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Author Topic: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe  (Read 26519 times)

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TootsNYC

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Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
« Reply #90 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)

Pen^2

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Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
« Reply #91 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.

gen xer

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Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
« Reply #92 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? 


MrTango

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Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
« Reply #93 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.

Magnet

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Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
« Reply #94 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. 


metallicafan

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Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
« Reply #95 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.

z_squared82

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Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
« Reply #96 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.

TurtleDove

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Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
« Reply #97 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.

TootsNYC

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Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
« Reply #98 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.


Psychopoesie

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Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
« Reply #99 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.

lowspark

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Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
« Reply #100 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. 
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wolfie

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Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
« Reply #101 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. 

EllenS

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Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
« Reply #102 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.

Ms_Cellany

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Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
« Reply #103 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.
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gen xer

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Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
« Reply #104 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?"


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