When another user tells you to leave the site

I’m … not really sure why I’m even posting this, but I need some place to vent my frustrations and this is probably the only place I really have for such.

Recently we had a story about a woman dropping some hints to a man that she wasn’t interested: This Strategy Didn’t Quite Hook Up

In the comments to that I, tongue-in-cheek, explain that dropping hints doesn’t work and we men need to be told directly what is meant.

Thanks to this comment I am now being called a misogynist, a member of some MGTOW and MRA groups I hadn’t even heard of before today, and told in no uncertain terms to get my ass off the site by Persephone.

And honestly … no. No, I am tired of being seen as the villain because I’m a man. I am tired of being lumped in with the bad guys because I’m a guy. I am tired of defending myself for thoughts I do not and have never had about women.

So why don’t I just block and move on? Because I can’t. For one thing I was raised to always solve conflicts with words (ironically enough), and blocking is not solving anything. If anything it proves her point.

How does one prove in 2022 that he’s not a criminal, not a rapist, not a murderer? How does one get to be treated like just another human being when he’s a white straight male? How does one earn the right to stay on the only semi-social venue he still frequents?

Or am I supposed to just crawl into a dark space and wait for death to claim me - just because I was born male? Is that really what would benefit the world the most?

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I’m reading a conversation between someone who isn’t great at reading people (and admits it) and wants plain speaking, and someone who has had bad experiences in the past with people ignoring plain speaking.

Her response to you was over the top, but i think your words had struck a bad chord with her. Unfortunately, rather than offering sympathy to what must have happened to her, you went on the defensive. I’m not blaming you: you implied you have trouble reading people, and if someone verbally attacks you it is normal to defend yourself.

And at that point it all goes to shit.

You have a few options. Apologise to her for responding the way you did; maybe the conversation will resume. Or walk away from the conversation, but you will lose all chance of clearing the air. Or block her.

What i would advise you don’t do is use the phrase “not all men”. Whilst it is true that not all men are [insert any illegal or unethical behaviour towards women], that never helps. There are far too many who are, and saying “not all men” is extremely dismissive. I haven’t seen you use the argument, but I’m worried that if you try to explain yourself, it is all too easy to use that phrase.

Just in case you don’t fully appreciate why Not All Men is a bad argument:

“Not all drivers drink and drive, so why bother with laws to prohibit it?”

It also doesn’t help that many of those who say Not All Men are exactly the men they say they’re not!

It seems i have gone off on a tangent; my apologies.

In any case, i agree that people should be clearer with their meanings, but i also appreciate that there are far too many people who won’t take no for an answer. And of those, there are far too many who will respond very badly, and the poor lady who is clearly saying no will come off badly as a result.

edited for typos

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You do it by listening to the other side. It’s easy to react when you are attacked— and you were attacked! If you can show that you can rise above that, then you are earning your place on the forum. If you react by (effectively) yelling “I know you are, but what am I?!” or by sulking, then you’re not helping to have a civil discourse.

I am a woman. When I read the story, my reaction was that she was in an impossible situation, and the photos wouldn’t help. The guy would just say “Hey! She sent photos!” and take that in a positive way.

Strange men are potentially dangerous. Women have no way of knowing what will happen. Whether we look at the headlines, our own lived experience, or just pop culture, this message is reinforced regularly.

Men that we think we know well can be the most dangerous of all.

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Block her. There’s no need to be rude!!

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Unfortunately blocking is not that simple. I know from experience that preventing myself from seeing what is said by someone I know hates me creates a paranoid feedback loop whenever I get an indication that they’re present - whether this is by seeing others reply to them by name, or as the case would be here seeing blocked posts. I end up worrying and fretting over whether there’s an attack I don’t see coming - and yes, I am quite aware of the irony of this being exactly what this particular user expects from me.

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Blocking somebody on the main site means you don’t even see their name, so you really can’t tell if they’re talking at or about you. They pretty much cease to exist.
All you can do otherwise is just try to ignore her and not respond to anything she posts.
If it helps, if this is the person I think it is, you’re not the only one who has had a problem with her - and for the record, while I might not have always agreed with everything you’ve said, I’ve never had a problem with you.

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I’ve blocked a few people after it became clear that we were in severe disagreement and that any further discussion would be impolite and unconstructive. However that was mainly because I know myself well enough to know that if I didn’t I wouldn’t be able to resist continuing the argument with them and stressing myself out over nothing. Perhaps try thinking about blocking in that positive context rather than thinking of it as blinding yourself to somebody who hates you.

I missed the debate on the thread and when I looked this morning the comments seem to have been deleted. I wonder if that was Persephone recognising that whatever it was she said went too far?

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Her comments seem to have been deleted, but from everyone’s reactions they were completely beyond the pale.

But I have to say that your initial comment on that post puts my back up. ‘Men don’t get hints’? YOU don’t get hints, maybe. Men in general are just as capable of detecting hints as women are. It comes across as you expecting women to put up with a lot of unpleasantness (and while I think the rape/murder angle is overstated, being verbally abused is still a thing worth avoiding) for the convenience of a small number of men who have genuine difficulty reading non-verbal signals. That’s a… naive attitude at best, and I don’t think you would have got good reactions to it from anyone.

When the vast majority of men can accept ‘no’ as an answer without getting pushy or creepy or nasty, then it would be reasonable to expect women to be willing to give it.

That said, the comments you did get sound like they were… disproportionate. And the strategy of the OP in the story is kind of forehead-slapping daft.

