Use Googled info to call her?
September 12, 2006 10:00 AM   Subscribe

I met someone with friends last week and we really hit it off. I even asked her if she would like to go out with me and see me again, and she quickly said yes. But I never got her contact information and it's been a little bit slow getting it through my friends. Should I use the contact information I can get off the internet (almost definitely her, but work contact information) to call her? Only if, after a week, my friends don't come through with the info? Never?

The full story, kind of long:

I met a girl last weekend, and we really hit it off. We were in a big group of mutual friends (although she was only really friends with one of the people, and that person she was friends with only had one connection to the rest of the group), at a festival, drinking and then going to dinner. I talked to this girl on and off for several hours, and I really think that we are really compatible, that we've got a lot in common and that there was a lot of mutual flirting going on. Through the course of the evening, we talked a lot to each other about ourselves, and I learned enough so that, with some rather extensive Googling and looking at various sites, I was able to almost definitely figure out her last name and work contact information, which is probably current. Her last name is relatively unique, so Google also tells me her home address and home phone number (although both could be old).

But, at the end of the night, even though we had talked earlier about going out alone together, there wasn't a good chance to get her info. So I didn't. I was also a little bit drunk so didn't really realize that I hadn't gotten her number. And my attempts to talk to my friend about it so far have been unfruitful, and he's the only one who knows my crush's friend. He might be a little pissy because he was drunk and being kind of an ass and a lot of people (she and I included) told him to chill out. Anyway, that was three days ago, and I called him and then e-mailed him the next day.

I think that there is no question that this woman is interested in me - we're both around the same age, have a lot in common, got along famously, and a few times she grabbed my arm, touched my foot, things like that. During a discussion of "who's on your list/who would you go gay for (since neither one of us is)" we had a lot of people in common in a very "ooh, we are attracted to the same kind of people and we're going to flirt with each other to talk about it" way. Also, all of my friends were telling me that it was obvious we were both really into each other.

I normally wouldn't use Google for something like this, but I really wanted to see if I could find contact information for her, and, a half hour later, I did. It was actually pretty difficult and bit much to have spent as much time as I did. I normally would think it's completely creepy to actually call her based on that information, and it would probably have to be her work number, and I would need to feel it out to make sure that it's the right person. I think that it would be very awkward and a bit of an invasion of privacy. But we did really hit it off, talk about seeing each other again and I would just be calling her - I would never consider tracking her down in person or calling her at her home number.

I am probably a little bit infatuated with her, or at least the idea of her - she really was attractive and what I am looking for in a lot of ways. But I am thinking this through and realizing that it was very mutual and that I was an ass not to make sure I got her number, although I didn't think that it would turn out to be this hard to get it through my friend.

So, what should I do? My current plan is to wait a few more days to get the info from my friend before I decide what to so, but I am leaning towards calling her at work on Friday or so if I don't have her info more legitimately by then. Am I overthinking this?
posted by jcwagner to Human Relations (59 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
No phonebooks, no google, and especially not at work. Those are the rules. You'll have to wait.
posted by jon_kill at 10:07 AM on September 12, 2006

I think it's totally fine -- I wouldn't have a problem with a guy known by my friends, whom I had already talked to in person, doing that. You're not just some random person who tracked her down.

Maybe a self-deprecating line or two about how you feel like a stalker and will of course cease all contact if she wants you to, but you were so happy to speak to her the other night that you didn't want to let her disappear from your life.

(I should say that my boyfriend tracked me down through similar means and I found it totally charming, so I'm either exactly your demographic or else totally biased!)
posted by occhiblu at 10:07 AM on September 12, 2006

(Sorry, that was based on email -- if you can find an email address, I think that might be better than the phone.)
posted by occhiblu at 10:08 AM on September 12, 2006

The best way would be to work on your friend some more. Use flattery or bribery or whatever it takes.

Failing that, try to see if she's on any social networking sites like Myspace or Facebook.

