What Would You Do? Unwanted Flirtation

by admin on September 10, 2012

I have no idea why ABC “pulls” these videos from being viewed on web sites when the “embed” feature is enabled and the embedding code obviously being used.

{ 45 comments… read them below or add one }

Just call me J September 10, 2012 at 6:22 am

Video got pulled by ABC…

When I see someone “flirting” (or making out) with someone else who’s saying things like “no…. stop…. c’mon, stop…” or they’re screaming/shrieking I walk up to the couple deliberately and pointedly say “Is everything okay here?” (It helps that I’m very obviously female.)

If the person saying “no” doesn’t immediately respond in the affirmative I repeat the question (and louder) to attract attention.

If the “flirter” responds with a condescending “Everything’s fine” “Mind your business” or something like that, I reply “I wasn’t ASKING you. [Sir/Miss], are you okay with this?” …and loudly to attract as much attention to what’s going on as possible.

I’ve only ever gotten cursed out by an apparently unwilling participant once. Because I was somehow supposed to know that the guy dragging a screaming girl to the escalator with the help of his two buddies was really the girl’s boyfriend, even though they were all strangers to me. (It was at a science-fiction convention.)

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nicole September 10, 2012 at 7:16 am

let me start by saying I have aspergers, so social interactions arent always my strong point, but I do tend to do ok. Years and years of acting classes, and other “social training” programs, counseling training programs, and work within various groups have helped a lot. Most people cant really tell I have an issue until they’ve been around me for a long time.
Secondly, let me confess that yes, I am a social flirt. Men, and women, it doesnt matter, if I feel confident enough, I will flirt a little. If I sense you are uncomfortable with it, Ill stop. Im not aggressive like the guy above, but I *do* like to flirt. As a female who grew up with a great deal of body issues, and not a great deal of positive feedback, its nice to get some light-hearted feed-back, in social situations, when its appropriate. And I am careful of those two words… light-hearted – and appropriate.
Heres the problem…
I met a gentleman at my childs pre-school. He, like me, seemed to like to flirt. Both of us were married, and seemed devoted to our spouses, to our kids. He flirted with all the women equally. Everything seemed amazingly harmless.
His wife and I had traded phone numbers, intent on going to see movies together over the summer. We had become friends as well. We had also planned on getting our kids together for playdates, over the summer.
The last few days of pre-school, my kids were sick, and so I wasnt there. This is significant.
Out of the blue, a few weeks after school ended, the gentlemen, we will call him “J”, calls me. He wants to know if I will attend a movie with him, as his wife doesnt want to go. I would, but I already have something scheduled with another friend I dont want to blow off for the night.
He insists, and I get frustrated, absolutely refusing.
During my dinner with friend #2, I find out that during those few days I missed, he came into the school, telling one and all he was divorcing his wife, and wanting to know where I was, and why my kids wern’t at school.
I was *horrified*
Since then, hes texted me twice more. Neither one I have responded to, but it seems he’s not going to stop.
What do I do?

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AMC September 10, 2012 at 8:13 am

I watched this video the other day. I’m glad to see so many people step up to help the young lady. Unfortunately, this sort of situation is all too common, and I wish more people would take it seriously. Sexual harassment is not a joke. Women (and men) have a right to go out in public without fear of being harassed or assaulted.

This must be said. To any man who would behave this way: No woman owes you a conversation. She does not owe you a date, her number, not even a smile. NO MEANS NO.

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Tom September 10, 2012 at 8:34 am

To be honest, I would dispense with the pleasantries in this situation because of things that have happened to me. In a situation like this, I can’t be sure that I’d count on anyone else to help me, and I would simply tell the unwanted admirer to leave me alone, in no uncertain terms.

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Wendy September 10, 2012 at 10:25 am

Wow.
This brought back memories of a guy in one of my classes at college. Day one, he sat beside me and would. not. leave. me. Alone! At first I was polite…being on a big campus of a major university is unnerving for lots of people (me included) and while my way of coping was to keep to myself most of the time, some people tried to make friends with everyone, which I thought he was doing. And some people are very friendly too. But this guy was just too much. Complementing me on things that weren’t compliment-able, getting touchy, etc. I went from being polite, to being cold, to ignoring him. Finally, I had made a couple other friends in the class by then and made sure to get there early and sit with them and he’d have no place to get near me.

