sweet or creepy?
March 14, 2007 8:14 AM   Subscribe

I was walking my dog the other evening around my neighborhood and met the nicest woman. I actually ran into her again the very next night. I really wanted to ask her out but I chickened out. I would really like to get to know this girl but I am not sure what to do. Even though I saw her 2 nights in a row the odds are high I wont bump into her again. She told me she works at the local coffee shop so it occurred to me I could stop in and say hi. Would it come across as creepy if I showed up where she worked and asked her out?
posted by superduperfly to Human Relations (41 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
If she was at all interested in you, rather than be creepy it will likely be flattering. If you are a little unsure of where she stands you might go low key like asking her to lunch (or for a cup of coffee, but she probably has had her fill of that).
posted by caddis at 8:17 AM on March 14, 2007

Generally a bad idea to ask someone out while they're working, particular in a customer service role. Not creepy to stop by, say "hi", chat for a minute or two and ask, say, "when do you finish up here?"
posted by solid-one-love at 8:18 AM on March 14, 2007

She told you where she works? She won't mind if you drop by. But, don't expect to have a full on conversation right then and there! Not creepy if you keep it low-key and friendly.
posted by typewriter at 8:21 AM on March 14, 2007

It wouldn't be creepy to show up and ask her what time she's done. Creepy would be sitting across the street from her workplace in your car and staring at her through binoculars...
posted by MegoSteve at 8:27 AM on March 14, 2007 [1 favorite]

Go for it! Either walking the dog or in the coffee shop. It is always OK to ask.
posted by parmanparman at 8:30 AM on March 14, 2007

3rding the finding out when she's finished, and meet her then. She told you where she works, that's an invite to say 'hi'!
posted by defcom1 at 8:31 AM on March 14, 2007

Seconding the "Don't ask her out at work" crowd. I tended bar for years, and even if you'd like to speak more with a customer, often you just don't have the time. Make it brief and friendly: "Hey, it was nice seeing you again. We should continue this conversation sometime when you're not so busy. Maybe I could give you a call?" (It helps if you say this after you've already got her nodding in agreement about something)

This may obvious, but it's worth pointing out: If you purchase something at the coffee shop, be sure to leave a respectable tip in the jar, even if she isn't the one who takes your order. Believe me, people notice.
posted by Gamblor at 8:33 AM on March 14, 2007

Asking when someone gets off work is a bad idea, because (if she tells you the truth) it basically traps her in a position of not being able to avoid seeing you then if she wants to. Sure, she probably doesn't want to, but you should always make sure to leave someone that option.

Plus, chances are that's when she gets off all the time, and it is considered by many to be unsafe for a woman to disclose that kind of infomation to random people: "I'm usually walking unescorted through the parking lot at 8 pm."

Be a gentleman. You don't have to visit the coffee shop at all. Simply keep looking out for her at dog walking times. If a couple of weeks go by and you don't see her, at least you know where to find her if you must. But I guarantee you that she will respect being asked out while on a walk more than she will at work. From the time she sees you walk into that door, you'll be a customer. Right now you are just you. Be patient and approach from that angle.
posted by hermitosis at 8:38 AM on March 14, 2007 [4 favorites]

If she worked in an office building I think it would be creepy if you turned up but she works in a coffee shop. Stop by and say if she's not completely tired of being around coffee all day would she like to go have a cup of coffee sometime.
posted by gfrobe at 8:56 AM on March 14, 2007

I agree that slow-and-steady wins the race, but I don't think you need to be as timid as hermitosis is suggesting. Do stop by the coffee shop, and say "Hey, you mentioned this place, and I thought I'd check it out. It's pretty nice!" Leave a good tip, but not an extravagant one, and sit there for a bit reading a paper while you sip your coffee. On your way out, catch her eye again and give her a smile. Then wait a few days before showing up again.

At that point, ask her how she's doing and if there's any chance she'll be in your neighborhood again. If she's comfortable with you, she'll tell you, and you've got a date. If she's not, she'll hem and haw, and it'll be pretty clear she's not interested.

Yes, there's more up-front investment than just walking up and asking her out, but it minimizes the risk of exposing your intentions and feeling embarrassed if she declines.
posted by ad_hominem at 8:57 AM on March 14, 2007 [2 favorites]

Here's a female viewpoint on the matter. If you do decide to drop in to the coffee shop, don't ask for her number to give her a call -- instead give her *your* phone number or even your email address. It's not as intrusive and it leaves it up to her to decide whether or not she wishes to follow up on you.

Be brief, casual and low-key about it; something like: "I really enjoyed meeting you and would love to have a chance to chat some more. Here's my contact info if you'd like to call or email, or even get together for a coffee or a bite to eat."

By leaving the choice up to her, it becomes a "non-creepy" thing and just shows you are interested, but not in an aggressive or pushy manner.

