Can I ask this stranger to be my friend?
February 24, 2017 11:10 PM   Subscribe

I met a really cool-seeming guy at the pet store today. I'm married, not interested in anything romantic AT ALL, but I don't have a lot of friends in this town and I'd like to make more. Can I contact him? Also: I don't even have his contact info -- I just found him online.

Long story short: my husband and I moved to this city about two years ago. We have a toddler. I don't work in an office, and I don't go out many places without my kid unless it's to do my work. I've actually met good friends by sort of striking up conversations in coffee shops, in libraries, and such. I met this guy today at the pet store, he seemed really cool, I looked him up online and we have a lot of similar interests and political beliefs and such. Assume my husband isn't at all worried if I have male friends. I have lots of male friends in general, just not here. I miss having male friends and also friends who are not mom friends.

1. Would it be weird to contact him via Facebook, considering I wasn't given any information beyond his name and profession?

2. Would it be weird to a single man to have a married woman ask to be your friend? I would fully disclose being married and not being interested in any kind of relationship beyond friendship.
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (26 answers total)
How much effort did it take to find him on Facebook? If there was a reasonable explanation for you finding him online, like he gave you his full name when you were chatting, then go for it! But anything more stalkery than that, I think would be either creepy or easily misread as romantic interest.
posted by masquesoporfavor at 11:54 PM on February 24, 2017 [3 favorites]

Invite him to do something specific with you and your husband.
"Hey, Dan and I stumbled across your info on Facebook - we're going to see x and I remembered that you mentioned liking x. Want to join us? Pet Store Lady"
posted by Omnomnom at 12:14 AM on February 25, 2017 [19 favorites]

Doing a Facebook search on the name of a cool person you just met is normal and not-stalkery in my book. It's a thing a lot of people in my social universe do. Go ahead and send that friend request.

(I mean, everyone I know is queer, and I get that some straight men have this weird belief that any time a woman says "hi" she's flirting, but… they are wrong and it is not your job to humor them? So I guess recognize that it's a thing that might happen. But I would not be inclined to think it was your fault if it happened.)

Sending a Facebook message to someone you just met and friended saying "Hi! I promise I'm not romantically interested! Full disclosure: I am married and I love my husband lol!" would be kind of weird in my book, and would honestly increase the odds that I'd think you were Up To Something besides just normal friendliness. So probably don't do that.

In my social circles the normal I'm-not-flirting this-is-just-friendly-chattiness thing would be
1. Do a friend request without sending a message.
2. Occasionally comment on each other's posts from time to time, maybe discover you have other things in common.
3a. One of you invites the other to a public event.
3b. Alternatively, maybe you end up having a longer conversation in the comments on a post and at that point one of you is like "Hey, you want to hang out sometime?"
posted by nebulawindphone at 12:24 AM on February 25, 2017 [4 favorites]

Can you friend/message him under the pretense of passing along an article, etc. relevant to your conversation at the pet store? Like "Hey Dave, I wanted to pass along [thing] relevant to [topic]. Great meeting you!" or something along those lines.
posted by delight at 1:07 AM on February 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

Also, I wouldn't explicitly ask someone to be my friend, since it's a little forward (in a platonic way). Just try to connect organically -- trying to frame it in a specific way could be off-putting (though others might appreciate forthrightness; your mileage may vary).
posted by delight at 1:11 AM on February 25, 2017 [6 favorites]

It's a little weird, but if he thinks you're weird, he can ignore the message/invite or block you. If he doesn't, then I guess you found a new friend.
posted by AppleTurnover at 1:16 AM on February 25, 2017

Wait. This is via Facebook? Isn't everything in your profile plastered With info about your happy family and marital status?? Aren't friend requests kinda neutral?

Do it. If you ever reconnect IRL, just make sure the first includes your family, so that's clear. Which is normal, since that's where he majority of your social time is enjoyed. You're inviting him in, not being a weirdo. It's cool.
posted by jbenben at 2:29 AM on February 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

This is creepy. Looking up someone you've just met on Facebook and asking the person to be your friend doesn't sound appealing to me at all.

And I'm surprised that you're encouraged to do so. If genders were reversed, I don't think you'd be encouraged to chase the woman. However pure your motives.

