The company I'm currently working for has a newsletter whenever there are new hires joining, and this includes interns. I am a new full-time hire who is recently graduated from university, and as you may have guessed, is single.

Recently, some new people were hired. I saw the newsletter and thought one of the interns was cute, and I want to ask her to join an office sports group as she mentioned she plays the sport (for obvious reasons). However, as a newbie in a professional environment, I don't know if this is appropriate or professional. (I am not her boss/mentor nor is she even in my team, we basically have no contact.)

Any advice will help.

Edit: I just want to clarify a few things. I'm not trying to actually arrange a "date" per se, I merely wanted to meet/introduce myself in a way. But I think I will do what the accepted answer suggest. Thanks for all the comments/answers.

  • 25
    It's one thing to work with someone and it ends up in romance. Artificially creating an opportunity in your workplace with someone you have no other interaction with is an entirely different thing and imho, borderline creepy. Please don't.
    – ereOn
    Commented Jan 4, 2017 at 3:16
  • 4
    @ereOn I too felt the same, hence the question. Commented Jan 4, 2017 at 3:46
  • 10
    Would you invite this intern to join the sports club if you didn't find them attractive? Will you be content to leave it at that, as a group event (which is relatively neutral), and let the intern decide whether anyone in the club -- not necessarily yourself -- merits additional time or not? If you can honestly answer "yes" to both, maybe... But frankly, if you are considering this on the basis of their picture in the newsletter, that does not appear to be a promise you can make or keep.
    – keshlam
    Commented Jan 4, 2017 at 5:23
  • 13
    Inviting a colleague to join an office sports group isn't the same as "asking someone out"
    – martin
    Commented Jan 4, 2017 at 8:19
  • 8
    @martin The context of the question makes it clear that the invite has an ulterior motive.
    – Lilienthal
    Commented Jan 4, 2017 at 8:21

8 Answers 8


Please don't do this. I'm a young, female professional just starting my career, and I have had a colleague call me to comment on my picture. It was very thinly veiled as a "oh you might be interested in this thing I know about", but he commented on my picture and how I was young and attractive multiple times. It made me feel like some people don't take me seriously just because of how I look, and made me wonder how many other men interacted with me for the same reasons but hid it better. It also made me very uncomfortable and glad that I ended up being pulled from the project he was on. No one should have to feel that way at work!

It's one thing to ask out a colleague because you've gotten to know them through working with them and feel there's a connection. Even then it's risky, but it's understandable if you spend a lot of time together. If you want to pick up women based on their looks alone, go to a bar or club.

If you're still on the fence, consider how you would feel if a man did to you what you want to do to this woman. Wouldn't you be uncomfortable? Wouldn't you feel it was completely inappropriate and a little intimidating? How would you like to find out a man singled you out to join his group because he liked your picture in a newsletter? It's super creepy, right?

Don't do this. Treat her like a professional, not a random pretty face.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. Commented Jan 6, 2017 at 19:41

By all means ask her to play the sport with your colleagues and yourself. It could help her settle in and meet colleagues in a relaxed setting where she may feel more comfortable/confident. (Although you should do this with ever new starter, irrelevant of appearence)

Using it to artificially set up a "date" however, is not appropriate.

Edit: If she does attend however, don't see this as a green light. If she shows no interest whatsoever, then don't pursue it and don't hold anything against her in terms of playing the sport.

  • 15
    She has mentioned she plays the sport. Therefore, to me, it seems appropriate to ask if she wants to play with work colleagues as she has mentioned she plays. Commented Jan 4, 2017 at 8:33
  • 8
    @AndrewBerry: Yes, this does sound appropriate. However, OP should internally prepare for the case that she does not show interest even while meeting during the sports group (which is a realistic possibility). Then OP should definitely leave her alone. Do you mind adding that to your answer?
    – sleske
    Commented Jan 4, 2017 at 8:36
  • 5
    @WeckarE.I assume he plays already (that's how it read to me). If he doesn't, then that's a bit weird. Commented Jan 4, 2017 at 8:45
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    @AndrewBerry Sure, if OP also invites every other colleague at his company who happens to play the sport. My point is that inviting this colleague (because she's cute) and no on else can be noticeable and be considered discriminatory. It's not automatically ok.
    – Lilienthal
    Commented Jan 4, 2017 at 11:38
  • 1
    For all we know, he may invite everyone who plays the sport. At this moment, all that is happening is he is inviting her to play a sport she has made known that she plays. There is nothing wrong, or discriminatory about that whatsoever based on what we know just now. Commented Jan 4, 2017 at 11:44

Absolutely not.