Good luck, and let us know how it turns out...

~ Jade Dragon
posted by Jade Dragon at 9:04 AM on March 14, 2007 [2 favorites]

I would see if you run into her again. If she's interested, she'll be sure to be there. Leave the dog at home to stifle any false positives, though.
posted by DU at 9:14 AM on March 14, 2007

Yeah, drop in and leave her your business card. And make sure your dog signs it, too. Or draw a little picture of your canine companion. "From Rex the Wonder Dog" would earn you points.
posted by Midnight Creeper at 9:16 AM on March 14, 2007

2nd Jade Dragon. Right on the money.
posted by kch at 9:17 AM on March 14, 2007

This thread is about a very similar topic. If she didn't want to see you again she wouldn't have told you where she works. It doesn't mean she wants to date you, but at least she's not creeped out by you. As others have said I think if you play it low key and give her the initiative it's fine.
posted by nanojath at 9:22 AM on March 14, 2007

Not creepy at all! If she isn't interested, she'll let you know.
posted by birdlady at 9:27 AM on March 14, 2007

I agree. Go to the coffee shop.

Don't ask. Say: "I'll give you my number".

Women want guys who are assertive- who take control.
posted by wfc123 at 9:29 AM on March 14, 2007

Whether or not to proceed with caution on the coffee-shop front depends on how the information came out. Did she volunteer that she works there? Or did you ask where she worked? If she completely volunteered it, down to the name, then she's comfortable with you coming by. If she said, "Oh, I work at a coffee-shop on Main," and you've figured out which one, then it may be too creepy.

Once, in high school, I met a guy at a club who lived in a different town than I did. He asked me where I lived, and I told him the town. He asked if it was the west or east side of town, and I said it was sort of in the middle, on route 150, near such-and-such hospital. Imagine my surprise when he arrived in my backyard the next day on his bicycle.
posted by xo at 9:39 AM on March 14, 2007

I don't think it's creepy to ask her out at the coffeeshop, since you are acquainted wih her outside of her customer service role. Don't ask her when she gets off--that does put her in a awkward situation if she doesn't want to meet up with you.
posted by donajo at 9:40 AM on March 14, 2007

If I thought a guy was creepy, I would never tell them where I worked. I agree to what solid-one-love said. Wait until she gets off work to ask her out.
posted by slc228 at 9:47 AM on March 14, 2007

Victory goes to the bold.

I'm a fan of showing up very soon at the coffee shop (with a friend), saying hey and having a brief conversation. Do your own thing, then on the way out, try to time it so you can say goodbye when she's not busy. Might be a good idea to have your buddy make a phonecall as you're leaving so he's not waiting on you to finish.

If the exit conversation goes well, say something about meeting up sometime soon and then just play it by ear. If the exit conversation is too rushed for that, make a second trip to the coffee shop another day and make a concentrated effort to pass her your number.

Either way, the worst thing that can happen is she saying nope, and then you probably wont ever have to see her again!

Make sure you update the thread on how this goes, i like hearing how these things pan out.
posted by ZackTM at 9:55 AM on March 14, 2007

I was the girl in this scenario a couple of years ago. Change "walking my dog" to "attending a management seminar" and you've got the same set of circumstances.

I will be blunt and say that I wasn't interested in the guy-- he happened to have been sitting across the aisle from me and we exchanged what I thought was polite conversation a couple of times during the day-long meeting. I made the mistake of telling him where I work (but no other details other than my first name-- I didn't even give him a business card) as it came up in conversation. A few days later he called the switchboard at my employer and had the operator track me down. I was surprised and weirded out when my phone rang and it was him, asking me out while I was at work.

Admittedly, had I been interested it would have come as a welcome gesture. I think he mistook my having mentioned where I worked as mutual interest, which taught me pretty quickly not to offer that information to anyone offhandedly. I'm not very good at judging a man's interest, so I have been known to say things that can be mistaken for reciprocal interest.

Tread carefully here would be my advice, especially when it comes to finding her at work. By all means, if you run into her again outside of her workplace, offer her your info and invite her to contact you. But please don't take it to where she works.
posted by hollisimo at 10:23 AM on March 14, 2007

This one's easy! Go to the coffee shop, say hi and be friendly. Make sure one of the other people (not her) is serving you, and then visibly tip well. On the way out, tell her when you'll be walking your dog next, ending with "see ya!" so that it's open-ended and non-threatening.

