How to ask out a co-worker who I rarely interact with?
June 10, 2006 10:00 AM   Subscribe

Cute girl at the office. How to ask her out? We've spoken at lunch once, but she joined only once over multiple months, and we very rarely get a chance to interact. Plus there's no opportunity for a hint of privacy to speak with her.


I don't work in her department but she's sorta close by. I might see her once per day. She had lunch some some of my group once, but that happened only once over two months.

Our department is cramped. Her desk is right by another. So, asking her out in person with any hint of privacy would be basically impossible to do.


She does know who I am and has interacted with me, but very briefly. So if I send an email or meeting request (sounds amusing to me, and I can be clever with words, but could sound lame on the other hand) And from prior interactions, she at least has a mental concept of who the hell I am.

She's not in my department so awkwardness of failure is not really a concern, nor is how relations with her could effect my employer relationship.
posted by umlaut to Human Relations (25 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Email her saying your group have gone to lunch without you and ask if she's free to keep you company (or something less lame). If she is, bingo, if not, ask her for a coffee later...
posted by patricio at 10:07 AM on June 10, 2006

I think that you may have a shot with a short email or note along the lines of "Feel like lunch?" I would say keep the invitation as short as possible, and don't make it a date.

Oh, and whenever you do see/pass her, remember to say "hi" or at least do the smile-nod.
posted by hammurderer at 10:11 AM on June 10, 2006

from 20 things everyone needs to know.

How To Ask Someone Out

By Tim Sullivan (president of the dating website

Making a romantic first move should be 80 per cent instinct and 20 per cent tactics. The harder the heart pounds, the more doubts that plague your resolve, the more you owe it to yourself to take that chance.

Ten Tips For Asking Someone Out

* Boldly declare your intentions.Simply express your desire to see the person acknowledging attraction, expressing intent: "I loved meeting you and would like to see you again."

* Get rejected. If you aren't getting shot down now and then, it means you aren't allowing yourself to take a little romantic risk.

* Avoid pick-up lines and obsessive analysis of the situation.

* Choose honesty over wit. Save all prospective repartee for the second or third date.

* Let your fingers do the asking. An online approach enables you to communicate comfortably with your love interest.

* Location! Location! Location! Proposing to meet at a public location - such as a coffee shop, - increases your potential date's level of security.
posted by eatcake at 10:15 AM on June 10, 2006 [2 favorites]

"Let your fingers do the asking."

I suppose that's better than "Let your fingers do the telling."
posted by HAMFIST at 10:36 AM on June 10, 2006

I think that you may have a shot with a short email or note along the lines of "Feel like lunch?" I would say keep the invitation as short as possible, and don't make it a date.

I have to agree strongly with the first two points. Unless you know the person or they're overly social, proposing an intimate activity has a good chance of backfiring. A quick, casual, friendly note would do the trick and is devoid of expectations. If you're daring, you could finesse it into a work-related lunch that opens up the door a bit and gives you more ground to have lunch again.
posted by chef_boyardee at 10:47 AM on June 10, 2006

First two REPLIES, not points, sorry, as in the example I cited.
posted by chef_boyardee at 10:48 AM on June 10, 2006

chef_boyardee: I understand that tactic, but the standard operating procedure of lunch here is either half dozen person group or eat at your desk. I think asking solely her to lunch might be conspicuously atypical.

Or *because* it's atypical, it would be more of an unspoken test of the waters for both sides?

Alternatively, the argument for a direct date request is that it could seem more confident and assured.
posted by umlaut at 11:17 AM on June 10, 2006

You're overthinking this. If lunch is too much, invite her for coffee. You could invite a coworker for coffee/lunch for many reasons, including career advancement, covert discussion of workplace matters, alleviation of boredom, and romantic intentions. She won't know which one it is until she gets there. So just ask her for lunch or coffee and let the vibe sort itself out once it's just the two of you face-to-face.
posted by crazycanuck at 11:22 AM on June 10, 2006

Go bold, works so much better. Also be very clear what you want. No, I thoughtmaybeyoumightwantto. Say I want to take you to dinner or a cup of coffee. She knows exactly what you want and then there will be no confusion as to what's going on.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:37 AM on June 10, 2006

I dunno. It sounds like you don't even know this chick. I tend to do a little research... figure out if they have a boyfriend or not first*. She could be really dull for all you know.

An email would be appropriate. Also, you could just call her extension and ask her if she wants to hang out for lunch - do it say 30 minutes prior. Phrase it like you're just looking for someone - anyone - to go with. A little aloofness is safe. Coming on too strong in a workplace can have more repercussions than just the rejection... If she jumps at the offer you're home free.