It's one thing if you ask someone out you've known for a long time, and there was a connection or familiarity beforehand. That's still not ideal to do at work, since that person usually can't choose to just walk away from you, but it's doubly bad when it's a new hire.

A new hire may feel very uncomfortable or feel significant undue pressure to accept, because they're new and you're not.

Please don't do this to them.

  • 4
    As I understand the question, OP wants to use a seemingly quite legitimate way to create familiarity, and maybe then ask the subject of his interest out. - Your answer seems to suggest asking someone to join a work-related sports group is a despicable thing. Commented Jan 4, 2017 at 10:12
  • 1
    You seem to be implying that relationships must only happen after a long period of time without using work as familiarity. This is nonsense. There are plenty of couples who met at work or parties and go on to form long term relationships shortly thereafter. If you choose someone from work, you do have to consider the breakup consequences, but that's still not a reason to discount it. The 'new hire' issue is problematic though - I think most people would understand the pressure of joining a company and not wanting additional attention so soon.
    – adelphus
    Commented Jan 4, 2017 at 11:18
  • 1
    @adelphus There is a reason many workplaces have a strict "Don't date colleagues period" policy. It's all around bad news for the company if employees do that. Sides', this was more focused on the new hire dynamic.
    – Magisch
    Commented Jan 4, 2017 at 11:37
  • @Magisch Not all company policies make sense for anybody except the company. So I wouldn't let them dictate general moral code. That being said, I do agree that the work place needs one to take a lot more care in any kind of dating decisions. So when it comes to blatantly asking out anyone at work, I agree with you - also with the remark regarding new hires in particular. I agree however also with Alexander Kosubek that you mix asking out with informing someone about a sports group, even if for ulterior motives. Commented Sep 10, 2017 at 22:07

If you are given the choice between acting professional, and being with the love of your life, you should always choose to be unprofessional. This is however not the choice you have in front of you.

The intern's photo wasn't in the newsletter for you to find fresh meat. It was there so that people who meet the person know who she is. So from the start you are acting unprofessionally.

Then let me confirm what your convoluted thinking is: You saw a picture and thought she is "cute". (Many women would take "cute" as an insult, actually). You don't know that person whatsoever. You had zero interaction with her; all you go by is "cute". That makes you about the most superficial person imaginable. To any women that's a serious turn off. Now instead of asking her out, which would be foolhardy, inappropriate, but at least manly in some way, you want to ask her to join an office sports group (for reasons that are apparently "obvious" to you, we might assume that it has something to do with people usually wearing fewer clothes when doing sports).

Apart from all this being totally unprofessional and inappropriate, I can also guarantee you that your cunning plan will completely and totally backfire. And there is a non-zero chance that when you leave the office, her older brother and her boyfriend will be waiting for you :-)

  • 2
    I'm giving the OP the benefit of the doubt and suppose that the "obvious reasons" are the opportunity to spend time with the subject of his interest outside the primary work-environment. I cannot find this inappropriate, even if he has ulterior motives: They obviously already have at least one common interest, the sport the group is doing! - And how can any first contact be ever anything else then superficial? You wouldn't even talk to anyone you don't have to if you weren't interested in them for some superficial reason in the first place, would you? Commented Jan 4, 2017 at 10:17
  • 2
    "If you are given the choice between acting professional, and being with the love of your life, you should always choose to be unprofessional. This is however not the choice you have in front of you." Wow, that second sentence saved the first one.
    – deworde
    Commented Jan 4, 2017 at 10:54
  • 2
    Whether you want to admit it or not, as humans, we judge everyone we meet on how they look first. It's simple physics (we see them before we speak to them) and biology (we are hard-wired to find a mate). Our intelligence makes it socially inappropriate to ask someone out without knowing details of their personality, but, like it or not, our initial interest is always based upon looks. And a perfectly normal way to get to know someone is to engage in similar activities (like sports). Finally, you know nothing about OP or interns personalities, so you can provide no such 'guarantees'.
    – adelphus
    Commented Jan 4, 2017 at 11:31
  • 8
    "we might assume that it has something to do with people usually wearing fewer clothes when doing sports" Sorry to say, but this sentence tells more about you than about the OPs. Never did the OP stated that he wanted to invite her to see "more flesh". This is an assumption and a very bad one with no real cause behind it.
    – ereOn
    Commented Jan 4, 2017 at 14:46

I don't see the problem with this at all. Many of the replies on here don't seem to answer the question. He is asking if he should ask a new colleague, who has volunteered the information that she plays the sport, to play the sport with a group of people in the same company. Not only is this completely professional, it is socially acceptable and personally I would find it friendly and welcoming.