When she shows up, you walk your dogs together and ask her if she wants to go to dinner sometime.
posted by anildash at 10:24 AM on March 14, 2007

I like anildash's suggestion above.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:41 AM on March 14, 2007

Go to the cafe, dig your time there. When you leave, give her your calling card. She'll call you.
posted by breezeway at 10:43 AM on March 14, 2007 [1 favorite]

Here's a female viewpoint on the matter. If you do decide to drop in to the coffee shop, don't ask for her number to give her a call -- instead give her *your* phone number or even your email address...

ha ha ha. That certainly is a female POV, because it leaves her with all the power, and you sitting by the phone/computer/blackberry desperately waiting for the call that may or may not ever come.

I agree with the "just ask her out" crowd, although I also agree that you should respect the fact that she's at work. Figure out a subtle, discreet way to get her phone number or email. Giving her yours without getting anything back is setting yourself up as a pushover.
posted by drjimmy11 at 10:50 AM on March 14, 2007

drjimmy11, since the OP doesn't know if this girl returns his interest, he SHOULD be letting her make the call. If she never calls him, it's BECAUSE SHE ISN'T INTERESTED. She shouldn't have to defend herself against his advances in her workplace, no less just because he doesn't want to face rejection. He's not a pushover, he's letting her respond to his interest without making her unnecessarily uncomfortable.
posted by hollisimo at 10:53 AM on March 14, 2007 [3 favorites]

Go in, buy coffee, find her, say "Sorry I really have to get going but I enjoyed talking to you and I'm not sure when I'll see you again. Here is my number, you should give me a call when you are free, like after work. It could be fun."

The ball is in her court, you did what you wanted to do, took very little of her time at work, didnt make a silly scene at work, and didn't pressure her any.
posted by damn dirty ape at 11:03 AM on March 14, 2007

defend herself against his advances in her workplace,

jeez, I didn't advocate sexual assault I don't think. And giving a number is just as much an "advance" as asking for one.

Perhaps I didn't phrase that so well, but basically, calling someone you don't know on the phone is hard and awkward, especially if it's in a romantic context. I feel like the person who's expressing the interest (the poster, in this case) should be the one to do the calling.

If he just gives her his number, he's saying, "hey i really like you, now can you please take the initiative and do the hard part for me?" She may very well like him, yet still be hesitant to pick up the phone and call, because like I said, that's a hard thing to do for many people.
posted by drjimmy11 at 11:32 AM on March 14, 2007

drjimmy11, since the OP doesn't know if this girl returns his interest, he SHOULD be letting her make the call. If she never calls him, it's BECAUSE SHE ISN'T INTERESTED.

There are levels of interest, though. Women commonly have a lot of options to choose from; if someone gives me their number I may very well forget all about it, even if he was kinda cute, just because he wasn't particularly distinguished from the crowd. But if someone steps forward and declares an interest, then I have to make a yes/no decision.

Basically, when something's a strong yes, I'll call if given a number, but if something's a weak yes, I generally won't take initiative to contact him, but will go out if asked. If it's a strong no I'll make it directly clear either way, and if it's a weak no, I'll probably end up being a little too nice in trying to get across my disinterest, and confuse him or sort of accidently lead him on or try to just be friends even though I can see he's thinking something more.

Most of my relationships have started with weak yeses, but then, so far all of my relationships have eventually come to an end... still, I think a lot of women start relationships with a slightly weaker interest, which I think is why men are traditionally the asker-outers. I think women are unfortunately often just attracted to a smaller portion of the population than men are.
posted by mdn at 11:55 AM on March 14, 2007

As a girl who worked in a coffee shop though undergrad, here's my two cents:

There's nothing wrong with stopping in to see her at work. However, try to avoid actually asking her out at work. Baristas get asked out a lot while they're working, and frequently it's by creepy dudes. Therefore, it's quite easy to assume that a guy must be creepy because he's asking you out at work, regardless of whether or not he actually is a creep. Also, most women don't like being put on the spot in front of coworkers and random customers.

If you do go to see her, try to pick a time when she's not busy. If she is busy, respect that: don't try to start a conversation when there's a line, just come back some other time. When you do catch her, just be casual: "You mentioned you worked here, so I figured I'd give the place a try. What do you recommend?" See what develops from there.

If she seems interested and you must make your move while she's working, do as others have suggested and leave her your number or email address. Yes, it leaves the proverbial ball in her court, but that's where it should be. You're just trying to find out if she's interested, and if she is, she'll call.

And finally, if she's not interested, just let it go. Don't keep seeking her out under the misguided assumption that persistence will win her over. It won't, and it creates a hostile work environment for her. I can't tell you how many times my coworkers have had to "hide" each other from would-be suitors. Occasionally law enforcement would need to get involved. It's really, really scary. While I'm sure you harbor no plans of stalking this girl, she doesn't know that.

