Etiquette Hell

General Etiquette => Life...in general => Topic started by: JoieGirl7 on September 11, 2013, 12:47:13 PM

Title: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: JoieGirl7 on September 11, 2013, 12:47:13 PM

I think I was OK on this.  Maybe not a social butterfly or super fun to be around but cordial.

My husband has a friend Tom who has a place out in the country.  It’s very rustic and they have a shooting gallery where they shoot in the afternoon.

The rest of the time is taken up by cooking on an open fire and drinking lots of alcohol.  (Alcohol is never involved during shooting sessions, btw.)

My husband usually goes up there with another friend Hal and it’s a lot of guys hanging out.  My husband and Tom were always pestering me to go.

So, finally, I went.  Hal was not going to be able to go so it was even better.  I don’t really like Hal enough to want to spend a few hours in a car with him let alone an entire weekend.

And I must say, I was a little resentful of the constant pressure to go.  A message on FB from Tom to me said “You better come Missy!”  I don’t like being called “Missy.”

The people who go up there for these weekends changes.  This weekend I was told that it was going to be Tom and a friend of his Jon.

So, we get up there and Tom is already three sheets to the wind.  He is barely stringing sentences together but is a happy drunk and is saying that according to the rules we all have to do a shot of vodka.

My husband who never does shots is totally into it.  I decline citing medication issues (which was true).

So, while not completely at ease with Tom being so drunk, that is not really the problem.

The problem is that in addition to Jon, there is also another man there.  We’ll call him Rusty.

When we arrive, Tom is not the only drunk one.  Jon and Rusty are pretty drunk too and are continuing to do shots.

It starts to dawn on me that  I am very, very uncomfortable in the situation.  I think about the fact that I do not know Jon or Rusty at all.  We are in the middle of nowhere, no cell reception, no phones at all.  We have a small arsenal of weapons and everyone (but me) is drunk and getting drunker.  And as the only female in the situation, I do not feel safe.  We are all staying in the small 3 bedroom house there.

I figure that the main source of my discomfort is the extra man.  My husband has met Jon several times before, but he doesn’t know Rusty and we are not sure if Rusty is Jon’s friend only or if he is also a friend of Tom’s.

My discomfort over the weapons is not that they are weapons but that I know they are worth a great deal of money and not really trusting at least one of the guys who was there, my mind was spinning a Lifetime movie in my brain, if you understand what I mean.

So, my behavior was essentially to be invisible.  I stayed in my room all day and read, going for a walk later on when the men had left the house.  I told my DH about not feeling safe so he made sure to come up to the house if Jon or Rusty did so that I would not be alone with them at all.

I just kind of ignored both Jon and Rusty the whole weekend.

At one point, the first night, Tom made dinner and it was really simple but it was something I liked and I was happy with it.  Rusty slid up to me and said “This is the stuff you get when Tom makes dinner.  But, don’t you worry, I’m gonna cook for you tomorrow night, babe!”

I said nothing.  It was not an appropriate comment, particularly the "babe" part.*  I thought that saying anything at all would only give him traction for more interaction which was something I wanted nothing of.  So, I didn’t.  I didn’t look at him even when we were sitting around the campfire.  (*And he didn't cook at all either--it was never in the plans for him to do so, so I don't even know why he said that.)

Jon was easier to ignore because he was kind of jumpy and always everywhere at once.  I doubt he even noticed that I didn’t interact with him.

I did interact with my host Tom throughout the day and in the evenings.

Also, the second night up there, I was fixing something for dinner up in the house by myself when Rusty came up there.  I don't know why he came up there--maybe to get something from the kitchen.  But, he came into the house with a lit cigarette which was definitely a no-no and he lingered for a few minutes.  I again did not encourage any interaction and was very uncomfortable being there alone with him.

So, I guess the question is, under these rather bizarre circumstances, was I required to do more than be cordial to a man who made me very uncomfortable, even if he might not have really posed a threat to me.

I’m thinking no, but there is a part of me that thinks I should have given the guy a chance.  Although, my more sensible side kicks in and suggests that that would have been fine under different circumstances.

I wonder if I upset my host but its really hard to tell because he was drunk for much of the time.

And let me be clear.  I didn't refuse to talk to anyone or ignore them if they addressed me directly (which they really didn't do to any great extent) but I definitely put off a vibe of "don't bother me" to Rusty and to a lesser extent, Jon. 

I can't even really put my finger on exactly what set my detectors.  I just know that I didn't feel safe.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: snowdragon on September 11, 2013, 12:51:10 PM
Oh, heck, I would have left when I saw folks were drinking around firearms.

No, you are not required to be any thing but polite to someone you don't know or who makes you uncomfortable.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: Goosey on September 11, 2013, 12:57:32 PM
Quote
The rest of the time is taken up by cooking on an open fire and drinking lots of alcohol.  (Alcohol is never involved during shooting sessions, btw.)
Were they drinking around firearms?

OP, I guess I'm confused. With all the information you had before you went, it's a little strange to me that you were surprised that the weekend was pretty much exactly as it was described to you?

I don't think anyone was rude here. I think they may have been more familiar than you liked, but they weren't aware they were doing so unless you communicated it to them.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: TurtleDove on September 11, 2013, 01:02:32 PM
OP, I guess I'm confused. With all the information you had before you went, it's a little strange to me that you were surprised that the weekend was pretty much exactly as it was described to you?

I am also confused.  I also think it is a bit strange to not trust the judgment of people you and your DH consider friends.  If it were me, with limited exceptions, I would either trust Tom's judgment that Jon and Rusty are decent people or I would not be friends with Tom (because he would not be the type of person I could trust).
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: snowdragon on September 11, 2013, 01:08:49 PM
Quote
The rest of the time is taken up by cooking on an open fire and drinking lots of alcohol.  (Alcohol is never involved during shooting sessions, btw.)
Were they drinking around firearms?


  The Op, said that there was a small arsenal there.  whether they were shooting at the time or not, the arms were where there, available and folks were drunk enough to make the OP nervous enough to mention it. 
  This is not what I would call a safe situation. Even with people I trust.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: poundcake on September 11, 2013, 01:09:24 PM
The second you told your DH that you were feeling unsafe and uncomfortable, the two of you should have left.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: lowspark on September 11, 2013, 01:13:17 PM
The second you told your DH that you were feeling unsafe and uncomfortable, the two of you should have left.

This is exactly what I was going to say. I would not have stayed there, especially overnight, feeling the way you did. I'd have left. If DH wanted to stay and could get a ride home, fine. But I'd be outta there.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: JoieGirl7 on September 11, 2013, 01:16:58 PM
Quote
The rest of the time is taken up by cooking on an open fire and drinking lots of alcohol.  (Alcohol is never involved during shooting sessions, btw.)
Were they drinking around firearms?

OP, I guess I'm confused. With all the information you had before you went, it's a little strange to me that you were surprised that the weekend was pretty much exactly as it was described to you?

I don't think anyone was rude here. I think they may have been more familiar than you liked, but they weren't aware they were doing so unless you communicated it to them.

I'm not concerned as to whether they were rude.  I was thinking  that I might have been rude for being so cold to them.

I was not aware that Rusty would be there.  I was told that it was Tom and his friend Jon.  DH had met Jon and was familiar with him.  Neither of us knew Rusty or what the relationship was--if he was Tom's friend or Jon's friend, or both.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: Goosey on September 11, 2013, 01:20:32 PM
Quote
The rest of the time is taken up by cooking on an open fire and drinking lots of alcohol.  (Alcohol is never involved during shooting sessions, btw.)
Were they drinking around firearms?


  The Op, said that there was a small arsenal there.  whether they were shooting at the time or not, the arms were where there, available and folks were drunk enough to make the OP nervous enough to mention it. 
  This is not what I would call a safe situation. Even with people I trust.
Sounds like you and the OP both, which is why I'm confused. She knew that there would be drunk people. She knew that there would guns. She knew that the people who go aren't consistent. So, to use that as a reason to leave would be weird to me.

OP, I think the only solution to this would be at the very beginning - when you were feeling resentful about the pressure to go. Your husband obviously loves going to these things, but they're not something you're very keen on. So, you should have said, "I'm really not interested. Please stop" to both your husband and Tom.

Did you discuss your feelings of discomfort with your husband at the event? Would he have been willing to leave early and come back by himself a different weekend?

I don't think were rude, technically. You're not required to be friendly.

Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: JoieGirl7 on September 11, 2013, 01:21:34 PM
The second you told your DH that you were feeling unsafe and uncomfortable, the two of you should have left.

This is exactly what I was going to say. I would not have stayed there, especially overnight, feeling the way you did. I'd have left. If DH wanted to stay and could get a ride home, fine. But I'd be outta there.

I did a lot of thinking about that.  DH would not have been able to get a ride home.  I would have had to convince him to leave and that would have caused a lot of problems.

Dh was kind of mad at me that I was not having a good time.   :(
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: Goosey on September 11, 2013, 01:27:07 PM
The second you told your DH that you were feeling unsafe and uncomfortable, the two of you should have left.

This is exactly what I was going to say. I would not have stayed there, especially overnight, feeling the way you did. I'd have left. If DH wanted to stay and could get a ride home, fine. But I'd be outta there.

I did a lot of thinking about that.  DH would not have been able to get a ride home.  I would have had to convince him to leave and that would have caused a lot of problems.

Dh was kind of mad at me that I was not having a good time.   :(

Well, hopefully he'll stop asking you to go now!! Silver lining!

But, I think you should talk to hubby about why he was mad you weren't having fun. He shouldn't be angry with you :-/
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: Redwing on September 11, 2013, 01:28:15 PM
I think cordiality is fine in this type of situation.  You didn't feel comfortable around Rusty and that's fine.  Trust your instincts. 

Also, you mentioned that your husband is always pestering you to go with him.  Well, now you have and you've learned it's probably not quite your cup of tea. 

In my opinion, you did nothing wrong.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: TurtleDove on September 11, 2013, 01:28:26 PM
Dh was kind of mad at me that I was not having a good time.   :(

It sounds like your DH was also confused about why you were uncomfortable.  Did he know you were uncomfortable?  Did he tell you not to worry becuase he trusts these people?  I am a loyal person, but I know in past relationships there were times I thought my SO was being oversensitive and irrational and I would tell him that.  Is it possible that your DH thought you were trying to create drama where there was none?  I am not saying you were, just that I don't understand your DH's lack of reaction unless that were the case.

I would also add that none of the described situation would make me uncomfortable, but I am a pretty unflappable person.  I also know how to shoot a gun and defend myself should a situation get out of hand, but that's neither here nor there because I would not have gone on a trip with people I did not have reason to trust.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: WillyNilly on September 11, 2013, 01:28:36 PM
I think you were fine OP. and I get your discomfort. It wasn't the drinking or the guns that made you uncomfortable, it was Rusty - a total stranger. You know Tom and that he's a happy drunk and that he doesn't shoot when drunk. Obviously you know your DH. And your DH vouched for Jon. Had that been the party you would have been cool, right?

It was Rusty, a stranger, and you don't know if he's a happy drunk, an angry drunk, an aggressive drunk. You don't know if he told a ton of his buddies about this house in the woods full of super expensive guns being minded only by a bunch of jovial drunks.

I think you were fine. You responded when spoken to, you participated as appropriate, you weren't mean just not overly social. I think it would be fine for you, or your DH to have a bit of a word with Tom though and let him know you were uncomfortable so the situation never repeats itself. As a guy he might not have thought anything of the situation, you being the only woman you of course are going to see things differently, in a way that might not ever occur to Tom. Perhaps in the future if Tom has a girlfriend, going up for a couples retreat would be a good way for you visit the house in a safer seeming environment.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: SCMagnolia on September 11, 2013, 01:32:15 PM
At some point when they all sobered up, someone should have introduced you and DH to Rusty.   I'm thinking maybe that one small gesture might have eased your mind a bit. 

But I'm also of the theory that if you get a strange feeling about something, you need to go with your gut and not try to rationalize the ehell out of how you feel.  There's a reason we get our hackles up about things, and if Rusty made you feel uncomfortable, there was some reason for it, even if the reason was not knowing who he was and who he "belonged to."

Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: JenJay on September 11, 2013, 01:37:49 PM
I was sitting here thinking that you might have overreacted and then I remembered something that happened to me a long time ago. DH (then boyfriend) took me to an outdoor celebration. It was the type of thing that a lot of people really enjoy - street performers, beer gardens, food trucks, etc. and a lot of drunk people. I mean a LOT of really drunk people, some were openly doing drugs right there in the streets. I grew up around plenty of parties that included drugs and alcohol so there was no real reason for me to be uncomfortable and yet I had a full blown panic attack. I wanted out of there yesterday. The thought of being surrounded by a bunch of completely wasted strangers was so threatening to me that we had to leave immediately.

In your case it was just one guy (well, three but only one you felt really uncomfortable with) but you were also out in the middle of nowhere and couldn't get away. So, my vote is you were fine. You can't help how you feel and you were as polite to Rusty as you could be without going into friendly mode which might have caused him to want to hang around you even more. I'm also a "hide out when I'm uncomfortable" type. I'll usually explain it away with a migraine or tummy ache and people leave me alone. At least now you know the cabin thing isn't for you and you won't feel pressured to go again.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: DavidH on September 11, 2013, 01:44:15 PM
I guess I'm not quite seeing why you were so uncomfortable, yet stayed. It can't be drinking around firearms, since that was the deal you signed up for. 

Kind of ignoring the other two house guests for the whole weekend is right at the edge of being rude.  Cordial and kind of ignoring are rather different.  In general, you'd expect the group to socialize together when you spend a weekend together at a house, so I'd vote on the side of being friendly or at least making an initial attempt.  Here it sounds like you showed up, saw a guy you didn't know and were immediately uncomfortable.

If you were concerned about how they knew Rusty, why didn't you just ask. It can be very non-confrontational, just a simple, how do you guys all know each other.  The answer could have been anything from we grew up together and have been friends for years, to we met two days ago while out drinking.  In the former situation, it might have put your mind more at ease, and the latter, might have given you more incentive to leave. 
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: EllenS on September 11, 2013, 01:46:28 PM
OP, I get where you are coming from, I think.  You knew the host, figured you'd give it a try. You didn't expect to have a marvellous time because it isn't you're type of scene, but you were willing to go along for the ride and try to be a good sport.

We can't always predict what situations will set off the "hinky meter".  And once it goes off, I think it is judicious to listen to it.  You didn't act irrationally, you just kept to yourself, talked to your DH, got some level of comfort from him (about being available and trying not to leave you alone in the house with the folks who were making you uncomfortable). I agree with Magnolia that a good host would have made introductions, drunk or not.  My personal temperament is that I probably would have been proactive by asking Tom, "so, where do you and Rusty know each other from?" But I don't think that is an etiquette requirement.  To me, from your descriptions of Tom and Rusty and the way they talk to you, they both sound condescending and I would be gritting my teeth to stay cordial to them, drunk or sober.

I don't think it's fair of DH to be mad because you didn't have a good time.  If he thinks you were pouting and intentionally trying to spoil the weekend, then he needs to man up and say so, and you two can have a productive adult conversation about that. You didn't go before because it never sounded like a good time to you.  Now you have gone, you know for sure it's not your thing, and that can be the end of it. It's OK for spouses to enjoy different things.

I don't think your behavior, as you described it, was rude.

Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: bopper on September 11, 2013, 01:46:55 PM



So, I guess the question is, under these rather bizarre circumstances, was I required to do more than be cordial to a man who made me very uncomfortable, even if he might not have really posed a threat to me.

I’m thinking no, but there is a part of me that thinks I should have given the guy a chance.  Although, my more sensible side kicks in and suggests that that would have been fine under different circumstances.

I wonder if I upset my host but its really hard to tell because he was drunk for much of the time.

And let me be clear.  I didn't refuse to talk to anyone or ignore them if they addressed me directly (which they really didn't do to any great extent) but I definitely put off a vibe of "don't bother me" to Rusty and to a lesser extent, Jon. 

I can't even really put my finger on exactly what set my detectors.  I just know that I didn't feel safe.

You tell us this story as if it is wrong to not feel safe.  This is exactly why Gavin De Becker wrote the book "The Gift of Fear."  You  know you don't feel safe.  Don't worry if you upset your host when you were surrounded by drunk guys who had access to guns. You are not required nor should you be more than cordial to guys who set of your hinkymeter.   Listen to yourself and STAY AWAY from them in the future.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: lowspark on September 11, 2013, 01:47:55 PM
Quote
The rest of the time is taken up by cooking on an open fire and drinking lots of alcohol.  (Alcohol is never involved during shooting sessions, btw.)
Were they drinking around firearms?


  The Op, said that there was a small arsenal there.  whether they were shooting at the time or not, the arms were where there, available and folks were drunk enough to make the OP nervous enough to mention it. 
  This is not what I would call a safe situation. Even with people I trust.
Sounds like you and the OP both, which is why I'm confused. She knew that there would be drunk people. She knew that there would guns. She knew that the people who go aren't consistent. So, to use that as a reason to leave would be weird to me.

OP, I think the only solution to this would be at the very beginning - when you were feeling resentful about the pressure to go. Your husband obviously loves going to these things, but they're not something you're very keen on. So, you should have said, "I'm really not interested. Please stop" to both your husband and Tom.

Did you discuss your feelings of discomfort with your husband at the event? Would he have been willing to leave early and come back by himself a different weekend?

I don't think were rude, technically. You're not required to be friendly.

Yeah, the OP knew all that in advance, but that doesn't mean she could necessarily predict her feelings. I think in this case it was a combination of people already being very drunk before they arrived, of her being the only female, and the presence of a strange man who was apparently behaving in ways which spooked the OP.

I gotta wonder why Tom or OP's husband encouraged her to go. It sounds to me like it could have been easily predicted (by the two guys) that the OP wouldn't enjoy it. I can imagine being in her place and saying, "No, doesn't sound like it would be fun" but giving in after the repeated encouragement. Because I would attribute that encourgement to the idea that they both really thought I'd enjoy the weekend.

Then to be put off by the entire atmosphere from the moment I arrived, well, yeah, I can see being totally uncomfortable. I'd probably want to sit down with DH and try to understand why he thought I'd like this kind of thing and make sure he understood why I didn't.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: Judah on September 11, 2013, 01:52:49 PM
I don't think the reasons for your discomfort matter, or even the fact that you felt unsafe. The only thing that etiquette cares about is your behavior and from what you've described, your behavior was fine. 

If I was in your shoes, I'd have a talk with my husband about the whole situation and then make sure he understand why I wouldn't be joining him on this trip in the future.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: TootsNYC on September 11, 2013, 02:03:58 PM

I was not aware that Rusty would be there.  I was told that it was Tom and his friend Jon.  DH had met Jon and was familiar with him.  Neither of us knew Rusty or what the relationship was--if he was Tom's friend or Jon's friend, or both.

Why was it you couldn't ask? I'd expect to do quite a bit of almost "grilling" people in that sort of a situation. They're there for us to get to know one another, after all. And you have many people you can ask, and you can compare the stories.