*Not that having a boyfriend should exclude asking her out for lunch/coffee... it's always good to make friends and she maybe looking to upgrade.
posted by wfrgms at 11:46 AM on June 10, 2006

In your position, I'd ask her out for lunch. Just keep it casual. Or you could suggest coffee, if you're more comfortable with that. Email is fine for that.
posted by Count Ziggurat at 12:11 PM on June 10, 2006

I think the meeting request idea is cute.
posted by exceptinsects at 12:51 PM on June 10, 2006

It would feel a lot less socially awkward if you could send a group invitation to a bunch of people for cocktails or dinner or something first and included her in it. That way if she came, you guys could actually get to know each other. If you did that a couple of times, it would seem more natural to eventually send her an email asking her out on a date.
posted by gt2 at 1:11 PM on June 10, 2006

Just make sure a "meeting request" doesn't sound like it really could be work-related, make sure it's cute. I mention this since putting things in writing can lead to many misunderstandings (just like here on the internets). I could imagine getting annoyed if I thought I was duped into a meeting that was wasting my time. Especially if she's already attached.

You also might have more luck if you can establish a rapport with her first, based on sense of humor or whatever. You can do that in front of other people in the office, too. Start by finding reasons to go past her desk or wherever she happens to be (but not often enough to be creepy!), and ask her how she is as you're passing, see if she gives you an opening to stop and chat for a couple of minutes. Well, that's probably what I would do, but I'm a slow mover.
posted by overanxious ducksqueezer at 2:11 PM on June 10, 2006

I like gt2's idea of inviting her out with a small group to get to know her better.
posted by echo0720 at 2:25 PM on June 10, 2006

*Not that having a boyfriend should exclude asking her out for lunch/coffee... it's always good to make friends and she maybe looking to upgrade.

Sorry, but I disagree strongly. Umlaut's sole basis for attraction, that he's mentioned, is that she is "cute." He's not fascinated by her mind or caught up in a dance of mutual attraction fed by shared passions. If she's already in a relationship and you know it, it's damn rude to ask her out with the secret intention of stealing her from the other guy. If she's worth becoming involved with, she won't just ditch a current boyfriend because some jerk at the office she doesn't even know thinks she's "cute."

Yeah, it might be "just coffee." But you know it isn't. And that makes you an asshole in the world of men. If she's a woman of substance, she'll smell your disingenuousness anyway.
posted by fourcheesemac at 2:50 PM on June 10, 2006

Do you ever leave the building at the same time as her? Walk to the subway or your cars in the same direction? Arrive at work at the same time? If you do, I'd say that's the perfect time to say, "hey, what are you doing after work? Want to grab a coffee?"

Otherwise, be direct and do what hammurderer said.
posted by MsMolly at 3:42 PM on June 10, 2006

I don't know about you, but I suffer from an anxiety disorder bigtime. Asking a woman out is torture for me (those with anxiety disorders put your hands up in the air like you just don't care).

I suggest not leaving empty handed. If you have to ask her out by leaving a pithy note on her desk, do it. Who cares if you're a big chicken - she can tease you for the rest of your married life together.

Just do something.
posted by rinkjustice at 4:13 PM on June 10, 2006

Erm... am I the only one here who thinks it's a bad idea to ask out somebody you work with? Especially somebody with whom you don't even have a rudimentary friendship?

Okay, okay, throwing caution to the wind, I'd say organize a happy hour after work and invite her along. That'll give you a chance to see if she can hold up her end of a conversation and establish rapport.
posted by GIRLesq at 4:21 PM on June 10, 2006

If you haven't had an email correspondance going with her don't ask her for coffee or lunch alone via a cold call email.

But an email invite to a group outing would be ok, assuming she can see you asked anyone else she'd expect to see at such a gathering.

But I'd re-suggest next time you see her face-to-face in something like semi-privacy (ie. her close colleagues have left for lunch or your making your coffees together) ask her then. If she's interested in you, and feels single enough, she'll go to a coffee shop with you.
posted by selton at 5:15 PM on June 10, 2006

You know what would be awesome? Send her a link to this thread. Then the ball's in her court.
posted by hammurderer at 6:27 PM on June 10, 2006

You know what would be awesome? Send her a link to this thread. Then the ball's in her court.
posted by hammurderer at 8:27 PM CST on June 10 [+fave] [!]

Fantastic. Seriously.
posted by Ynoxas at 11:01 PM on June 10, 2006

If you send her this link, make sure you wear a hat that says "Dork" on it, dork.

You rarely interact with her. You'd like to date her. You need to interact with her. You can either do that by stopping by her desk and making small talk to find out more about her and decide if you want to ask her out (or if she's better as an abstract crush), or by just saying "Hey, you wanna get a cuppa coffee some time?"
posted by klangklangston at 1:03 AM on June 11, 2006

Seconding MsMolly: find an opportunity to be alone for a moment as you're leaving for the day. Or might it be possible to camp out until her desk-neighbor is somewhere else? All you need is a minute or two; just ask her out without preface.

Failing that, go ahead and write a clear and bold email. Don't try any complicated schemes involving other people. Unless you're hoping she'll ask you out first, you're going to have to be bold eventually; might as well be bold right off the bat.

(And most definitely do not send her to this thread! Imagine some girl coming up to you with 20 of her friends and saying, "my 20 friends and I were wondering if there's something you'd like to ask me...")
posted by equalpants at 2:08 AM on June 11, 2006

posted by Ynoxas at 10:55 PM on June 23, 2006

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