Personally, I wouldn't use the googled information. If she's really hoping to see you again, she's probably trying just as hard as you to give you some way to contact her. Be patient.
posted by justkevin at 10:12 AM on September 12, 2006

Seems to me like honesty is the best policy here. Get in touch with her -- and let her know that you really wanted to see her again but realized you didn't have her number, so googled her to find out, and yeah, you realize that might sound a little weird and you hope she finds it sweet and not creepy. If she's the uberchica you describe, she'll probably be flattered.

It might be a bad idea to go overboard, though -- if, somehow, during your search, you happened across some fairly obscure bit of info, like, I dunno, her shoe size or something, I wouldn't volunteer that you found it (at least not right off the bat). Looking up someone's contact info is one thing; looking up anything else is fair grounds for being creeped out.

On preview, I agree with occhiblu's second post. Email is better than phone in this case. It also has the benefit of being less stressful for you as the asker-outer.
posted by hifiparasol at 10:14 AM on September 12, 2006

If she's really hoping to see you again, she's probably trying just as hard as you to give you some way to contact her.

I don't know that that's true. It's changing, of course, but a woman traditionally assumes that a guy who doesn't contact her is simply not interested, since the guys generally do the contacting. I kept checking my email and checking my email after I met my now-boyfriend, figuring he would contact me because we had hit it off; when he didn't after a few days, I really just assumed the connection was all in my head and didn't think to contact him. (The fact that he had left after meeting me without asking for my phone number also contributed to the "must be in my head" feeling.)

Granted, I *hate* calling people in general and am a little shy about emailing, so I may not be representative.
posted by occhiblu at 10:33 AM on September 12, 2006

If you really have no other way to get in touch, do it. She might think it's the creepiest damned thing on the planet, which will result in your having as little of a relationship as never contacting her.

If you're just being impatient, cool your jets a little. She might think it's fine but people react oddly to being googled in general and getting contact information from them in specific. I sent my darling girlfriend a small token for valentine's day when we first started dating (talk about a no-win situation: what do you do for V-day when you have had 2 dates in the week before V-day?) and it borderline creeped her out. My feeling was that she'd shared with me who she was and where she worked, what's wrong with looking up the address in the phone book?

Well, she found it skeevy even though I had her work phone number and was okay with me calling her there. *shrug* You can't predict some reactions, so don't queer the deal if you can avoid it.
posted by phearlez at 10:41 AM on September 12, 2006

E-mail is fine, I think. Phone is creepy.
posted by Happydaz at 10:41 AM on September 12, 2006

I think phone books are fine. I even think google is fine. I think work is absolutely not fine.
posted by dobbs at 10:41 AM on September 12, 2006

I was also a little bit drunk so didn't really realize that I hadn't gotten her number

If she wanted to contact you again, wouldn't she have given you her number? Or her email.

Perhaps she's just not that into you?

I am willing to bet that the advice here ("Do It! / Stalker!") is going to fall out roughly along gender lines.
posted by meehawl at 10:42 AM on September 12, 2006

I'd use it, but I'd try to make it seem like it wasn't THAT hard to track down. ("Oh, I just googled your first name and company name and there was your number!" Leaving out the 400 dead ends you went down first.)
posted by callmejay at 10:42 AM on September 12, 2006

My instinct tells me that calling or emailing someone whose contact information you only discovered through extensive on-line stalking would set off "creepy" alerts, however, as occhilblu's answer indicates, there are probably an equal number of women who would likely find such a thing extremely flattering.

My guess is that if this woman is as legitimately interested in you as you seem to believe, how you found her information won't make much of difference and she'll simply be happy you went through the effort to contact her. If she's not, then having found her information on the Internet or through more traditional means (your friend) will still cause the same result as well - no date.

So the only real risk that I see is the potential embarrassment if you do contact her with the information you obtained online, she rejects your advances and then word gets back to your group of friends about your "stalkerish"actions. If that potential embarrassment is something you're willing to bear, I say go for it.
posted by The Gooch at 10:42 AM on September 12, 2006

If she told you where she works then it might be okay to phone her at her work number.

If you want to avoid being creepy entirely, you could try and give her your contact information thru your friends.

