work around some of these office romances myself, I never want to have to go through that again.
posted by easily confused at 4:20 PM on August 31, 2013


No. No. No. Do not ask out your coworker. Don't shit where you eat.
posted by Rob Rockets at 4:36 PM on August 31, 2013


Look, if a guy was talking about asking out some girl at work, and people suggested he find a way to interact more at work as a way of submarining closer to get a chance to ask her out specifically because of physical attraction, that would be 100% flat out creepy.

I think you have this backwards. It is never a bad idea to get to know the person you think you want to date in order to find out whether you really do want to date them. I have been asked out by guys at work. I can assure you it would have been far less creepy and random if they'd had a couple conversations with me first to find out if we had anything in common or not.

I would say the exact same thing if it was a female bartender the OP thought she wanted to befriend. Talk to her and see if she's nice (as opposed to just someone who outwardly looks like she could be your friend) and then if you get along, suggest hanging out outside of work.
posted by DestinationUnknown at 4:47 PM on August 31, 2013 [5 favorites]


I might be tempted to leave a note if there's a way to do so where only he will see it. Something along the lines of, "We've only chatted a few times, but I would like to get to know you better. Let's go get a green tea! Here's my phone number." I met my wife at work in 1986 and we are still together.
posted by brownrd at 4:57 PM on August 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Apparently, Mefites who are reading AskMeFi on Saturday night are cynical anti-romantics.

I agree with Solomon, Now there are two..., and Magnetsphere. Ask him out for coffee (i.e., going to a coffee shop, where you can have herbal tea/soda/whatever). If you hit it off, you can arrange a more serious date. If you like one another as friends, but not more, yay! you have a new friend. If nothing clicks, it's just coffee, and you can go back to your current limited interactions at work.
posted by brianogilvie at 7:03 PM on August 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


Why don't you instead be a little flirtatious with him (such as complimenting him on something) and see if eventually HE asks YOU out? By doing it that way, you avoid all the things you are worried about.
posted by Dansaman at 6:15 AM on September 1, 2013


Ok. I have never lived by the whole "don't shit where you eat" rule (I've broken it before and I'll break it again!) but even if you go along with that premise... You are in your early twenties, working at a bar, in college. Forgive me if I am incorrect in assuming this is not your target long term career path. The worst thing that can happen is, you go find work at another bar. In the grand scheme of potentially terrible outcomes to relationships, with coworkers or otherwise, ask yourself if this is an acceptable possible outcome for you?

If yes: nothing wrong with asking someone out because you are attracted to them. Chemistry is chemistry! If this was college ista, I might take this opportunity to practice my flirting skills for a couple weeks before taking the plunge. A more direct approach is fine too, if that's your game, just be confident and prepared to shake it off if you get the dreaded blank stare.

Which you won't, because you are an amazing catch! (work that confidence!)
posted by ista at 9:51 AM on September 1, 2013 [3 favorites]


Thanks to all who answered! There is a lot of great advice here and I appreciate you all taking the time to answer.
posted by Robocat at 3:36 PM on September 1, 2013


The don't shit where you eat rule doesn't apply to people under 25 working in proximity to bar tenders.
posted by bonobothegreat at 5:55 AM on September 2, 2013 [2 favorites]


Update: I asked him out for coffee and he said yes! Thanks again, everyone.
posted by Robocat at 11:44 PM on September 6, 2013 [3 favorites]


« Older For $60, I should be the customer, not the product...   |   Marriage & Work Filter, opposing schedules... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.