Reaching out to a former female co-worker via email?
November 10, 2016 12:34 AM   Subscribe

It's been about 6.5 months now that I've gotten off a 2 year relationship which was filled with verbal abuse and drama. Leaving the relationship has done wonders for me such as re-connecting with old friends, making new ones, and working out consistently at the gym. I feel that I am ready to go back to dating after boosting my self-esteem.

There's a former co-worker who worked for another department at my previous job. She was always smiling, personable, and easy to talk to. We never really hung out outside of work, and having female friends was a big no-no at the time due to my ex's jealousy issues and etc. I do hang out with my former co-worker who has hung out with her outside their job. There were 2-3 times that I went hiking with my friend, and asked him to invite her. She would already have a prior engagement thus getting to hang out hasn't really materialized. My friend suggested to me about paying my old job a visit on a day off one time, and catching up with her. Unfortunately, my friend found out from my old manager that I cannot enter the property anymore since I am a former employee. Then I realized that it wasn't meant to be, and just needed to move right along.

Just the other day, I was cleaning out my room and getting rid of unnecessary documents pertaining to my old gig. I was throwing out paperwork and came across the employee contact list with everyone's department phone # & work emails. Turns out that her work #/email was listed on there. I pondered about sending a casual email to her, as I've done it a couple times with a couple friends who still work at the same place. I wanted to get people's honest opinions here: Is emailing her a possible way of generating casual contact without the creeper status? I don't think she really has facebook, instagram, or any social media outlet thus that option is thrown out the window.
posted by tnar23 to Human Relations (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
There is no way which "Hey, I repurposed a work contact list to try and hit on you" can be anything but creepy, sorry.
posted by CrystalDave at 12:49 AM on November 10, 2016 [12 favorites]

If she was someone who you'd long held a candle for, or had a deeper relationship with that couldn't go anywhere at the time due to circumstances, I'd encourage you to try and use your social connections with former colleagues one more time to seek her out and see if there's anything further that might develop somewhat naturally. I'd say one more time only, as multiple previous brush-offs or busyness suggests that perhaps she doesn't really want to hang out with your other ex-colleague.

It sounds like that's not the case, though - your relationship seems extremely surface level. "Smiling, personable and easy to talk to" describes so many, many women, especially at work, where there is often pressure to be accommodating and friendly. I recommend you look elsewhere.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 1:05 AM on November 10, 2016 [22 favorites]

She would already have a prior engagement thus getting to hang out hasn't really materialized.

This line jumped out at me. I wanted to say that in my experience, if 2 people, either in a friends or a romantic context, genuinely do want to see each other, then organising a hang out is rarely a difficult thing. If you want to see someone and you can't do a particular day, you suggest another day.

If someone always has a 'prior engagement' when you suggest hanging out, and s/he doesn't suggest an alternative day, they're letting you down gently, sorry. If you asked her more than twice and she declined each time, that's a pretty clear message that she doesn't want to hang out with you outside work.

I've been at both ends of this and I try to be philosophical about it when it happens to me as I've done it to many people too.

I apologise if this comes off as harsh.

Also wanted to agree with Jon Mitchell that 'smiling, personable and easy to talk to' is basically part of the job description for many women. There is a lot of pressure for women in the workplace to be nice.
posted by Ziggy500 at 1:22 AM on November 10, 2016 [51 favorites]

You've already extended an offer multiple times to hang out and this woman has said she's unavailable and made no attempt to suggest another time to get together. She knows you're interested, and she doesn't feel the same way. Time to move on.
posted by Jubey at 1:23 AM on November 10, 2016 [23 favorites]

No, sorry, I don't think this is a good idea.
posted by colfax at 2:18 AM on November 10, 2016 [3 favorites]

The way I read this, your friend has extended the offer for you more than once. This is different than you extending the offer more than once and having her rebuff it. And your friend has advised you to drop by and see her sometime - something which you can't do for reasons of company policy. These two pieces of information both may suggest that the inability to meet up may not be due to her not wanting to see you but her genuinely having other things going on.