I think you should let friendships grow organically, naturally and slowly rather than encroach on someone's privacy. In two years, you must have had ample opportunities to do so. You still do.
posted by Kwadeng at 3:20 AM on February 25, 2017 [20 favorites]

I think it's totally fine to send a wee friend request via Facebook and say "It was great to meet you the other day! Just thought I'd connect to stay in touch".
posted by ukdanae at 3:23 AM on February 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

[One deleted. Let's take the OP at her word about how her husband feels and what she wants, and stick more to the actual parameters of the question. Thanks.]
posted by taz (staff) at 5:34 AM on February 25, 2017 [6 favorites]

If a random stranger met me at my job, and then out of the blue sent me a FB friend request, I'd find that really weird verging on stalkery no matter how pure their intentions. If that person was back in the shop on another day and we had a chat and they said "hey want to get coffee sometime? My husband and I are still kind of new to this place and I'm always on the lookout for coffee buddies!" it would feel much more natural to me.
posted by billiebee at 5:35 AM on February 25, 2017 [33 favorites]

Maybe OP can have a mod clarify whether the guy works at the pet store or was just shopping there. I read it as the latter, but it changes the dynamic a lot if he works there.
posted by mama casserole at 5:38 AM on February 25, 2017 [5 favorites]

Oh actually, I'm assuming you met him because he worked at the pet store but maybe it was just another customer?
posted by billiebee at 5:39 AM on February 25, 2017

As a happily married guy who could use more friends of any gender, I think it would be awesome if someone cool that I met would friend me on Facebook and ask if I wanted to be their friend. I agree that inviting him to a group outing or get-together where your husband is also coming is the best way to make your platonic goals known.

As you can see from this thread alone, it is possible that he would not react the way I would, but there is no 100% certain way of knowing what approach he would prefer. Do whatever feels right for you.
posted by Rock Steady at 5:40 AM on February 25, 2017 [3 favorites]

Would it be weird to a single man to have a married woman ask to be your friend? I would fully disclose being married and not being interested in any kind of relationship beyond friendship.

To me, it's a little weird but not that weird. That is, i would totally do this. For some people, however its super inappropriate so it's worth at least knowing that going into it. Also you say you will disclose that you're married if you interact with that guy in the future but ... he doesn't know already? My only advice is that if you send a FB friend request (which I would do, if it were me, and I would do if it were you) to make 100% sure your profile is clear that you're happily married w/ kids etc. Don't assume a photo of you with a baby is enough to make that clear.
posted by jessamyn at 6:14 AM on February 25, 2017 [3 favorites]

I wouldn't want someone to do that to me but it's entirely subjective so no answer here is going to tell you how he would respond. In the future, have social media top of mind so when you meet someone cool, you can say "hey I really enjoyed talking with you, I have a million pup pics on Facebook, are you on it?" and whip out your phone. Then the low-stakes connection is made and you are free to suss each other out more.
posted by headnsouth at 7:35 AM on February 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

I would be fine if someone sent me a friend request. I don't think it's creepy unless you had to spend a lot of time figuring it out. If over the course of natural conversation you found out he was "Bob who lives in Greenville and works at Widgets Incorporated" then that's enough info to not be stalkery. If you had to look through every Bob from Greenville, population 100,000, then that's pretty weird.
posted by AFABulous at 8:23 AM on February 25, 2017

I wouldn't find the single/married thing thing weird, but what I would find slightly weird is a FB friend request from a person I'd chatted to while running errands. Particularly since he didn't give you his contact info. If you do decide to send him a friend request on FB, remind him in the message who you are ("Pet Store Lady").

In future, if you hit it off with someone in small talk, just give them your contact info before you end the conversation ("Hey, great chatting to you, I'm so excited to meet someone else who's interested in XYZ. Here's my cell, shoot me a text if you want to go do XYZ-related activity.")
posted by basalganglia at 9:06 AM on February 25, 2017 [2 favorites]

I'm shocked that so many people are saying this is ok. I would be so creeped out by a friend request! One of my friends has a great term for people he meets on an airplane, etc.: single-serving friends. Let this guy be a single-serving friend.