(I wonder if, when you give yourself time to thing, you will actually identify behaviors, tones of voice, opinions express, etc., that point to why you felt unsafe. I don't think it was just that you didn't know them. I think it was that they were so blasted so fast; or they acted in some sort of careless, disrespectful manner. It's borne out by the guy's "when I cook for you, babe!" That's on him, not you. Oh, and BTW, next time, say very levelly, "don't call me babe," and get up and walk away without waiting for an answer. Don't act *mad*, just act authoritative.)

But to answer your *actual question*: I don't think you need to be ultra chummy to people that you decide you don't want to be close to. You need to be *civil*, but you don't need to send inaccurate messages.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: TootsNYC on September 11, 2013, 02:07:11 PM
Oh, and some advice from the streets and subways of NYC.

Your **feeling of safety** is exactly as important as your **actual** safety.
You always have a right--in fact, I'd say a responsibility--to protect your *feeling of safety*, exactly as you have a right to protect your actual safety.

You need to be polite and in control when you do it--you apparently did.

Your "feeling of safety" is a *real* think and it affects your health, your intelligence, your abilities and skills--even if you ARE actually safe.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: Goosey on September 11, 2013, 02:19:14 PM
I do think that, sometimes, your feeling of safety can be boosted by your own actions. If the OP felt spending that time alone was the best action for her, that's fine.

Another choice is to talk to Rusty and get on firmer ground with who he was.

Calling someone "babe" out in the country is a friendly gesture of familiarity, not a come on or lewd inference. I know a lot of people object to that type of familiarity, though, so I think if someone calls you a pet name you don't like it's best to just say, "Can you not call me that?" No need for dramatics or anything further. THEN you can tell what type of person they are - if they continue to call you that, on purpose, because they know you don't like it? Jerk city.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: Magnet on September 11, 2013, 02:19:29 PM
You went on a "boy's weekend" and that's what you got.  Next time, politely decline such outings.

The line about smoking a cig in the cabin made me laugh.  Its ok to shoot up the woods but a cig is a big problem?  Wow. 
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: Hillia on September 11, 2013, 02:28:40 PM
You went on a "boy's weekend" and that's what you got.  Next time, politely decline such outings.

The line about smoking a cig in the cabin made me laugh.  Its ok to shoot up the woods but a cig is a big problem?  Wow.

It's not as though she pushed herself in.  She's received a lot of pressure from both her husband and the host to attend the weekend.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: siamesecat2965 on September 11, 2013, 02:33:51 PM
I think you were ok, and I know I would have been uncomfortable as well. As for trying to figure out who Rusty was, well, if he was drunk most of the weekend, or at least when you got there, maybe not the best time to play 20 questions and get to know you. And as I am not comfortable around people I don't well init8ially, esp spending a weekend sort of isolated with them, I would probalby have acted the same way you did.

I had something happen to me one time, which thankfully had an ok ending, but many moons ago, I had a friend who shared a house with 3 other roommates, all were female, including my friend. They all had a big Halloween party, to which I went with a couple other friends. I didn't know her roommates at all, just my friend. Anyway, at one point, my friend, another friend of ours, and host friend's cousin went to her bedroom for something. Cousin then proceeds to take out a gun, and had previously been talking about buying so many hits of LSD! I was justifyably freaked out, as I didn't know her cousin either. And it turns out she had come from work, and was trying to find a place to stash her gun for a bit during the party, whcih is why she took it out to begin with.

Who is this person, talking about buying drugs, and with a ginormous gun? Turns out, she was a cop, and looked young enough, they used her for undercover buy nad busts in the local HS. THAT is what she ws talking about. But I was
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: Magnet on September 11, 2013, 02:36:54 PM
You went on a "boy's weekend" and that's what you got.  Next time, politely decline such outings.

The line about smoking a cig in the cabin made me laugh.  Its ok to shoot up the woods but a cig is a big problem?  Wow.

It's not as though she pushed herself in.  She's received a lot of pressure from both her husband and the host to attend the weekend.

I never said she pushed herself in.  I am operating under the assumption the OP knows how to say "no thanks."
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: TootsNYC on September 11, 2013, 02:37:46 PM
. As for trying to figure out who Rusty was, well, if he was drunk most of the weekend, or at least when you got there, maybe not the best time to play 20 questions and get to know you.

Well, actually, that's a big part of who Rusty is.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: Hillia on September 11, 2013, 02:39:35 PM
You went on a "boy's weekend" and that's what you got.  Next time, politely decline such outings.

The line about smoking a cig in the cabin made me laugh.  Its ok to shoot up the woods but a cig is a big problem?  Wow.

It's not as though she pushed herself in.  She's received a lot of pressure from both her husband and the host to attend the weekend.

I never said she pushed herself in.  I am operating under the assumption the OP knows how to say "no thanks."

She's said 'no thanks' many times, to the displeasure of her DH and Rusty.  She was trying to give them the benefit of the doubt on whether or not she'd enjoy the weekend.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: lowspark on September 11, 2013, 02:42:26 PM
Boys' weekend, yeah, that's what it was. And that's why I cannot wrap my head around why DH & Tom both so strongly encouraged her to go. What were they thinking? I'd sure have a conversation with my DH if I were the OP to try to figure out what it was about that dynamic that he thought I would like. Because that's why the OP accepted the invitation in the first place.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: LeveeWoman on September 11, 2013, 02:43:33 PM
You went on a "boy's weekend" and that's what you got.  Next time, politely decline such outings.

The line about smoking a cig in the cabin made me laugh.  Its ok to shoot up the woods but a cig is a big problem?  Wow.

I don't see what the two have in common other than possible rules: If the owner of the cabin does not allow smoking inside, Rusty broke the rules; if the owner allows shooting on the property, no one broke the rules.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: EMuir on September 11, 2013, 02:45:30 PM
I think that the OP could have given Rusty more of a chance without being unsafe.  She could have asked him how he knew the others.  She could have been assertive when he did or said something she found uncomfortable. 

If Rusty was a woman, would everyone's advice change?  Sometimes I think men are unfairly feared.  Which doesn't mean you can't be careful.  Maybe carry bear spray next time (it is the woods after all).  Whatever makes you confident enough to risk getting to know the new person. 
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: Goosey on September 11, 2013, 02:50:46 PM
As for trying to figure out who Rusty was, well, if he was drunk most of the weekend, or at least when you got there, maybe not the best time to play 20 questions and get to know you.

Well, actually, that's a big part of who Rusty is.

That's quite an assumption.

Also, I don't know that someone being inebriated prevents them from talking to you, or you to them. You might even get more honest answers :P

I see a lot of people willing to villify Rusty because of the OP's discomfort with a situation she wasn't happy about in the first place. Rusty never really got a chance. The OP isn't required to GIVE him a chance, but that doesn't mean Rusty is a Bad Guy or deviant or alcoholic or anything.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: TootsNYC on September 11, 2013, 03:03:11 PM
As for trying to figure out who Rusty was, well, if he was drunk most of the weekend, or at least when you got there, maybe not the best time to play 20 questions and get to know you.

Well, actually, that's a big part of who Rusty is.

That's quite an assumption.


It's not an assumption in the least.

Randy is someone who will get really drunk really early and STAY drunk all weekend long. That tells you something about him.

Not everything, of course--it doesn't tell you whether he's a criminal, or whether he would use those guns in an irresponsible or dangerous way, or whether he's a molester or sexual harasser. It doesn't tell you whether he'd take advantage of a friend or burn the chicken. It might tell you only a little about whether you should be afraid of him.


But it tells you what role alcohol has in his interactions with people, and in his life.

And if you're someone who really doesn't like people to get THAT drunk, or isn't comfortable around people for whom getting drunk is a huge sport, then you aren't going to like Rusty.

And I'd personally be a little afraid of someone who in a new social situation (new people at the very least, even if he'd been to the cabin before) was that willing to get that plastered. Not that I'd think they'd assault me, but that I'd think they were going to create one uncomfortable situation after another.

And you don't have to like him. For any reason you choose.
You shouldn't *slander* him to others, but you can personalyl dislike him or fear him for any reason you want.

People show us who they are. Believe them.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: Goosey on September 11, 2013, 03:11:09 PM
Does it tell you something about the OP's husband since he was doing it too?

The only thing it tells you is that he lets loose some weekends. Nothing else. Any further supposition is an assumption.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: SCMagnolia on September 11, 2013, 03:12:26 PM
I, too, am still wondering why Tom and your DH thought it would be such a great idea to ask you along as the lone female on a guy's weekend in the woods.  It would have been one thing if Tom brought his wife/GF along, but it just seems very weird to me that they would press so hard for you to go along knowing you'd be the only woman there.

And then for your DH to be mad because you weren't having the time of your life?  I think he kinda earned that one.  Did he really expect you to be thrilled to be the only female around?   

At least now you know to respond to any future camping trips with a "have a great time, I'll see you when you get back."
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: TurtleDove on September 11, 2013, 03:34:33 PM
Does it tell you something about the OP's husband since he was doing it too?

The only thing it tells you is that he lets loose some weekends. Nothing else. Any further supposition is an assumption.

POD. 
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: Amara on September 11, 2013, 03:50:15 PM
One of the Ehell sayings is "Safety trumps etiquette." So to me, this is a safety matter. Given the description the OP provided I too would have felt unsafe. And it wouldn't be a big surprise, though it would be disappointing, that her (my) husband wouldn't have understood. For the most part, men don't view the world the same as women in terms of safe/unsafe situations. If you can go through life without ever worrying about being in an unsafe/rape-risk situation at some point you are probably male. So for even the best men to understand they have take on the perception of a woman in a particular situation--like this cabin trip.

Since you gave in to the pressure to go, OP, would you have considered telling your husband you were not staying but would be back to pick him up at the end of the time? That might have solved the problem (assuming it was not a long drive).

P.S. I am glad you stayed safe.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: Arila on September 11, 2013, 03:54:16 PM
I am a relatively young woman, and relatively recently married, so maybe my perspective is somewhat skewed...The scenario that I was thinking about while reading this story is that all these men seem to be unattached, and if the OP/DH are recently married, there may be a bit of naivete here that makes them want to bring her into the fold and be friends. They might be trying to be *good* friends and reaching out to OP and sharing their idea of a good time, and/or maybe also looking for how they can keep their bachelor habits in harmony with their buddy's new status. For a few years my husband and I did *ALL* socializing together. Literally the only times we were apart was during work. We are slowly (and still sometimes uncomfortably) starting to go and do things separately again, so I just sort of wonder if OP/DH haven't reached this realization yet?

Anyway, to the OP's original question, I don't think you were wrong to be a bit standoffish if you weren't comfortable, and hopefully the lesson learned is to stay home next time, or meet these guys in smaller chunks of time, and in places where you can at least sleep securely. BTW, the turn of phrase you used about a lifetime movie running in your head was a little funny. That happens to me a lot, and I used to call them "waking nightmares", but I may start using your words for the future. :D


ETA: Sorry, I just looked up the OP and saw from some old posts that she has sons who have moved out of the home, so maybe my reading was just completely skewed by my perspectives.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: Goosey on September 11, 2013, 04:04:56 PM
I was under the impression that safety trumps etiquette was for emergency immediate situations, not bad feelings. Still not saying the OP did anything wrong if she was polite, but I don't think safety trumps etiquette applies here
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: DavidH on September 11, 2013, 04:07:00 PM
If you arrive and feel unsafe since you don't know how one of the people there know the others, rather than spend the weekend uncomfortable, a much better solution is to ask how they know him.  Meeting a new group and saying how do you guys know each other isn't grilling someone, it's just a basic question that one might ask socially in many situations and never think about.  Asking is a much better solution than kind of ignoring them all weekend which is bound to make for an unpleasant time all around.   It also means that if you are still concerned after hearing the answer, then you can make an informed decision about whether to stay or go. 

I don't quite understand why your husband thought that going together to this was a good idea, but that's an entirely different issue.  If you have children who recently moved out, it could be an apparently misguided attempt to redefine your relationship as empty nesters. 

Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: Cami on September 11, 2013, 04:08:04 PM
Hmm. First off, I totally subscribe to listening to and acting on your instincts. However, I've also found that FOR ME it can take some self awareness to differentiate between instincts and deeply rooted learned fear, as well as the difference between fear and discomfort. 

Therefore, if it were me, I'd have to examine the reasons for my feelings about Rusty, as well as whether I was afraid or if I was uncomfortable. Is it because he set off my hinky meter or is it because I don't like him because I don't know him AND/or he's drunk?

If he sets off my hinky meter (especially if he's drinking with guns in plentitude around me), then I'm outta there.

If it's that I don't know him and he's drunk on a guy's weekend the point of which is to BE drunk, then my discomfort is my problem.  I'd make an effort to be cordial and friendly the way I would if he weren't drinking.  The only way to get to know someone is to, well, get to know them, which is a process.

So in conclusion, when your hinky meter is going off and you have fear, it's always better to get yourself out of a situation that scares you. If it's just discomfort, then that's my problem and I'd just deal with it.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: secretrebel on September 11, 2013, 04:20:05 PM
You tell us this story as if it is wrong to not feel safe.  This is exactly why Gavin De Becker wrote the book "The Gift of Fear."  You  know you don't feel safe.  Don't worry if you upset your host when you were surrounded by drunk guys who had access to guns. You are not required nor should you be more than cordial to guys who set of your hinkymeter.   Listen to yourself and STAY AWAY from them in the future.

I was hoping someone would mention The Gift of Fear. I think the OP did what she needed to feel safe (or less unsafe) and it's a pity her husband didn't seem to quite realise how unsafe and uncomfortable she felt. There can be a lot of social pressure not to rock the boat but in a situation like that I think the couple should have had a "diplomatic illness" and made their excuses.

Your **feeling of safety** is exactly as important as your **actual** safety.
You always have a right--in fact, I'd say a responsibility--to protect your *feeling of safety*, exactly as you have a right to protect your actual safety.

I like this comment. I personally hate *feeling scared*. I avoid walking at my own at night in certain areas of my really quite safe city because it frightens me and I hate that feeling. So I'll spend more money and take a cab or ask a friend to walk with me because I don't like to feel afraid - quite apart from any genuine risk assessment.

I also know what the OP means by making up some kind of Lifetime movie in her head and that adding to her feelings of scaredness.

I think that the OP could have given Rusty more of a chance without being unsafe.  She could have asked him how he knew the others.  She could have been assertive when he did or said something she found uncomfortable. 

If Rusty was a woman, would everyone's advice change?  Sometimes I think men are unfairly feared.  Which doesn't mean you can't be careful.  Maybe carry bear spray next time (it is the woods after all).  Whatever makes you confident enough to risk getting to know the new person.

EMuir, I'm sorry but I really disagree with your comment. It reads uncomfortably like victim blaming to me to suggest that the OP should have done X or could have done Y - and especially the part about her carrying something that amounts to a weapon to make herself feel safe. She shouldn't be placed in a position where she feels unsafe in the first place or that she needs to be more assertive to gain that feeling. It's too much like the advice given to women about not putting themselves in dangerous situations. I think responsibility should rest with the other people in the story.

Her husband should have thought more about what he was inviting her too and done more to make the event enjoyable for everyone. I've had many a fine evening of boozing after a day spent at some activity with a bunch of guy friends - but these were people I already knew. Since the husband and her friend were so keen for the OP to come they should have done more to welcome her, ensure a good mix if people, introduce them and keep a friendly flow of (drunken) conversation.

If Rusty was a woman I don't think the OP would have had quite such an unpleasant fearful experience. I'm sure the experience (of being a single woman in a bunch of boozy guys who aren't fun to be around and some of whom make questionable comments) was a large part of what made the dynamic not good - even if she wasn't in actual danger. (And we simply can't know if she was or not and what part her actions played in that.)
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: TurtleDove on September 11, 2013, 04:26:50 PM
I think I am struggling with WHY the OP felt unsafe.  What was she scared would happen?  I don't get it, and I suspect her DH didn't either or he would have been more supportive.  I am not saying the OP was wrong to feel unsafe, but I think articulating to herself and then to her DH might be helpful to explain why she will decline future invitations.

I think some of the comments are making me uncomfortable because they are essentially saying that we should judge people before we know them based on our own internal assumptions.  I think we all do this to some extent, but I don't think it is necessarily helpful, especially among friends. 
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: EllenS on September 11, 2013, 04:47:35 PM
TD, if OP can articulate her feelings, I'd be interested to hear them too, but I also believe that there are degrees of "hink" and sometimes they are not obvious.  Being able to put your finger on just one or two specific details does not make it more or less valid.  I don't think that "immediate fear of rape or death" is the only valid reason for feeling unsafe with someone. Not wanting to be alone with someone could be the feeling, "this guy is likely to make a pass at me behind my husband's back, and I really really don't want to deal with that."  or "this guy is likely to say something so obnoxious that I will flip my lid and spoil DH's weekend, and I really don't want to deal with that."  or "this guy doesn't follow the rules about smoking, he might not follow the rules about gun safety, either." She didn't say anything rude to Rusty or accuse him of anything, she just didn't want to hang out and talk to him.

I have been in plenty of situations where I just got an "off" vibe from someone, not based on any specific feature of gender, race, lifestyle, clothing, etc - just something from THEM.  I wasn't in mortal, physical fear of being attacked or raped, but I also had a deep gut feeling that this was not a person I wanted to spend any more time around than absolutely necessary, get to know better, or (in some cases) be alone with. 

In every instance where I got more info later, my gut was right.  One turned out to be wanted in several states for kiting checks and non-rape sexual assault.  Others -of both genders- just turned out to be extremely obnoxious and boundary-challenged in a variety of icky but not life-threatening ways.  Sometimes I found out that my gut was right the hard way, by ignoring my gut, giving the person the "benefit of the doubt" and allowing the acquaintance to progress beyond cordial to friendly.  It never turned out well.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: Eeep! on September 11, 2013, 04:49:51 PM
I think I am struggling with WHY the OP felt unsafe.  What was she scared would happen?  I don't get it, and I suspect her DH didn't either or he would have been more supportive.  I am not saying the OP was wrong to feel unsafe, but I think articulating to herself and then to her DH might be helpful to explain why she will decline future invitations.

I think some of the comments are making me uncomfortable because they are essentially saying that we should judge people before we know them based on our own internal assumptions.  I think we all do this to some extent, but I don't think it is necessarily helpful, especially among friends.

I have to say I kind of agree with this.  Maybe I'm not picturing the situation correctly, but it sounds like once the OP let her DH know that she was uncomfortable he made sure she wasn't around Rusty by herself.  Did I misunderstand that?  So it seems like her DH took care of that particular safety concern.  Was she concerned about the drinking around weapons? (Which I think would concern me, but then I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have enjoyed the whole weekend, regardless of who was there.) If so, then perhaps she could have expressed that concern to her DH so that he could be aware of that situation and monitor it. 

I'm also confused as to why no one just asked how Rusty knew anyone.  If he was too plastered, couldn't they have asked Tom? Or the other person? It doesn't seem like a strange question to me at all.  It seems like the "not knowing who he was" bit really played into the OP's fear and - as someone else mentioned - finding out that answer would have likely gone a long way towards either putting the OP more at ease or giving her a better handle on her discomfort.

