Should I bother pursing this?
February 24, 2014 8:53 PM   Subscribe

Your typical should I ask him out question. Complicating factors: colleagues, large age gap and two people who work too much.

I hooked up with a colleague (we work in the same, fairly small and very gossipy workplace, but in different departments, not directly with each other) at a work party about a month ago. We exchanged numbers and after a bit of texting banter, running into each other at work a few times and going to dinner once, nothing else has happened. The dinner was nice, we got on really well, and made some vague plans to hang out again. He is new at work, so I invited him to my department's after work drinks and then to dinner with the whole "I'm unexpectedly free tonight, want to hang out?" thing and he declined both times, saying he was busy, but it sounded great (but also didn't suggest anything else).

To be fair he does have very time intensive hobbies and we both have crazy work schedules, but I'm unclear where to go from here. On one hand, I feel as if I have made my intentions clear that I am interested and I guess he is just too busy/not interested, and the ball is in his court now to contact me. The cliche "you make time for what you want to do" is ringing in my ears too.

On the other hand, I've never actually asked him on a date, I've always kept it intentionally casual, and I think he's pretty oblivious to advances, and I'll never know if I don't ask him out. He also might really, genuinely be too busy when I've asked him in the past.

Other relevant info:
- He has a toddler aged child (not an issue for me, just to add to the busy-ness)
- He is around 10 years older than me (I'm a mid 20's female and he's a mid 30's male)
- He has just started a new career and a new workplace, it's a stressful and time-consuming career which isn't going to change in the near future

Help me, Metafilter, where do I go from here? Wait for him to text me (or not)? Give up and find someone more available who I don't work with? Or take it on face value that he is interested but busy and ask him on a date?
posted by norwegian wood to Human Relations (17 answers total)
I think he's given you enough information to make it clear that you should not pursue him.

If things change, let him make the next move.
posted by Dragonness at 9:01 PM on February 24, 2014 [12 favorites]

No, you've definitely DEFINITELY asked him out and indicated your interest, especially given that you've already hooked up. Give up and find someone more available and put him out of your mind. If he were interested, he would suggest other times/ activities that would work for him. He may still do that but yes, you've put the ball in his court and you should just move on.
posted by hellomiss at 9:13 PM on February 24, 2014 [6 favorites]

I agree with Dragonness. It sounds very much as if he's given you the brush off (twice). If he wants to pursue a relationship, I think he ought to make the next move. You've done your part.
posted by yellowcandy at 9:14 PM on February 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Yeah, I'm sorry, because I'm ordinarily all about the "be direct" approach but I think he's very clearly and kindly said no to at least one date, here. It's probably time to move on. Whether he's just too busy or he's not interested - it doesn't matter, really. It's not about you, either way.
posted by gingerest at 9:31 PM on February 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Give up and find someone more available who I don't work with?

Yes. Sorry. If it makes you feel better, consider that a lot of people know it's a bad idea to date at work and just won't do it, so even if he thinks you're the cat's pajamas, this is not happening. Leave him alone.
posted by fingersandtoes at 10:45 PM on February 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Let me chime in and tell you that dating your co-workers is something you should never ever EVER do. Especially in a gossipy work place.

43 year old me wants to tell 24 to 27 year old me what a BAD idea this was so many times, so many years ago.

OP, learn from me, take this gracefully as the gift it is! Don't repeat the mistake.
posted by jbenben at 10:57 PM on February 24, 2014 [4 favorites]

he declined both times

He's done with you.
posted by pracowity at 12:28 AM on February 25, 2014

Dating coworkers can cause problems. When you're the new person though it can be a really bad idea. You don't have a solid sense of where you stand, the culture, etc. I think if he was interested he would have suggested you meet at some other time. It doesn't even mean he doesn't like you, just that for whatever reason he's chosen not to pursue this. Respect that.
posted by Aranquis at 3:46 AM on February 25, 2014

You already asked him out and he said no.

You both left yourselves with a very, very minimal level of plausible deniability. If you never had to run across this guy again, sure, you could try once more and use the word "date." But you work together and I think it's fine that you tried, but now is absolutely the time to walk away.
posted by J. Wilson at 5:33 AM on February 25, 2014

Yeah, if this were a social situation, I would say ask him again and make it very clear that you want to go on a date. But at work? Ehhh . . . he's been as polite and direct as you can be at work. I wouldn't ask again.
posted by chainsofreedom at 5:41 AM on February 25, 2014

Don't Date Robots! (Co-Workers!)

