The workplace is one of the most common places where people form romantic relationships. When men and women are thrown together for around eight hours every day, it is inevitable that bonds other than strictly professional develop. Sometimes though one is held back by professional ethics and in case of women there is also the convention of the man ideally being the one to propose a date. So if you have been eyeing that groovy looking intern or have had a long crush on the guy in the next cubicle, here are some ways to ask a male co-worker out, without appearing unladylike or worse, desperate.
Do your homework
Before springing a date on a male co-worker, it would be better for you to find out your workplace policies on socialization among co-workers. Some organizations are stricter than others on the matter of their employees dating each other. Finding about this beforehand will spare you from making a mistake and putting your – as well as your co-worker’s – career in jeopardy, even unknowingly. Once you know you are not doing something prohibited, set about getting an idea of this co-worker’s feelings for you. If he always has a ready smile for you and does not shy away from making eye contact, at least it means that he likes you. Further signs which should encourage you are finding ways to be near you – like he may be going to the water station or to the office copier all too often if your desk or cubicle is on the way. Or he may regularly come over – supposedly to clarify details about a project even though you may have discussed it thoroughly earlier. again watch out for little gestures that convey thoughtfulness; for instance, your co-worker may not bring you flowers on a Monday or chocolates on Valentines’ Day but if he brings you coffee just the way you like it and makes sure all your messages are hand delivered, they are as good a sign that you can go ahead.
Strike up a conversation
One big advantage that you have while asking out a co-worker as compared to a stranger in the bar is that you already have a shared context – the workplace. This spares you the need of making introductions and finding a common ground. If you both work in a huge office and are virtually strangers then you can begin with a Hi, I’m so-and-so from the marketing department. And then go on to ask which floor or department he works in. once you are past the introductions, say something nice or funny about the place you both are at. Don’t get too personal at this point by asking whether he is single or if he travels a lot. The whole idea is to break the ice between you two and get a feel of whether it would be a good idea to go out.
On the other hand if you already know your co-worker, you can skip this part and find an appropriate moment – like a coffee break – to do make some small talk; you could also do this by commenting on something he is wearing like “I like your jacket/watch” or asking a question, “where did you work before you joined this place?” After a brief while you could go on to ask him non-intrusive questions about himself, such as what kinds of things he likes to do, what are his favorite kinds of food or if he likes to play sports. By asking such harmless questions you can know more about him which in turn will help you decide if you really want to go out with him or if he is available. If the guy begins flirting with you, flirt right back but keep it all non-sexual or you might come off as too desperate.
Find grounds of mutual interest
The whole point about starting a conversation with a coworker you want to ask out is to find something fun you can do together. If he is someone new, then after establishing the good vibes, ask about his likes and dislikes. Explore common areas of interest, perhaps an activity like ice-skating or a favorite music band. Talk about your mutual interest for a while and then casually mention that you have tickets to this concert and if he would like to go with you.
This is also the way to go about when you already know the colleague you want to ask out. Try to find a time when he won’t be busy like lunch hours or after work and then suggest you grab a coffee or have a couple of after-work hours drinks. as he is unwinding Chat him up by starting with whatever you have in common – if he is in the same department as yours, comment on the upcoming office picnic or if he works in another floor in your office building, ask him about the kind of cell phone reception people get there. From here, you again need to go on to his interests or hobbies. For example, if the guy If he's into politics and talks about it all the time, invite him to a political rally. Or tell him about this Italian restaurant which has garnered great reviews and casually ask if he would like to check it out with you. The main thing here is to keep the approach light and comfortable. Don’t simply corner him in a lift or at the water cooler and ask outright about going out for a dinner/movie. At best he will agree unwillingly and at worst he will plead another engagement. Go about it easily and charmingly so that you can make him comfortable with you and interest him enough to want to go out with you.
Do it in person
Difficult though it may seem, the most effective way to ask a guy out is to do it in person. Don’t send it by office email or worse rope in another co-worker to ask him out for you. Besides the fact that it is embarrassing, it also reveals a lack of confidence on your part which to a guy can be a turn-off.
Don’t lose heart if your colleague says no to your proposal of hanging out together. Just smile and say, “Oh well, some other time perhaps”. A no may have anything to do with you – perhaps he feels strongly about keeping personal and professional relationships separate. The good thing is that now at least he is aware of your interest in him and thus might want to get to know you better. Or if he appears to need some more time to decide about going out with you, that’s OK too. In the meantime work on your professional relationship and build the trust between you two. Chances are that he will change his mind. But even if he doesn’t don’t hold a grudge or secretly vow to get back at him at work. On the other hand, if he does agree to go out with you, have a plan. Since you asked him out, it is up to you to decide where you’d go and unless he insists otherwise, also be ready to pay for the date. Finally don’t forget to have fun since this is the best way you can ensure you get to see more of your attractive colleague outside work hours.