Author Topic: Is there a polite way to say 'Want to go out but just as friends'?  (Read 5413 times)

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Spoder

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Is there a polite way to say 'Want to go out but just as friends'?
« on: September 17, 2011, 07:55:35 AM »
So, I've decided I'm going to ask out a man I work with.

I'm 38 and have never asked a guy out before because I don't like putting myself out there. (read: I'm a coward ;)). I want to do it  because I think he likes me, and I really like talking to him, but I don't think he thinks I like him (say that 3 times fast).

The issue: I don't want to ask him out 'on a date'. I don't want to show romantic interest - I want to present it in a 'let's catch up outside work' kind of way. Obviously, 'Do you want to do X...only as friends, of course' sounds really gauche and kind of rude. So...what should I ask him to do, and how should I phrase it? (Any suggestions welcome, I've been stewing over this for weeks.  :-\ :()

Redsoil

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Re: Is there a polite way to say 'Want to go out but just as friends'?
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2011, 08:42:02 AM »
If you're just "testing the waters" and want to make it easier on yourself (plus, it may lead to a more natural progression if things do go well), perhaps phrase it as:

"Hey John, I thought a couple of us might catch up after work and grab a drink/catch a movie/go bowling/whatever activity might work - would you like to go?"  If you don't make it time critical, then there's less chance he may actually have something on for a particular date.  You can gauge his level of interest, select one (or two) other people who will work out in the dynamic you're comfortable with, and go from there.  The next time, maybe ask him if he wants to <insert activity>, and not invite any others? (Maybe have tickets for a sporting event - only two of them, or another activity where a pair (rather than a group) would be natural.

Good luck with it.
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Spoder

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Re: Is there a polite way to say 'Want to go out but just as friends'?
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2011, 08:56:08 AM »
Thanks, Redsoil.

What makes it tricky is that I don't socialize with other people from work. It's a casual position where we all see each other once or twice a fortnight, at most. I've never done anything with any of my colleagues from that job, in 3 years, and we are not close enough that it would seem natural to start organizing group stuff now, KWIM?

Redsoil

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Re: Is there a polite way to say 'Want to go out but just as friends'?
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2011, 09:38:38 AM »
Ah, awkward then.

Do you share a particular interest with him?  In the course of your conversations, has anything come up that might give you an "in"?  Maybe you've talked about something (a band, movie types etc) that you can then say "Hey John - I remember you said you liked <whatever>.  Such and such is on and I thought striaght away that you might be interested!  I'm going, would you like to come as well?"

The key to this is the statement "I'm going."  That way, it's not as obvious.  You're simply remembering an interest, and as you're going, thought he might like to go too.  Tone is everything - light, casual, happy but not squee-ey.  If he's not interested, the phrase you want is - "Okay, maybe some other time then."  Or perhaps, that great Aussie phrase "Okay, no worries."
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Redsoil

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Re: Is there a polite way to say 'Want to go out but just as friends'?
« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2011, 09:41:21 AM »
And if it's too hard in person, maybe a text or email?  Don't have to worry about getting breathless or red-faced!
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Spoder

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Re: Is there a polite way to say 'Want to go out but just as friends'?
« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2011, 09:51:12 AM »
And if it's too hard in person, maybe a text or email?  Don't have to worry about getting breathless or red-faced!

I don't have his phone number or email address! If I did, I reckon I could come up with something, but nope.

The only thing I can think of to ask him to do, is maybe meet at a bar when I'm already going with a group of friends, or come along to a barbecue or something at my house. Then it might seem as if I'm inviting him to something that's already happening, instead of to a one-on-one 'date'?

Gah. I'm hopeless at this.  :(

Winterlight

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Re: Is there a polite way to say 'Want to go out but just as friends'?
« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2011, 02:07:35 PM »
"Hey Joe, I have an extra ticket to the baseball game/concert/UFC match. Would you like to come with me?"
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virgo

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Re: Is there a polite way to say 'Want to go out but just as friends'?
« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2011, 03:31:57 PM »
I don't think there's any way you could ask him out without his thinking you are interested in him.  If you know that he is interested in you in that way, it might be kind of, well, stringing him along.

I could be wrong in this, just my thoughts.

Twik

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Re: Is there a polite way to say 'Want to go out but just as friends'?
« Reply #8 on: September 17, 2011, 11:38:53 PM »
Don`t say "just as friends" unless you really mean that. That`s warning him off pretty clearly.

I`d suggest the barbeque idea. If other people are coming, it`s not a "date-date", but he will realize that you enjoy his company.

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Spoder

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Re: Is there a polite way to say 'Want to go out but just as friends'?
« Reply #9 on: September 18, 2011, 01:02:30 AM »
"Hey Joe, I have an extra ticket to the baseball game/concert/UFC match. Would you like to come with me?"

Could do - I was worried this might feel too date-y, like he might see through it and know I only bought the spare ticket so I could ask him.  :-\

I don't think there's any way you could ask him out without his thinking you are interested in him.  If you know that he is interested in you in that way, it might be kind of, well, stringing him along.

I could be wrong in this, just my thoughts.

No, you're probably right. The thing is, I'm not sure that I *am*, and I'm not sure that *he* is, for that matter. But I'm not trying to string him along, I'm certainly potentially interested- I just want to get to know him better without any expectations/assumptions.

Don`t say "just as friends" unless you really mean that. That`s warning him off pretty clearly.

I`d suggest the barbeque idea. If other people are coming, it`s not a "date-date", but he will realize that you enjoy his company.



Thanks Twik, good point. I definitely won't say that - I think it sounds rude and presumptuous on my part, anyway, like 'Hey, would you like to come to my barbecue, but only as my friend <subtext: because I know I'm so great that you'll be keen for more>' - KWIM??