Having said that, I hope that I would react the way these other people did…standing up for her. Hooray for all of them! Also…to add to the advice of the expert at the end…saying “If you don’t stop, I’m calling the police” is perfectly acceptable.

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The Elf September 10, 2012 at 10:48 am

I probably wouldn’t do anything, unless it got to the point of touching. Take care of yourself, women! It’s hard to imagine anyone would let it get that far, who wasn’t paid to act the part. It’s also hard to imagine a man would pursue it that far who wasn’t sloppy drunk and therefore oblivious to the massive clue-by-fours she was dealing out.

There was one time I had a man flirting with me that was overly persistent. It was on the subway. First I made sure he could see my wedding ring. I think I even dropped the word “husband”. This was before it got bad but I wanted to shut down the stranger-flirting early on. After he persisted, I turned my attention elsewhere (my book) and ignored him. When he persisted after that – and he asked me out – I got up and switched seats. If he had followed me, it was going to be the police next.

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Michellep September 10, 2012 at 11:05 am

Watched this before. I’ve seen several of the What Would You Do stories, and in this case I would most likely do nothing. Unless she is physically assaulted, there is nothing I could do or feel I should. She is a grown woman who is capable of standing up for herself. I will not put myself in harm’s way to stop a man from flirting.

On the other shows where children or the disabled or being harmed, I will step in.

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Katy September 10, 2012 at 11:06 am

I would definitely step in, tell the man to back off, and invite the woman to sit with me. If I had my husband with me, I’d have him tell the guy to back off, since I think men like that have a tendency to listen more to other men who are intimidating than just a woman (my husband is 6’5″, 300 pounds, and looks like he belongs in a motorcycle gang, people don’t know he’s a big pushover and he has used his size and looks to make men back off women before). But either way I would intervene.
And if the guy followed her out after she paid her check and left I’d run after her and try to get her back inside long enough to get security or the police there. That’s not a safe situation.

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Angel September 10, 2012 at 11:26 am

I would have done exactly what those people did–invited the woman to sit near me and told the guy to take a flying leap. No matter how she dresses, no one deserves to be harassed like that! I’m glad to see that most people did step up.

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Rae September 10, 2012 at 11:30 am

Thank you for sharing this. It is nice to know that there are people out there that are willing to help out. I also thought that it was excellent advice that if you are the one being harassed, get the bartender’s attention, because knowing me, I would be scared out of my wits and not sure what to do. Now I do, so thank you.

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Brockwest September 10, 2012 at 12:27 pm

I’ve actually been in such situations before and definitely intervene. It is important to note that even Police hate to intervene in domestic arguments as the chance the police will be attacked by either party is huge. The best approach is to talk only to the person you are trying to help and ask them if they would like help. The idea of having them join your table is great. It’s a bad idea to confront their hassler, as that person may decide to fight you instead.
I have found it important to make SURE the person you are helping is willing to be helped. If they are unwilling to have me call the police if needed, then I tell them I will walk away. This almost always makes them change their mind and allow me to call police (for my own protection.)
If there is not a table involved, I ask them to stand behind me. I try not to provoke the hassler, but say in a calm, but very firm, no-nonsense voice, that they are now under my protection. On the occasions I’m challenged, I explain to get to the female, they have to come through me first, but I don’t raise my fists, say it in a calm, but definitely-mean-it tone.
Only twice has violence arisen…I won one time, I lost one time, but the female was saved both times.

Most hasslers are cowards, looking for vunerable prey and are not looking for an actual confrontation. When intoxication is involved, all bets are off.

I’m happy to say I know one of the females who intervened in the video. She is a great person in real life. I felt she really put herself in harm’s way, but she stated we are supposed to help others.