I'd give it one more time with your friend and a hiking excursion and I'd ask your friend to be candid with you about the situation.

Using her contact from a work list of emails is not really a good thing to do. And I think the fact that you're asking this means that you know that it is not a good idea.

I also agree that 'smiling and friendly' is something that women do in the workplace for reasons. I've certainly had people misinterpret my friendliness before. The best way for you to handle this if you do hang out and there's no romantic interest on her part is to think of her as a friend.
posted by sciencegeek at 2:53 AM on November 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

The only way to do this in a non-creepy fashion is if you cc a few of your ex-colleagues, including her, into in one email saying something like 'Hey Guys, apologies for emailing you at work but I'm just updating my contacts since moving on from XCorpCo. It'd be great to hang out again sometime so if you'd like to keep in touch you can friend/email/snail me here: [details], all the best', HumanRelations'.

If she/they want to keep in touch you'll then have personal contact details. If not, move on but either way don't use those addresses ever again.
posted by freya_lamb at 3:27 AM on November 10, 2016 [14 favorites]

Don't do this. I've had men do this to me and it is upsetting. I am nice at work because I have to be, not because I have any interest in dating my colleagues. Work is for work.

Really glad you got out of your bad relationship. Have you tried online dating now that you feel ready to date again? That's a place where women are specifically looking to find people to go on dates with, so I'd try there.
posted by sockermom at 5:17 AM on November 10, 2016 [16 favorites]

On my first reading of this, I thought you and your former coworker were both women and platonic work friends who just never managed to get that friendship outside of work, and I was sort of surprised at all the nopery in the answers.

But, after reading more closely, it sounds like you weren't particularly close when you were coworkers, and that now that you're single you'd like to date her, or attempt to friend your way into dating her. Or, if that's not your intention, that will certainly be her interpretation. In that light, I agree: don't do this. There are new friends to make and other people to date.
posted by Metroid Baby at 5:37 AM on November 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

I think it would be better to start a group email with the ex employees and ask if anyone wants to hang out one day and grab coffee and catch up. Even if it's just 3 or 4 of you.
posted by gt2 at 7:18 AM on November 10, 2016

Please don't do this. I would be creeped out and would be reconsidering every interaction I'd had with you in the past. I have had this done to me and it is never not creepy, and it's meant that I have changed my behavior at work and even how I dress. There is a lot of pressure on women to be cheerful and friendly with everyone at work, not to make waves, and it seems like men often interpret this as being some sign that they're special.

If she wanted to hang out with you before she would have made time; that ship has sailed. Let it go. Please don't do this to your former coworker.
posted by fiercecupcake at 7:26 AM on November 10, 2016 [9 favorites]

I tend to agree with people saying she's had opportunity to hang with you, but perhaps she stayed away because she knew you were taken. Do you have a friend who still works with her who can ask "hey, i heard that tnar23 is now single, would you want to hang out with him/her?".
posted by at at 9:06 AM on November 10, 2016

No way. Find someone else to date.

You already invited her to hang, multiple times, and she said no (and did not propose an alternative).
posted by J. Wilson at 11:03 AM on November 10, 2016 [2 favorites]

Personally I would find it extremely icky if an ex-coworker emailed me out of the blue to ask me out (or even just to "reconnect" which I would interpret as leading up to asking me out.) The longer they'd been gone from the company without having been in touch, the creepier I would find it. Why is he/she still thinking about me after all these months/years, particularly if we weren't close friends when they worked here? It smacks, if only ever so slightly, of obsession and would raise a red flag. I don't like the idea that I'd been on someone's mind who I didn't know very well when I knew them, and who I don't really know or see at all anymore.

I think it would be better to move on and find someone new to date. The fact that she's turned down the offer to hang out several times is also not a good sign.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 1:36 AM on November 11, 2016 [3 favorites]

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