The problem is that I have zero radar for this kind of thing. We've had some really long conversations over work (we get paid by output, not on the clock, FTR), and he's said how much he likes talking to me, and stuff about me being good looking (I'm not), but I dunno if he's just being nice/friendly. I don't want to make a fool of myself.

Anyway, thanks everyone for your suggestions, much appreciated.  :)

Iris

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Re: Is there a polite way to say 'Want to go out but just as friends'?
« Reply #10 on: September 18, 2011, 01:26:14 AM »
If you have an area set up for it, I'd definitely go with the bbq thing. It's relaxed, casual, not too date-y and more importantly it can give you a chance to get input from friends over whether he likes you or not.

Accurately or not, I am thinking that you're a fellow Australian? If so, definitely bbq - it's just that time of year, too, where everyone is just starting the summer bbqs (I may have spent all day cleaning up the pool/bbq area  ;D) so that makes it even more casual.

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Spoder

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Re: Is there a polite way to say 'Want to go out but just as friends'?
« Reply #11 on: September 18, 2011, 01:32:37 AM »
If you have an area set up for it, I'd definitely go with the bbq thing. It's relaxed, casual, not too date-y and more importantly it can give you a chance to get input from friends over whether he likes you or not.

Accurately or not, I am thinking that you're a fellow Australian? If so, definitely bbq - it's just that time of year, too, where everyone is just starting the summer bbqs (I may have spent all day cleaning up the pool/bbq area  ;D) so that makes it even more casual.

Correct!  :) That's why I was thinking 'barbie' as my go-to option. I have a great bbq set-up, since it's the backbone of my summer social life. I wish it would hurry up and get warm, though - last week was looking promising, and today it's back to cold! So anyway, maybe I'll go for the bbq idea. Do you think I should ask another woman from work, and her DH, to make it a more general thing rather than me + my friends + him?

Iris

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Re: Is there a polite way to say 'Want to go out but just as friends'?
« Reply #12 on: September 18, 2011, 02:49:15 AM »
If you have an area set up for it, I'd definitely go with the bbq thing. It's relaxed, casual, not too date-y and more importantly it can give you a chance to get input from friends over whether he likes you or not.

Accurately or not, I am thinking that you're a fellow Australian? If so, definitely bbq - it's just that time of year, too, where everyone is just starting the summer bbqs (I may have spent all day cleaning up the pool/bbq area  ;D) so that makes it even more casual.

Correct!  :) That's why I was thinking 'barbie' as my go-to option. I have a great bbq set-up, since it's the backbone of my summer social life. I wish it would hurry up and get warm, though - last week was looking promising, and today it's back to cold! So anyway, maybe I'll go for the bbq idea. Do you think I should ask another woman from work, and her DH, to make it a more general thing rather than me + my friends + him?

You mustn't be too close to me - it was 32C here today!

Personally, I would only ask the other woman from work if you are interested in a friendship with her. Asking him for a bbq with just you and your friends (as long as your friends are a mix of women and men) sends a reasonably clear signal that you are interested without forcing either of you to acknowledge it or act on it and if it doesn't work out you can safely ignore it ever after and even maybe just be friends. Asking another coworker muddies the waters a little for both of you.

Disclaimer: I was like you - always afraid to put myself out there. How I ended up married is anyone's guess, but I will say in all honesty that my friends probably had a lot to do with it. They approved of DH and were very careful to help me build my confidence and create situations where we were together without it being forced. All my advice comes from watching them  :).

It is hard to open up - the trick for me was (with help) to find a way to open up just enough while still feeling safe. So in the end, ask the advice of friends you trust and step out of your comfort zone just a little.
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MsMarjorie

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Re: Is there a polite way to say 'Want to go out but just as friends'?
« Reply #13 on: September 18, 2011, 02:55:02 AM »
Do you ever work together in the mornings?  It might be easier to suggest going out to lunch together and day-time activities always seem less "datey" (new word alert).

Otherwise my suggestion would be to say to him at the end of the day (and preferably week) "Its been a long week, I'm going to the pub do you want to come?".

Spoder

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Re: Is there a polite way to say 'Want to go out but just as friends'?
« Reply #14 on: September 18, 2011, 03:32:49 AM »

Personally, I would only ask the other woman from work if you are interested in a friendship with her. Asking him for a bbq with just you and your friends (as long as your friends are a mix of women and men) sends a reasonably clear signal that you are interested without forcing either of you to acknowledge it or act on it and if it doesn't work out you can safely ignore it ever after and even maybe just be friends. Asking another coworker muddies the waters a little for both of you.


I think you're right, it would be better to just ask him when I'm having a mix of my own friends around.

Thanks for the general advice, too. . The thing is, I don't present a 'shy' persona: I'm nearly six foot tall, I do law mooting competitions for fun, I'm really friendly and outgoing at work. I know from throwaway comments that people assume I'm confident and relaxed. In a dating sense, that couldn't be further from the truth.

I don't want to ask a guy out unless I'm 100% sure that he's interested, but I know that's unrealistic.

Do you ever work together in the mornings?  It might be easier to suggest going out to lunch together and day-time activities always seem less "datey" (new word alert).

Otherwise my suggestion would be to say to him at the end of the day (and preferably week) "Its been a long week, I'm going to the pub do you want to come?".

Unfortunately, we only ever do half-days, and everyone finishes at slightly different times and then scoots off to wherever they have to be next. It's a casual job. The last couple of times I've worked it was just me and him, and it took us literally about 4 hours to do 2 hours worth of work because we kept getting sidetracked into conversations. I wanted to say 'Let's get this done and then go grab a coffee', but I was too embarrassed, in case he went  ???.  I don't want to be rude and put him in an awkward position.  :-\