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Hi guys looks like I need your advice again. Right now I'm working in an East-Asian country and there was this girl in the office that I like but has left the company. I don't really know her very well as there is a language barrier but she was very kind, polite and helpful to me. On her last day, it is a courtesy in this country to give something to your co-workers before you leave the company. I left early so we were not able bid our farewells with each other but she left the souvenir and a note on my desk saying "thank you". When I came back the next day, I was surprised and happy to see the note so I felt the need to thank her. I have her contact so I messaged her and thanked her as well. She responded and we exchanged messages for a while and at the end of it I told her that we should meet up sometime so that we could bid our farewells personally because I was also scheduled to go back to my home country as well because I don't want to extend my contract in which she agreed. And then, covid-19 happened.

Because of covid-19 I was not able to return to my home country so I was forced to extend my contract for about 6 months because my home country's airport has banned international flights until further notice. On top of that I was transferred to another city as well.

Fast forward to this day, I messaged her again asking how she is and she responded that she is fine and is now working in another company. I still wanted to meet her but because of the distance (it would take an airplane or a train) I thought that it would really be unreasonable to ask her again about our promised meetup. To my surprise, she initiated the topic of meeting up and it made me really happy. I told her about the situation and she suggested to meet halfway in which I agreed to. All of this time I was thought that it would only be the 2 of us but at the end of our conversation she reiterated to meet sometime when the covid-19 settles down BUT she mentioned another ex co-worker to come along.

Now my question is, how do I tell her smoothly that it would be fine to meet even if that other person is not present? Note that this other person is also my co-worker before so I could also opt to tell this other person to not come along but I think that would also be a separate question as well.

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    You can ask her if she prefers to meet you alone ? or if she prefers to have the 3rd wheel there also ? It is possible that she is not ready to meet you 1-on-1 yet, and she feels more comfortable to have the 3rd wheel there to act as as an "intermediary" (or "mediator", "referee" or even "translator"). Perhaps, she wants to go slowly and carefully, and starts out on a friendly term first, and then, maybe, after that meeting, she will decide how to proceed – Texas_September_2020 Jul 10 at 8:53
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    Yes, the problem is how should I ask her in a way that would not make her wary of my intentions. Because that question may cause her to back out of the planned meet up. – Zenitsu Jul 10 at 9:16
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    @Zenitsu, that is not the original question you put in the question, though. In the question you want to convince her to not come with another person. While what Texas suggested is to actually consider the option where she prefers to have another person coming along, and ask her with that in mind. Since this is asking, then it is not trying to "convince" her. So, which one do you want? How to convince her to not bring another person, or to clarify whether she knows that you want to meet 1-on-1? – justhalf Jul 10 at 9:53
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    Could you clarify what was said when "she mentioned another ex co-worker to come along"? I think depending on how she mentioned them it could make a big difference (for instance, asking if you thought the coworker would want to join, vs. saying she would invite them). – Em C Jul 10 at 17:08
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    @Zenitsu, If I may offer 1 friendly piece of advice: Generally speaking, in Asian culture, most Asian women are conservative or proceed carefully when it comes to meeting potential dates. That may be the reason she prefers to have the 3rd wheel at that meeting, and it is not a personal thing against you. :-) Please be nice, kind, and gentle in that meeting whether the 3rd wheel is present or not. :-) – Texas_September_2020 Jul 10 at 21:50
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There are many reasons she might want to bring another person. One might be to ensure her safety, or that of her reputation. Another might relate to a promise made to her parents or someone else. She might be trying to make it clear to you that this is not a "date" or romantic meeting, just two work friends chatting. She might even want someone to help with the language problems.

If it was me, and you tried anything to persuade me not to bring a third person, especially if you used the phrase "3rd wheel", I would cancel the meeting and never agree to another. If I feel unsafe, if I feel I need assistance or backup, and you try to talk me out of it, I don't feel reassured. I feel threatened. I feel like you want to make sure I won't have someone with me who could foil any malicious acts from you.

So, the best way to persuade her she doesn't need a chaperone, translator, bodyguard, or not-a-date-field-emitter is to cheerfully go and meet her with that person, and have her realize that for your next meeting, it can be just the two of you. Because you're safe, friendly, gentle, can overcome the language issues, aren't pressing her to move faster than she wants, and so on.

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  • I agree with the first and third paragraphs. That is true for many countries in many different regions of the world. :-) – Texas_September_2020 Jul 10 at 22:01
  • I like your answer but if I may add, of course I will not be using the phrase "3rd wheel" since that would automatically mean that our meeting would be a romantic one. – Zenitsu Jul 13 at 2:01
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    @Zenitsu then why did you use this phrasing in your post ? It's not clear if you have feelings for this person or not, and if you consider it as a date or not. – Astariul Jul 14 at 7:16

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