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Ripple September 10, 2012 at 12:48 pm

Nicole:
If “J” contacts you again, contact his wife. Let her know that you did not initiate this, that he says he is divorcing, and you would appreciate it if she tells him she knows about the texts and he is to stop. If this doesn’t work, and if you haven’t already deleted the texts, take them to the police. This is the way stalkers start – they seem innocent but keep escalating. Too often, the victim waits too long to get the authorities involved. The police may not be able to do anything, depending on your local laws, but they will have the information on file in case it does go farther, and they will be able to tell you what you need to do to protect yourself. DO NOT go out with him for any reason. Any further contact – text, e-mail, phone calls – keep a copy and give them to the police to add to the file. Sometimes it needs a certain amount of unwanted contacts before the law can step in and give you a restraining order. Let others know about this as well – husband, parents, siblings, friends, anyone who can at least offer a sympathetic ear even if they can’t do anything specific.

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ferretrick September 10, 2012 at 1:09 pm

@nicole: Do not respond. At all, not even to tell him to stop contacting you. Block his number on your phone. Further contact will just encourage a person of this type. If he has your e-mail address, save the e-mails but do not respond. Eventually he will get tired and go away.

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SJ September 10, 2012 at 1:18 pm

@Nicole
You call the police. You said no, he kept pursuing. People like this escalate their behavior. Flirtation or not, he doesn’t have the right to harass you.

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Lo September 10, 2012 at 1:42 pm

Nicole,

If he calls you tell that guy that he’s harrassing you and you want nothing to do with him. You have no intention of getting drawn into his “situation”.

Otherwise keep ignoring his texts.

What a CREEP.

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KT September 10, 2012 at 2:00 pm

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/09/07/but-some-woman-called-me-a-creep-once-wah/#.UEqBisf8irM.facebook

This is a fantastic examination of the issue, and the excuses around it.

I would have and have stepped up to tell the harassing guy to bug off.

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Laura September 10, 2012 at 2:18 pm

This reminds me of an incident in college 20 some years ago. A few of us were riding on a Greyhound from our homes back to our university, which was across the state. We picked some more people at a different college, one of whom was a young woman who seated herself towards the back of the bus. We made some more stops along the way, at some other non-college stops. After one stop that let quite a few people on, it quickly became clear that she was being harassed. At first I was a little intimidated, but I realized she probably could use some help. So, I walked back to her seat, and said, “Are you ready to study now?” The look on her face was priceless — it went from “huh? who are you?” to “OHHHH!” She caught on pretty quickly, grabbed her backpack and came and sat with us.

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sillyme September 10, 2012 at 2:50 pm

Okay, you know, I now know I’m old. The only unwanted attention I ever get at night is from telemarketers and by then I’m in my sweatpants/pajamas.

Honestly, if some guy in a bar gave me unwanted attention? I don’t know if I could stop laughing long enough to do anything about it more dignified. One of the many gifts of middle age.

Would I step in and stand up for a young woman? Yes. But probably for all the wrong reasons: I was stalked twenty years ago, and I’d just love the chance to give some guy substitute comeuppance.

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NicoleK September 10, 2012 at 3:03 pm

I agree he crossed the line when he touched her.

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Gloria Shiner September 10, 2012 at 3:38 pm

Many years ago I had this happen at a bus station. A table full of truck drivers (all about my father’s age) gave the obnoxious guy “the look” and invited me to sit at their table.

It’s good to see that people will intervene in situations like this.

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Library Diva September 10, 2012 at 4:41 pm

Couldn’t watch this video at work, unfortunately, but those are almost always awkward situations for me (well, except for the two times when the guy got physical with me, and I got physical right back, although very differently than the way he’d hoped). I never want to hurt someone’s feelings, and there are scummy guys out there that exploit that feeling in women a great deal.

I wanted to comment instead on Nicole’s comment since I really feel for her. From your description, it doesn’t sound as if you did anything wrong, it’s this man who’s acting inappropriately, and you should let that guide your decision-making from here on out. Ignoring his texts may not feel very active to you, but it’s definitely sending a message. If he doesn’t seem to receive it, I think you should ask him to talk with you in person. Pick a public place, like a coffee shop near the preschool, and tell him that despite your flirtatious nature, you’re very happy in your marriage, you’re not looking for a relationship of any kind with anyone but your husband, and you’re sorry he got the wrong idea.

