It was a brief - I asked when the upcoming college football playoffs were. He's a football fanatic, I work in sports memorabilia, he was talking with another guy about football. I felt it was an easy way in. He misunderstood me and told me the teams in the final four, when the games were, etc. I nodded (we were both running on the elliptical), then mentioned that I work in sports memorabilia and hadn't heard all that yet. He apparently didn't find this interesting or didn't know what to say, and turned his attention back to the other guy. I'm not quite sure how to read that (in terms of his interest or lack thereof in me).
That said, he seemed eager enough to talk to me and was smiling pretty much the whole time. I didn't make eye contact with him, keeping my eyes more on the tv screen on his elliptical (something I'm kicking myself for now), but considering I get extremely anxious around guys I like (the chief reason for no eye contact as I was kind of panicking) and the fact that its really not easy to look at someone in the eye while running on an elliptical, I consider it a partial win. I put myself out there (which I literally don't do for anyone) and he knows I'm approachable and will talk to him, I'm not just the odd girl that stares at him from across the room.
But where do I go from here? I don't want to blatantly ask him for coffee or say I like him, due to my shyness and I also don't know much about him. I don't know if he's single (though he was a few months ago for sure), or his name, or how old he is. He looks to be my age range, but people are always looking older than they actually are anymore, and I don't want to be seen as a cougar if I'm way off. I guess I'm looking for ways to get to know him better, maybe some hints that I'm interested, ways to further this along without seeming blatantly obvious as to what I'm doing.
Most Helpful Guy
You've got your foot in the door, which is the first step. Now you need to start building rapport with him.
Talk to him more. Get to actually know him. You're playing the long game here, so do it a little bit at a time. If the conversation dies, let it die and try again later. If the conversation is flowing, you know you're on the right track. When he starts initiating the conversation with you, you'll know you're doing something right.
After you've built some rapport and know that he's single, ask him out to coffee or drinks.