A quick etiquette quesiton.

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Post by CP96 on Sun Oct 18, 2015 4:13 pm

A question for those of you who may be a bit more socially aware than me. Approaching library volunteers: yay or nay? Normally I'd say no to hitting on someone at their place of employment, especially so if it's some sort of customer service job and I'm the customer. On the other hand, a volunteer position doesn't have quite the same power imbalance as an employee/customer situation and I see a library as more of a community space than a workplace. Thoughts?
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Post by Wondering on Sun Oct 18, 2015 4:19 pm

It's a workplace for the people working there, whether they're being paid or not. So I say no, same rules apply as approaching anyone on the job.

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Post by eselle28 on Sun Oct 18, 2015 4:36 pm

I think one rule of thumb for this situation is whether the other person is able to turn down romantic advances rudely rather than delicately. Not that people should respond to advances with, "Fuck off!" or, "Gross. Go away, now," but thinking about whether they could sheds some light on third party expectations, ability to leave, and so on.

In this case, I suspect a library volunteer would need to be polite, use appropriate language, and remain at the library rather than leaving if she wanted to continue to volunteer there. Given that, I think a great deal of care is needed - either not asking her out at all or at most seeing if she's open to making casual conversation about what she does when she's not volunteering.
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Post by Wondering on Sun Oct 18, 2015 4:41 pm

eselle28 wrote: and remain at the library rather than leaving if she wanted to continue to volunteer there.

For me, that's the big one. If she can't leave then if she wants to, or if she has to be concerned about someone she turned down showing up where she works and not being able to leave in the future, either, that makes asking her out not okay for me.

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Post by CP96 on Sun Oct 18, 2015 4:52 pm

eselle28 wrote: Given that, I think a great deal of care is needed - either not asking her out at all or at most seeing if she's open to making casual conversation about what she does when she's not volunteering.

Wondering wrote:For me, that's the big one. If she can't leave then if she wants to, or if she has to be concerned about someone she turned down showing up where she works and not being able to leave in the future, either, that makes asking her out not okay for me.

Yeah, that was definitely my concern, and I'm frankly not confident enough in my social skills to pull off eselle's suggestion with the required grace, so I think I'll give this one a miss.
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Post by Caffeinated on Sun Oct 18, 2015 5:45 pm

I'd say it depends. If the volunteer is over 40, then go ahead. I think it's a safe assumption that people over 40 can handle themselves. If the volunteer is under 25, then definitely don't do it. If the volunteer is between 25 and 40, you could maybe be a little extra friendly and make yourself approachable, but not push it if the friendliness isn't returned.
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Post by CP96 on Sun Oct 18, 2015 6:18 pm

Yeah, I really don't know. She could be anywhere from early-twenties to early-thirties. I suck at guessing people's ages.

I was on the fence about this but I'm increasingly convinced that it wouldn't be a good idea. Ah well, I'll keep my eyes open elsewhere. I'll admit, it's a bit disheartening that this is the first person I've really found attractive in over half a year and it wouldn't be appropriate to act. But that's my problem to deal with.
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Post by reboot on Mon Oct 19, 2015 8:36 am

You can still get to know her better without asking her out. That way if you run into her outside the library you can approach her and she will know who you are. It also might open the door to her asking you out. Just because you are not going to be hitting on her does not mean you cannot get to know her.
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Post by CP96 on Wed Oct 21, 2015 5:48 am

In theory, I get that. In practice, I don't trust myself not to be too heavy handed about it.
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Post by reboot on Wed Oct 21, 2015 9:32 am

CP96 wrote:In theory, I get that. In practice, I don't trust myself not to be too heavy handed about it.

Trick your mind. Assume she is married or not into men and get to know her as if that was the reality. Have a quick mental check where you review what you are going todo/ say and see if you would say/do it if she was 100% not available. After a few times it will become a pattern.

It is a good idea to learn how not to get to know with people you are interested in without flirting. This woman you can avoid, but in the future you may have to work closely with someone you are attracted to and cannot avoid. Learning to switch off the flirt is handy.
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