There aren't any hard and fast rules for how to talk to a woman at work, but the best strategy, as with talking to any woman anywhere, is to ask questions and pay attention to her answers. Instead of trying to impress her with your accomplishments, impress her by showing an interest in her life and remembering what she says. Also, when talking to a female coworker, remember that many women are justifiably wary of dating someone from work. Focus on developing a friendship now; sooner or later, one of you will work somewhere else, and you can ask her out then if you're interested.
- Ask about work. If she's new, ask what she thinks of the company so far and what she did before. If you're new, ask how long she's worked there and what advice she might have for you.
- Avoid personal questions until she opens the door. When you're first talking to a woman at work, don't ask if she has a significant other. If she's in a relationship and committed to it, she'll find a way to mention that fairly early in the conversation. Once she mentions personal details–such as a spouse or significant other, children, pets, or her living situation. You can follow up with non-intrusive questions, such as, "How old is your daughter?," "What's your dog's name?," or "What part of town do you live in?"
- Build up to hanging out. Remember, unless either of you has handed in your notice, you're probably going to be coworkers for awhile. So when you're talking to a woman at work, you have time to develop a friendship. Sit with her at lunch occasionally, or stop by her desk to chat. The more you talk with and listen to her, the more you'll find out what you have in common, and chances to spend time together outside of work may develop naturally from that.
- Listen to her cues. Whenever you're talking with a woman, pay attention to the subtle things. If you both have tickets to a football game and you suggest meeting up beforehand, does she sound enthusiastic? If so, great. Does she say something ambiguous like, "Maybe that will work; we'll have to see"? She probably feels lukewarm. If she says, "I think it's going to be too difficult to find each other in all that chaos," that's likely her way of telling you she doesn't want to spend time with you outside work.
- Don't pressure her. If she feels like you're interested and she isn't, the workplace can become awkward for both of you. The more you push, the more likely she is to withdraw and quite possibly tell other women at work that you're not getting her clues. On the other hand, if you withdraw a bit, she may be intrigued and wonder why you suddenly lost interest.
- Keep work separate from your personal life. Remain professional. Even if you feel like she has rejected you, treat her with courtesy. Don't snipe at her in front of other coworkers or managers. This will just make you look bad and affirm for her that she made the right decision.