If he thought you were getting ready to run off with him any day, it will probably hurt a lot, but he’ll get over it. If it doesn’t sink in, you can tell him something like “Maybe you need to hear this from my husband. Should I give him your phone number?” and see if that doesn’t put a stop to it. If he still keeps bothering you, block his number or change yours, and if it escalates — if he keeps trying to see you in person, starts sending you things via email or regular mail, etc., which it hopefully won’t, it’s time to get the police involved. Probably it won’t go that far, though. Start with a rational, in-person conversation in public and see where that goes. And good luck.

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Lisa September 10, 2012 at 4:56 pm

Nicole, first of all: I’m being blunt because you said it’s hard for you to pick up on social clues, so no hard feelings.
Then: Stop validating yourself through flirting with other women’s husbands, REGARDLESS of the fact if they flirt with everyone or not. You don’t have to respond to every guy that smiles at you. Flirting with your friend’s husband is at best irritating and at worst nasty and classless. You might be hurting the feelings of another human being, just so you can feel better about yourself, which is quite selfish.
I would just ignore the guy from now on and clearly state that you are not interested. Depending on the situation an appology to your female friend might be in order too, but be careful not to be sucked into any drama.

As far as the clip goes: UUUURRRRGGGLLL! I hate guys like this. They are the reason nice guys get the cold shoulder sometimes, you just don’t want to risk ending up in a situation like this.
If the guy was clearly harassing someone closeby I’m not sure if I would interfere in a confrontational way, but I might strike up a conversation with the lady myself, to give her an ‘out’. Say we need to go over the notes from work or something, while giving her the ‘wink’ so she can choose to excuse herself more easily.
If I were the woman myself, I’d just tell him to get lost after a while. Being kind usually only encourages them, unfortunately.

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Lisa September 10, 2012 at 5:03 pm

Just saw the comment from library diva:
I disagree on the ‘meet him to talk about i’bit. That could lead to speculation and hurt feelings on the wife’s part if she spots them together, but most importantly, it leaves the door open for drama.
If he’s truly fallen for her, ANYTHING will be encouraging to him. Meeting up with Nicole will feel like a ‘date’ for a guy like that and give him false hope.
Besides, she doesn’t owe him a lenghty appology. The wife, maybe, but him? No. It will only make him grasp at straws. This is how stalking starts sometimes! Best not to pay attention at all.

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Feesh September 10, 2012 at 5:42 pm

I recently read an article about a Flagstaff, AZ, cop who groped a woman in a bar. People who knew and liked the guy felt sorry for him and felt he was punished too severely when convicted. The judge even told the victim that it wouldn’t have happened if she hadn’t gone to the bar. I was extremely disheartened, but I feel relieved knowing the people in the video stood up for a stranger.

I’m curious about the guy with the remote. Did he just not care or is he completely clueless that a woman who is followed out of a bar by her harasser is in danger? Everyone else’s reaction was great. Each group had a different approach, and they all worked.

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Another Alice September 10, 2012 at 5:49 pm

I watched the video directly through ABCNews, if that helps anyone . . .

I was actually shocked at how often what this guy said to her has happened to me. The part that makes me infuriated is his line, “Why are you getting so angry?” I’ve had that said, verbatim, when I’ve been out and trying to avoid someone. Anyone who views any woman who just happens to not be with a man as a potential date is disgusting to me. Believe it or not, that’s not why we’re here, for YOUR entertainment/flirtation.

The first thing I thought of was how happy I was to have my own Neighborhood Bar. I recommend this for all people for various reasons (even if you don’t drink, just to have a regular place to socialize/meet people), but a good one for women is that the bartenders/staff know you and basic things about you – like whether you’re single, generally where you live, etc., because they’ve gotten to know you. Not only the staff, but other regulars do as well. It takes frequent visits to get that kind of vibe, but it’s worth it for nights when you want to go out but don’t want to make it a “make new friends” kind of night. ;-) Anyway, at the bar where I’m a regular, if any dude tried that, he’d have three or four bartenders/regulars/bouncers all over him, and be out in seconds. As I said, you have the best of both worlds – you can meet new people, but in a relatively “safe” spot with familiar faces all around.