Just don't show up at her building under the pretenses of visiting Vadelay Industries, your uncle's import/export company, purveyor of fine latex products.
posted by robofunk at 10:47 AM on September 12, 2006

Something like this happened to me recently and I, personally, would be flattered. BUT... would prefer an e-mail. A phone call would seem like, perhaps, a little too much effort was made. Good luck!
posted by PsychoKitty at 10:56 AM on September 12, 2006

I think you should keep working on getting the information through your friend. Yeah, if you're lucky, she could find you googling her to get her info to be romantic. But if you're unlucky, she'll think you're really creepy and begin avoiding you at all costs. Instead, you could keep working on getting it from your friend, and when you finally succeed, call her and tell her how much trouble you went through to contact her because you're so smitten and you really dug her, etc. That should have some of the same romantic effect without the risk of seeming stalker-ish.

If you absolutely can't get her contact info from your friend, and you really still want to contact her, I guess use the information you got from google, but realize that it is a gamble. If she's not the hopeless romantic type, she may well find it creepy. I agree that email would be better than phone. Also, downplay the trouble it was to find her info. Just tell her you simply entered whatever search terms were finally successful, and leave out the parts about all the ones that weren't.
posted by gauchodaspampas at 10:59 AM on September 12, 2006

I'd work on your friend. That's the best way to get the info.

But traditionally, people have used phone books to find each other. There's nothing wrong with that, 411, directory-type information. And if you find her number that way, go ahead and call it. She's a big girl, she can tell you to shove off if she doesn't want to talk to you.

But don't call her at work. That's tacky.
posted by eleyna at 11:00 AM on September 12, 2006

E-mail is fine, I think. Phone is creepy.

I disagree completely. If a guy I met at a party called me on the phone and said, yea, I got your number from so-and-so, I'd think, oh, how cute. If a guy I met at a party e-mailed me after finding my e-mail address on the internet, I'd think, OMG, what if he found my blog? My Metafilter account? These are things I'd prefer to reveal to him in my own time. Everyone here will prefer e-mail because we're computer nerds, but the majority of people aren't tied to their computers the way we are. What if she checks her e-mail once a week? You need to get her number from your friends, and call her.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:02 AM on September 12, 2006 [1 favorite]

Okay, girl speaking here. Girl that has gotten her fair share of random e-mails and phone calls. A phone call would be awkward. Don't do that. I've never said yes to a guy that randomly calls me for a date. I find it a little too forward. However, random e-mails make me happy! Go that route.

Since you have put some effort in already, could you call the front desk at her company and ask for her e-mail address? No one would know it is you. You could even ask a question to make sure you have the right person (but, this is pushing it).

Then, you can send her an e-mail, which would not be awkward. If she ever asks you where you got the e-mail address from, you can say you asked your friend for it. You wouldn't be lying (he just didn't give it to you...). If she really really wants to know where exactly you got it from, well, that info can only be divulged over martinis.
posted by Eringatang at 11:06 AM on September 12, 2006

The Beatles would want you to call.
posted by miniape at 11:06 AM on September 12, 2006

I vote for CREEPY.

Even if I was interested in the guy, if he contacted me via finding my info on Google, not only would I be creeped out, I'd also be a little pissed.

Like 'ThePinkSuperhero' mentioned, Google can lead to a lot more info than phone or email... and I'd be wondering what else this stalkerish person has now found out about me. Not that people don't look each other up on Google any ways... but as a means for first contact... don't do it. Or if you ignore our advice and do it any how, lie and say you got her contact from a friend. I'd be less creeped out about the lie (if I never found out it was a lie) than I would be about being sniffed out on the internet.
posted by RoseovSharon at 11:10 AM on September 12, 2006

If her info was hard to find, there may be a reason for that. Keep any contact you do make as indirect as possible, you don't want to contact her, you want to let her know how to contact you.

An email would be OK as it leaves the door open. Don't call her directly, but if there is a receptionist where she works, perhaps leave a brief message for her (Hi, this is X my number is Y, thanks).