Look, the world is a very big place, with lots and lots of people to date. This guy is working on self preservation. He doesn't want to be the guy who dips his pen in the company ink, and rightly so.

Are you so desperate that you'd keep going after someone who is clearly telling you, "thanks, but no thanks?"

There used to be hard and fast rules against dating people at work. This is because then your office becomes known as Peyton Place and it's full of drama and intrigue and dammit, this is a business not a singles bar.

Do you really want to undermine your credibility by being that girl who dates people in the office?

I'll give you an example. One girl I worked with at the phone company, earned herself the nickname of "in and outbound services" because she slept with people in her training class.

She may have been an awesome employee, but who could see through the moniker?

When you date at the office, everyone knows your business. Don't let everyone know your business. The only business you should worry about at work, is the business your company is in.

You can't get promoted, you won't be taken seriously and word will get around.

Dating co-workers pretty much tells the work world, "I'm not serious about my career, I'm just here for the boys and to wear cute outfits. I'm the walking personification of everything men said about women in the workplace back in the dark ages!"

Please, I put up with WAY too much shit as a female data communications engineer so that you wouldn't even have to think about this stuff.

For the love of all that is holy, don't date people at work.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:55 AM on February 25, 2014 [3 favorites]

I married a guy I work with so I get how easy it is to fall in to this. However, I don't think this is anything you should pursue further. I don't think he is interested in pursuing anything further with you and you really should aim your interests elsewhere.

posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 6:23 AM on February 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

On the other hand, I've never actually asked him on a date, I've always kept it intentionally casual, and I think he's pretty oblivious to advances, and I'll never know if I don't ask him out.

I can see where one would think this, but it's reasoning that fails to take some things into account.

It's true that being clear about one's intentions can be a great help in many situations, but this is not one of them. Clarifying that you're talking about a date, for example, would be useful if you asked him to go do something with you sometime and he said yes; you could then eliminate any confusion about his level of interest by specifying.

But he said no, which should tell you everything you need to know. If he wanted more, it's not like he'd say no to hanging out but yes to a date. He'd say yes to anything, or he'd propose an alternate time. But he didn't do any of that, so I very much doubt he's interested.


Or take it on face value that he is interested but busy and ask him on a date?

That would be a misinterpretation of face value, so no, don't do this.

Give up and find someone more available who I don't work with?

Yes, do this.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 7:04 AM on February 25, 2014 [4 favorites]

Yeah, a post-hookup offer of "let's hang out and get drinks" is unlikely to be misunderstood. He knows you were asking him out but turned you down. Sorry.
posted by MsMolly at 10:19 AM on February 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

Whoa, I don't know what's going on with the shaming above, but you are not setting women back fifty years just by asking this guy out. Something like 1/5 of marriages start in the workplace. Not that I think office dating is necessarily a great idea, but you're hardly the only one contemplating it.

That's said, things are definitely not going anywhere with this guy. It's awesome that you put yourself out there, but he has been turning you down repeatedly and it's time to acknowledge that and move on. I started reading this question expecting that there was some unspoken tension you were thinking about acting on, but this sounds like something that's actually been over in the other person's mind for a while now.
posted by ziggly at 12:47 PM on February 25, 2014 [7 favorites]

Something no one else has mentioned: he's a man in his 30s. Unless he's extremely shy or socially awkward, he's willing and able to ask women out on dates. In my experience, if a woman feels she has to be the aggressor, it's because the man isn't interested. Obviously there are cases where a woman asks a man out and he's interested and they live happily ever after. But (again, based on what I've seen), that isn't actually necessary most of the time.

And in your case, since you guys have already hooked up, he should be even less nervous about asking you out - he already knows you were into him enough to hook up with him.

So: busy or not, oblivious to advances or not, if he were interested in going on a date with you, he would've asked, and he hasn't. Sucks but we've all been there!
posted by sunflower16 at 8:30 PM on February 25, 2014

if a woman feels she has to be the aggressor, it's because the man isn't interested.

...what? If that truly has been your experience then I think your experience is pretty outside the norm.

There are a lot of other reasons why a man wouldn't ask a woman out that he is interested in, like:
- he isn't sure she is interested
- he doesn't want to be rejected
- he doesn't want to come off as a creep
- he isn't sure if she is single
- he isn't sure if she is straight

And I'd like to echo what ziggly said. Dating people in your workplace is extremely common and how a lot of people meet their partners. I did. So my advice to move on isn't about the workplace part of it. I would have the same advice if you were in the same Yoga class or just kept bumping in to each other. He doesn't seem to be interested in anything further.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 4:39 AM on February 26, 2014

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