Obviously, we go many places throughout life and this can happen anywhere, but I think the actress was right on the money. Loud “No”‘s, and “I don’t know you!” are extremely good for attracting attention. I think most people don’t get involved because they 1.) Don’t hear the conversation, or at least the details, and 2.) Don’t know if maybe you do know the person, they’re an acquaintance or something, and maybe you’re just teasing each other. But saying it loud and clear amends this.

I also think what the one couple did in alerting the bartender was a good idea, and a woman alone should do that as well. Any bartender worth their salt is extremely familiar with the potential dangerous situations that arise late at night with people drinking, and their goal is not just to serve drinks, but to make sure everyone is safe and having a good time – especially women. If this ever happens and the bartender does nothing, NEVER go back to that place again.

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CherylC September 10, 2012 at 6:25 pm

@Nicole

If you have caller ID, do not answer any phone calls from him. If you want to chat with the wife, arrange a signal with her so you know it isn’t him calling, like let it ring 2 times, hang up then call again. Do NOT have any interaction with him as it only will only encourage him to keep trying to contact you. Get The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker (I think I spelled the last name right) and read how to deal with stalkers. Then go back and read the whole thing. Women in particular are taught not to be “mean” to people and not to get aggressive in using the word “no”. We try to be “nice” and can get in over our heads with a situation quickly. If you have to talk to him, tell him the next time he tries to contact you, you will be notifying the police about his harassment. He is likely to try and turn it back on you, but don’t let him and don’t get into an argument with him over whether or not you “led him on” with your social, harmless flirting. Just shut him down, repeat your warning, and hang up. Then follow through if you have to. And as others have said, keep records of his contacts, copies of everything, and if necessary get a digital voice recorder that has the capabilities of recording phone calls. Some may even be able to record phone voice mail Best of luck.

As for the scenario in the clip, I would intervene, maybe at the “she wants you to leave her alone” stage, maybe not, but definitely at the touching stage if only to advise the harasser that touching someone against their will is assault and battery, and the police will be called if he he doesn’t back off, then I would ask her if she wanted to join me.

Oddly enough, even though I am what I call an unconscious flirt (I usually can’t tell what I’m doing is flirting or not–hubby says I flirt all the time), I’ve never had problems like this. Probably because I am a tall, big woman who has a look that speaks volumes and when I tell someone to back off, with the look, they back off.

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PM September 10, 2012 at 6:35 pm

I was glad to see so many people stepping in and helping her.

When I was younger and approached by guys who wanted to talk to me like this, I would freeze. I knew I didn’t owe them a conversation and I knew better than to talk to them and encourage them to think I was going to do anything with them. But I just couldn’t figure out how to communicate my disinterest without provoking them to anger. And sometimes, it feels like these guys, particularly the ones on public transit, for some reason, are only approaching the women so they can respond with anger and vitriol when rejected. They enjoy our fear response much more than any romantic attention. When I was a student, I would give them the number of the college’s women’s studies office instead of my own. (I realize now that was a terrible discourtesy to the staff at that office. I am very sorry.)

And then one night my senior year, I was at a party with my friend Crystal, who was gorgeous and often got hit on when we were out. This one frat guy would. not. leave. her. alone. He dogged her steps wheedling for her number, crouched in too close when talking to her and kept telling other people (including me) to “give them a minute” to talk. I would not leave her alone with him, so he had some choice names for me. When he shouted at Crystal, “Why won’t you just give me your number? I’m a nice guy. Why won’t you let me take you out? I’m just trying to be nice to you!”

Finally, Crystal put her hand against his chest and SHOVED him out of her space and let him have it, “NO, you’re not a nice guy. NICE GUYS respect a girl’s ‘no’. I don’t know you. Why would I WANT to you give you my number? Why would I WANT to go out with someone who won’t take ‘no’ for an answer about something as simple as giving you my number? Do you think I’m going to trust you to take ‘no’ for an answer when you decide you have the right to touch me? NO. Back off and LEAVE. ME. ALONE.”