Now, all that said, I have had a few instances where I HAD to get out of somewhere. Personally, I think it's because I am sensitive to spirits/energy/that sort of thing.  So if I had that reaction, I would have to leave.   

To the question about rudeness, I think that as long as the OP was cordial she was probably not technically rude. Just maybe not the best companion for that sort of weekend.  (Which hopefull, OP this will get you off the hook for any future invites.  As I mentioned - that sort of weekend just doesn't sound fun to me at all!)
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: Goosey on September 11, 2013, 05:02:00 PM
Secret rebel - what is the OP a victim of? It's not victim blaming to say there was more the OP could have done to make herself more comfortable.

Poor Rusty was enjoying the weekend exactly how his host intended - and how previous weekends were played out. Drinking, guns and really casual hanging out. Nothing else happened. Rusty wasn't a rapist or sex pervert. He didn't come on to the OP inappropriately. He didn't make any act against her. He just didn't jive with her. The whole weekend didn't jive with her - but that was a lot to do with the culture of the event - which doesn't change because of the OP. She was invited to a particular event. It doesn't make anyone wrong, but to jump to the idea that Rusty must be a bad person is unreasonable, even by deBecker's standards.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: TootsNYC on September 11, 2013, 05:12:02 PM
Does it tell you something about the OP's husband since he was doing it too?

The only thing it tells you is that he lets loose some weekends. Nothing else. Any further supposition is an assumption.

Yes, in fact, I think it does tell me something about the OP's husband. (In fact, I didn't get the impression that the OP's husband was nearly as drunk, bcs the OP seemed to be a bit taken aback by the level of drunkenness.)

And it would tell me enough about both of them that I personally would never plan to go anywhere with them, because I wouldn't enjoy it. I also probably wouldn't trust their judgment much. *You* are perfectly free to trust their judgment; but *I* don't trust the judgment of grownups who get drunk enough to be labeled "three sheets to the wind" (which would rule Tom out too, I guess).


I still say, there were very likely other signals that fed into the OP's reaction. Not necessarily signals that these two other guys, esp. Rusty, were so dangerous that they need to be locked up, but enough that she was entitled to her "not safe" feeling.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: Goosey on September 11, 2013, 05:20:39 PM
Never trust me, then, Toots. I likely have poor judgement if that is your standard. You are forewarned!
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: Cat-Fu on September 11, 2013, 05:28:06 PM
TBH, OP, I think you were kinda rude to go to a social weekend and put off a "don't bother me" vibe to half the people there. What's the point in going, then? Not asking this snarkily—do you think you were just resentful of being pestered to go and it expressed itself this way?

I am the first to say that you should blow off a guy if he's being a creep, but I am really not seeing any creep behavior. It's definitely legit to make sure you aren't alone with someone who gives you the heebies, but it sounds like you had a narrative going on in your head that did not match the reality.

Signed, a capable and trustworthy adult who sometimes drinks until she's three sheets to the wind. :P

Never trust me, then, Toots. I likely have poor judgement if that is your standard. You are forewarned!

LOL!
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: TootsNYC on September 11, 2013, 05:32:58 PM

Signed, a capable and trustworthy adult who sometimes drinks until she's three sheets to the wind. :P

Never trust me, then, Toots. I likely have poor judgement if that is your standard. You are forewarned!

LOL!

And you'd probably both think I'm too uptight for you. And to be honest, I probably am.  ;)   Two-and-a-half sheets to the wind, I'd probably be more comfortable with, and of course if I know someone before I see them tremendously drunk, I'd factor in all the info I know about them (much as the OP did with Tom).
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: Goosey on September 11, 2013, 05:42:16 PM
Well, you do think that my every decision and my very character should be called into question because I occasionally get drunk with friends or even my husband in a safe, adult location. Nevermind my successful career, home ownership, healthy marriage, good friends and financially stability - nobody's safe with me!
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: WillyNilly on September 11, 2013, 05:46:42 PM
Secret rebel - what is the OP a victim of? It's not victim blaming to say there was more the OP could have done to make herself more comfortable.

Poor Rusty was enjoying the weekend exactly how his host intended - and how previous weekends were played out. Drinking, guns and really casual hanging out. Nothing else happened. Rusty wasn't a rapist or sex pervert. He didn't come on to the OP inappropriately. He didn't make any act against her. He just didn't jive with her. The whole weekend didn't jive with her - but that was a lot to do with the culture of the event - which doesn't change because of the OP. She was invited to a particular event. It doesn't make anyone wrong, but to jump to the idea that Rusty must be a bad person is unreasonable, even by deBecker's standards.

Tom, the host might have had the weekend he intended to host, as might have Rusty and maybe even Jon. But OP and her husband did not - they were told it would be a weekend of 3 good friends and the wife of one. what it actually was, was 4 guys, two of whom had never even met one another (OP's DH and Rusty) and the wife who had never met two of the guys, one of whom her husband had never met either.

It might not have been Rusty's fault, but him being there absolutely changed the nature of the event which she had only been pushed into attending. It was in essence a bait-n-switch weekend for our OP, who was expecting a specific and known guest list and ended up with a modified version that included unknowns.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: Goosey on September 11, 2013, 05:53:08 PM
Actually, the OP said the weekend attendees often vary - I doubt Tom clears the attendees with everyone as a normal habit. The OP and her husband werent invited to go a weekend with Tom - the OP was invited to go along to a well-established, alcohol fueled, gun toting weekend. And it doesn't sound like it changed the event at all for most attendees - it was carried out by hubby, Tom and Rusty. The OP was the odd man out.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: SlitherHiss on September 11, 2013, 05:58:22 PM
TBH, OP, I think you were kinda rude to go to a social weekend and put off a "don't bother me" vibe to half the people there. What's the point in going, then? Not asking this snarkily—do you think you were just resentful of being pestered to go and it expressed itself this way?

I am the first to say that you should blow off a guy if he's being a creep, but I am really not seeing any creep behavior. It's definitely legit to make sure you aren't alone with someone who gives you the heebies, but it sounds like you had a narrative going on in your head that did not match the reality.

Signed, a capable and trustworthy adult who sometimes drinks until she's three sheets to the wind. :P

Never trust me, then, Toots. I likely have poor judgement if that is your standard. You are forewarned!

LOL!

This. I'm sorry the weekend was such a bust for you OP, but I do think you need to own that it was exactly as described...drunken frivolity. That you belatedly realized you weren't up for it is okay, but that doesn't make anyone else out of line and being that chilly towards everyone was probably not very polite.

Still, it's over and done with. Now you know this isn't the type of event you want to participate in and you don't have to go again.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: WillyNilly on September 11, 2013, 06:09:50 PM
Actually, the OP said the weekend attendees often vary - I doubt Tom clears the attendees with everyone as a normal habit. The OP and her husband werent invited to go a weekend with Tom - the OP was invited to go along to a well-established, alcohol fueled, gun toting weekend. And it doesn't sound like it changed the event at all for most attendees - it was carried out by hubby, Tom and Rusty. The OP was the odd man out.

Yes the attendees vary from weekend to weekend, but the OP seems pretty clear that she was told specifically it was going to be Tom and his friend Jon, whom OP's husband had met previously. She was not warned the guest list might expand or change.

She was told one thing and was presented with a different thing.

...The people who go up there for these weekends changes.  This weekend I was told that it was going to be Tom and a friend of his Jon...
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: Goosey on September 11, 2013, 06:13:33 PM
Right but her expectations were completely out of line from what the reality of the weekend tradition was. Just because she expected one thing doesn't mean that the people who followed what the reality was we're in the wrong. The OP's expectations were unrealistic given the nature of the weekend. 

An extremely casual weekend doesn't have a set guest list and the host doesn't need the guest's approval to expand it.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: cass2591 on September 11, 2013, 06:48:49 PM


My discomfort over the weapons is not that they are weapons but that I know they are worth a great deal of money and not really trusting at least one of the guys who was there, my mind was spinning a Lifetime movie in my brain, if you understand what I mean.


So, I guess the question is, under these rather bizarre circumstances, was I required to do more than be cordial to a man who made me very uncomfortable, even if he might not have really posed a threat to me.


I don't understand your reason for your discomfort about the guns. Were you uncomfortable that Rusty would steal them or shoot you? I don't know beans from guns so perhaps I'm missing something.

To answer your question, as long as you were cordial, etc, you were fine. Did you not know about the drinking, and if so, why did you go?
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: blarg314 on September 11, 2013, 08:21:22 PM

I can see why you felt uncomfortable and unsafe.

You weren't keen on this sort of weekend anyways, but you went for your DH's sake. You know your DH and you know John, and how the two of them react to alcohol, so if it were just the two of them you probably wouldn't be having a great time, but wouldn't feel unsafe either.

But there was a third person in the mix, Rusty. Who you didn't know, and who was giving off creepy vibes. Combine that with a weekend out in the sticks with no cellphone transmission, *and* tons of drinking, *and* lots of loaded firearms *and* no easy way to leave and that pushed you from not having much fun to scared. In large part because you didn't know Rusty well enough to know if you could trust him when he was really drunk and you had no escape.  I would be scared in that situation too.

And the guys might not get this because they aren't in the habit of constantly evaluating their personal safety in the presence of drunk people, which is something women generally have to do, particularly when around drunk strangers without an easy avenue of escape.

Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: Mikayla on September 11, 2013, 08:41:38 PM
Actually, the OP said the weekend attendees often vary - I doubt Tom clears the attendees with everyone as a normal habit. The OP and her husband werent invited to go a weekend with Tom - the OP was invited to go along to a well-established, alcohol fueled, gun toting weekend. And it doesn't sound like it changed the event at all for most attendees - it was carried out by hubby, Tom and Rusty. The OP was the odd man out.

Yes the attendees vary from weekend to weekend, but the OP seems pretty clear that she was told specifically it was going to be Tom and his friend Jon, whom OP's husband had met previously. She was not warned the guest list might expand or change.

She was told one thing and was presented with a different thing.


Word. 

I agree with people wondering why OP agreed to go.  If an event has the words drinking and guns in the same sentence, I'm out...full stop. 

But what matters here is OP was pressured and gave in, based on a clear understanding of who would be with her as she spent the evening in an isolated place with several men.  Regardless of how this communication fail occurred, she came to a different event than she anticipated. 

If this sets her hinky meter off, I don't think that should be questioned, especially by her DH, who should not have been annoyed she wasn't having a good time. 
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: JoieGirl7 on September 11, 2013, 09:14:08 PM


My discomfort over the weapons is not that they are weapons but that I know they are worth a great deal of money and not really trusting at least one of the guys who was there, my mind was spinning a Lifetime movie in my brain, if you understand what I mean.


So, I guess the question is, under these rather bizarre circumstances, was I required to do more than be cordial to a man who made me very uncomfortable, even if he might not have really posed a threat to me.


I don't understand your reason for your discomfort about the guns. Were you uncomfortable that Rusty would steal them or shoot you? I don't know beans from guns so perhaps I'm missing something.

To answer your question, as long as you were cordial, etc, you were fine. Did you not know about the drinking, and if so, why did you go?

The guns made me nervous once I thought about them in terms of their value.  We probably had over ten grand of firearms and ammunition.  I hadn't thought about it before and it added to my anxiety.

Why?  Because its a motive for stealing.  People ask, well, why would I think this guy would do that.  I don't know if he would or if he wouldn't.  He made me uncomfortable with his comments about making me a better meal than my host--it felt a bit like a come on, like he was going to impress me.  He didn't say this to DH or to Jon.

I knew about the drinking, the guns.  I did not know about the extra person.  I was prepared for our friend Tom, who I have known for a few years now and know a bunch of other people who know him.  I have socialized with him many times including hosting him in my home where he was generally an intense clod.  So, I knew what to expect from him in that regard.

I knew about Jon whom my husband had gotten to know on his many trips to this place over the last 2-3 years.

But, neither my husband nor I knew Rusty.  Rusty made me uncomfortable.    And I couldn't bring it up with my host because he was too drunk.  There was no one to say with a clear head, that he was a garden variety drunk guy.

Had I met Rusty in a mixed group at a bar, I would have had no problem being more open socially.  But, he made me feel a bit like prey and in those circumstances I needed to not let him get any traction at all on it.

He wasn't trying to make polite conversation about how was our drive up, or what do I do for a living or any of a number of things that people make small talk about.  He was dissing the host's dinner and doing a oneupmanship thing promising that he would cook me a better meal.

I know it kind of sounds ridiculous, but it was very uncomfortable. I felt that I couldn't let my guard down and I counted the hours until we left.  It wasn't that horrible.  It's just that found myself later feeling bad for freezing him out.  I didn't completely ignore him like he wasn't there.  I just chose not to initiate any interaction and bean dip or defer to DH any interaction in my direction.  It is not how I usually treat people that I meet, even strangers, under more controlled situations.

I can see that it may have been an opportunity to get to know someone new.  But, his behavior coupled with the circumstances made me feel that that would be an irresponsible choice.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: JoieGirl7 on September 11, 2013, 09:23:38 PM
TBH, OP, I think you were kinda rude to go to a social weekend and put off a "don't bother me" vibe to half the people there. What's the point in going, then? Not asking this snarkily—do you think you were just resentful of being pestered to go and it expressed itself this way?

I am the first to say that you should blow off a guy if he's being a creep, but I am really not seeing any creep behavior. It's definitely legit to make sure you aren't alone with someone who gives you the heebies, but it sounds like you had a narrative going on in your head that did not match the reality.

Signed, a capable and trustworthy adult who sometimes drinks until she's three sheets to the wind. :P

Never trust me, then, Toots. I likely have poor judgement if that is your standard. You are forewarned!

LOL!

This. I'm sorry the weekend was such a bust for you OP, but I do think you need to own that it was exactly as described...drunken frivolity. That you belatedly realized you weren't up for it is okay, but that doesn't make anyone else out of line and being that chilly towards everyone was probably not very polite.

Still, it's over and done with. Now you know this isn't the type of event you want to participate in and you don't have to go again.

It's not the drunken frivolity that I had a problem with.  I would have had something to drink too if I hadn't felt like I needed to stay sober for my own safety.

It's the extra dude that tipped the balance.  Had I known that another man that neither DH nor I had met would be there in addition to Tom and Jon, I would not have gone.  Not at all.

I was on the fence about going and DH and Tom knew this.  Having Jon there was pushing it in terms of my comfort level.

On other occasions, Tom's wife has been there.  There have been times where they were trying to get me to go because she was only going to come if I did because she didn't want to be the only woman there with a bunch of guys.

I feel it would have been a nice relaxing weekend with Rusty there.  i still may not have gone shooting, but I wouldn't have felt threatened.

Jon is also kind of a non-threatening looking person.  He is shorter and lighter than I am and I couldn't probably take him on physically if he tried anything.  Rusty was much bigger than me and younger.  It was just a very bad social mix.

And honestly, I think that I should have been taken into consideration given how hard they have pushed me to go.  If it's that important for them for me to go, then don't ruining it by changing up the mix at the last second.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: Psychopoesie on September 11, 2013, 09:43:27 PM
I agree with other posters - OP was not rude to be merely cordial.

I'm not hearing anything particularly offensive about Rusty's behaviour from the update - annoying perhaps. Maybe he thought he was being hilariously witty - something that is unfortunately much harder to gauge once you're drunk. Considering how drunk he was, i wouldn't expect a come on to be quite that subtle. However, i wasn't there and can't fault OP for listening to her instincts. & there's no rule to say you have to become instant friends. Maybe, as OP said it was just a bad social mix.

I don't understand being scared the guns would be stolen. Sure they sound valuable. So are stereos, cars, and other potentially stealable (is that even a word?) objects you'd expect to find in someone's home. Even 'inexpensive' guns would be desirable objects in terms of being stolen. Yet OP wasn't scared about their presence until she found out they were valuable. Having a hard time wrapping my head round that one.

Being sober while everyone else is drinking it up would not be much fun. Being the only woman at what seems to be a guys' weekend also doesn't sound great. Add both together & it's the weekend from hell. Don't understand why OP's husband thought this would be a great time for her. Obviously there was stuff he enjoyed doing but were there other fun activities at the weekend, OP?
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: Joeschmo on September 11, 2013, 09:52:02 PM
TBH, OP, I think you were kinda rude to go to a social weekend and put off a "don't bother me" vibe to half the people there. What's the point in going, then? Not asking this snarkily—do you think you were just resentful of being pestered to go and it expressed itself this way?

I am the first to say that you should blow off a guy if he's being a creep, but I am really not seeing any creep behavior. It's definitely legit to make sure you aren't alone with someone who gives you the heebies, but it sounds like you had a narrative going on in your head that did not match the reality.

Signed, a capable and trustworthy adult who sometimes drinks until she's three sheets to the wind. :P

Never trust me, then, Toots. I likely have poor judgement if that is your standard. You are forewarned!

LOL!

This. I'm sorry the weekend was such a bust for you OP, but I do think you need to own that it was exactly as described...drunken frivolity. That you belatedly realized you weren't up for it is okay, but that doesn't make anyone else out of line and being that chilly towards everyone was probably not very polite.

Still, it's over and done with. Now you know this isn't the type of event you want to participate in and you don't have to go again.

It's not the drunken frivolity that I had a problem with.  I would have had something to drink too if I hadn't felt like I needed to stay sober for my own safety.

It's the extra dude that tipped the balance.  Had I known that another man that neither DH nor I had met would be there in addition to Tom and Jon, I would not have gone.  Not at all.

I was on the fence about going and DH and Tom knew this.  Having Jon there was pushing it in terms of my comfort level.

On other occasions, Tom's wife has been there.  There have been times where they were trying to get me to go because she was only going to come if I did because she didn't want to be the only woman there with a bunch of guys.

I feel it would have been a nice relaxing weekend with Rusty there.  i still may not have gone shooting, but I wouldn't have felt threatened.

Jon is also kind of a non-threatening looking person.  He is shorter and lighter than I am and I couldn't probably take him on physically if he tried anything.  Rusty was much bigger than me and younger.  It was just a very bad social mix.

And honestly, I think that I should have been taken into consideration given how hard they have pushed me to go.  If it's that important for them for me to go, then don't ruining it by changing up the mix at the last second.

I think even if you weren't friendly as long as you were polite you were fine in the situation as described.

I was curious about the bolded though.  Do you try to set up your social situations with only small men you could take if they tried to assault you?  If thats the case I hope you look into ways to feel more assertive and safe in the world.  Being scared sucks and I wouldn't wish that on anyone.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: Allyson on September 11, 2013, 09:59:09 PM
In answer to the OP...I'm not really sure. I am not totally on board with the idea that sometimes crops up here that seems like "if you get a bad feeling, trust it and do anything you can to get out of it, safety trumps etiquette always even if the unsafe is only based on a feeling" because..well, that could just about always be used for an excuse.

That said, I don't think your *actions* were really far out of line. You didn't lose your mind at Rusty or call him a thief or anything like that, you were distant and cool but that's not a terrible thing, some people are just like that.

