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Background

I met this colleague (let's call her Alice) at my new job that I started recently. We work in different teams, so I don't get to meet Alice every day, although I do see her in the corridor or the pantry during breaks. I usually smile at her and greet her. But, I never had the opportunity to have a conversation with her since she would be out with her colleagues or on the phone and I wouldn't want to intervene.

I have noticed that she tends to not talk very much with her male colleagues in the office unless spoken to, hangs out with her female colleagues most of the time. She is not comfortable acknowledging me when she is with other people, so I don't greet her when she is with people or when I am around people myself.

The timings of our break from office work are quite different, hence I am not able to talk to her consistently, I don't want to coincide my break timings with Alice's, as that is not something I am comfortable doing and would make my intentions blatantly obvious.

I am in India.

Question

I am interested in asking her out eventually, but before I do that I would like to get to know her a little bit (find out if she is taken :) ) and warm her up to me.I may have to go to her work station to ask her, which brings me to my question.

How can I ask Alice to spend time with me?

EDIT from Comments: Would like to point out that I want to keep this interaction between us completely casual, so she wouldn't think much of it.

I have had prior interactions with Alice , but they were very short greetings with a "How are you?" , since we pass each other in the corridor . I just would like to invite her to have a longer conversation with me.

I would like to clarify that , I am not trying to ask her out after these short interactions previously mentioned , because I fully well know the outcome and I am aware its completely inappropriate .

What I am trying to get at , is how I can have longer interactions with Alice at work , where it is harder to approach people. Also , only if I feel that we share common interests , will I proceed to ask her out.

  • @DavidK These questions deal with appropriateness , but my question is about interaction , so I may be able to learn more about her before I take the step of asking her out. – Bharath Sep 8 '17 at 19:03
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    If you read the answers to those two questions, you will understand my point in sharing them. If the only reason you want to talk to her is so that you can try to court her, then it's not really appropriate and you probably shouldn't do it. – David K Sep 8 '17 at 19:11
  • @DavidK I understand , that is not what I am going for , I would like to befriend her before asking her out , I wrote "warm her up to me" in the question in that sense. – Bharath Sep 8 '17 at 19:18
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    @Bharath In addition to my answer, if the conversations are always shorter than you want, because she ends them, this is also a big sign that she simply isn't interested in you and you'd rather consider her "taken", as for all that it matters to you, she is not "available". If she'd be interested in you she'd also aim at making those conversations longer.. If you're hoping this attitude will change, the chances are slim and the only thing you can do is being patient. – Frank Hopkins Sep 10 '17 at 21:51
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Simply wait. At some point your work might give you an opportunity to get in contact with her. Maybe a project where you have to work with her or a company party or anything like that. There is also always a chance that you happen to make coffee at the same time and no one else is around and some silly conversation starts up. Perhaps, you do have a little leverage in making something like that happen - by choosing the projects you work on, what role you fill in or simply when you take your break, but don't let this influence important decisions about your professional career.

As long as no natural opportunity arises and she doesn't overtly flirt with you (i.e. smiles and/or greets encouragingly whenever you see each other very clearly) there is no appropriate way to start some private or even intimate talk. Be patient and wait if something happens. And if an opportunity - say at the break - arises, take things slowly.

Most importantly be prepared for the case that nothing ever happens.

While in other locations you can dive into a somewhat risky approach to get to know other people and try to inject yourself into their group, the work place is totally the wrong place for such experiments. You cannot easily leave if you embarass yourself (nor can she simply avoid you) and things can get awkward and affect your and her life pretty badly.

As an encouragement after all this discouragement, most (long-term) relationships are established at school or university, secondmost at work*. But in the latter case, it takes time, and it might not be her.

*according to a study I read a while ago, which was conducted in a western country. For the secondmost place the work place was rivaled by online dating, which was argued by the study authors to overtake the workplace in the near future.

  • +1 ,Thank you for your thoughts . Tbh , I was leaning towards doing what you asked me to , when I had time to think about this over the weekend . – Bharath Sep 11 '17 at 3:56
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What I have sometimes done when a woman doesn't want to talk to me is to talk to her friends, particularly "women" friends, instead.

I disagree with the spirit, although not the letter, of the advice by commenters about "not to try to talk to her." What I will say is to "dial down."

In the 1980s, I took an interest in a woman and was rebuffed. I finally got to date her--some 24 years later.

This was after I had dialed down my contacts with her from once a month, to once a year, to once a decade.* What gave me a second chance was that she became BF (for a year) with one of my women friends.

From the sound of it, this woman declines to make judgments about you (or other men) on her own, and is highly influenced by her reference points, parents and friends. The latter could make and certainly can break you.

If you can make friends with her friends, that puts you in her "orbit." Your hope is that her friends will give her (hopefully) "good reports" on you, making it more likely that she will want to talk to you on her own. More to the point, by talking to her woman friends, you may find a suitable replacement for her from the same "demographic." And if this doesn't work, maybe it's a sign you're in the wrong demographic.

Realize that this a long term strategy that may take years, decades or "never" to work. (I'm not thinking months.)

*From the other side of the coin, there is a former female co-worker that has a stronger interest in me than I have in her. We have agreed that I will take one meeting/contact with her per year, in line with the frequency of my meeting other former co-workers from the same group.

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    -1 for "What I have sometimes done when a woman doesn't want to talk to me is to" not being followed by "not try to talk to her." – Nathan Hinchey Jan 30 '18 at 8:02
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    So have you have a great deal of success with this method which on the face of it appears to ignore the fact that someone doesn't want to talk to you? – Spagirl Feb 8 '18 at 16:17
  • @TomAu I see that, it doesn’t answer my question. – Spagirl Feb 8 '18 at 20:27
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    @Spagirl: I reserve the right to communicate with anyone on an "as needed" basis: Example:interpersonal.stackexchange.com/questions/577/…. If someone doesn't want to talk to me directly, I'm fine with that; I'll just use intermediaries, as appropriate. More to the point, by talking to her woman friends, I may find a suitable replacement. – Tom Au Feb 8 '18 at 20:35
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    @TomAu You may have added the word 'instead' but you have left in the words 'she will have to talk to you occasionally just to get through to her friends.' which seem to indicate that your intention is that she either talks to you or... what? becomes isolated from her friends? It comes across that your advice is to insert yourself into someone's life regardless of their wishes until they give in and talk to you, so I ask again, have you had much success with this approach? – Spagirl Feb 12 '18 at 14:04
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Its a long process. First, identify her's along time and where she will be. And try to talk to her with very common question or comments, as both of you had short greeting. Find some common interest. Like talk about lunch if both of you take lunch from same source. Or it may be about a office activity.

After these kind of question for 1month (approx), you may ask talk something about her. Like, what she will do in this Durga puja or where does she live?

Try to impress her. If all goes right, then you can ask her out. But remember its a long time process.

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    Thank you for your answer , but it is not helpful at all , I would like to know how I can ask her to spend time with me , not what to talk about and like I mentioned in my post , I don't want to stalk her by trying to keep tabs on her – Bharath Sep 9 '17 at 14:08
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Although there's already a chosen answer, I would like to throw in my two cents.

I'd suggest the same tecnique I suggested to a question similar to yours: have a light-hearted party were you invite a couple of colleagues thus legitimately enabling you to invite her too.

If she agrees to come, it might be a starting point.

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