He was embarrassed and called her a b****. But so many girls came up to her and said that she was their hero. She’d put into words what they hadn’t been able to express to these guys.

So now, when I am a bystander in this sort of situation, I will invite the girl to sit near me or walk with me. And I tell the guy, “‘Nice’ guys take no for an answer.” It’s only happened a hand full of times and I’ve been told to mind me own business and called some pretty awful names. But I have finally mastered my mom’s “obey or be destroyed” glare, so it has never gone beyond that.

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AthenaC September 10, 2012 at 10:20 pm

One evening, a group of girlfriends and I went to go dancing at a gay bar. Now, for the most part, this was a great place to go dance for a bunch of girls all in happy, committed relationships who just want to dance; the guys are all interested in each other and leave us alone.

Except for one gentleman – older, Army haircut. From my snap judgment I sized him up as either a Lieutenant Colonel or a Colonel; his demeanor further suggested he was used to getting what he wanted from people. This gentleman (and I use the term loosely) decided to try to dance with a couple of the younger girls in our group. The older girls (including me) would watch for his approach and physically insert an elbow between him and our group to basically push him outside the circle. (Please note that since us girls were all friends and we were all okay with some affectionate physical contact with each other, there wasn’t a boundaries issue. I would be afraid of invading a strangers personal space in physically protecting a girl I didn’t know this way.)

After forcing the guy to move away four or five times, he started to get a bit irritated, at which point the most tomboyish girl in the group decided to confront the guy and nearly came to blows with him before security removed him. Picture the image – a mother hen (looking very much like the stereotypical butch lesbian) defending her chicks from the advances of a man. We still laugh when we think about how that must have looked.

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Beryl September 11, 2012 at 1:16 am

When I was in high school I saw a much more extreme situation than shown in the video. I had band the same period as lunch. Not only was the band on the opposite end of the school from the cafeteria, it also took some time to put away the instruments and gather your books. The band room was on the bottom floor and this was Second Lunch, which meant all first-floor classrooms were at lunch at this time. So, naturally, by the time we left for lunch, the halls were close to deserted. I was walking with a friend one day who had to stop by her locker. As she’s getting her books out we hear what we first thought was some laughter and joking banter, but it became clear pretty fast that it was NOT.

Not too far down the hall from us was a couple. The girl was crying and saying “No! Stop! Let me go! I said let me go!” and the guy was just NOT letting her go. He was holding on to her arms and wrists and telling her “You’re coming over to my house today. You WILL come over to my house today.” For a sixteen year old girl, this was scary to see happening and feeling just a little bit helpless. I turned to my friend and said “We need to get a teacher. He’s sexually harassing her.” My friend appalled me by saying that we shouldn’t get involved. Well we ended up getting involved anyway. Just around the corner in another hallway were two teachers and we ran up to them and pointed out the couple and told them what was going on. The guy had, by some miracle, turned around and walked away from the girl, leaving her stumbling around and crying. She said she didn’t want any help from the two teachers either, but she definitely didn’t struggle to get away from them like she did with the guy as they led her into a classroom. I have no clue what happened to her as I didn’t know the teacher’s names or the girl’s name but occasionally she still pops up in my head and I wonder if she’s okay.

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Kate September 11, 2012 at 1:45 am

I’ve had a couple of male friends who didn’t seem to get the hint regarding my feelings towards them (friendship only) and who started making me feel really uncomfortable. One guy was texting and emailing me constantly, insulting my then-boyfriend (now fiance) and calling me several times a day then getting upset and angry when I didn’t want to talk to him. I eventually told him if he couldn’t be comfortable just being friends and giving me some space, I’d cut off contact with him altogether. He still didn’t get the message and I had to report him to the police for harassment. As a result of this, I would definitely try and intervene if I saw someone (male or female) getting this sort of unwanted attention.

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barb September 11, 2012 at 7:35 am

How about unwanted flirting at a FUNERAL? Yes, at my dad’s wake, a family friend (male, married) said to my sister (also married), with an intense gaze, “I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately, Sis’s Name….”