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This discussion and your response remind me of a conversation I had with somebody about the ‘friend zone’ being a myth. I had noticed that a guy was following a friend of mine around like a puppy and, to me at least, it seemed fairly obvious that he was head over heels for her. I asked her if he she was into him as a romantic partner and she told me that no, she wasnt, so I then asked if she had told him that. The conversation from there honestly made me question some of my own attitudes for the better.

She told me that she hadn’t ever had that conversation with him because he had never actually asked her out or told her that he wanted to be more than friends. I asked her if she thought it wasn’t a bit cruel not to put him out of his misery anyway and I’ll paraphrase her response since I don’t remember it word for word:

“It seems presumptious to assume that he likes me. If he actually does ask me out then I’ll tell him no and try to be gentle about it but until he does then no, I’m not being cruel. Its not on me to guess his intentions based on hints which might not even really be hints anyway. If he can’t ask me a direct question then whatever pain he is feeling is on him, not me.”

So in the context of this thread, if a man doesn’t directly ask a woman out then no, it isn’t her responsibility to answer a question that hasn’t been asked and I agree that its entirely reasonable that she makes her lack of interest known through other means that some might call hints. As per the conversation I summarised if the man can’t pick up on those clues but also doesn’t, well, man up and ask her then thats on him.

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Kenneth has stated that it was a ‘tongue-in-cheek’ response. Ie: He wasn’t serious.

He has stated that here, yes. That is not at all how the comment actually reads, though.

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Because, quite honestly, I am growing increasingly frustrated with having to add a ten page disclaimer to posts about how generalizing doesn’t actually work, how no two people are fully alike, how a small group is not necessarily representative of a larger group etc. etc. ad infinitum.

The common joke has always been that men are a little dense when it comes to subtle hints; that we take what is said for actually being what is meant. And it does hold some level of truth to it, but that’s because all humans will at one point or another be told something and, gasp, think what they are told is what is meant, not some secret deeper meaning one has to suss out first.

That is all.

I do stand by the general statement that dropping vague hints when you want to tell someone something is a bad idea, though. Expecting the recipient of a message to realize there’s a deeper intended meaning than what is said is the stuff of spy novels. Maybe I am naive in how other people react, but being told, “Sorry dude, I’m just not that into you” would for me work way better than checks story being sent a picture of the woman in question in a beautiful white dress which may or may not be obvious to ME as being a wedding dress. If I look at the picture and think it’s a cocktail dress or just, I dunno, a white dress - then the message that she wants me to leave her alone is entirely lost and it instead starts looking like she wants to be asked out on a date at a fancy restaurant.

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I will say this. The problem with text is that the inflection can be sometimes lost in the translation. When you’re talking to someone on the phone or face to face you can hear it in their voice, most of the time anyway, what they’re trying to get across. But words on a screen are just that. Which is why the /s tag on comments is so important. I mean I have friends I’ve known for decades and even I’ve misread them sometimes when we were texting.

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If you struggle with understanding how subtext works, maybe writing comments that rely on subtext is not going to be one of your strengths?

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No, you just find a way to let it go. I wouldn’t take offense at your suggestion that women be direct when expressing a non interest in a person flirting. I’ve always been a direct woman, and I’ve been called names and yelled at too. My response each time was “I just said I’m not interested. If you’re insulted by that you have to deal with it” end of that encounter.
But I digress. Find a way to let it roll off your back. Don’t reply. You ever heard the phrase, “me thinks thou doth protest too much”? To try and defend yourself against those who have already placed judgment on you is fruitless.
It only causes tempers to increase and get to the point of arguing in a way that confirms their judgment. It’s best to find that inner “sticks and stones” strength and let it go.
You have a right to express your opinion. As long as you aren’t breaking terms of service or violating the commenting guidelines and rules for being polite, you can opine away.
Let the other person get banned for creating a hostile environment, or have their comments deleted, and just general trouble for flaming another user.
I understand your feelings, and I’m not invalidating your feelings of right or wrong, I’m just suggesting you find a way to not let it bother you.
These are people behind a computer, a person you’ll never meet. Does it really matter what they say? Their opinion isn’t very important at the end of the day.

And yes ladies, let’s be more direct when rebuffing a flirt we are not interested in.

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“The lady doth protest too much, methinks”? Who do you think is overacting in an insincere way?

Thankyou for confirming that being insulted and yelled at is not an uncommon reaction. It’s nice for you that you are unaffected by it; but most people have rather stronger responses to that sort of escalation, and it is not a character weakness to be affected by it and unwilling to risk it.

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Indirect refusals are a means of protection. Insults aren’t the worst possible outcome. People make the choice to be direct or indirect based on their evaluation of the situation - is the risk (that he’s one of the ones who will turn to murder) worth the reward (getting to tell someone unambiguously to leave you alone)? Sure, the chances are very small, but they can be devastating. A nuclear reactor has only the tiniest of chances of melting down, but we still consider it to be extremely risky because of the consequences if it does.

And most men are fully capable of understanding indirect refusals in non-sexual situations. If a man tells his boss that he wants to discuss something and the boss says, “it’s getting late”, that is an indirect refusal and it is usually understood.

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More on indirect refusals:

Mythcommunication: It’s Not That They Don’t Understand, They Just Don’t Like The Answer

Summary: Indirect refusals are how our society communicates ‘no’ in virtually every situation, not just dating. Men are perfectly capable of understanding it. So it’s ridiculous to suggest that the problem of unwanted male attention will be solved by women breaching social norms by being more direct in this one circumstance.

(Obviously there are men and women who struggle with indirect refusals generally, but they are a minority)

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Well this certainly took off.

Are there similar sites collecting stories of all the store clerks that got shot for enforcing the mask mandate, I wonder?

Why do women react badly to your comments, I wonder?