There is also no problem with using this scenario to get to know the woman more in a neutral, social environment, with the potential of it leading further. Of course, her accepting the invitation to play sport is not a sign of any attraction, and OP should be prepared to accept that she might just not be interested, as is her right.

How else are people supposed to create romantic relations if you don't start by getting to know them in a fashion such as is stated?

  • 3
    "...personally I would find it friendly and welcoming" - probably because (I'm assuming) you're a guy and would appreciate the interaction because you see no threat. Stereotyping notwithstanding, a woman may tend to view the interaction differently. I'm curious whether you would still appreciate the interaction if it was a gay guy asking you to join a club (assuming you're not gay of course - there's a lot of assumptions here!)
    – adelphus
    Commented Jan 4, 2017 at 11:43
  • 3
    @adelphus Your assumptions are correct. However, if I enjoyed playing table tennis, and I was invited to join a group of colleagues who regluarly played table tennis together (hypothetically a mixture of straight, gay, men or women), I would not have a problem with it, the invitee being gay would be irrelevant to me. The same would apply if a gay person invited me to a GROUP drink at a pub with other work colleagues. It's just an invite to a social occasion, which is all the OP is asking about.
    – Markyyys
    Commented Jan 4, 2017 at 12:42

Asking someone out in this situation is not NECESSARILY a bad idea. This mostly depends on the size of your company.

From experience, I am talking about a company of thousands in which every department is effectively a separate mini-company that happens to reside in the same building. And you'd be in different departments. In this view, you could say that you have the same grounds to ask someone out as you would have with any stranger.

Because that's what this person is - a stranger. The same dating-etiquette rules apply. No more, no less.

From the fact that you say you have 0 contact with her, I assume all the above mostly holds for your situation. At that point you are generally just a Facebook search away from finding out if they are at least available so you don't make a complete fool out of yourself down the line.

All this becomes less relevant if there is even a remote chance you will work together at any point in the future, but at that point you really need to consider similar situations as being dating someone who works in a similar prosition at a different company - as modern job fluidity effectively means you'd be equally likely to be working with them down the line.


Would it be appropriate to ask a colleague out

It can be in certain circumstances, yes. Normally you'd give an actual friendship a chance to develop first before hatching any 'asking out' plans.

I saw the newsletter and thought one of the intern to be cute, and want to ask her to join an office sports group as she mentioned she plays the sport (for obvious reasons)

The way you put that doesn't quite make the direct reason all that obvious to me...

If you want to ask her so that you get a chance to get to know this person and see if you get on and a friendship develops, that's fine. Nevertheless, she doesn't owe you any kind of friendship - so you need to be perfectly happy with her just joining for the sports - or not!

If you want to ask her and then pounce and ask her out straight away without any consideration as to whether you actually get on - that's a bit weird.

But overall there's nothing wrong with trying to expand your social circle to give you the chance to meet people. And there's nothing wrong with subtly letting someone know you like them either... but stay as far away from "being weird about it" as possible!


Yes it can be appropriate to ask a coworker out if :

  • nobody else know you ask her out. (a new hire doesn't want to be only know has the girl who refuse Peter from accounting).
  • you ask nicely, do not give her pressure in any way.
  • she is not working in your department ( if she works directly with you i.e. boss or subordinate, there is potential conflict of interest + abuse of power).

It seems you have already your answer in how to approach her. Ask her to join the sport group. You can go directly to her desk, tell her there is a group and she can contact you if she want to join ( you can take advantage of this to give your phone number).

in all the interactions with her NEVER say (by phone, email, voice...) that maybe you can help her to transform her internship into a job as it can be seen as an abuse of power.

You should also know the HR policy about relationship in your company, but if you don't work with her directly usually there is no issue.

Keep in mind a lot of relationship end ( especially when you are young) and that can cause issues in the workplace. If you succeed to date her keep it private at least in the first few months, no PDA (public display of affection like kissing or hand holding). Moreover NEVER brag to your coworker that you are "banging the hot new intern" it will look poorly on you and her and after your future in the company.

  • 2
    The simple fact of asking a coworker is to apply pressure to them. Especially when the person is new and at the very bottom of the company structure..
    – user53718
    Commented Jan 4, 2017 at 9:31
  • I get the part that it may be against the company policy to ask out co-workers and that it may put a lot of unwelcome pressure on the new hire. On the other hand, OP is single and finds one of his co-workers attractive. It seems silly to me not to ask. If he gets rejected, he doesn't need to insist, if the co-worker accepts, maybe it was a good idea to ask in the first place. So, in my opinion, this is not as horrible answer as the down votes say.
    – user27051
    Commented Jan 4, 2017 at 17:37

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