To which my sister replied, “wow, you must have a pretty boring life.”

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Shannon September 11, 2012 at 8:03 am

I can’t watch the video (I’m at work) but I hope the bartender intervened. A few years back, I saw a drunk man aggressively hitting on a woman who was sitting near him at the bar. He asked why she wouldn’t leave the bar with him, her response was a wry, “Because I don’t want to wind up on Dateline NBC,” and buried her nose back in her drink. Just as my husband and I were about to ask if she wanted to come sit with us, the bartender took the man’s drink away, put a glass of water in front of him, and said, “You can’t talk to women like that. She doesn’t want to talk to you. Drink this water then get out of my bar.”

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The Elf September 11, 2012 at 8:11 am

Nicole: You need to lay it out to the man that it was just light-hearted banter, not a serious flirt. You can be matter of fact or apologetic, but either way he needs to know straight-up that a relationship isn’t going to happen. From what you’ve related, he may not have gotten the message clearly. So far, all that’s happened is that you refused one date. He may not know why, or may have jumped to a different conclusion. He needs to know where he stands with you. What he does, or doesn’t do, after that point will dictate your next moves.

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The Elf September 11, 2012 at 8:19 am

KT, that article was spot-on. A lot of time the “nice guys” just don’t understand (or accept) a rejection, and then are stunned when the rejection is stated blatantly and bluntly.

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jena rogers September 11, 2012 at 8:53 am

I wholeheartedly recommend a book called “The Gift of Fear” for anyone interested in managing a situation like this. I had my daughter read it when she was a teenager, and wish all kids could read it, as well as adults. It is a no-nonsense and commonsense approach to a variety of situations.

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twik September 11, 2012 at 9:38 am

I agree with the people who said that Nicole should NOT attempt to meet J to “explain things”. If he’s delusional enough to believe that there’s a relationship there in the first place, he will see that as a date, even if she spends the whole time telling him it’s not going to happen.

If he’s at the point where he’s demanding that other people at the school explain your absence, he’s getting worrisome. Keep a far distance. It’s a pain that this includes keeping away from his wife, but I can’t see anything good coming out of this situation for a while.

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Beth September 11, 2012 at 9:41 am

I wonder if the strangers’ reactions would have been different at a night club or some similar place. Frequently, the bar scene changes after sunset and I can’t help but wonder if nighttime bar patrons would be as willing to help out or even as aware of the situation.

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KT September 11, 2012 at 10:35 am

Not only that, The Elf, but our culture insists that persisting until the woman breaks down and gives you her attention, whether you’re trying to chat her up or sell her a bottle of lotion at a mall kiosk, means that our “no” is increasingly devalued, and we are automatically bitches when we don’t give a rejection w/explanation that they will understand and accept. But they won’t understand or accept anything but what they want. And guess what?

NO!

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Jenn50 September 11, 2012 at 11:32 am

I agree thoroughly that Gavin deBecker’s “Gift of Fear” should be required reading, particularly for young women. A guy who refuses to hear the word “no” is a creep.

Under no circumstances should Nicole meet with this guy. Mr. deBecker advocates one clear, firm refusal, then no further contact. I would text him back something like “Clearly, you misunderstood my friendly banter. I am happily married, and have no intentions, now or ever, of going anywhere or doing anything with you. I will be forwarding all further communications from you to my husband, so please do not contact me again.” Then I would not answer any more texts, and not have any conversation with him, unless absolutely necessary because of preschool. Even then, I would be cool and distant. Nothing more than professional and civil.

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C September 11, 2012 at 12:35 pm

I debated on sharing this, but felt I should after reading KT’s post about a woman’s “no” becoming more and more devalued in society today.

The world wide web is a scary place. I was once friends with a guy I’ll call Jeff. Jeff didn’t have many friends online. There were reasons, but I thought “oh maybe he is just misunderstood and people have the wrong impression.” Then as time went on I began to see all the reasons why people wanted nothing to do with him. I probably stayed a friend to him longer than most.

