Today I go to the office supply store to collect various items we need at work. I'm wandering around and crossing things off the list when out of nowhere one of the employees appears. I brace myself for some sales pitch on something we don't need, not expecting that I was about to get a different sort of sales pitch.
Office Store Employee: Hey, haven't seen you in here in a while! Where have you been?
Me: (pondering if I've EVER seen him when I've been in there) Oh you know... I only come when we need a bunch of things.
OSE: You all must not be that busy then.
Me: Well, it comes and goes... we just haven't needed any stuff lately.
OSE: So when are we going hiking?!
Me: (stunned and caught off guard by the sudden subject change) I didn't realize we were...
OSE: Or we can go horseback riding. I have horses. They're very sweet.
Me: Oh. I don't know. I'm not much of a horseback rider. (more stunned)
OSE: Ok, well you know where to find me when you get the urge to go.
Me: Ok, thanks... have a good day. (ending this conversation before he throws out any more suggestions and heading on down the aisle)
Don't get me wrong gentlemen - I KNOW it takes a lot of nerve to try to strike up a conversation with a girl you don't know in some random place in hopes that she might be interesting and also find you interesting in return... And I really appreciate it that there are guys who put themselves out there like that, but there are still some things that just don't work. And this guy (who, may I point out, had to be a good solid 10 years older than me, if not more. Five or so is about my limit)... well, I think he doesn't realize that you can't throw out suggestions about getting together quite so quickly.
So a few basics just in case you ever feel unsure... DO try to find some sort of common interest to start chatting it up about and then find a way to get her name. It can be anything from noticing what book she's got sticking out of her purse or the band shown on her t-shirt. DO try to judge how the chat is going and how receptive she is to you before making any sort of suggestion about a future interaction. And if things are going well and you feel like she might be open to getting to know you better, you have to make a judgment call between just getting the phone number or going on and suggesting a future meeting. Different girls move at different paces. Oh, and I guess since we're all getting older you should also do a ring check. Girls can stick with these basics as well... because who are we kidding, it's 2007 and we all know we're striking up the conversation, too.
In summary, "so when are we going hiking?" as the third thing you ever say to a gal you don't know at all is more than likely not going to get you the girl... at least not any girl that I know.