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Author Topic: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe  (Read 27795 times)

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Pen^2

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Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
« Reply #75 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.

aussie_chick

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Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
« Reply #76 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.

MariaE

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Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
« Reply #77 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 :)
 
Dane by birth, Kiwi by choice

aussie_chick

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Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
« Reply #78 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.

Goosey

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Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
« Reply #79 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.

Magnet

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Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
« Reply #80 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. 

 

Pen^2

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Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
« Reply #81 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?

Goosey

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Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
« Reply #82 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.

secretrebel

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Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
« Reply #83 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.


Goosey

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Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
« Reply #84 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.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2013, 07:55:13 AM by Goosey »

TootsNYC

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Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
« Reply #85 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.

Tabby Uprising

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Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
« Reply #86 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. 



wyliefool

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Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
« Reply #87 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.)

TootsNYC

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Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
« Reply #88 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.)

Tabby Uprising

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Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
« Reply #89 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. 


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