Jeff is on the spectrum and that makes giving him hints impossible. He sent me several messages a day on one of the websites I went to. It came to a head during a time in my life where having a lot of messages on one site meant I was in trouble for a foolish mistake I made and have since atoned for. I asked him nicely to tone it down or I would have to block him. Jeff blatantly ignored that message and sent me something completely unrelated to what I said. I said I was sorry, but I had to block him, and did so.

Jeff started bothering my friends to send me messages on his behalf. I had to explain to different people over and over to please ignore this guy and block him, and I told them why. He found me on other sites and tried to message me there as if nothing was wrong at all, which meant I had to block him there too. He seemed to give up after awhile, until recently where he just went totally ape-poop crazy, butting into a thread where I was trying to help somebody out and exploding. I’ve never seen so much vitriol in my life! He wrote a short story about me being mutilated and killed by a horror movie character and gloated to another person about how he knew I hated gore and hoped I liked his little story. All of this because I said “no” and wouldn’t reclaim him as a friend. And why should I, after he made it clear he fantasized about me bleeding and dead?

He was forcibly removed from many of the sites he went to because of his behavior, and I don’t think he will ever learn his lesson because he just joins another one and starts right up where he left off. I’m just shaking my head. Eventually, the law will get him.

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The Elf September 11, 2012 at 1:55 pm

It’s not our culture, KT, and the article took pains to note that. Most guys can take a non-verbal “No”. (And bad sales techniques are a different thing altogether.) It’s a small percentage of men. The kinds of guys who can’t take a polite no aren’t the kinds of guys I’m interested in, so if being rude and bluntly saying “No, I’m not interested in dating you. Not now, not ever, get lost or I’m calling the police” makes me a bitch, then I’m pleased to be one.

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Angela September 11, 2012 at 7:31 pm

I think I would have stayed out of it on the grounds that she’s a grown woman UNTIL he touched her. That’s such a red flag that I would have had to step in and ask if she wanted to sit with me or if she wanted me to call anyone for her.

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Enna September 12, 2012 at 11:55 am

@ 22 Feesh I can’t beleive that people and the judge critised the victim! The judge should have told the police officer to keep his hands to himself THEN the incident wouldn’t of happen and he would have been taken to court. That is really unprofessional for a judge to say that and a police officer should of all people KNOW BETTER. The policeman, his firends and his judge wouldn’t like it if someone gropped their daughter, mother, wife, partner, girlfirend aunty, cousin or grandma or any woman important to them would they?

It starts of as a “flirt” or a “joke” but some people escalate it and then it becomes more serious.

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Slartibartfast September 14, 2012 at 3:40 pm

@22 @41 the judge in that case came under a lot of fire for that comment and has since issued an apology.

I actually think this is one of the few times profanity is called for. When “leave me alone” doesn’t work, a very loud “BACK THE #@$# OFF!!!” often draws enough attention from bystanders who would have otherwise ignored/not heard you. Swearing when alone will just escalate the situation, but in public it gives a very clear signal that you want help, you’re feeling backed into a corner (literally or metaphorically), and you want someone else to at least notice what’s going on.

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Psyche September 18, 2012 at 9:50 am

I have had experience with this kind of thing, and I’ve learned from experience (though not at a bar) that the best way to handle people like that aggressive suitor was to simply identify him before they come up to you and shut them down.

Example:

While waiting for a bus, I overheard a guy going on a loud tirade about how illegal immigrants were the reason he didn’t have a job (judging by his whiny attitude, I’m guessing that more likely he brought it on himself). I silently decided that if this guy got on the bus with me, I wasn’t going to engage in conversation with him. Sadly, he decided to do just that.

For some reason, the fact that I moved several times on the bus didn’t seem to register to this native of Planet Booron. Nor the fact I had my earphones on and was reading a book (funny, I thought most people understood this simple piece of body language). I even politely but firmly told him that, along with the fact that I quite honestly didn’t give a damn about politics. That seemed to incite him more and I admit I lost my temper and told him to piss off. A group of Black men sort of teasingly told him to “leave that lady alone!” and he decided to argue with them. Finally the bus driver had to intervene and kick this guy off, who was cursing the whole way.

In retrospect, I should have told him that I have Native American blood in me and seen if that shut him up.

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