Definitely work on the friend though, he's your best bet for this going well.
posted by Skorgu at 11:11 AM on September 12, 2006

Um, I'm confused, if you have a mutual friend, she could contact you as well no? Being a girl, I would say no, no, no on calling her. Some girls may find it romantic, but I personally would not feel comfortable. Just because she told you things about herself doesn't mean she wants you spending your evenings searching on google for her personal info. It may make her call into question what else she told you that evening and how you may be using that information.
I've met people and been really flirty with them, but not had an interest in's my personality. She could be the same way.
Work on the friend and don't let him be snarky about it.
posted by Holy foxy moxie batman! at 11:16 AM on September 12, 2006

I guess I'm a little confused at some of the answers. Why would she be creeped out by information that you found on the internet about her, such as a blog? She put it ON THE INTERNET! It's not information that is in a diary on her bedside table or in a shoebox in her closet. It is on display, in a public, searchable medium, for the world to see. That she would be surprised or displeased by anything you could find via a search engine about her related to something she has put out there makes no sense to me.

Anything she wouldn't want you to know about her shouldn't be on the internet at all.

I think calling at work is a "no". Sending an email is good. If she was attracted to you, she won't think it is creepy. If she wasn't attracted to you and just mindlessly flirting, she won't email you back.
posted by jeanmari at 11:30 AM on September 12, 2006

I guess I'm a little confused at some of the answers. Why would she be creeped out by information that you found on the internet about her, such as a blog?

Because it happens. Maybe it doesn't make sense to people as sophisticated as us, but it does. Many people lack a fundamental understanding of how the internet works. Do you know lots of people type full internet addresses into Google or other search engines? Because they think that's what you're supposed to do!

It is on display, in a public, searchable medium, for the world to see.

Not everyone understands this. Better to play it safe with a girl you like.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:44 AM on September 12, 2006 [1 favorite]

Dont let an opportunity pass by. If she thinks you're creepy then whatever, if you don't do it, she will forget about you. Your only chance for anything positive is to contact her, provided your friend is genuinely cockblocking you by not giving the info up.

Worrying about her thinking your pressed and etc is very sophomoric...
posted by stratastar at 11:58 AM on September 12, 2006

It was actually pretty difficult and bit much to have spent as much time as I did. I normally would think it's completely creepy to actually call her based on that information, and it would probably have to be her work number, and I would need to feel it out to make sure that it's the right person. I think that it would be very awkward and a bit of an invasion of privacy.

Another female voice, and another vote for getting her contact info through your friend of a friend. If you think it will be creepy and awkward to call her at work after digging through Google to get her info, chances are she will too.
posted by geeky at 12:20 PM on September 12, 2006

I regularly Google myself. I think that a lot of people do this, including possibly (likely?) the object of your affections. It's not unlikely that she knows that her phone number appears nowhere in the first 100 results on a search for her name. If she's ever Googled herself and come up empty or nearly empty, she'll know that it took you a lot of work to find her contact info. The few times that someone has found me based on very little information, I've Googled that information myself to find out how much work they had to put into finding me, and I've been very creeped out if I was difficult to find.

Don't be that guy. Wait a few more days and ask your friend for her email address. Or better yet, ask your friend to forward an email to her for you. That way, she gets to decide whether she wants to get in touch with you and she doesn't get freaked out.
posted by Amy Phillips at 12:30 PM on September 12, 2006

"I guess I'm a little confused at some of the answers. Why would she be creeped out by information that you found on the internet about her, such as a blog? She put it ON THE INTERNET! It's not information that is in a diary on her bedside table or in a shoebox in her closet. It is on display, in a public, searchable medium, for the world to see. That she would be surprised or displeased by anything you could find via a search engine about her related to something she has put out there makes no sense to me.

Anything she wouldn't want you to know about her shouldn't be on the internet at all."

You're missing the point as to why this is creepy. It's a given that if she has a blog or whatever else on the internet, that anyone can find it. We know that, she knows that, he knows that. The point is... that if he wants to pursue a normal, non-stalkerish relationship with this girl, he should wait for her to give him her info (such as a link to her blog), rather than finding out this stuff about her behind her back and without her knowledge. True, if as in this example she's got a blog, it's there for all to see... but it's her stuff, and it's her place to invite him into her world. The opposite approach of him finding out all there is to know about her world via an internet search before having even established whether she wants to go on a date or see him again is the very definition (in my opinion) of creepy.