I think giving all the excessive background wasn't really necessary considering that nobody really did anything wrong, and you yourself said you weren't interested in whether or not they had been rude. So adding all that background is going to get posters talking about those specifics rather than the essential--you felt uncomfortable around people you didn't know, and kept to yourself.  I think it doesn't really matter *why* you felt uncomfortable here.

I don't see your husband getting mad you didn't enjoy yourself as being helpful--you can't exactly help that. And I get why you went--you wanted to give it a try and see what they were going on about. And hey, next time you know for a fact it's not your thing. Which is fine, it would definitely not be my thing either!
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: Cami on September 11, 2013, 10:01:55 PM
TBH, OP, I think you were kinda rude to go to a social weekend and put off a "don't bother me" vibe to half the people there. What's the point in going, then? Not asking this snarkily—do you think you were just resentful of being pestered to go and it expressed itself this way?

I am the first to say that you should blow off a guy if he's being a creep, but I am really not seeing any creep behavior. It's definitely legit to make sure you aren't alone with someone who gives you the heebies, but it sounds like you had a narrative going on in your head that did not match the reality.

Signed, a capable and trustworthy adult who sometimes drinks until she's three sheets to the wind. :P

Never trust me, then, Toots. I likely have poor judgement if that is your standard. You are forewarned!

LOL!

This. I'm sorry the weekend was such a bust for you OP, but I do think you need to own that it was exactly as described...drunken frivolity. That you belatedly realized you weren't up for it is okay, but that doesn't make anyone else out of line and being that chilly towards everyone was probably not very polite.

Still, it's over and done with. Now you know this isn't the type of event you want to participate in and you don't have to go again.

It's not the drunken frivolity that I had a problem with.  I would have had something to drink too if I hadn't felt like I needed to stay sober for my own safety.

It's the extra dude that tipped the balance.  Had I known that another man that neither DH nor I had met would be there in addition to Tom and Jon, I would not have gone.  Not at all.

I was on the fence about going and DH and Tom knew this.  Having Jon there was pushing it in terms of my comfort level.

On other occasions, Tom's wife has been there.  There have been times where they were trying to get me to go because she was only going to come if I did because she didn't want to be the only woman there with a bunch of guys.

I feel it would have been a nice relaxing weekend with Rusty there.  i still may not have gone shooting, but I wouldn't have felt threatened.

Jon is also kind of a non-threatening looking person.  He is shorter and lighter than I am and I couldn't probably take him on physically if he tried anything.  Rusty was much bigger than me and younger.  It was just a very bad social mix.

And honestly, I think that I should have been taken into consideration given how hard they have pushed me to go.  If it's that important for them for me to go, then don't ruining it by changing up the mix at the last second.

I have to say that I don't really understand your concern for the guns being stolen and feel like it's sort of a red herring. If I invited guests to my home and the wife of Guest A was worrying about Guest B stealing from me/us without any reason to do so other than the fact that she didn't know him, I'd find it somewhat insulting to me and my other guest. 

It's also a HUGE and frankly, dangerous assumption to think you could "take" someone based upon their apparent physical attributes. Ask the big guy who came up and started a fight with my uncle, who was much smaller than him -- but has black belts at high levels in several martial arts -- about the dangers of assumption. 

That said and I hesitate to generalize, but in my experience, men generally aren't going to be concerned about the social niceties or social/emotional implications of changing the guest list at the last second. The famous, stereotypical image of the guy calling his wife to say he's added another guest to the dinner party at the last minute or inviting a stranger to the wife to join them when they are having a dinner date exists for a reason -- there is truth in it.

It's also a truth that men operate from a position of privilege when it comes to personal safety. They simply don't have to think about personal safety for themselves, so they don't. Because they haven't experienced fear, they don't expect others to have fear.

Example: When I was in college, our psych prof had us answer a survey about personal safety, asking questions like, "Do you walk alone at night?" and "Do you always keep your doors locked?" and "Do you ever leave your window open when you go out or at night?" and "Would you let a strange man in the house that you did not know?" Etc. She then compiled the answers, divided by gender. The men in the class were shocked that over 90% of all the women in the class would not do any of those things. Totally shocked. One guy exclaimed, "But living like that limits your life so much!" EXACTLY. Bingo. That was the point the prof was trying to make. To get one part of the class to open their eyes to a reality the other half lives. To which they had been totally blind. One by one, guys would comment about how they'd known a girl or two who wouldn't walk home alone, etc, but they'd assumed those personal safety precautions were unique to that girl and were not the norm. They were, as the prof said, operating from a position of privilege that they assumed extended to everyone.

Which is a long way of saying that you cannot expect your husband (or his friends) to understand your personal safety concerns and that long term, you need to educate your husband about the realities you face that differ intrinsically from his reality.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: JoieGirl7 on September 11, 2013, 10:10:19 PM
I agree with other posters - OP was not rude to be merely cordial.

I'm not hearing anything particularly offensive about Rusty's behaviour from the update - annoying perhaps. Maybe he thought he was being hilariously witty - something that is unfortunately much harder to gauge once you're drunk. Considering how drunk he was, i wouldn't expect a come on to be quite that subtle. However, i wasn't there and can't fault OP for listening to her instincts. & there's no rule to say you have to become instant friends. Maybe, as OP said it was just a bad social mix.

I don't understand being scared the guns would be stolen. Sure they sound valuable. So are stereos, cars, and other potentially stealable (is that even a word?) objects you'd expect to find in someone's home. Even 'inexpensive' guns would be desirable objects in terms of being stolen. Yet OP wasn't scared about their presence until she found out they were valuable. Having a hard time wrapping my head round that one.

Being sober while everyone else is drinking it up would not be much fun. Being the only woman at what seems to be a guys' weekend also doesn't sound great. Add both together & it's the weekend from hell. Don't understand why OP's husband thought this would be a great time for her. Obviously there was stuff he enjoyed doing but were there other fun activities at the weekend, OP?

I wasnt scared that the guns would be stolen.  I was afraid of it motivating someone to do somethng they would not otherwise do for a television set.

Not only were the guns valuable but they aren't exactly easy to get.    I didnt want to be collatoral damage if Rusty happened to be the kind of person who would do something like that. 

It was just one more part of the equation.  One more thing that made me concerned about the situation I had gotten into.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: baglady on September 11, 2013, 11:01:58 PM
Quote
And honestly, I think that I should have been taken into consideration given how hard they have pushed me to go.  If it's that important for them for me to go, then don't ruining it by changing up the mix at the last second.

Honestly, I don't believe your average person (male or female, drinker or teetotaler) thinks in terms of a change to the guest list "ruining" an event for anyone. Additional Guest is someone they like, so they assume everyone else will, too ... . Most hosts (me included) have a "more the merrier" mentality about last-minute changes to the guest list.

I'm not saying you were wrong to feel uncomfortable around Rusty -- feelings are feelings. But I do think it's unrealistic to expect a host to refrain from last-minute guest list additions unless s/he has reason to know there'll be a problem (e.g., Rusty is your ex-boyfriend, or Rusty never goes anywhere without his dogs, and you're violently allergic). If it even entered Tom's brain that Rusty might be "inappropriate" with you, he probably dismissed it because your DH would be there.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: Raintree on September 12, 2013, 12:29:20 AM
Example: When I was in college, our psych prof had us answer a survey about personal safety, asking questions like, "Do you walk alone at night?" and "Do you always keep your doors locked?" and "Do you ever leave your window open when you go out or at night?" and "Would you let a strange man in the house that you did not know?" Etc. She then compiled the answers, divided by gender. The men in the class were shocked that over 90% of all the women in the class would not do any of those things. Totally shocked. One guy exclaimed, "But living like that limits your life so much!" EXACTLY. Bingo. That was the point the prof was trying to make. To get one part of the class to open their eyes to a reality the other half lives. To which they had been totally blind. One by one, guys would comment about how they'd known a girl or two who wouldn't walk home alone, etc, but they'd assumed those personal safety precautions were unique to that girl and were not the norm. They were, as the prof said, operating from a position of privilege that they assumed extended to everyone.

When I was in college, a group of us friends (guys and girls) were sitting around talking during a break, and we (the females) started sharing stories of creepy behaviour we've experienced from men. The topic just came up naturally in the conversation, and every woman had a story of a man exposing himself, or scary anonymous phone calls, or being stalked or harrassed in some way. The guys in the group were just flabbergasted. They didn't really think this stuff really happened all that often, and it surprised them that just about every one of their female friends/classmates had a story like this to tell.

Anyway, back to the OP. I think if Rusty gave her the creeps for some reason, that is something she should listen to, although none of us can say for certain whether she had good "reason" as we weren't there. I don't think Tom was necessarily rude for adding an extra guest. And, it doesn't sound like my idea of a good time either, hanging out with a bunch of guys I barely know, getting hammered and knowing there are guns in the house. I might feel differently if I knew and liked at least two or three of them really well.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: JoieGirl7 on September 12, 2013, 12:32:59 AM
Quote
And honestly, I think that I should have been taken into consideration given how hard they have pushed me to go.  If it's that important for them for me to go, then don't ruining it by changing up the mix at the last second.

Honestly, I don't believe your average person (male or female, drinker or teetotaler) thinks in terms of a change to the guest list "ruining" an event for anyone. Additional Guest is someone they like, so they assume everyone else will, too ... . Most hosts (me included) have a "more the merrier" mentality about last-minute changes to the guest list.

I'm not saying you were wrong to feel uncomfortable around Rusty -- feelings are feelings. But I do think it's unrealistic to expect a host to refrain from last-minute guest list additions unless s/he has reason to know there'll be a problem (e.g., Rusty is your ex-boyfriend, or Rusty never goes anywhere without his dogs, and you're violently allergic). If it even entered Tom's brain that Rusty might be "inappropriate" with you, he probably dismissed it because your DH would be there.

This wasnt a party twenty minutes from my house.  It was a two night stay three hours from my home and his own wife will not accompany him when there are too many male buddies tagging along.

There have been times when his wife didnt go because I didnt go.  They even tried to use that to pressure me into going. "But Gail will only go if you go because all the guys are coming along this time."

So, straighht up comfort wise Tom knew that it wasnt just "my" thing.  And he knew that I was reticent to go and that was one of the reasons.

I have three women friends who went up there but they each had their SO's with them and there was some balance to the mix.

So, I see what you are saying, but from my vantage point, I had every reason to expect that there would not be more men coming along.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: Pen^2 on September 12, 2013, 12:35:10 AM
I don't think the OP was rude in being merely cordial. You can't expect people to enjoy things that they simply don't enjoy--that's ridiculous and impossible. You can only expect people to be polite, which she was. Being chatty and outgoing isn't the minimum standard for politeness. And some people are more introverted than others, so I don't feel that the OP wanting to spend a lot of time alone in her room reading was exactly rude. My ideal holiday would involve me spending a lot of time doing just that, yet still being polite and cordial to my host and the other guests when we interacted during meal times and the like.

Unless the OP actually went and said to the people there, "I'm being quieter than usual because you are all making me uncomfortable," she wasn't rude. Her behaviour was still well within the realms of politeness.

As for feeling unsafe... Sometimes you really, deeply do feel unsafe. It's a natural feeling which therefore should not be apologised for. I don't think you should use it as an excuse to get out of things, especially if you feel inclined to do so frequently. But if maybe once a year or less your gut just clenches, you are unable to relax, and are skirting the edges of fight-or-flight, then for whatever reason, you feel unsafe. You don't have to justify that. It's like feeling hungry: it just happens. It shouldn't be ignored: be polite, but remove yourself from the situation, and hope that it was just a false alarm.

Cami is 100% bang on. I still remember explaining it to my husband. As a female, I can't walk around confidently in most places like you can. I need to be more aware of my surroundings. If it's nighttime and I'm outside, I can't afford to not be on edge. You can wander around thinking about anything, but if I do that, I put myself at risk. This is blended into all sorts of things I do without even being conscious of it: I'll select which shoes to wear when going out based on if I'm going to be returning alone and therefore will have to wear something I can run in if I have to. I won't wear something without pockets at nighttime so I can have my phone on me instead of in a bag which can be grabbed or dropped. And there are even studies that show that, when getting dressed, the vast majority of women put on their underwear first, whereas men might put on their undershirt or something before underwear, because deep down a part of women's minds feels ever so slightly unsafe and uncomfortable when exposed. I could go on but the point is, this isn't atypical. This is normal. It is hard to see or notice this when you've never had your psyche shaped by it growing up and when it isn't a part of the actions in your daily life. My husband understands this in theory in the same way a colourblind person can understand theoretically a great deal about colour. Unless you've experienced it, some things can not quite be 100% comprehended. 99%, maybe.

So you know what? You do not ever have to apologise for feeling unsafe. Actually, you should never apologise for feeling anything--you can't help feelings, only your actions. The OP's actions were still polite, so she was fine. But my advice is always, if you truly feel unsafe deep down in your gut, then be polite but remove yourself from the situation. I give myself ten free passes for this in life--kind of an arbitrary number which would be more or less depending on your lifestyle and where you live, but ten felt right for me. I've used it twice. Once I didn't and it turned out I definitely should have. After that, I understand too well that it's better to regret politely leaving a function early than having your worst fear come to life.

The OP was pressured to go, which wasn't a great decision on her part. But making one bad decision does not by default mean you have to bear it out. It is still perfectly fine to politely leave something early, as I would have. The argument, "You made a bad decision in going, so then you had to stay because it was your fault you were there," doesn't hold water. It's a false dichotomy.

The OP's DH might have come from a place of not understanding, but even so, it's a bit silly to be angry at someone for not enjoying themselves, since you don't have total control over that, anyway. I would hope that a healthy relationship with anyone involves being able to say to them, "I'm feeling very uneasy here--not for any particular reason, but I just feel really uncomfortable. It is very important to me that I leave. I'm sorry this doesn't seem logical, and I'm happy to discuss it fully later, but right now I really need to leave." The other person might be confused or not understand, but if you mean anything to them, then they'll respect that.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: TurtleDove on September 12, 2013, 02:56:23 AM
I'm still not understanding the "fear" of Rusty. So the OP thought he would steal his host's guns and sexually assault her? Based on what? I guess based on everything we know I think the OP made some horrible assumptions about the host and about Rusty and especially because her DH dismissed her concerns I think she was out of line. But going forward, just don't go next time.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: Raintree on September 12, 2013, 03:07:21 AM
I'm still not understanding the "fear" of Rusty. So the OP thought he would steal his host's guns and sexually assault her? Based on what? I guess based on everything we know I think the OP made some horrible assumptions about the host and about Rusty and especially because her DH dismissed her concerns I think she was out of line. But going forward, just don't go next time.

I'm not understanding it either based on what she's written, but I wasn't there, and I know that in reality, sometimes people just give off a creepy vibe. But in general I'd probably be OK with staying at a weekend place among friends and having an unknown male there, as long as I knew the host and also had my partner there. The guns, I'd want to know the owner of said guns was a stickler for responsible storage and that they were properly secured/locked away, especially since there were a bunch of guys there drinking copious quantities of alcohol.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: MariaE on September 12, 2013, 03:10:35 AM
Cami is 100% bang on. I still remember explaining it to my husband. As a female, I can't walk around confidently in most places like you can. I need to be more aware of my surroundings. If it's nighttime and I'm outside, I can't afford to not be on edge. You can wander around thinking about anything, but if I do that, I put myself at risk. This is blended into all sorts of things I do without even being conscious of it: I'll select which shoes to wear when going out based on if I'm going to be returning alone and therefore will have to wear something I can run in if I have to. I won't wear something without pockets at nighttime so I can have my phone on me instead of in a bag which can be grabbed or dropped.

I wonder if this is cultural? Because I can honestly say that none of this ever crosses my mind. Sure, there may be areas around where I'm on edge, but in general, just walking around outside at nighttime? No.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: Pen^2 on September 12, 2013, 03:24:46 AM
Cami is 100% bang on. I still remember explaining it to my husband. As a female, I can't walk around confidently in most places like you can. I need to be more aware of my surroundings. If it's nighttime and I'm outside, I can't afford to not be on edge. You can wander around thinking about anything, but if I do that, I put myself at risk. This is blended into all sorts of things I do without even being conscious of it: I'll select which shoes to wear when going out based on if I'm going to be returning alone and therefore will have to wear something I can run in if I have to. I won't wear something without pockets at nighttime so I can have my phone on me instead of in a bag which can be grabbed or dropped.

I wonder if this is cultural? Because I can honestly say that none of this ever crosses my mind. Sure, there may be areas around where I'm on edge, but in general, just walking around outside at nighttime? No.

Not everywhere at night, sure, but I know I'd think twice before taking a short-cut through a narrow alley, say, or exploring the bushes in a park without artificial lighting if I thought I heard a squirrel rummaging about in them, and I'd just be a little bit more careful in general. Daytime? I'm much more likely to do these kinds of things. But it does depend a humongous amount on where you live and the kind of 'feel' of the place. It's not black-and-white: I'm just a little bit more mindful of things and a little bit more careful at night, and a little bit less likely to do certain things.

Some places or people just give off a bit of a vibe that puts you a bit on edge. It doesn't mean you're making assumptions or anything--sometimes it's because in the back of your mind, that place/person reminds you of something else perhaps. These feelings can happen without people analysing the situation and coming to unfair conclusions: a person can be perfectly nice but you just feel a bit uncomfortable around them for whatever random little reason, and that's fine as long as you're not rude to them or anything. If you just don't particularly want to be near a certain person or place then there's nothing wrong with that.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: aussie_chick on September 12, 2013, 03:33:30 AM
TBH, OP, I think you were kinda rude to go to a social weekend and put off a "don't bother me" vibe to half the people there. What's the point in going, then? Not asking this snarkily—do you think you were just resentful of being pestered to go and it expressed itself this way?

I am the first to say that you should blow off a guy if he's being a creep, but I am really not seeing any creep behavior. It's definitely legit to make sure you aren't alone with someone who gives you the heebies, but it sounds like you had a narrative going on in your head that did not match the reality.

Signed, a capable and trustworthy adult who sometimes drinks until she's three sheets to the wind. :P

Never trust me, then, Toots. I likely have poor judgement if that is your standard. You are forewarned!

LOL!

This. I'm sorry the weekend was such a bust for you OP, but I do think you need to own that it was exactly as described...drunken frivolity. That you belatedly realized you weren't up for it is okay, but that doesn't make anyone else out of line and being that chilly towards everyone was probably not very polite.

Still, it's over and done with. Now you know this isn't the type of event you want to participate in and you don't have to go again.

POD to both of these completely.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: MariaE on September 12, 2013, 03:39:17 AM
If you just don't particularly want to be near a certain person or place then there's nothing wrong with that.

Definitely not :)
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: aussie_chick on September 12, 2013, 03:44:03 AM


My discomfort over the weapons is not that they are weapons but that I know they are worth a great deal of money and not really trusting at least one of the guys who was there, my mind was spinning a Lifetime movie in my brain, if you understand what I mean.


So, I guess the question is, under these rather bizarre circumstances, was I required to do more than be cordial to a man who made me very uncomfortable, even if he might not have really posed a threat to me.


I don't understand your reason for your discomfort about the guns. Were you uncomfortable that Rusty would steal them or shoot you? I don't know beans from guns so perhaps I'm missing something.

