inappropriate male attention

Posted on June 11, 2010

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Today I ran into a friend on the street and we were talking about having received inappropriate male attention and the different ways to deal with it.  I was telling her that in my book I talk about non-escalatory communication.  I was also saying that getting older has helped because it has also allowed me to accumulate the personal power I’ve needed to draw boundaries.

And then I thought of the other side of the coin, which is certain things in my own behavior that I may be unconscious of.  The thing is, a lot of times women (as well as pretty much everybody) are unaware of the non-verbal cues they’re making during a conversation.  For example, a week or two ago some guy I was chatting with at a bar pointed out that I was batting my eye lashes a lot during our conversation.  I found this really interesting b/c this is undoubtedly a flirty move and at the same time I am also undoubtedly unattracted to this person.  Obviously my behavior was unconscious and I wondered why I would do such a thing.  After giving it a little thought I realized it was because I was nervous.  I was nervous because I was some place unfamiliar with people I didn’t know so well.  I thought about it more and decided that it was likely that if I was feeling unsure of myself or insecure in any way I would most likely compensate by trying to be charming.  This phenomena can also be called people pleasing.

I said to myself, I could easily see how a man could misinterpret my behavior and act in a way that could make me feel horribly uncomfortable.  And I could see how that reaction (of being horribly uncomfortable) could be very confusing at best or at worst shaming to him.  And the bottom line of all of this is “big misunderstanding.”  and even farther beyond the bottom line is that most people aren’t going to be able to tune into unconscious behaviors let alone articulate them really slick.  As a result men and women continue to go around and around the same old loop feeling like the other is being ridiculous.