Not to mention that not all of the information about people is put up on the internet by themselves. I've found stuff about me which was put up online by of all people, the folks at my old highschool, who thought it would be cute to put up old yearbook and graduation photos using full names, dates, and other reveling information. She might not have any clue how much info is available online about her... and that doesn't make her unsophisticated or stupid.

There's also the possibility that despite her positive response when they meet, that she's just not interested. Maybe the friend that is avoiding passing on the contact info is doing so because they were specifically told not to. If this girl is so seemingly difficult to track down, even through mutual friends, maybe that's a not so subtle hint? I hope not, but if it is, popping up in her inbox or on her phone via info found online isn't going to help his case at all.
posted by RoseovSharon at 12:47 PM on September 12, 2006 [1 favorite]

Is there an easy way to track down her friend, other than through your friend? Maybe that's a way to go.
posted by occhiblu at 12:57 PM on September 12, 2006

Some of the people on this thread seriously need to mellow out. The poster is NOT stalking. Stalking is a serious crime that involved repeated attempts to contact/harass/have sex with someone who has clearly indicated a desire to be left alone. The poster, on the other hand, met this woman at a party and simply forgot/didn't get a chance to get her number.

To imply that what he's doing is creepy is totally off the mark, and pretty rude to boot (I know I warned against it in my last post, and now I'm regretting even broaching the possibility). He received what was clearly a set of social signals that indicated, at the very least, this woman thought he was worth spending a few hours with. Simply making a phone call is not creepy, nor is it stalking, and it does a disservice to the people who have actually been victims of stalking.

jcwagner: Don't be afraid to wait a few days, or a week, or even two, if you'd rather wait for your friend to come through and avoid the whole boondoggle of whether googling her was appropriate or not. If the interaction was as pleasant as you say it was, she won't have forgotten you. On the other hand, if you want to get in touch with her sooner, do so. Ignore all the stupid rules about seeming too desperate or waiting three days, if you want to call her now. Listen to your instincts and your heart. When you finally get in touch with her, you'll know if it's not meant to be.
posted by hifiparasol at 1:09 PM on September 12, 2006

I'd also vote for creepy. If I understand the story right, you didn't even know her last name, but puzzled it out with first name and company name. It sounds way too stalkerish to me.

You need to work your friend. Bribe him, get him drunk, threaten violence, whatever it takes.
posted by Lame_username at 1:12 PM on September 12, 2006

Here's the Readers Digest Condensed Version:

If you were right about her being interested in you, then it's fine that you got ahold of her that way (as long as, as someone noted, it wasn't at work -- though work email is probably ok).

If you were wrong, then you're a creepy stalker.

Are you willing to find out? :-)

Was she inebriated at the time this all happened in person?
posted by baylink at 1:15 PM on September 12, 2006

An update - she was a friend of another girl who was there who is a friend of my friend. Everyone else there is part of the big group of friends, only these two were not. So the connection is based on the one friend who knows her friend, and this guy is kind of flaky. Unless he is reading this, in which case, you're great, man!

I agree that it would be creepy to contact her based on this - it was more of a "if nothing else works, should I do it?" question. I was able to find her using her first name and some knowledge about the work that she does and the general entity she works for. But I was really leaning towards NOT using this information if at all possible. I just wanted to know, if there were no other way to contact her, if it would ever be reasonable.

I don't think that I could have found my crush's friend that way - the only think I knew about her was her first name and I wasn't even sure how to spell it.

I think that it's interesting how different peoples' opinions are on this, and I'm surprised how many women seem to think that it might be ok and really romantic if the situation were right. I thought that most would think it would always be creepy, which is kind of how I felt. But I guess that if she really liked me as much as she seemed to, it might not be quite as bad.