To answer your question, as long as you were cordial, etc, you were fine. Did you not know about the drinking, and if so, why did you go?

The guns made me nervous once I thought about them in terms of their value.  We probably had over ten grand of firearms and ammunition.  I hadn't thought about it before and it added to my anxiety.

Why?  Because its a motive for stealing.  People ask, well, why would I think this guy would do that.  I don't know if he would or if he wouldn't.  He made me uncomfortable with his comments about making me a better meal than my host--it felt a bit like a come on, like he was going to impress me.  He didn't say this to DH or to Jon.

I knew about the drinking, the guns.  I did not know about the extra person.  I was prepared for our friend Tom, who I have known for a few years now and know a bunch of other people who know him.  I have socialized with him many times including hosting him in my home where he was generally an intense clod.  So, I knew what to expect from him in that regard.

I knew about Jon whom my husband had gotten to know on his many trips to this place over the last 2-3 years.

But, neither my husband nor I knew Rusty.  Rusty made me uncomfortable.    And I couldn't bring it up with my host because he was too drunk.  There was no one to say with a clear head, that he was a garden variety drunk guy.

Had I met Rusty in a mixed group at a bar, I would have had no problem being more open socially.  But, he made me feel a bit like prey and in those circumstances I needed to not let him get any traction at all on it.

He wasn't trying to make polite conversation about how was our drive up, or what do I do for a living or any of a number of things that people make small talk about.  He was dissing the host's dinner and doing a oneupmanship thing promising that he would cook me a better meal.

I know it kind of sounds ridiculous, but it was very uncomfortable. I felt that I couldn't let my guard down and I counted the hours until we left.  It wasn't that horrible.  It's just that found myself later feeling bad for freezing him out.  I didn't completely ignore him like he wasn't there.  I just chose not to initiate any interaction and bean dip or defer to DH any interaction in my direction.  It is not how I usually treat people that I meet, even strangers, under more controlled situations.

I can see that it may have been an opportunity to get to know someone new.  But, his behavior coupled with the circumstances made me feel that that would be an irresponsible choice.

Op I'm sorry I must be missing something. I really don't get how all of a sudden the value of the guns and that Rusty might steal them, or anyone else for that matter  - this sounds bizarre to me.
Also I don't take Rusty's comment about your hosts food as disrespectful, it sounded to me like a guy trying to make a joke in a friendly way with someone he didn't know. Almost like he was I've said similar things about my friends and likewise they have about me. It's a joke and other than the "babe" part I don't see how it becomes a 'come on'. I don't think he was being suggestive or letting you know he was going to impress the pants off you. I'm obviously missing something significant here.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: Goosey on September 12, 2013, 05:49:46 AM
Since when does a host need to preapprove his guest list with the other guests? It's his home, he can invite anyone he wants. They OP had no reasonable expectation that he would do otherwise.

Also, sometimes bad feelings are just paranoia. The OP didn't trust her host or his guest in this case - mostly, it seems, because she had wild visions of someone grabbing a gun and going crazy. That's paranoia. She felt uneasy about Rusty because he was bigger than she liked. She didn't like him because he called her "babe" and made a bad joke, and some how that's inappropriate and him coming into her instead of friendly banter.

The OP started out uneasy because of the drinking. She immediately was put on edge that they were three sheets to the wind (did no one warn her about this level of drinking? Seems like something her husband was familiar with). I don't think Rusty had a chance.

Basically, everyone was too casual for the OP. she wanted to be treated as a guest, she wanted people's interactions to be more formal and less jovial and she wanted people to dial back the drinking because she wasn't comfortable with it. She didn't ask for any of this, of course, because she can't change the nature of a well established event.

I don't think she was prepared for everything to be that laid back. That's fine. But I really truly doubt that she was in any danger from Rusty.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: Magnet on September 12, 2013, 06:50:17 AM
Poor Rusty.  He was presumably invited to a boy's weekend of drinking and shooting.  He behaved in accordance with the male protocol for the weekend, and its not Rusty's fault that he doesn't know the OP, nor does Tom, the host, have to clear with the OP who is invited to this testosterone fest.

With one "babe" he has been labeled a creep and a stealer of weapons. 

 
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: Pen^2 on September 12, 2013, 07:02:48 AM
Poor Rusty.  He was presumably invited to a boy's weekend of drinking and shooting.  He behaved in accordance with the male protocol for the weekend, and its not Rusty's fault that he doesn't know the OP, nor does Tom, the host, have to clear with the OP who is invited to this testosterone fest.

With one "babe" he has been labeled a creep and a stealer of weapons. 


The OP does not call him a creep or anything. She said that he said something which she felt was inappropriate, and that he lingered in the house which made her feel uncomfortable. That was all. The rest of it came from a few subsequent posters.

OP was polite but not bosom-buddies with Rusty, so for all he knew, she was just kind of shy or introverted, or had her own stuff to deal with. He wasn't aware that OP felt uncomfortable around him. She can't be faulted for this feeling, since we can't control our feelings, and she wasn't rude or anything to him, so I don't see any harm done to him from her, at least.

And yes, of course the host can alter the guest list as he wishes. Again, I don't see the OP berating him for that. It's just that the event that she was already unsure of turned out to be even more different than she would have liked it. No-one did anything wrong here, it just happens. The host was fine, although I disagree with being tipsy when your guests arrive and not introducing people, but that's minor. OP was fine since she acted politely. And Rusty was fine, although again I don't think it's appropriate to call a woman "babe", especially a married woman he'd just met with a husband nearby. All of this isn't anything big. OP's husband was harsh, I feel, for being "kind of angry" that she wasn't enjoying herself, though. As I've repeated, no-one can be held accountable for their feelings. If the OP wasn't enjoying herself, she doesn't need to justify that.

The weapon-stealing focus is weird, though, I agree. I mean, what?
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: Goosey on September 12, 2013, 07:07:43 AM
In my experience, most people out in country areas use pet names when refering people. I've been called "babe, honey, dear, sweetie" by people with whom I've only had a few minutes interaction. To them, it would be rude not to because it would be "standoffish". I don't think calling her "babe" was in any way inappropriate because it wasn't a come on or innuendo. I know that the acceptance of this tradition varies, but when you're out in the country, I think taking offense to it is a bit much.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: secretrebel on September 12, 2013, 07:16:30 AM
Secret rebel - what is the OP a victim of? It's not victim blaming to say there was more the OP could have done to make herself more comfortable.

The OP is fortunately not a victim of anything more than an experience that made her feel unsafe. I said that it read "uncomfortably like victim blaming to me to suggest that the OP should have done X or could have done Y" and what I meant is that that particular comment I was responding to (and other similar ones) reminded me too much of so-called rape avoidance advice that is all focused on what women 'should' do to avoid being attacked.

Rusty wasn't a rapist or sex pervert. He didn't come on to the OP inappropriately. He didn't make any act against her. He just didn't jive with her.

I profoundly hope that you are correct but we can't know that Rusty was a safe person. Trusting your instincts when someone makes you feel unsafe is what The Gift of Fear is all about.

Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: Goosey on September 12, 2013, 07:28:06 AM
Have you read The Gift of Fear all the way through?

You shouldn't go through life paranoid and fearful without taking steps to reason why. We need to own our feelings and address them - even assuage our own fears if it comes down to that. The OP was there with her husband and her husband's good friend. She had an opportunity to get to know him safely and as a group, but she chose not to. To say there was another option is NOT victim blaming. It's completely different than saying, "if you wore a different skirt, you wouldn't be raped. If you weren't out alone, you wouldn't be raped." Those things put the onus on the victim to prevent someone else doing something bad to them. All people are doing is saying that the opportunity was there for the OP to address her own fears. Rusty did nothing bad. At all.

To say that "we can't know" Rusty was a safe person because of a bad feeling and wild musings is just... I don't know, it makes me feel really bad for guys. He didn't do ANYTHING all weekend and people are still saying there's a possibility he's an awful person. He hung out with his friend and the OP's husband all weekend and they had fun, but somehow his inclusion ruined the OP's weekend and he should never had been there (evidently, Tom and the husband's opinions don't matter even though they're the ones who actually hung out with Rusty). He took the weekend at it was meant and in the atmosphere created by the host, but somehow his behavior was wrong.

And I'm not saying the OP is saying all these things, but other posters certainly are. I just find strange and paranoid to encourage that way of thinking.

ETA: The Gift of Fear was about being AWARE of our instincts, not being a slave to them. It's largely overapplied.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: TootsNYC on September 12, 2013, 07:49:34 AM
I'm still not understanding the "fear" of Rusty. So the OP thought he would steal his host's guns and sexually assault her? Based on what? I guess based on everything we know I think the OP made some horrible assumptions about the host and about Rusty and especially because her DH dismissed her concerns I think she was out of line. But going forward, just don't go next time.

I'm not understanding it either based on what she's written, but I wasn't there, and I know that in reality, sometimes people just give off a creepy vibe. But in general I'd probably be OK with staying at a weekend place among friends and having an unknown male there, as long as I knew the host and also had my partner there. The guns, I'd want to know the owner of said guns was a stickler for responsible storage and that they were properly secured/locked away, especially since there were a bunch of guys there drinking copious quantities of alcohol.


I'm w/ Raintree. I think there was something that influenced the OP's reaction. Something small. The sort of thing that once you SAY it, it sounds stupid. But I bet it was there.

Maybe an awareness of *her* that didn't seem at the right level. Eyes lingering too long--Something. Something she might not even be able to articulate. In her followups, the only specific behavior she cited was the slightly-too-personal comment about cooking for her. Which may seem innocuous to some but really strikes me a flirtatious.
   Or maybe there was some subliminal "alpha dog" thing going on--maybe Rusty was actually, in conversations, body language, etc., being established as the one the other guys would follow. The unconscious assertion of that dominance (usually based on personality) in the wrong place might be the sort of thing that an observer could pick up on without articulating it. Rusty might just feel sort of pushy, and might feel like someone you need to keep at arm's length.

I think dissecting why the OP didn't feel safe is pointless. It's the kind of thing women get alt he time--and give to themselves, witness her second-guessing herself--that lead them to stay in situations in which the person is not a safe person (even if it's just, as an earlier poster said, that they have crappy boundaries or like to create drama).

I think it's possible that the "danger" Rusty posed was low level--but the OP was definitely sensing it, and so her mind cast around for something more concrete and less intangible to pin it on. The whole "guns being stolen" thing was probably almost a metaphor for the unsafeness she was feeling.

Oh, and Rusty doesn't have to be a rapist or sex pervert to be dangerous. There are degrees of danger--and someone who is a danger to your peace of mind is qualified for "he's dangerous" treatment. At no time did the OP's behavior exceed the level of appropriateness for the *known* danger.

I think the OP did great, in fact, and I'd like to compliment her. She:
   • respected her feelings
   • shared them with her husband instead of keeping them to herself--best to have allies, and also, when you feel something that strongly, your lifemate should be in on it
   • wasn't rude to nasty to Rusty
   • was apparently successful in sending a "please don't talk to me" vibe

I think she did great.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: Tabby Uprising on September 12, 2013, 08:07:20 AM
I don't think the OP was rude.  She said she was cordial during the trip and that's fine.  I understand why she was uncomfortable too, but it seems to me this was more of a situation that made her uncomfortable not Rusty himself. 

The OP wasn't thrilled about the trip to begin with (also fine), but as long as she knew the other guests she wasn't necessarily uncomfortable with the trip.  It was adding a stranger to the mix of alcohol, guns and remote location that was the catalyst for the discomfort which otherwise may not have been an issue.  A matter of enjoyment versus comfort.  But Rusty himself, aside from being a stranger, didn't do anything himself to cause the discomfort.  It's not his "fault" he was a stranger to OP and her DH anymore than it's their fault for being a stranger to him. 

Again, I do understand why a stranger added to the mix would make the OP uncomfortable, but I also think it's important to emphasize that Rusty himself is just guilty of being a stranger (like OP and her DH are to him) and nothing else.  He was drunk, but so were all the other guys.  I wasn't there to hear the tone of voice or see the body language when he made his cooking comment, but that to me sounded less like a come-on and more like a one-upmanship joke about the superiority of his cooking versus his buddy's. 


Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: wyliefool on September 12, 2013, 08:10:26 AM
Quote
On other occasions, Tom's wife has been there.  There have been times where they were trying to get me to go because she was only going to come if I did because she didn't want to be the only woman there with a bunch of guys.

Hello, dumb guys!! Why would you demand OP attend one of these boys' weekends when the host's own wife doesn't like to go as the only woman?!?

OP, I hope your DH has quit bothering you about 'not having a good time.' If not, I would be extremely tempted to say 'You dragged me along on a drunken boys' weekend and I didn't enjoy myself. Duh, I'm not a boy. If you don't knock it off w/ pestering me so help me I'll arrange a girly weekend just for the sole purpose of dragging you along to the pedicure spa!' (And I don't even go to pedicure spas. But I'd do it for the purpose of illustrating my point about dragging spouses on trips they're not interested in.)
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: TootsNYC on September 12, 2013, 08:16:48 AM
Quote
Again, I do understand why a stranger added to the mix would make the OP uncomfortable, but I also think it's important to emphasize that Rusty himself is just guilty of being a stranger (like OP and her DH are to him) and nothing else.  He was drunk, but so were all the other guys.  I wasn't there to hear the tone of voice or see the body language when he made his cooking comment, but that to me sounded less like a come-on and more like a one-upmanship joke about the superiority of his cooking versus his buddy's. 


On the surface, that's all we know, yes. And so we -who were not there- have no business condemning Rusty. I didn't get this far in the thread with the impression that any of us were doing so; nor was she, really.


But I don't want to imply that the OP's initial reaction was inappropriate, and I don't want to be thought of as second-guessing her instincts. *especially* since I wasn't there, I'm not willing to venture the slightest criticism of her thought processes or emotional reaction.

That's the sort of mind-set that makes women unwilling to protect themselves because they think they're rude and "he was only joking." It's the kind of thing that makes them unwilling to report sexually harassing comments at work. Because they're afraid they'll get that same response.

The OP *handled* her initial reaction beautifully. She acknowledged it and respected it. She chose actions that would let her honor it without making any unfair accusations or behaving in any unfair way. She sought help from her ally (husband), and she shared her emotional landscape with her spouse/lifemate.

Randy may well be a fine person. He may well be trustworthy.
(I can even say that his trip back to the cabin, where she was alone, and his lingering there, was prompted by a thought that they were all being rude to her by leaving her out).

But the OP's first responsibility is to her safety--both her *real* safety and her *perceived* safety.

I personally -would- agree w/ Goosey on this: that there are other ways to make yourself safe, and engaging more is one of them. More knowledge is usually better than less.

(It's also possible that the OP got there, realized how much she wasn't going to like this, and subconsciously seized on Rusty's presence as the excuse. But she still wasn't rude.)
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: Tabby Uprising on September 12, 2013, 08:26:14 AM
Quote
Again, I do understand why a stranger added to the mix would make the OP uncomfortable, but I also think it's important to emphasize that Rusty himself is just guilty of being a stranger (like OP and her DH are to him) and nothing else.  He was drunk, but so were all the other guys.  I wasn't there to hear the tone of voice or see the body language when he made his cooking comment, but that to me sounded less like a come-on and more like a one-upmanship joke about the superiority of his cooking versus his buddy's. 


On the surface, that's all we know, yes. And so we -who were not there- have no business condemning Rusty. I didn't get this far in the thread with the impression that any of us were doing so; nor was she, really.


But I don't want to imply that the OP's initial reaction was inappropriate, and I don't want to be thought of as second-guessing her instincts. *especially* since I wasn't there, I'm not willing to venture the slightest criticism of her thought processes or emotional reaction.

That's the sort of mind-set that makes women unwilling to protect themselves because they think they're rude and "he was only joking." It's the kind of thing that makes them unwilling to report sexually harassing comments at work. Because they're afraid they'll get that same response.

The OP *handled* her initial reaction beautifully. She acknowledged it and respected it. She chose actions that would let her honor it without making any unfair accusations or behaving in any unfair way. She sought help from her ally (husband), and she shared her emotional landscape with her spouse/lifemate.

Randy may well be a fine person. He may well be trustworthy.
(I can even say that his trip back to the cabin, where she was alone, and his lingering there, was prompted by a thought that they were all being rude to her by leaving her out).

But the OP's first responsibility is to her safety--both her *real* safety and her *perceived* safety.

I personally -would- agree w/ Goosey on this: that there are other ways to make yourself safe, and engaging more is one of them. More knowledge is usually better than less.

(It's also possible that the OP got there, realized how much she wasn't going to like this, and subconsciously seized on Rusty's presence as the excuse. But she still wasn't rude.)

I'm just not sure how that relates to this particular situation.  Going to your Employee Relations Manager at work saying, "I'm uncomfortable working with Rusty because he's a stranger" is vastly different than "I'm uncomfortable working with Rusty because he makes x,y, and z comments about my body."

I get instincts and protecting oneself and being safe.  I think the OP behaved just fine.  But I still don't see anything that indicates Rusty himself was an issue. 
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: TootsNYC on September 12, 2013, 08:33:09 AM
I guess it's because I believe the OP could be saying something like:
"I'm uncomfortable with Rusty because his eyes lingered on my a little too long" of "he watched me the entire time he was talking to Tom" or "he seems to have Tom and even DH deferring to him."

I suspect that there were little bitty "tells" all along that told her she wasn't comfortable with Rusty. But she either can't identify them or feels they're so insubstantial that she *shouldn't*.

So while I agree with you that we shouldn't assume that Rusty is a completely dangerous fellow, or that we don't need to vilify him, I also am not going to join the chorus that says, "Rusty did nothing wrong."

I have no info, precisely because I wasn't there.

And it doesn't matter anyway, especially not in this situations.

We all get to choose who we like and who we don't. And we don't EVER need to justify the decision. The OP didn't like Rusty. She's entitled to. And she behaved properly.

She might need to justify her reaction if she were asking someone else to *share* her reaction. But she isn't. She didn't even ask us to share her reaction, actually. She tried to explain it, but she didn't ask us to join in and condemn him.

She didn't even, really, ask her DH to share her reaction; she just asked him to honor hers. (which he did, for that weekend anyway)
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: Pen^2 on September 12, 2013, 08:41:58 AM
I guess it's because I believe the OP could be saying something like:
"I'm uncomfortable with Rusty because his eyes lingered on my a little too long" of "he watched me the entire time he was talking to Tom" or "he seems to have Tom and even DH deferring to him."

I suspect that there were little bitty "tells" all along that told her she wasn't comfortable with Rusty. But she either can't identify them or feels they're so insubstantial that she *shouldn't*.

So while I agree with you that we shouldn't assume that Rusty is a completely dangerous fellow, or that we don't need to vilify him, I also am not going to join the chorus that says, "Rusty did nothing wrong."

I have no info, precisely because I wasn't there.

And it doesn't matter anyway, especially not in this situations.

We all get to choose who we like and who we don't. And we don't EVER need to justify the decision. The OP didn't like Rusty. She's entitled to. And she behaved properly.

