Ask A Woman: Acceptable stalking, modern-style
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I stumbled onto a Facebook account of a girl I’d like to get to know better (read: ask out on a date) but I know absolutely nothing about her besides her name, she’s single (as far as I can tell), she lives in my city, and she’s gorgeous. We share a lot of mutual friends but have never met in person or even heard of each other.
My question: Should I friend request her, introduce myself and hope she takes up my offer of coffee? Or should I make it more organic and try to bump into her through our mutual friends? Or maybe have a friend introduce me?
I know this sounds a little odd. Even creepy? I saw her picture online because she’s a friend of a friend, I find her attractive, and now I’d like to ask her out. But is it really that different from walking up to a stranger in a bar? You saw someone, you find them attractive. No? Or does the internet make it all different?
For the record, I don’t think this is creepy. You saw this woman tagged in a friend’s photo, found her attractive, then popped on over to look at her page. It’s exactly the same as seeing someone in a bar or at a party and deciding you want to talk to them. It might feel creepier because–depending on how private or not her page settings are–you can look at pictures of her and find out where she went to college and what she does for a living and other tidbits of information via Facebook, but that’s really just incidental. You’re curious about her, of course. It gets creepy when you hack into her email account and then you start showing up at every bar, restaurant and grocery store she goes to. Don’t do that, Julian, mmmkay?
You could friend request her, as you noted, explain that you’re mutual friends with Ronaldo and would she like to get some coffee. That’s an option. It’s also a risky one. If she doesn’t like such a forward approach, or she finds it odd that you’d want to meet her based only on what you see on FB or she’s legitimately wary of strangers on the Interwebs, she’s going to ignore you or turn you down and then tell Ronaldo that you’re a weirdo. I like the other two options you mentioned better. The first would be to tell Ronaldo you saw this woman in his pictures, you think she’s lovely and interesting, and can he get a group of people together at a bar/hockey game/his apartment for the Superbowl that includes you and her, so that you have the opportunity to meet face-to-face. This is my favorite approach. It’s more organic, as you mentioned, and it doesn’t put Ronaldo in the awkward spot of matchmaker–he’s merely organizing a social event for his friends. Plus, it puts this woman on more of an equal footing with you. She can meet you and decide to continue talking to you or not, and then decide to give you her phone number or not. You could also ask your friend just to set you two up, but that has its own limitations and is not radically different from her knowing that you just saw her on Facebook and decided to pursue her.
I’m gettin’ vibe in like a really…weird…way here.
To turn the conversation in a more theoretical direction, it’s an interesting question, isn’t it, what makes us decide someone from across the room (or across the web) is a worthy object of our affection? You might go many weeks, going out to the bars, seeing intriguing women around you, but what makes you actually approach someone? Are you just in the right mood and it’s as simple as that? Or do we really get a sense of someone from a distance? Can we tell much more than we give credit for about their personality, their values, their interests, from the expression on their face? I still remember the first time I saw my husband, from across a room (well, backyard, really) and it’s fascinating to me that I still remember being in that moment, seeing him and thinking, ohhhhh reallllyyyyy. What could I have possibly sensed from that distance? I still don’t know but whatever instinct I had, I was right. I’d be interested, as always, to know what the Dappered readers think, and what they’ve learned from their own dating experiences.