Anyway, my flaky friend finally got back to me, so it's all good. His friend was cool and liked me, so I think that she will pass on my number to her friend, and hopefully she will want to go out with me. Maybe, you'll get more information....
posted by jcwagner at 1:17 PM on September 12, 2006

I met a girl at a bar and we hit it off. We never exchanged coordinates, but she did tell me where she worked. I couldn't get her out of my head and I cold called the switchboard at her office the the following week to go for a beer. We managed to connect and we have been married for many years. One vote here for "not creepy".
posted by greedo at 1:26 PM on September 12, 2006

Yay! Keep us updated. :-)
posted by occhiblu at 1:26 PM on September 12, 2006

Heh. That was for jcwagner, though greedo, if you want to post marital updates, I'm sure that would be interesting, too!
posted by occhiblu at 1:27 PM on September 12, 2006

Nobody called the poster a stalker. Many people alluded to the fact that a woman on the receiving end of the attention might find it stalker-ish. Rational or not, that's the reality. My darling girlfriend, in addition to being smart and usually fairly reasonable, is a PR rep for a living. She was weirded out when I casually mentioned googling her and reading several newspaper articles she was quoted in, back when we first started dating.

This is a woman who does this professionally. She's on tv on a regular basis. She gets google alerts on a number of things every day, including her name, so she is well aware of what's out there. Never the less, she had an initial eww reaction on finding out I'd looked her up that way.

So, you can roll your eyes with indignation over how stupid the reaction is or you can anticipate reality and the sometimes irrational way people respond to things. Is it stalking? Intrusive? Inappropriate? No. So what?

You can decide to relate to other people as if you're on Metafilter and it's the end-all be-all goal to Be Right at every moment and scoff at those who are irrational and/or wrong.... or you can decide to be a courteous human being, tolerate the minor foibles and silliness of others and do what's most likely to get you a favorable result in your dealings with other people.
posted by phearlez at 1:36 PM on September 12, 2006

To imply that what he's doing is creepy is totally off the mark, and pretty rude to boot

You may have missed the part where the poster used the word "creepy" himself to describe contacting someone with googled information.

Glad to hear it!
posted by justkevin at 1:59 PM on September 12, 2006

"Anyway, my flaky friend finally got back to me, so it's all good. His friend was cool and liked me, so I think that she will pass on my number to her friend, and hopefully she will want to go out with me. Maybe, you'll get more information..."

Damn, spoke too soon. My friend did get back to me on e-mail, and said "sure, what's up, how can I help?" so I thought that he would be getting ready to give me the friend's contact info or pass on my number to the friend and her friend, especially since I had previously left a voicemail for him asking him to do the same. But, as it turns out, he says that he is "estranged" from his friend (as in, maybe they're not friends so much at all anymore). To clarify, my comment above about the friend being cool and liking me was based on my perception from the day we met, not on anything he said. He and the rest of our crowd had just run into the two women right before I got there, and I guess that I hadn't picked up on whatever weird subtext there was between them - he called her his friend and that seemed believable to me. So, he's not sure whether he still even has her contact information - he's gonna check. After all this craziness, though, I'm thinking that he at least knows his friend's last name, so maybe I can find her in the phone book. But no one really uses phone books anymore, so that might not work either.

So, the sage continues, maybe a craigslist missed connection is in order if this doesn't work.
posted by jcwagner at 2:13 PM on September 12, 2006

So the connection is based on the one friend who knows her friend, and this guy is kind of flaky. Unless he is reading this, in which case, you're great, man!

This generated audible snorting. Good luck!
posted by mecran01 at 2:47 PM on September 12, 2006

Is there a middle-ground where you can call the mutual friend and tell him the details you've discovered and say "that's her, right?" and have him confirm them?

Then you can say you got the details with your friend's help without it being a lie.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 2:48 PM on September 12, 2006

For what it's worth, on all the "stalker" term issues, I kind of agree that the term is overused, and it tends to undermine the seriousness of true stalking-type activity. I have known people who have actually been stalked and it is extremely scary and dangerous, and it's still very hard to prove or get protection from because of, for example, all the information about someone that a stalker can collect and/or disseminate over the internet.

Would calling her at work go too far? Maybe, and that's why I'm considering it only as a relatively last resort and because she already expressed a desire to go out with me. And I would do say with all due care to be as easygoing and non-threatening as possible. That situation would definitely have to be a one phone call and that's it, ever, no matter what, unless she gets back to me, situation. But it wouldn't be stalking. Not even close.
posted by jcwagner at 2:56 PM on September 12, 2006

I went through a similar situation in 1996: I met a woman I really really liked, and there seemed to be a mutual attrraction, and our only mutual friend stalled for a month and then refused to give me her contact details. What worked for me may not work for you:

All I knew was her first name, the approximate area of London where she lived, and the fact that within the last six months she had written an article for a women's magazine about funerals.