She might need to justify her reaction if she were asking someone else to *share* her reaction. But she isn't. She didn't even ask us to share her reaction, actually. She tried to explain it, but she didn't ask us to join in and condemn him.

She didn't even, really, ask her DH to share her reaction; she just asked him to honor hers. (which he did, for that weekend anyway)

POD all of this, especially the bolded, which I think some posters are fixating on a little. Nothing concrete happened, so whether or not Rusty was a threat is not actuallyl relevant to any of this. All that matters is that the OP felt uncomfortable and unsafe. There is nothing wrong with that and she has no obligation to justify it, and it is not an insult to Rusty at all. She was polite and handled it fine. And hopefully has a stronger resolve not to go on another such weekend again.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: gen xer on September 12, 2013, 08:47:45 AM
And I'm not saying the OP is saying all these things, but other posters certainly are. I just find strange and paranoid to encourage that way of thinking.

ETA: The Gift of Fear was about being AWARE of our instincts, not being a slave to them. It's largely overapplied.

I agree with this.

I've been having mixed feelings on this.  I feel for the OP in that she was pushed into a weekend that sure didn't sound like a lot of fun for her being the only woman and sober person there.  I don't blame her for feeling out of place. I would have too.

However while I may have felt out of place it is vastly different from feeling frightened.  Another guest that I didn't know wouldn't have fazed me at all.

As far as the OP - she was under no obligation to act like Rusty was her new best friend and as long as she was polite then that's all that matters.  I am certain that she was.  And she is certainly doesn't have to put up with any callous, jerkish behaviour.  But more and more I am taking exception to the overused phrase "hinky meter" as a catchall excuse to be rude to people you don't like. ( OP I don't include you in this.  At all. )

My so called "hinky meter" rarely goes off.  I have met plenty off people who seemed a little "off" or "different" and while I may not have been interested in pursuing a friendship or relationship with them I don't get to say "well they set my hinky meter off and they creep me out" which is my I am entitled to be cold, rude and snotty.

One of my coworkers has a "hinky meter" set ultra high.  She is constantly saying she has been creeped out by someone.  Really?  It happens "that" often? 

Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: MrTango on September 12, 2013, 08:50:17 AM
I guess it's because I believe the OP could be saying something like:
"I'm uncomfortable with Rusty because his eyes lingered on my a little too long" of "he watched me the entire time he was talking to Tom" or "he seems to have Tom and even DH deferring to him."

I suspect that there were little bitty "tells" all along that told her she wasn't comfortable with Rusty. But she either can't identify them or feels they're so insubstantial that she *shouldn't*.

So while I agree with you that we shouldn't assume that Rusty is a completely dangerous fellow, or that we don't need to vilify him, I also am not going to join the chorus that says, "Rusty did nothing wrong."

I have no info, precisely because I wasn't there.

And it doesn't matter anyway, especially not in this situations.

We all get to choose who we like and who we don't. And we don't EVER need to justify the decision. The OP didn't like Rusty. She's entitled to. And she behaved properly.

She might need to justify her reaction if she were asking someone else to *share* her reaction. But she isn't. She didn't even ask us to share her reaction, actually. She tried to explain it, but she didn't ask us to join in and condemn him.

She didn't even, really, ask her DH to share her reaction; she just asked him to honor hers. (which he did, for that weekend anyway)

POD all of this, especially the bolded, which I think some posters are fixating on a little. Nothing concrete happened, so whether or not Rusty was a threat is not actuallyl relevant to any of this. All that matters is that the OP felt uncomfortable and unsafe. There is nothing wrong with that and she has no obligation to justify it, and it is not an insult to Rusty at all. She was polite and handled it fine. And hopefully has a stronger resolve not to go on another such weekend again.

Adding my agreement to this as well.  No one ever has to justify why they don't like someone (or some thing), and they certainly don't have to justfy feeling unsafe in any situation.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: Magnet on September 12, 2013, 09:00:05 AM
I guess it's because I believe the OP could be saying something like:
"I'm uncomfortable with Rusty because his eyes lingered on my a little too long" of "he watched me the entire time he was talking to Tom" or "he seems to have Tom and even DH deferring to him."

I suspect that there were little bitty "tells" all along that told her she wasn't comfortable with Rusty. But she either can't identify them or feels they're so insubstantial that she *shouldn't*.

So while I agree with you that we shouldn't assume that Rusty is a completely dangerous fellow, or that we don't need to vilify him, I also am not going to join the chorus that says, "Rusty did nothing wrong."

I have no info, precisely because I wasn't there.

For someone who wasn't there and doesn't have any info, you are making a lot of assumptions. 

Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: metallicafan on September 12, 2013, 09:04:47 AM
I guess it's because I believe the OP could be saying something like:
"I'm uncomfortable with Rusty because his eyes lingered on my a little too long" of "he watched me the entire time he was talking to Tom" or "he seems to have Tom and even DH deferring to him."

I suspect that there were little bitty "tells" all along that told her she wasn't comfortable with Rusty. But she either can't identify them or feels they're so insubstantial that she *shouldn't*.

So while I agree with you that we shouldn't assume that Rusty is a completely dangerous fellow, or that we don't need to vilify him, I also am not going to join the chorus that says, "Rusty did nothing wrong."

I have no info, precisely because I wasn't there.

And it doesn't matter anyway, especially not in this situations.

We all get to choose who we like and who we don't. And we don't EVER need to justify the decision. The OP didn't like Rusty. She's entitled to. And she behaved properly.

She might need to justify her reaction if she were asking someone else to *share* her reaction. But she isn't. She didn't even ask us to share her reaction, actually. She tried to explain it, but she didn't ask us to join in and condemn him.

She didn't even, really, ask her DH to share her reaction; she just asked him to honor hers. (which he did, for that weekend anyway)

POD all of this, especially the bolded, which I think some posters are fixating on a little. Nothing concrete happened, so whether or not Rusty was a threat is not actuallyl relevant to any of this. All that matters is that the OP felt uncomfortable and unsafe. There is nothing wrong with that and she has no obligation to justify it, and it is not an insult to Rusty at all. She was polite and handled it fine. And hopefully has a stronger resolve not to go on another such weekend again.

Adding my agreement to this as well.  No one ever has to justify why they don't like someone (or some thing), and they certainly don't have to justfy feeling unsafe in any situation.

And mine as well.   MrTango sums it up quite nicely I think.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: z_squared82 on September 12, 2013, 09:09:23 AM
The second you told your DH that you were feeling unsafe and uncomfortable, the two of you should have left.

This is exactly what I was going to say. I would not have stayed there, especially overnight, feeling the way you did. I'd have left. If DH wanted to stay and could get a ride home, fine. But I'd be outta there.

I did a lot of thinking about that.  DH would not have been able to get a ride home.  I would have had to convince him to leave and that would have caused a lot of problems.

Dh was kind of mad at me that I was not having a good time.   :(

Well, hopefully he'll stop asking you to go now!! Silver lining!

But, I think you should talk to hubby about why he was mad you weren't having fun. He shouldn't be angry with you :-/

Yes. Seriously, don't undervalue the fact that you can say you went, you didn't enjoy it, you don't care to ever go again.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: TurtleDove on September 12, 2013, 09:18:57 AM
I guess it's because I believe the OP could be saying something like:
"I'm uncomfortable with Rusty because his eyes lingered on my a little too long" of "he watched me the entire time he was talking to Tom" or "he seems to have Tom and even DH deferring to him."

Since there was significant detail provided by the OP, presumably if any of these things were true she would have provided that information. I agree with Magnet.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: TootsNYC on September 12, 2013, 09:23:32 AM
I guess it's because I believe the OP could be saying something like:
"I'm uncomfortable with Rusty because his eyes lingered on my a little too long" of "he watched me the entire time he was talking to Tom" or "he seems to have Tom and even DH deferring to him."

I suspect that there were little bitty "tells" all along that told her she wasn't comfortable with Rusty. But she either can't identify them or feels they're so insubstantial that she *shouldn't*.

So while I agree with you that we shouldn't assume that Rusty is a completely dangerous fellow, or that we don't need to vilify him, I also am not going to join the chorus that says, "Rusty did nothing wrong."

I have no info, precisely because I wasn't there.
For someone who wasn't there and doesn't have any info, you are making a lot of assumptions.

But so are other people, actually, and they're downplaying the reactions of Audrey Quest, who *was* there. They're who I'm responding to.

I also deliberately chose words that indicate that these are my own personal beliefs and suspicions that are not actually supported by evidence. I deliberately did not state them as facts. I have acknowledged that they are assumptions and not actual facts.

But I've also seen people brush those minor "tells" aside, so that phenomenon (dismissing those nonverbal communications) does in fact exist.

Also, I'm basing my reaction on Audrey Quest. I've "known" her here on the board for quite a while. She's rational and reasonable, generally. If she was really uncomfortable with Rusty, and if she felt that minimizing interactions with him would make her more comfortable for the length of the weekend, then I think she absolutely should follow that instinct.

To me, the mere fact that she's second-guessing herself now that she's out of that particular situation only provides more evidence of her rationalness and reasonableness.

Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: Psychopoesie on September 12, 2013, 09:28:51 AM
I fully support respecting feelings of discomfort in the moment. As other posters have noted, the OP did this in a way that worked for her context - a weekend at a friend's house. She was polite but kept the person she was uncomfortable with at arms length.

I don't think it's second guessing to review the situation once you are in a place where you're feeling safe again. Considering whether there are different ways of dealing with this sort of stuff helps prepare if this comes up again. I'd also like a better handle on what it was about the guy that felt so off.

Gut feelings can be really valuable.  However, there's also the risk that they come from unconscious prejudices everyone has. For example, the person may seem threatening because they resemble someone from the past who behaved badly or they may fit a stereotype (like my mum would probably be a bit suspicious about anyone with tattoos because to her they look rough). Not saying this is so in the OP's situation but worth thinking on.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: lowspark on September 12, 2013, 09:36:42 AM
I’m going to start off by saying that I see, in this thread, something I see often on this board. People read the black & white words and don’t see beyond them. It’s pretty hard sometimes to describe in words how a particular situation plays out and the “in the moment” of it. Sometimes it’s a “you had to be there” situation, or even, “you had to be there and you had to be me”,  and I try to take the word of the poster as to the feeling at the time.

It’s easy to say, “Oh a bunch of drunk people, I get drunk sometimes! What’s wrong with that?” but the reality of it is that there were things in play here that can’t be described on an internet site that gave the OP a particular feeling. I think we forget to take that into account sometimes and just take the words totally at face value.

Like I said, this is not the only thread I see this in. I see it all the time. It initiates a lot discussion between the folks who just stick with the literal description and the folks who can see beyond that.

However, and this is a HUGE however, the OP kinda lost me with this post:

On other occasions, Tom's wife has been there.  There have been times where they were trying to get me to go because she was only going to come if I did because she didn't want to be the only woman there with a bunch of guys.

I previously wondered why Tom & OP's DH kept insisting she go; what made them think she would enjoy this kind of weekend. But now, I really really really gotta wonder why, if Tom's wife didn't want to be the only woman, that alone didn't set off the OP's hinky meter. It sure would have set off mine. Even IF it had only been Tom, Jon, DH & OP, the weekend would have still have essentially been the exact same thing but with guys the OP had already met. 
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: wolfie on September 12, 2013, 09:39:10 AM
I fully support respecting feelings of discomfort in the moment. As other posters have noted, the OP did this in a way that worked for her context - a weekend at a friend's house. She was polite but kept the person she was uncomfortable with at arms length.

I don't think it's second guessing to review the situation once you are in a place where you're feeling safe again. Considering whether there are different ways of dealing with this sort of stuff helps prepare if this comes up again. I'd also like a better handle on what it was about the guy that felt so off.

Gut feelings can be really valuable.  However, there's also the risk that they come from unconscious prejudices everyone has. For example, the person may seem threatening because they resemble someone from the past who behaved badly or they may fit a stereotype (like my mum would probably be a bit suspicious about anyone with tattoos because to her they look rough). Not saying this is so in the OP's situation but worth thinking on.

I agree with this. Figuring out exactly what about the situation made you uncomfortable will help to ensure you don't get into another one like it. Was it really Rusty? Or was it that you weren't comfortable in that type of gathering? If it was Rusty then you make sure you are never there when he is but you might go to the gathering again. If it was the gathering then never go to another one. 
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: EllenS on September 12, 2013, 09:46:31 AM
If we're going to talk about trends, assumptions, and paradigms, I'm a little confused by the tendency to jump straight to death or rape as the only legitimate "unsafe" feelings and the only reason to dislike/avoid someone.

Rusty struck OP as an unknown quantity, and gave off a vibe that he was in some way unreliable, unpredictable, or off-putting.  She didn't know how to "read" him, and she didn't know how he would react to being extremely drunk, as she had a valid expectation that all the guys would be getting pretty drunk.

I think throwing around terms like "prejudice" is an overreaction to this scenario.  The backstory of "movies in her head" may seem extreme to some, but OP did not behave irrationally or unreasonably, or as someone upthread said, "cold, rude or snotty." She just wasn't friendly or outgoing. 

Etiquette does not require instant warmth or chumminess with everyone you meet, even in the context of a mutual friend's house.  The more you try to explain WHY you don't like somebody, or WHAT it is about them that puts you off, the wierder it sounds.  Etiquette does not police your thoughts and feelings.  You can run all the lifetime movies in your head you want, as long as you behave properly. 

OP=not rude.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: Ms_Cellany on September 12, 2013, 09:50:45 AM
On other occasions, Tom's wife has been there.  There have been times where they were trying to get me to go because she was only going to come if I did because she didn't want to be the only woman there with a bunch of guys.

So they know and respect that dynamic for Tom's wife, but didn't think about it for you. You might point this out to your husband.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: gen xer on September 12, 2013, 10:24:04 AM
If we're going to talk about trends, assumptions, and paradigms, I'm a little confused by the tendency to jump straight to death or rape as the only legitimate "unsafe" feelings and the only reason to dislike/avoid someone.

Rusty struck OP as an unknown quantity, and gave off a vibe that he was in some way unreliable, unpredictable, or off-putting.  She didn't know how to "read" him, and she didn't know how he would react to being extremely drunk, as she had a valid expectation that all the guys would be getting pretty drunk.

I think throwing around terms like "prejudice" is an overreaction to this scenario.  The backstory of "movies in her head" may seem extreme to some, but OP did not behave irrationally or unreasonably, or as someone upthread said, "cold, rude or snotty." She just wasn't friendly or outgoing. 

Etiquette does not require instant warmth or chumminess with everyone you meet, even in the context of a mutual friend's house.  The more you try to explain WHY you don't like somebody, or WHAT it is about them that puts you off, the wierder it sounds.  Etiquette does not police your thoughts and feelings.  You can run all the lifetime movies in your head you want, as long as you behave properly. 

OP=not rude.

That was me who said "cold, rude and snotty" and I also said that I didn't believe the OP was any of that.  I totally agree that you don't have to project a "best friend" vibe and you can't always explain why you don't like someone or want to be around them....but I do think it is important to acknowledge that your "vibe" doesn't always equal a fair assessment of someone.

I just think there is a bit of a trend to excuse coldness as long as you say "I don't feel safe" when it may be more of "that person was offputting in some way" and I do think it is important to distinguish between it as it really can impact how you treat someone.  Sometimes I even think we want to believe the worst of someone we don't like because it justifies our feelings.

For me to say someone doesn't make me feel safe would be a big deal.  Not one to throw around lightly.

I have met plenty of people I find "off" in some way - we all have.  In fact I would argue that we are all "off" to someone, somewhere along the line.  But, I think etiquette requires us to not leave someone feeling hurt, snubbed or wondering "what did I do wrong?"
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: Garden Goblin on September 12, 2013, 10:41:06 AM
Catch -22 - If someone makes you feel unsafe and you react to that, you are paranoid and hysterical.  If someone makes you feel unsafe and you don't react and something happens, then its your fault you should have seen it coming.

There are 10,000 small things we can pick up on that give us clues about a person, and not all of them are easy to articulate.  Perhaps Rusty gesticulated a bit more than normal with a firearm.  Perhaps his eyes lingered when he did.  Perhaps he gave off a vibe that he could be jerk.

Whatever it was, she was in a situation where not only was there a complete stranger, but a situation in which inhibitions were very much lowered and potential 'rescue' was also incapacitated.  She has a perfect right to feel uncomfortable in such a situation, and yes, even to feel afraid.  That's a perfectly normal response, and sadly one that is very justified by statistics.

The even sadder truth is there is no such thing a 'safe' situation.  The degree of 'unsafe' people are willing to accept varies considerably from person to person, but no one is ever really 'safe' as there is always a degree of unknown.  According to a variety of surveys, somewhere between 1 in 15 and 1 in 30 have committed sexual assault.  And no, that's not 1 in 15-30 men, that's 1 in 15-30 people, thus Rusty also fully had the right to feel 'unsafe'.

I personally would not be around drunk strangers in any situation where picking up and leaving the moment I felt inclined was not an option.  It goes beyond the degree of 'unsafe' I am willing to tolerate.  And I like jumping out of airplanes.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: LadyL on September 12, 2013, 10:47:26 AM
Rusty struck OP as an unknown quantity, and gave off a vibe that he was in some way unreliable, unpredictable, or off-putting.  She didn't know how to "read" him, and she didn't know how he would react to being extremely drunk, as she had a valid expectation that all the guys would be getting pretty drunk.

POD. I think a fair way to describe this was that the OP got a "bad read" on Rusty. I don't think it's the place of people on the internet to question the OP's subjective experience of feeling uneasy or even fearful. However, I do think that by better identifying what exactly bothered the OP about his behavior (calling her "babe" probably wasn't his only tell over 2 full days) she might be able to articulate concerns better to her DH, and make a more efficient decision about whether to extract herself from the situation.

There are plenty of people who struck me as "off" when I met them, but it took days or even weeks for me to pinpoint what exactly bothered me about them. Sometimes it's exceptionally subtle, but over the long term I've found my instincts to often be right. For example a friend started dating a guy who I thought was coming on very strong - had his arm around her the whole time they were out at a bar on one of their early dates, made a pic of them together his profile pic right after they got together, etc. He moved in with her after maybe 4-6 months of dating and started talking about getting engaged. Turns out he actually has some extremely unnattractive qualities that include racism and cheating on my friend and now they've  broken up after maybe a year of dating. I sensed that it wouldn't work out from that very first day he had his arm around her for hours, treating her like his possession, but how do you tell someone "well he seems too affectionate towards you" when they are infatuated with someone new and see the gesture as sweet?
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: Garden Goblin on September 12, 2013, 10:47:45 AM
I have met plenty of people I find "off" in some way - we all have.  In fact I would argue that we are all "off" to someone, somewhere along the line.  But, I think etiquette requires us to not leave someone feeling hurt, snubbed or wondering "what did I do wrong?"

I am never going to compromise my personal boundaries/safety to avoid 'hurting someone's feelings'.  Especially since, by violating my personal boundaries, they are showing major disregard for my feelings.  This is why if I have closed body language, a book in my hands, headphones in my ears, and am sitting away from people and someone still comes and sits next to me and starts doing the 'hey baby' thing, I'm just going to ignore them and walk away no matter how many claim I'm 'rude' for doing so.

