Author Topic: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe  (Read 15269 times)

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JenJay

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Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
« Reply #15 on: September 11, 2013, 02:37:49 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.

DavidH

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Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
« Reply #16 on: September 11, 2013, 02:44:15 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. 

EllenS

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Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
« Reply #17 on: September 11, 2013, 02:46:28 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.


bopper

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Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
« Reply #18 on: September 11, 2013, 02:46:55 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.

Iím 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.

lowspark

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Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
« Reply #19 on: September 11, 2013, 02:47:55 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.

Judah

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Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
« Reply #20 on: September 11, 2013, 02:52:49 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.
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TootsNYC

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Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
« Reply #21 on: September 11, 2013, 03:03:58 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.

TootsNYC

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Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
« Reply #22 on: September 11, 2013, 03:07:11 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.

Goosey

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Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
« Reply #23 on: September 11, 2013, 03:19:14 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.

Magnet

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Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
« Reply #24 on: September 11, 2013, 03:19:29 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. 

Hillia

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Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
« Reply #25 on: September 11, 2013, 03:28:40 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.

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siamesecat2965

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Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
« Reply #26 on: September 11, 2013, 03:33:51 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

Magnet

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Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
« Reply #27 on: September 11, 2013, 03:36:54 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."

TootsNYC

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Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
« Reply #28 on: September 11, 2013, 03:37:46 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.

Hillia

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Re: Socializing with someone who makes you feel unsafe
« Reply #29 on: September 11, 2013, 03:39:35 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.

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