Okay, despite all that, I do think you should go for it. After all, you might just make her day. Just be cool about it and respect the fact that it's her workplace. Good luck!
posted by AV at 12:02 PM on March 14, 2007 [2 favorites]

I like the idea of giving her an email or number. Showing up would be more flattering than creepy to me, especially if I'd told the guy where I worked. But I really wouldn't (with apologies to the above posters) ask when she gets off work -- that sounds vageuly stalker-ish to me. I think it would be okay to ask for her number and then call to ask her out sometime.
posted by theredpen at 12:48 PM on March 14, 2007

You've bumped into her twice, why not three times?AV has solid advice, but I think you look a lot better if you wait til she's off work or walking her dog again.
Too many variables in her work environment, and it would be easy to look douchey if you have to stand around waiting for her to finish with a customer.
Find her off work hours. Be direct. Forget this give her your info thing---you'll be waiting forever.
If you ask for a number and she waffles, forget it and move on. If she gives it to you, call within 24 hours. Be yourself, but confident, assertive and direct.
In conclusion, I would say forget the coffee shop thing, that's her world(and work), not yours.
Better to be a little covertly creepy trying to time her dog walking schedule than to actually appear creepy by putting her in an awkward work situation.
Keep it easy, and good luck.
posted by BillBishop at 1:09 PM on March 14, 2007

Don't go to her work. Personally, it's creepy. She might think nothing of it but if it wasn't mentioned in a welcoming kind of way and you just know where it is... On the otherhand if you have a genuine reason to go there then deffinitely go. Are you any good at reading situations? (I have resources if your not sure or interested) But the most important thing is, if you go have a genuine reason so at worst you acknowledge her while shes working and you're genuinely ....... not awkward no harm done. Or she's enthusiastic to see you, also good. Unless of course you're third night lucky then you can skip all the stalking :-) and go straight to plan b. Or consider the possibility that it is you being stalked.
posted by mu~ha~ha~ha~har at 2:29 PM on March 14, 2007

Go to the coffee shop. If she is at the counter, give her a nice smile, tell her its nice to see her, and sit your ass down. If she is not at the counter, subtly alert her to your presence. By this, I mean, don't ask for her, or go sneak in the back. I mean make sure your in a seat where she will and can see you, or get up an buy a muffin or refill your coffee until she sees you. Now, every once and a while, glance in her direction. Try to catch her eye, smile in a coy manner, and turn on your 'is-she-interested' measuring device. Only do this once. Now get the hell out of there. If you can't catch her glance, this is ok. Just make sure she sees you. This is important. You just want to increase what social psychologists call proximity. It's what I would call creating a little intrigue. It also give you a chance to gauge, through body language, if she is interested, or was just being friendly. It also hedges you against her thinking your desperate, a stalker, or a player. Now go for your walks or go to the coffee shop again, and if you feel it in your gut, ask for her phone number with confidence. If you get her phone number, wait a few days, call her, don't small talk, and ask her if she would like to 'help' you walk your dog. If she doesn't give you her phone number, you have simply calibrated your flirt-o-matic machine.
posted by jasondigitized at 3:46 PM on March 14, 2007

Not creepy. Without doubt several women read this and hoped that it was them you were talking about.

Of course some also thought it was creepy, but that's another story.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:28 PM on March 14, 2007

Threads like this are endlessly fascinating to me. The myriad of responses to something that seems, to each individual, plainly obvious, is really interesting.

My opinion? Like what appears to be the consensus above... go to the coffee shop, be a gentleman, give her your info, say adieu.

Good luck.
posted by Ynoxas at 10:47 PM on March 14, 2007

No, No, No! You've all got it all wrong. What you're supposed to do is write a "missed connection" on Craigslist and then go home, listen to emo, and cry.
posted by Mr. Gunn at 1:26 PM on March 15, 2007

Mr. Gunn: I wanted to snark at you but I couldn't quit laughing long enough to do so.
posted by Ynoxas at 11:13 AM on March 16, 2007

Go to the coffee shop. Order coffee. Smile. Be friendly. When she has a free moment or comes to talk to you and isn't rushed, ask her out. Don't labor over this, get it over with, life favors the bold.
posted by bigmusic at 10:25 PM on March 17, 2007

Response by poster: ok, so here is how it all turned out...

I decided to wait a few days to see if I would bump into her again walking through the neighborhood. Of course the weather decides to take a turn for the worst. The forecast called for cold weather for at least a week. Plan B. I went to the coffee shop. She seemed quite happy to see me. We made small talk. I waited until she wasn't busy and asked her if she would like to hang out sometime. She said she would love to and offered up her number. As she was handing it to me she said "I really do want to hang out with you but you should know I have a boyfriend. He is out of state but still..."

You know what? I don't even care. I did something that wasn't easy for me to do and I am proud of myself.

I want to thank everyone for their input. I really do appreciate it. Thank you!!
posted by superduperfly at 7:15 PM on March 26, 2007 [1 favorite]

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