Quote
There are plenty of people who struck me as "off" when I met them, but it took days or even weeks for me to pinpoint what exactly bothered me about them.

Same here, though thanks to some training, I'm now better at this than I used to be.  It still can be hard to communicate what I see though, even though I'm confident in my 'read'.

It's like describing a toxic person.  Describing one or two events often has people going 'well, that's not so bad', but it's a bigger picture - you had to hear the tone of voice, see the body language, know the pattern, note the facial expressions, observe the before and after behavior.  And even then there will always be plenty of folks who still think you were overreacting.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: Goosey on September 12, 2013, 10:59:23 AM
There's rational fear (I am physically intimidated by this guy so I am going to be cautious) and there is irrational fear (I am intimidated by this guy so I think he's going to grab guns and do something crazy). I totally get being cautious (although for me, that would have meant never being alone, not making sure I'm alone). And I think many have said the OP didn't do anything wrong. But there were other options that might have made her feel better and might have contributed to a better weekend for everyone. She doesn't have to take them, but it's a good thing to consider.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: VorFemme on September 12, 2013, 11:17:50 AM
Cami is 100% bang on. I still remember explaining it to my husband. As a female, I can't walk around confidently in most places like you can. I need to be more aware of my surroundings. If it's nighttime and I'm outside, I can't afford to not be on edge. You can wander around thinking about anything, but if I do that, I put myself at risk. This is blended into all sorts of things I do without even being conscious of it: I'll select which shoes to wear when going out based on if I'm going to be returning alone and therefore will have to wear something I can run in if I have to. I won't wear something without pockets at nighttime so I can have my phone on me instead of in a bag which can be grabbed or dropped.

I wonder if this is cultural? Because I can honestly say that none of this ever crosses my mind. Sure, there may be areas around where I'm on edge, but in general, just walking around outside at nighttime? No.

Maybe not "cultural" so much as "regional" - you might be fine wandering around some places after dark (Disneyworld comes to mind) but not others (downtown in many larger cities - for argument's sake, we'll say Chicago or Detroit, especially now that Detroit has declared bankruptcy).  It might also be "situational" where you might be fine wandering around that place with certain people - but not if there was another group that you didn't know wandering around, too.

I remember being very uncomfortable at a "family resort" by a "family pool" where a guy was sitting in a very brief swimsuit, showing off his tattoos.  Tattoos that looked like naked women chained down to tables in rather...exposed...poses.  I quickly started looking elsewhere - but still wonder to this day (over a year later) whether anyone ever asked him to please put on a short sleeved shirt (one of the naked ladies was on his bicep - another on his lower chest - I did NOT look at his back or the other side because I did not want to know how many naked ladies showing their lady bits he had tattooed in places that SHOWED in public).

We were close to Universal, Disneyworld, and Sea World - so - "family friendly" and "safe to walk around - at least most of the time" was the expectation.  His tats didn't fit, to me, and it made me feel a bit odd.  If it had been an adults only pool with a bar - no problem - but with underage children from twelve on down to toddlers, it didn't feel "right" to have tattoos of that nature on display.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: weeblewobble on September 12, 2013, 11:18:04 AM
The bottom line is that the OP was uncomfortable and felt like she was put in a vulnerable position. She did what she felt was necessary to protect her boundaries. Frankly, I would be a lot more angry with her DH for 1) not leaving when she felt uncomfortable and 2) being ANGRY with her for not having a good time when she was so uncomfortable.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: DavidH on September 12, 2013, 12:45:34 PM
We've fixated on saying the OP did great because we were cordial, but she described her behavior as almost ignoring him and later as, "It's just that found myself later feeling bad for freezing him out.  I didn't completely ignore him like he wasn't there.  I just chose not to initiate any interaction and bean dip or defer to DH any interaction in my direction."  That seems quite a strong reaction since this all started when she saw him and didn't know how anyone knew him. 

Just put yourself in the position of being at this get together and others arrive and immediately start to freeze you out, never initiate any interaction, etc.  What motivates this, perhaps an indefinable tell, or maybe it really is just that they don't know you and thus are fearful that you might steal from from the host. 

Prior to freezing you out, a reasonable person might just say, I'm Audrey, my husband Mr. Quest has been up here a few times, but this is my first, how do you know everyone?" and go from there. 


"That's the sort of mind-set that makes women unwilling to protect themselves because they think they're rude and "he was only joking." It's the kind of thing that makes them unwilling to report sexually harassing comments at work. Because they're afraid they'll get that same response."

Play the other side,

Worker: I'd like to report John for sexual harassment
HR:  What did he do?
Worker:  Nothing I can define or describe but I just feel unsafe around him I'm sure there are subtle but indefinable "tells" and you should listen to your hinky meter
HR:  Okay, I'll go and tell him not to set off your hinky meter again
Worker:  Thank you, I'll feel much better now

Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: gen xer on September 12, 2013, 12:46:55 PM
I have met plenty of people I find "off" in some way - we all have.  In fact I would argue that we are all "off" to someone, somewhere along the line.  But, I think etiquette requires us to not leave someone feeling hurt, snubbed or wondering "what did I do wrong?"

I am never going to compromise my personal boundaries/safety to avoid 'hurting someone's feelings'.  Especially since, by violating my personal boundaries, they are showing major disregard for my feelings.  This is why if I have closed body language, a book in my hands, headphones in my ears, and am sitting away from people and someone still comes and sits next to me and starts doing the 'hey baby' thing, I'm just going to ignore them and walk away no matter how many claim I'm 'rude' for doing so.

Quote
There are plenty of people who struck me as "off" when I met them, but it took days or even weeks for me to pinpoint what exactly bothered me about them.

Same here, though thanks to some training, I'm now better at this than I used to be.  It still can be hard to communicate what I see though, even though I'm confident in my 'read'.

It's like describing a toxic person.  Describing one or two events often has people going 'well, that's not so bad', but it's a bigger picture - you had to hear the tone of voice, see the body language, know the pattern, note the facial expressions, observe the before and after behavior.  And even then there will always be plenty of folks who still think you were overreacting.

And neither will I.  There is a man at work who gives an "off" feeling and seems to want to pursue a "friendship" as he calls it but I have zero inclination that way.  He comes off as perfectly innocent but my feeling is that there's more to it.   To my mind he has no good reason to pursue a friendship with me as he doesn't even know me very well so it can't be that kind of opposite sex friendship that often develops when you work directly with someone and have a chance at getting to know them well.

But I digress.  I have to acknowledge that my feeling about him is just that - my feeling.  I won't disregard it but neither will I act as though it is fact.  He doesn't scare me or anything and does not deserve to be treated as though he does.  To that end I am as polite and friendly to him as I am to everyone else.

Giving the benefit of the doubt to someone doesn't mean going to great lengths to prove it - after all I am not going to accept his friendship just to exonerate him.   To me it just means accepting in my mind that yeah - he's kind of offputting to me...but I am not going to treat him as offputting either.  That would be rude in my opinion.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: gen xer on September 12, 2013, 12:57:23 PM
We've fixated on saying the OP did great because we were cordial, but she described her behavior as almost ignoring him and later as, "It's just that found myself later feeling bad for freezing him out.  I didn't completely ignore him like he wasn't there.  I just chose not to initiate any interaction and bean dip or defer to DH any interaction in my direction."  That seems quite a strong reaction since this all started when she saw him and didn't know how anyone knew him. 

Just put yourself in the position of being at this get together and others arrive and immediately start to freeze you out, never initiate any interaction, etc.  What motivates this, perhaps an indefinable tell, or maybe it really is just that they don't know you and thus are fearful that you might steal from from the host. 

Prior to freezing you out, a reasonable person might just say, I'm Audrey, my husband Mr. Quest has been up here a few times, but this is my first, how do you know everyone?" and go from there. 


"That's the sort of mind-set that makes women unwilling to protect themselves because they think they're rude and "he was only joking." It's the kind of thing that makes them unwilling to report sexually harassing comments at work. Because they're afraid they'll get that same response."

Play the other side,

Worker: I'd like to report John for sexual harassment
HR:  What did he do?
Worker:  Nothing I can define or describe but I just feel unsafe around him I'm sure there are subtle but indefinable "tells" and you should listen to your hinky meter
HR:  Okay, I'll go and tell him not to set off your hinky meter again
Worker:  Thank you, I'll feel much better now

That's exactly it.  "Hinky meters" shouldn't be going off at every little thing.  In fact I would argue that it does people a real disservice if they aren't controlled.  I know I would be much more inclined to listen to someone who's hinky meter rarely went off than someone who's always going off.  It's like a car alarm - you hear it and nobody ever thinks a car is being stolen because they sound off for everything.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: Pen^2 on September 12, 2013, 01:23:41 PM
I don't think the OP could have introduced herself easily when she arrived because they were already well into drinking. It was a two-way street, also: no-one introduced themselves to her, either. And there isn't anything rude with not initiating conversations, spending time reading away from others, or not engaging more than is minimally necessary in conversation in favour of deflecting to a willing participant. None of these are rude. They aren't warm and friendly, sure, but not rude either.

I'd like to use Prof. Snape (from the Harry Potter books/films) as an example for this next bit: in the earlier ones, anyway, he isn't outright rude (well, almost never). But a lot of what he does is kind of odd and makes for discomfort. It's not any one thing. He talks in a bit of a droll way, but that isn't rude, and he kind of always looks half-way between bored and unimpressed, but it seems to be his default facial expression and not done in response to a person or action so it's not really rude either. He isn't particularly nice, but he follows the rules, so he isn't really mean--just doing his job well. And so on. But in the end, he isn't someone you'd want to spend a holiday with. I'd probably find every excuse I could to be in my room away from him, happily entertaining myself, and wouldn't be very engaging in conversations.

And yes, Snape turned out to be a good guy, but still a kind of weird one who wasn't bad, just odd enough to make people not want to be around him very much. He has anti-charisma or something. None of his attributes are unacceptable or rude (except his hair, I mean seriously), but they're all a bit far from the norm in a unique set of ways that, when combined in one person, results in him being perceived as kinda slimy.

Someone can be perfectly nice but still not the kind of person many of us would want to hang out with, and that's fine. It just happens sometimes. Being curt but polite is an acceptable way to interact with such people, just as it is acceptable with anyone else, too. "What? Why aren't you being more friendly with poor Severus over there? Look at him all by himself!" It's a little hard to reply with, "But he makes me uncomfortable for all these individual reasons that are actually okay, but together they kind of make him seem a little weird and stuff and I don't want to go out of my way to talk with him..." Yeah, sorry, but he's an adult. It isn't anyone else's responsibility to talk with him, only to not be rude when spoken to. If someone doesn't want to spend more time than they absolutely have to with someone, then as long as they aren't rude, that's fine. No justification needed. And even if someone's the nicest, warmest, loveliest ray of sunshine you ever met, it's still fine to not want to hang with them. You don't have to justify it, or why you find them to be a bit off-putting, or why you feel a certain way. But Snape is a good example of someone who is a good guy but not really someone most of us would want to be closer than necessary with.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: Arila on September 12, 2013, 01:37:26 PM
I told my DH about not feeling safe so he made sure to come up to the house if Jon or Rusty did so that I would not be alone with them at all.
...
Also, the second night up there, I was fixing something for dinner up in the house by myself when Rusty came up there.  I don't know why he came up there--maybe to get something from the kitchen.  But, he came into the house with a lit cigarette which was definitely a no-no and he lingered for a few minutes.  I again did not encourage any interaction and was very uncomfortable being there alone with him.

She asked her husband to help her avoid this situation. Rusty left the other guys to come into the house for no reason that she could see, when he knew she was alone then and then lingered.


This is the part that sent my "hinky" meter off:
Rusty slid up to me and said “This is the stuff you get when Tom makes dinner.  But, don’t you worry, I’m gonna cook for you tomorrow night, babe!”
...
(*And he didn't cook at all either--it was never in the plans for him to do so, so I don't even know why he said that.)

He "slid up" to her, which implies to me that he sort of snuck up behind her, and was standing too close. I'm having a lifetime movie moment just imagining his drunken breath on the back of my neck. gack. "Babe" is an endearment/nickname, and I get that sometimes they aren't meaningful in anyway, but babe is one which has a distinct sexual connotation. This combined with the promise of future actions, and the fact that him cooking (literally) wasn't in the plan, and didn't happen smacks of innuendo to me. I am not sure but the combination of the description there also makes it sound like this was less of teasing for Tom (why doesn't he say it to the whole group??) and more of a targeted message for HER.



By the way, I would totally see the following complaints being acceptable to HR:
- He doesn't respect my personal space
- He uses inappropriate "nicknames" for me (I have only been referred to as "lady" at work - as in "Ladies and gentlemen" - or more frequently Lady and Gentlemen -- NEVER "BABE")
- He tries to be alone with me when it's not only unnecessary but unusual.

I found the hypothetical situation proposed earlier to be really offensive and condescending.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: JeanFromBNA on September 12, 2013, 02:25:11 PM
OP, I think you were polite.  Add that to the likelihood that Rusty is not analyzing his behavior over the weekend at all, and I think that you should forget the whole thing and thank your lucky stars that you don't have to go back again.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: LizC on September 12, 2013, 03:54:45 PM
The biggest etiquette red flag for me is the OP's husband being angry with her for not joining in the "fun." To me, he crossed a really big line by not respecting and supporting his wife, and heading home with her when she expressed her discomfort and dislike of the situation. Were she not there as designated driver, he'd have to sober up before coming home, so it's not like driving her home, sobering up, and driving himself back was going to be such a horrible thing.

I'd decline to come in the future with a simple, "You know I don't enjoy that sort of weekend. Go, have fun. I'm fine here."
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: Miss Unleaded on September 12, 2013, 04:00:36 PM
Catch -22 - If someone makes you feel unsafe and you react to that, you are paranoid and hysterical.  If someone makes you feel unsafe and you don't react and something happens, then its your fault you should have seen it coming.


So true. 

Your husband and his friend also deserve a metaphorical kick in the pants for not respecting your clearly stated desire not to join them for the weekend.   >:(
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: YummyMummy66 on September 12, 2013, 04:02:01 PM
I guess I have to wonder why everyone was so keen on the wife going when they knew it was just going to be all guys.

This would not have been a fun weekend for me to have to share one common sleeping place with men I did not know, whether my husband was there or not.

As for the OP, it sounds like you got some bad vibes from guy in question, just a feeling?  I would have been polite and made it thru the weekend.  I would not have openly dissed Rusty, but I would not have gone out of my way to be friendly either. 

And I would never be going back to said cabin or whatever again.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: blarg314 on September 12, 2013, 07:45:31 PM

Look at it this way - after this weekend, you can turn down *all* invitations to go to this place ever again and not feel bad.  "I went last time when you pressured me to go, to make you happy. I got there, and found out Tom had invited a guy we had never met. He gave me the creeps,  and combined with the drinking, the guns and the isolation and lack of phone I was uncomfortable and scared the whole time. So no, I"m not going again, no matter who is going to be there."

Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: daen on September 12, 2013, 07:51:53 PM
I guess I have to wonder why everyone was so keen on the wife going when they knew it was just going to be all guys.

This would not have been a fun weekend for me to have to share one common sleeping place with men I did not know, whether my husband was there or not.

As for the OP, it sounds like you got some bad vibes from guy in question, just a feeling?  I would have been polite and made it thru the weekend.  I would not have openly dissed Rusty, but I would not have gone out of my way to be friendly either. 

And I would never be going back to said cabin or whatever again.

I'm wondering with you.
Every group of guys I know that heads out to the woods for the weekend is actively seeking out a woman-free space. Adding women - one or many -  to the party changes the entire vibe.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: Gondwanaland on September 12, 2013, 08:10:45 PM

Tom's (the owner) wife did not go on this trip because she does not enjoy being with a group of drunk men who then proceed to use dangerous armed weapons. (you said that they do not shoot while drunk, but then contradicted yourself by saying at least one of the men was drunk all weekend).

Why on earth would you agree to go on such a weekend.

Most men enjoy "boys weekends" to get away from the females in their lives. (at least that's what happens where I live).

I don't think Rusty put you in an uncomfortable position.

I think you put yourself in an uncomfortable position.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: JoieGirl7 on September 12, 2013, 08:30:37 PM

Tom's (the owner) wife did not go on this trip because she does not enjoy being with a group of drunk men who then proceed to use dangerous armed weapons. (you said that they do not shoot while drunk, but then contradicted yourself by saying at least one of the men was drunk all weekend).

Why on earth would you agree to go on such a weekend.

Most men enjoy "boys weekends" to get away from the females in their lives. (at least that's what happens where I live).

I don't think Rusty put you in an uncomfortable position.

I think you put yourself in an uncomfortable position.


I never contradicted myself.  They were not drinking while they were shooting.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: Gondwanaland on September 12, 2013, 09:27:51 PM
Ok, I must have misunderstood.   You did say that you could not talk to Tom about your fears or feelings that weekend because he was too drunk. (post 61)
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: JoieGirl7 on September 12, 2013, 10:06:54 PM
Ok, I must have misunderstood.   You did say that you could not talk to Tom about your fears or feelings that weekend because he was too drunk. (post 61)

I was referring to when we first got there.  And all I would have talked about to him would have been how he knew Rusty, and what Rusty's background was.

I didn't try to talk to Tom about it when I saw him the second day after they finished shooting.  We conversed a little about other things but he was coming and going getting things ready to cook for dinner.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: johelenc1 on September 12, 2013, 10:52:17 PM
I confess that I didn't read everything, only the OP's post, but even if I had I don't think there would have been anything that would have kept me from saying this:

You lost me completely when you talked about being uncomfortable being the only woman in the middle of no where with strange drunk men and your husband who also appeared to be drinking.  My eyebrows further furrowed when I read you told your husband you were uncomfortable and he was kind enough to check on you every now and then (that was sarcasm, btw.)

I can see why you were uncomfortable.  Strange, drunk men were basically hitting on you.  I think since you said anything short of "excuse me, get the e-hell out of my personal space and don't call me babe" you weren't rude.

Second, I think your main issue is with your husband - not these guys.  You were surrounded by unknown drunk men who made you feel uncomfortable and unsafe in the middle of no where with no way to call for help - and your husband was mad at you?  After he basically pressured you into going?  Seriously, I would have left.  Husband could have come with me or dealt with getting a way home.  You said, "leaving would have caused problems."  For whom?  The other guys towards your husband?  Or between you and your husband.  If the former - who cares.  If the latter - big red flags.

BTW, your husband did not exactly do a great job of checking on you anyway if Rusty came in all alone while you were there.

I think you need to have serious talk with your husband.