So I called the features editors of various glossy women's magazines in the UK, starting with Vogue and working down. "Hi, I'm Hogshead, I work for (magazine publisher). I'm trying to contact one of your freelancers, but I'm working from an incomplete set of data here. All I can tell you is she's called (name), lives in (area) and wrote an article for you about fashionable funerals. Oh... you've not run an article on funerals? I'm sorry, these notes are really bad."

Got lucky with the fifth call: I found the magazine, and the features editor gave me her contact information.

Then I manufactured a situation at work where I needed her expertise, and contacted her, telling her I'd got her details from the magazine. (It had been two months at this point, so I felt I needed a pretext rather than just calling her.) And then we got married, and then we got divorced, and so it goes.

What I'm saying is: if your friends flake, there are alternatives and they can end up being quite romantic.
posted by Hogshead at 4:16 PM on September 12, 2006

Let me suggest that (without being clear on the genders/friendship levels here) said friend may not be inclined to give out contact info if said friend is HIMSELF interested in this wonderful girl to some extent. I've had that happen to me -- oh, yeah, I, um forgot her number, I think. So you my be on your own here.

That said, 1) no reason to worry about waiting a week or two -- if it was a great day, she'll remember it for a while, and 2) a phone call at work is probably a big no-no, depending on the type of work (if she's a phone sex operator, it may be OK, f'rexample). Email should be OK, though.
posted by Rock Steady at 4:29 PM on September 12, 2006

To get back on topic: If all you've got is her work phone number, it is sort of a tricky situation. Outside of the questionable propriety of calling her at the office, you may actually risk getting her into some kind of trouble (who knows what her boss is like?).

It might be possible to do an end run around that: If she's got her own voicemail at the office, you might try calling at a time other than normal business hours (say, 7 PM or thereabouts), and leaving a message, saying you're sorry to call her at work, but you really wanted to reconnect, but didn't want to risk bothering her during the workday, so you left a voicemail so she could listen/respond at her leisure.

It's still tricky, but I think timing is key here. If you call at 10 PM or 3 AM absent an explanation for the weird time, she may (rightfully so) be a bit put off (I'm assuming that, if she's got voicemail, any message will have a timestamp). Thus the early-evening thing.
posted by hifiparasol at 4:42 PM on September 12, 2006

My rule of thumb is that anything that was once considered romantic in attempting to get a date is now "stalkery." Just from the reactions I read whenever situations like this are discussed. Any overt signs of interest means "the new concrete pit I've dug for you is done curing, I'll pick up some hose on the way back." It's all about the Battle of Whoe Could Care Less, as Ben Folds (happy B-day, Ben!) would put it.
posted by adipocere at 4:58 PM on September 12, 2006 [1 favorite]

... or I could learn to properly proofread.
posted by adipocere at 5:06 PM on September 12, 2006

Call her! Email her! Rely on no one else! Apologize 'til the cows come home for the method, your breach of "etiquette" but follow that impulse -- find out if it's authentic! You felt it, she felt, is it real??! Authentic is rare! Yikes, y'all!
posted by thinkpiece at 5:38 PM on September 12, 2006

Now that your friend seems to be unlikely to be able to help, I think the balance tips (further) towards "contact her". I liked the suggestion that you call the switchboard at her workplace and ask for her email address.

Of course, if that doesn't work, you might have to bite the bullet and call her.

You should try the "home" contact details first, and call when you're sure she'll be at work so that you can leave a message (it will be less confronting, and puts the ball in her court).

And if the "home" number is wrong, then you'll have to call her at work. Maybe it will be awkward, but you can apologise for calling her at work and promise never to do it again.