I hope you can join a meetup group related to your interests or a parent group or something!
posted by karbonokapi at 9:14 AM on February 25, 2017 [7 favorites]

The married thing is no big deal but I would be extremely put off by you looking me up on social media and befriending me after a one-off conversation while out running errands. It would suggest to me that your sense of boundaries is way off from mine, and that you are not someone I want to be friends with for that reason even if I'd otherwise have been very into being friends.

Which may be a risk to take if you're unlikely to otherwise meet this guy again, so it's "start the friendship this way or don't start it at all." But it might be worth considering whether some of your shared likes mean that you might instead meet him again in some other way - classes or events or something - and strike up a friendship more slowly that way.

(Let it also be noted, though, that this very thing about where my boundaries are means that I am super not into random chat with strangers on errands and when someone starts that, I end it as quickly as possible, so if he was clearly very into an extended conversation, you might be clearer on this front than if you're trying to read friendship potential into ninety seconds of chitchat.)
posted by Stacey at 9:53 AM on February 25, 2017 [3 favorites]

Omnomnom has it right - this can work and be non-creepy if you invite him to a specific friendly event with you and your husband.
posted by waffleriot at 11:05 AM on February 25, 2017

Nthing Omnomnom's plan. This is totally fine and a thing that people do, and people in relationships also have friends of all genders. Bear in mind Metafilter's baseline introversion level when considering these responses. I agree with bearwife's suggestion that you run this by your husband first. And be sure to specifically mention the existence of your husband in your initial contact.
posted by Kwine at 12:20 PM on February 25, 2017

Well, I'm shocked that so many people DO find this creepy. I do this all the time, especially in these recent times of political action. See someone at a rally, strike up a convo, meet and greet, come home and send friend request. I guess my social media presence is not very strictly curated. On the other side, my only rule is that I only accept friend requests from people I've actually met face to face before. And I might make an exception to that if they send me a friendly message giving a specific reason for the friend request and have other mutual friends. I do have a pretty long list of unanswered friend requests from people that I've never met before but do share mutual friends with, and I never give a second thought to not responding. I have also gone to events with the express purpose of meeting someone specific that I would like to network with, introducing myself, and then sending a friend request later.

I am a 60-year-old married female, and I do this regularly, with men as well as women. And I think your marital status is irrelevant.
posted by raisingsand at 12:26 PM on February 25, 2017 [8 favorites]

As you see based on the responses, "is this weird?" totally depends on the person. For me, a married girl who frequently makes friends with people of all genders in this manner, it is a normal thing to do -- and I would be delighted to be on the receiving end of your friendship machinations. In fact, I actively use situations like this as a filter: if somebody doesn't respond positively to me being forward and active in friendship-seeking, they prolly wouldn't like other things about my friendship style, so it's for the best.
posted by Pwoink at 12:41 PM on February 25, 2017 [1 favorite]

How timely! This happened to me the other day. I (married woman, my partner came up in conversation) just gave a possibly-single man (his partner or lack thereof didn't come up) my card because we'd had a conversation and he seemed like a cool potential friend.

My work doesn't do business cards, so I designed and ordered personal cards with my name and email address on them. I don't think looking someone up on Facebook is all that creepy in this day and age, but giving someone your card is a nice alternative.* The other person can follow up however they feel comfortable (or not follow up at all) and it doesn't feel awkward in the moment. With my full name and email address, someone can email me or look me up on Facebook or LinkedIn. It might not help with this instance, but it's something to consider for the future!

* Also, pulling out my vintage card case and giving someone my card makes me feel fancy.
posted by atropos at 2:11 PM on February 25, 2017 [6 favorites]

Two different things here:
1. Being Facebook friends (in my opinion) means nothing. I have run into a lot of people who Facebook friend everyone they meet. Back when I used to use Facebook, it was sort of a contest to see how many Facebook friends some people could compile. I see no reason not to send a Facebook friend request.
2. If you want to spend time with this person alone, in real life, without your husband, and he's a single man, there is a significant chance he's going to take your interest as romantic, no matter how much you tell him it isn't. It's not necessarily a reason not to do it, but just be aware.

I don't go out many places without my kid unless it's to do my work.

I'd say join a book club or other Meetup to have time to yourself (which is important) and make friends organically.
posted by cnc at 6:10 PM on February 25, 2017

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