As an aside and as something to think about - if you felt unsafe, I'm not sure isolating yourself in the house was the best solution.  If your husband wasn't going to stay there with you, then you basically put yourself in the perfect situation should any of the other men have tried anything.  The example with Rusty is perfect.  I'm sure you would have been bored stiff watching the guys shoot guns or whatever they were doing, but I think you would have been much safer staying near your husband and in the crowd that all alone and vulnerable. 
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: Miss Understood on September 12, 2013, 11:49:16 PM
I am sorry but this is a 9-page thread so far and I am on page 4; hopefully this question is still relevant:

OP, you were there with your DH (and his friend who was the host and the host's friend - if I understand it correctly only "Rusty" was unknown).  Why did you ever feel unsafe?  There is no way I would ever feel unsafe in a situation where my husband was right there because he woulld have to be dead before I was harmed.  So were you thinking Rusty would kill your DH and his friends and then harm you?  I'm just trying to figure out what you were worried about.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: JoieGirl7 on September 13, 2013, 12:16:30 AM
I am sorry but this is a 9-page thread so far and I am on page 4; hopefully this question is still relevant:

OP, you were there with your DH (and his friend who was the host and the host's friend - if I understand it correctly only "Rusty" was unknown).  Why did you ever feel unsafe?  There is no way I would ever feel unsafe in a situation where my husband was right there because he woulld have to be dead before I was harmed.  So were you thinking Rusty would kill your DH and his friends and then harm you?  I'm just trying to figure out what you were worried about.

Yep,  That was the worst sceniario I worried could happen, mainly because there would have been nothing I could have done to prevent it.

If he had had theft on his mind, he could have shot both of them while they were all shooting and neither of them would have seen it coming.  i wouldnt have even known because one hot sounds just like the next.

I just didnt trust him at all. 

And people will say I am crazy to think that that could even happen but stuff like that does happen.  Read any amount if true crime and its very ocmmon for people to fall victim to "friends"  Hannah Anderson is a case in point.

I don't know whwt that guy's motive was but theft is a very common motive.  People kill for much less than one would think.

It's not that I thought that this would happen.  It's that the situation was such that it could happen more easily than not--isolated area, no communication with the outside world.

It was a realization of my vulnerability.

It's like taking a wrong turn on foot in a dangerous part of town.  Doesn't mean something will happen but one is vulnerable in a way that is not usual.  That happened to us in Philly a few years ago.

What it meant was that I felt I needed to be on guard, not drinking and frivoliting.  If I had felt comfortable, I would have relaxed and had a few beers.

The most I was relaxed was when Tom, Jon and Rusty went up to the house and passed out in front of the TV and I stayed down by the campfire with DH and our dog.

It would have been nice if Tom had stayed down with us but he was upset with Jon for something.

Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: m2kbug on September 13, 2013, 01:04:55 AM
I think being as polite and cordial as possible was fine.  Don't poke the bear.  Frankly, with that level of discomfort, I would have just loaded up the car and left.  I am very nervous around weapons anyway, mix that up with alcohol and people you don't know, it's a little scary.  Toss in a dude that you don't know well and makes you nervous?  You stayed a lot longer than I would have.  This is why I always like to have my own transportation when traveling.  I'd be a little p***ed at my husband at this point too for leaving me alone with these people.  I think this sounds like a "boys weekend" or your husband's "thing," where you were largely a third wheel and it didn't work for you.  Don't plan on any future trips.  This isn't your cup of tea.  Overall, I think you did the best you could in your circumstances. 
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: menley on September 13, 2013, 04:17:54 AM
Wow. I just have to say that I am flabbergasted that your reaction to meeting a friend-of-a-friend for the first time is "Oh, no, he might steal these expensive guns and kill my husband and me."

Really?

Isn't it a common occurrence to go to a friend's house and they have someone there you haven't met yet? It happens to me very, very often. And while I don't always like those people, and they don't always become my friends, I can't imagine a situation (including the one as you described) where I would meet someone who is a friend of my friend and immediately judge him so harshly. You say you don't know how they knew each other - I'm not sure why it wasn't your first question. That is literally the first question I have anytime I meet a friend-of-a-friend - "Oh, how nice to meet you, how do you two know each other?" Unless the man was blacked out drunk when you first met him, which he wasn't, he should be capable of answering that question.

I get the hinky feeling thing - I really do. But it is an extreme reaction to meeting someone new, who is a friend of one of your friends (and not just a stranger on the street) to immediately think they will assault and kill you. I really think you should discuss this fear with a professional.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: Miss Unleaded on September 13, 2013, 04:32:36 AM
Wow. I just have to say that I am flabbergasted that your reaction to meeting a friend-of-a-friend for the first time is "Oh, no, he might steal these expensive guns and kill my husband and me."

Really?

Isn't it a common occurrence to go to a friend's house and they have someone there you haven't met yet? It happens to me very, very often. And while I don't always like those people, and they don't always become my friends, I can't imagine a situation (including the one as you described) where I would meet someone who is a friend of my friend and immediately judge him so harshly. You say you don't know how they knew each other - I'm not sure why it wasn't your first question. That is literally the first question I have anytime I meet a friend-of-a-friend - "Oh, how nice to meet you, how do you two know each other?" Unless the man was blacked out drunk when you first met him, which he wasn't, he should be capable of answering that question.

I get the hinky feeling thing - I really do. But it is an extreme reaction to meeting someone new, who is a friend of one of your friends (and not just a stranger on the street) to immediately think they will assault and kill you. I really think you should discuss this fear with a professional.

I don't think you really read the original post.  She didn't immediately judge him, and it was a combination of several factors that led to the feeling of being unsafe:  alcohol, guns, a stranger, his comments to her, the pressure she was under to join them, no phone coverage and distance from civilisation if something bad should happen.  Given those things her response wasn't to insult the stranger, get in her car and leave, make uncomfortable remarks or do other things which might ruin the weekend for others.  It was simply to maintain cool distance between her and the others:

Quote
So, my behavior was essentially to be invisible.  I stayed in my room all day and read, going for a walk later on when the men had left the house.  I told my DH about not feeling safe so he made sure to come up to the house if Jon or Rusty did so that I would not be alone with them at all.

I just kind of ignored both Jon and Rusty the whole weekend.

Telling the OP to seek professional help over her reaction to the situation is not helpful at all and pretty rude in my opinion.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: menley on September 13, 2013, 04:40:09 AM
I did read it. And I also read her follow-ups where she said that by cool and distant, she actually meant that anytime he spoke to her she ignored him and her DH responded and bean-dipped instead. That's not polite.

Also, getting professional help is not an insult. It's a third party who is licensed and experienced in helping people figure out their thoughts and behaviors. I don't know why you would assume I'm saying that as a negative thing. I have had unusual and extreme reactions to ordinary things before - I've discussed them with a knowledgeable therapist - and now I don't have as many panic attacks as I've had in the past, because I know how to deal with them. I'm a huge advocate of therapy and professional help.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: aussie_chick on September 13, 2013, 04:58:21 AM

I may have been harsh in the first instance. regardless of whether I could see why, I do believe you could have felt uncomfortable around someone who is essentially a drunken stranger - where alcohol and guns are around and when you aren't sure of his connection to Tom.

However, I seriously question the logic that Rusty could have shot your husband and Tom and stolen everything. I cannot see where those thoughts came from. Why would he shoot them both when they were out shooting?

   "I don't know whwt that guy's motive was but theft is a very common motive.  People kill for much less than one would think."

The way this is written sounds to be like you do think he had a motive - even though nothing bad happened.

I guess i'm just in shock that your feelings were so intense about Rusty - without bailing up Tom to find out about Rusty or asking your DH to find out more if you weren't comfortable or without demanding to leave.

I feel like this is beyond etiquette.



Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: JoieGirl7 on September 13, 2013, 05:54:58 AM
Thank you to the people who "get it."  Thank you for reaffirming that I have the right to not be a social butterfly when I feel it would lead to problems.

It was all just a bad combination of circumstances and an uneven social mix.

One thing I did really enjoy up there was seeing the mist on the river at night.  The surface of the water was so still it was like glass.  And there were these long fingers of mist moving silently over the surface.  It was eerie and beautiful at the same time.

I'd love to visit a river like that again, but maybe at a prvate cabin, or a B&B with just DH and me!
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: Curious Cat on September 13, 2013, 06:00:07 AM

I may have been harsh in the first instance. regardless of whether I could see why, I do believe you could have felt uncomfortable around someone who is essentially a drunken stranger - where alcohol and guns are around and when you aren't sure of his connection to Tom.

However, I seriously question the logic that Rusty could have shot your husband and Tom and stolen everything. I cannot see where those thoughts came from. Why would he shoot them both when they were out shooting?

   "I don't know whwt that guy's motive was but theft is a very common motive.  People kill for much less than one would think."

The way this is written sounds to be like you do think he had a motive - even though nothing bad happened.

I guess i'm just in shock that your feelings were so intense about Rusty - without bailing up Tom to find out about Rusty or asking your DH to find out more if you weren't comfortable or without demanding to leave.

I feel like this is beyond etiquette.

I agree especially considering that in the latest update the OP indicates that her dog was there as well.  I think the OP decided she wasn't going to like Rusty and spent the weekend trying to come up with reasons to justify herself.(btw I did read the entire thread)
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: LeveeWoman on September 13, 2013, 06:00:54 AM
Thank you to the people who "get it."  Thank you for reaffirming that I have the right to not be a social butterfly when I feel it would lead to problems.
It was all just a bad combination of circumstances and an uneven social mix.

One thing I did really enjoy up there was seeing the mist on the river at night.  The surface of the water was so still it was like glass.  And there were these long fingers of mist moving silently over the surface.  It was eerie and beautiful at the same time.

I'd love to visit a river like that again, but maybe at a prvate cabin, or a B&B with just DH and me!

I've learned from experience not to ignore my hinky-meter.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: MariaE on September 13, 2013, 06:05:37 AM
I guess i'm just in shock that your feelings were so intense about Rusty - without bailing up Tom to find out about Rusty or asking your DH to find out more if you weren't comfortable or without demanding to leave.

I feel like this is beyond etiquette.

I agree, but it really doesn't matter. Whether the OP overreacted or not is a red herring. What matters is how she acted upon that (over-)reaction - did she become rude in response.

From the sounds of it, I don't think she was. Cold - yes; rude - no. So "safety trumps etiquette" is moot as I don't think she was rude in the first place.

And that makes whether or not I think she overreacted completely irrelevant.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: Goosey on September 13, 2013, 07:11:47 AM
You realize that sitting there and imagining he was some kind of rapist/murderer wasn't helping you get an accurate look at the guy, right? That making all this stuff up in your head about a guy who was a friend of a friend only made you more fearful and looking for more flags that probably weren't there? In fact, reading that made me more certain that Rusty was just some dude who came to represent your resentment and discomfort with the weekend activities in general.

And no, I don't think he was hitting on you. Calling you "babe" isn't hitting on you - neither would calling you "dear" or "honey" or "sweetie". You may not like it, but it's not hitting on you. Trying to make awkward conversation with you when you've been cold/avoiding him all weekend wasn't hitting on you. Hanging out for a little while in a house he had every right to be in for whatever reason that you've just happened to hole yourself up into wasn't stalking you. Being drunk wasn't an act of aggression against you.

I'm not saying you have to be a social butterfly. I've actually said I didn't think you did anything wrong if you were polite. But it's simply not normal or healthy to sit there for a couple days thinking about how this guy is going to rape/murder/pillage when you are the ONLY one not getting to know him. You had the opportunity to ask Tom about him and you didn't - you just made up all this stuff in your head and went with it. I think that those are pretty awful things to think about someone you don't even know - someone your husband and friend hung out with all weekend with and didn't have any issues. Someone who was alone in the house with you for some time and didn't even talk to you.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: metallicafan on September 13, 2013, 09:26:43 AM
Thank you to the people who "get it."  Thank you for reaffirming that I have the right to not be a social butterfly when I feel it would lead to problems.
It was all just a bad combination of circumstances and an uneven social mix.

One thing I did really enjoy up there was seeing the mist on the river at night.  The surface of the water was so still it was like glass.  And there were these long fingers of mist moving silently over the surface.  It was eerie and beautiful at the same time.

I'd love to visit a river like that again, but maybe at a prvate cabin, or a B&B with just DH and me!

I've learned from experience not to ignore my hinky-meter.

Imagining myself in the OP's situation, I can say that I would have been Extremely uncomfortable.   Honestly, I'm not sure what I would have done.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: Firecat on September 13, 2013, 09:43:20 AM
Thank you to the people who "get it."  Thank you for reaffirming that I have the right to not be a social butterfly when I feel it would lead to problems.
It was all just a bad combination of circumstances and an uneven social mix.

One thing I did really enjoy up there was seeing the mist on the river at night.  The surface of the water was so still it was like glass.  And there were these long fingers of mist moving silently over the surface.  It was eerie and beautiful at the same time.

I'd love to visit a river like that again, but maybe at a prvate cabin, or a B&B with just DH and me!

I've learned from experience not to ignore my hinky-meter.

Imagining myself in the OP's situation, I can say that I would have been Extremely uncomfortable.   Honestly, I'm not sure what I would have done.

I agree with this; I'd be unlikely to be in precisely this situation, because my DH's socializing preferences are different, but I can see myself being very uncomfortable in the OP's shoes.

Thinking about it, I think that, as with many other things, there are degrees with the hinky meter. I've met people who felt slightly "off" for one reason or another, but it wasn't that they made me feel fearful or unsafe. More that I felt like I should be a little cautious around them until I had a better idea what was going on.

I've also met people that I felt I shouldn't trust with anything personal, or when it came to certain things, but again, didn't feel as though they were a threat to my safety.

And at the other extreme, I've met a few people (maybe a half dozen at the most over the course of my 40-odd years) and felt, immediately and strongly, "This person is NOT safe to be around. Do NOT be alone with them, and do not draw their attention if possible."

In those situations, I've mostly been able to spend my time mostly with other people at whatever event; if the person to whom I'm reacting that strongly joins a conversational group I'm in, I'll wait a couple of minutes and then need to talk to someone else/get a drink/go find my DH. If the person addresses me directly, I'll give a brief answer and bring someone else into the conversation. Basically, just extracting myself from the group or conversation quickly, but in a hopefully non-obvious way. My DH and I tend to spend a lot of time near each other at social events for the most part, so it's not too remarkable if I stick fairly close to him, and he's pretty good at knowing when I'm not comfortable.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: Eden on September 13, 2013, 09:54:13 AM
I think what I understand most people are saying and I agree that we certainly understand that the OP felt uncomfortable and there is no need via etiquette to have to actively engage with everyone at all times over an extended stay.

I think where the OP lost a lot of people was the very drastic and dramatic imaginings as to what could be Rusty's story. In reality, those things are not actually relevant to the etiquette question and maybe should have been left out. I think these unnecessary details are understandably coloring people's reactions to the OP's situation and etiquette question.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: menley on September 13, 2013, 10:04:36 AM
I think what I understand most people are saying and I agree that we certainly understand that the OP felt uncomfortable and there is no need via etiquette to have to actively engage with everyone at all times over an extended stay.

I think where the OP lost a lot of people was the very drastic and dramatic imaginings as to what could be Rusty's story. In reality, those things are not actually relevant to the etiquette question and maybe should have been left out. I think these unnecessary details are understandably coloring people's reactions to the OP's situation and etiquette question.

I agree completely with this.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: gen xer on September 13, 2013, 10:16:20 AM
 In general I think we have a responsibility to give some rational thought to the dreaded "hinky meter".  It can be valuable but it can also lead to wild speculation and overactive imaginations.  It can be really counterproductive if it is out of control and you run the risk of not being taken seriously and losing all credibility.  It can be hard to get that back.

I completely understand why the OP didn't enjoy her weekend -I know if I were the only sober female I would be pretty out of my element.....but what Goosey said made some sense - maybe Rusty was just the embodiment of all that was wrong with the weekend.

Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: Garden Goblin on September 13, 2013, 10:21:30 AM
Also, getting professional help is not an insult. It's a third party who is licensed and experienced in helping people figure out their thoughts and behaviors. I don't know why you would assume I'm saying that as a negative thing. I have had unusual and extreme reactions to ordinary things before - I've discussed them with a knowledgeable therapist - and now I don't have as many panic attacks as I've had in the past, because I know how to deal with them. I'm a huge advocate of therapy and professional help.

I had a friend who was in a similar situation to the OP once.  Something very bad happened.  It's not an unreasonable or extreme fear at all.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: Goosey on September 13, 2013, 10:25:29 AM
Just because it happened to someone somewhere doesn't make it a reasonable fear.

Something bad happened in the theater a while ago. Does that make being afraid of going to the theater a reasonable fear? No, it doesn't. Understandable, maybe. Reasonable? No.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: Pen^2 on September 13, 2013, 10:35:59 AM
Just because it happened to someone somewhere doesn't make it a reasonable fear.

Something bad happened in the theater a while ago. Does that make being afraid of going to the theater a reasonable fear? No, it doesn't. Understandable, maybe. Reasonable? No.

Absolutely. OP, or anyone else, can feel however they happen to feel and it's understandable. It is also understandable to be on one's guard as a result, and take steps to ensure that you don't feel worse by prolonging things. Removal of yourself from the situation is a good way to go. As long as all of this is done politely, then there isn't a problem.

If someone has an unreasonable fear, again, as long as they are still polite then it's fine. If they often have such a fear then it might be worth looking at with a counsellor, but if it's just once or twice instead of on a daily basis, then I personally wouldn't worry about it and just avoid letting the situation happen again. Either way, it's their business, and as long as they maintain etiquette, they shouldn't be faulted for it by others. None of us were with the OP and it is very hard to convey a lot of things via typed words, so I don't think it's fair for anyone to judge whether or not her fear was reasonable. But it's irrelevant anyway. This is an etiquette forum, not a mental health one. Whether or not the OP had reason to feel the way she did cannot be determined by any of us, and it doesn't affect etiquette anyway. She had a feeling. The reasonableness of that feeling is not in the domain of etiquette, only the actions she subsequently took based upon it.
Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: shhh its me on September 13, 2013, 10:56:39 AM
I think what I understand most people are saying and I agree that we certainly understand that the OP felt uncomfortable and there is no need via etiquette to have to actively engage with everyone at all times over an extended stay.

I think where the OP lost a lot of people was the very drastic and dramatic imaginings as to what could be Rusty's story. In reality, those things are not actually relevant to the etiquette question and maybe should have been left out. I think these unnecessary details are understandably coloring people's reactions to the OP's situation and etiquette question.

I agree completely with this.
This exactly.

I think there are actually different answers to " I didn't know this person , they rubbed me the wrong way and the additional factors of firearms and copious amounts of alcohol made me feel very uncomfortable and not like socializing"  and " I was worried about being robbed, raped and/or killed in a secluded place with no hope of contacting the authorities by a drunken man with access to a large amount of guns."

The first coolly civil is appropriate maybe even feign illness and  going home;  The second "leave  , leave now" is appropriate. 

I would have more difficulty empathizing with a friend who said "I think he may kill us all and rob the place." with nothing other then "I've not met him before" as the reason, then " I'm uncomfortable. I don't know him , I don't have the history I do with Tom to know that he is a happy drunk and very safety conscious  about firearms."   I missed what OP actually said to her husband that annoyed him but I think if OP said what she did here I have a little more understanding for her husband.

Title: Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
Post by: cass2591 on September 13, 2013, 12:03:01 PM
This is/was not a safety trumps etiquette situation. Furthermore, it's locked.