But I'm wondering whether she really needs to know how you got her number. Why can't you just say, "I'm sorry I didn't call sooner, but my friend was being an arse and it's taken me ages to get your number"?
posted by robcorr at 6:49 PM on September 12, 2006

my girlfriend asked me out by doing a WHOIS search on a domain I had and emailing me through that address. We've been together 4 years now. If your girlfriend isn't techie she might think the googling is creepy though.
posted by ejoey at 7:03 PM on September 12, 2006

If you don't get her number through your friends, and you think you know where she works, take your shot by sending flowers with a note re-identifying yourself from that evening, and praising her impish smile and memorable eyes, and asking her to contact you. And don't forget your contact info!

She's worth $50 in flowers/delivery charges, isn't she?
posted by paulsc at 7:25 PM on September 12, 2006

As someone who *is* internet savvy, I would find someone I just met calling me/emailing me at work out-of-the-blue a little creepy, especially if that contact info was not on the first 2 pages of a simple google search...

However, paulsc's idea is superb -- it removes the 'creepy' factor of using details which she did not give you, and uses info that she did give you (name/place of work).

It allows her to handle the situation in her own time, and either ignore you or recontact you at a place/time more confortable to her (I would hate to have to handle such a conversation in my open-plan office)...

It also allows you to delay the moment when you admit to how you got her contact info ("I know this sounds a bit creepy, but I found it on the internet... it was a bit tricky because I didn't know how to spell your name!"), but she as already admitted (by contacting you back) that she is also 'interested', so it is actually less of an issue at that point...

Finally: there is the peer-pressure aspect: colleagues might go 'aww how cute! he must be a nice guy! Call him now!'

It does, however, depend on the place/type of work -- it has to be an office-based evironment where deliveries are possible...

If you feel flowers are too OTT, or need an alternative, then how about a snail mail greetings card sent to her work address (marked Personal of course!)...

Good luck, and let mefi know how you got on!
posted by nielm at 2:58 AM on September 14, 2006

I agree -- sending something would be a good idea, but I would find flowers over the top and possibly creepy. A note's better.
posted by footnote at 4:38 AM on September 14, 2006

There is also the chance, however slim it may seem, that the people you are trying to get her info through have some additional knowledge about the girl that would squash the chances of a relationship (i.e. she's psycho/rebounding/gay/leaving for the Belgian Congo in a week/etc) and are in fact trying to spare your feelings in a tactful manner.

That said, n+1 the "any steps you take now wouldn't leave you in a significantly worse position than you were before". And also contacting via MySpace (if she has one) > phoning her at work.
posted by softlord at 7:15 AM on September 14, 2006

[a few comments removed, take metastalking comments to metatalk or email]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:09 PM on September 14, 2006

It worked once for me. I met someone at a dance, we talked afterward and had a great time, and then she left, and I completely forgot to get her number. After a couple of weeks of scolding myself for being such a dunce, I decided to see if I could find her. All I knew was her first name, the college she had graduated from, and her major... but that was enough. I sent her an email, asking if she was the right person, apologizing for seeming like a creep and especially for letting her go without asking for her number. It worked... she told me that she had actually googled me and found my e-mail address the week before, but she had been too self-conscious to use it.

So later we told our friends that we had stalked each other on the internet... it was true geek love. :)

OTOH, another time I tried looking up a different person, and found her livejournal by accident... which contained way more than I ever wanted to know about her... so I politely called that one off on another pretext, and decided to forswear the practice of googling potential dates, before it led to more trouble.
posted by purple_frogs at 12:11 AM on September 15, 2006

My friend could not come through, so I e-mailed her (found a work e-mail address) at work. Hopefully something good will come of this...
posted by jcwagner at 10:41 AM on September 15, 2006

PLEASE post an update.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 12:04 PM on September 16, 2006 [1 favorite]

Never heard from her over e-mail, and I think that I was able, through some additional googling, to verify that it was the right e-mail address - or what would at least be the right e-mail adddress if she still worked at her most recent job. So I guess that it didn't get to her for whatever reason (possible, but unlikely), that she recently changed jobs (possible, but unlikely) or that she was just not interested. I speculate that, if she were not interested, it might have been because of the manner of contact, but it was my only option.

So, I have no regrets - I just wish that she had gotten back to me. C'est la vie.
posted by jcwagner at 10:36 AM on October 2, 2006

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