Am I unreasonable?

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-24-2006
Am I unreasonable?
140
Sat, 08-18-2012 - 3:51am
So this kind of scenario happens often where I live. I will be out somewhere in public and some random stranger, nearly always male, will say hello or otherwise attempt to engage me in conversation. I will respond minimally, if at all, and nine times out of ten the person who spoke to me berates me for being rude.

I think they are the one who was being rude by trying to engage me in conversation when it was completely uninvited and unprovoked. I think it's rude to do so with the expectation of full reciprocation. I think if you are going to randomly try to chat up strangers you should be able to accept that they may not always WANT to talk to you, and may not appreciate feeling forced to. I am not an outgoing person. I especially do not feel comfortable around men having been a victim of rape and sexual assault several times. It takes a lot for me to trust people, and being addressed by a stranger feels like an invasion of my personal space and is frankly kind of scary. I once had a guy follow me off a bus and for several blocks, yelling at me for not responding to him. (I had headphones on, but I didn't want to talk to him anyway.)

One might say, well how hard is it to just say hi back? Well, sometimes when you do they take it as an invitation to engage you further, and I have no desire to encourage that. To turn it around, how hard is it to leave someone alone if they obviously don't want to talk to you? It really makes me not want to ever leave the house.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Mon, 08-27-2012 - 10:23pm

I end up having to endlessly defend and explain my background.

That has not been something I have witnessed on that board. Anyone is free to explain and/or defend but it is not something that "has to be done". 0.02 But I agree that debate board is not a good place to assume support. You must ask for it. There are several breastfeeding support boards on iVillage.

I still maintain that saying "how are you" to a stranger is not rude.

Which is fine. It is your opinion. My opinion is that it can be rude, but it is not always rude. Similarly, not responding to "how are you" can be rude, but it is not always rude.

I think it is reasonable in any debate on iVillage to expect not to be accused of needing therapy, or being autistic, narcissistic, or any other mental illness. I am a little surprised that it is not against the TOS.

Imagine, if you will, that Poster A says something positive about the appearance of someone of the same sex, a movie star, let's say Ellen. Poster B says that the comment indicates that Poster A might be gay. Poster A, says no, I'm not. Poster B says, well you must be otherwise you wound't have said what you said. Poster C says, yeah, Poster B is right. Poster A must be gay, she just doesn't know it.

I seriously doubt that it would be OK. Apparently autism and narcissism are not protected classes the way homosexuality is on iVillage.

You say potato. I say potato.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-22-2007
Mon, 08-27-2012 - 9:50pm

>>Fortunately, several different posters have been supportive and helpful. Unfortunately, you have allied more with the damaging posts than with the helpful ones. Fortunately, the OP is stronger than you give her credit for, as evidenced by her insightful responses to ignorant remarks. <<

I hear you....and you make a fair point.    Though to be fair, the OP did post her opinion on a debate board in order to be debated.

That being said, I don't write on the Breastfeeding Debate board anymore because it ends up in much the same way for me.  I end up having to endlessly defend and explain my background.  Let me tell you, I learned the hard way that if I needed support for not being able to breastfeed..and my resulting lack of passion for breastfeeding....the BF Debate board was not a place to be.   I'd be much better off on a support board.   As has been said in this thread, nobody really knows the experience another has been through...and this was clearly evidenced by those who had different experiences to me.

As a matter of debate, I still maintain that saying "how are you" to a stranger is not rude.     However, if Age wants support instead of debate, I'll happily switch to matters of faking it in public and the least confronting ways of dealing with strangers.     

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-22-2007
Mon, 08-27-2012 - 9:33pm

I think it's important to react in a manner in which we feel comfortable.    If someone feels comfortable putting a rude person in their place, then I see nothing wrong with that.   And like the incident I described when we were canvassing locals, the passerby putting our newby in their place over saying "rude b*tch" stopped them from saying it again to someone else.  

However, there's nothing wrong with walking away from rudeness either.  Especially when safety is involved.   I'd certainly choose to walk away if I was in an isolated area!

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-17-2003
Mon, 08-27-2012 - 8:40pm

IDK true, is bullying really the issue? Maybe. I am thinking if she stood up to this guy, who followed her and harassed her, his reaction cold have been extreme. I am not trying to be an alarmist here, I am just not sure that is a situation I would stand up for myself. I think my main concern would be getting away from the guy.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-17-2003
Mon, 08-27-2012 - 8:36pm

IOW several posters in this thread have replied in damaging ways to the OP. Some have insisted that she "needs help", or that she must be autistic, or that she is unreasonable, narcissistic, lacking in basic civility or rude and they have been insistent that they know better than she does.

ITA

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-17-2003
Mon, 08-27-2012 - 8:33pm

sigh ... well, apparently, I am not clear. I really do understand what you are saying. I was describing someone who huffs and puffs so, I assumed you were referencing that in your reply about bullies.

I agree with you if someone is openly attacking one verbally.  I would stand up for myself as well, most likely. Sometimes it's just best to let it go. 

I have certainly been in the position age describes, at least as far as feeling someone was intrusive and not really wanting to be bothered. I've felt, at times, by being civil, or whatever you want to call it, only encourages them.

lol .. not too long ago I was at the playground with my youngest. I was reading when some guy came up and started talking about books. I was polite, stuck my nose in my book and he, kept talking. At one point, he sat down .... he would not leave. OTOH, if I say hi to a stranger and they don't respond, I really don't think that much of it. Maybe because I am a New Englander, idk.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-11-2006
Mon, 08-27-2012 - 7:38pm

But you haven't stood up for the "OP who [allegedly] cannot stand up for herself"!

The following is a paragraph by EL Schmookler, PhD from this link: http://amsterdam.park.org/Guests/Stream/trauma_manual.htm

* Sometimes people need to be left alone. We should never force help on people who have already been forced to do things by other people. We should help people only when they want help. Sometimes people are unready to face what has happened to them, or to experience their own feelings, or to talk about what has happened. It is always important to respect people's healing process. Each person needs to heal in her own way in her own time. Some need to feel, some need to remain numb. The best approach, when you are uncertain about what a person wants is to ask. It is always good to ask people's permission to talk about what happened, to talk about their feelings, or to help them in any way. It is almost always damaging to people to insist that you know what they need better than they do.

IOW several posters in this thread have replied in damaging ways to the OP. Some have insisted that she "needs help", or that she must be autistic, or that she is unreasonable, narcissistic, lacking in basic civility or rude and they have been insistent that they know better than she does.

Fortunately, several different posters have been supportive and helpful. Unfortunately, you have allied more with the damaging posts than with the helpful ones. Fortunately, the OP is stronger than you give her credit for, as evidenced by her insightful responses to ignorant remarks.

Unfortunately, he missed the haystack,... oops, momentary lapse of reason.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-22-2007
Mon, 08-27-2012 - 6:06pm

On the subject of standing up to bullies....and completly on topic with the OP's question....

I'm part of a residents action group which is fighting massive overdevelopment in our area.   When we have need to be active, we set up outside the local flea markets and talk to strangers about our cause.  And I may add, we're very successful.

Anyway, when I approach passers by, I'm used to being ignored.   I accept this because I realise that not everyone wants to stop and speak with us.   But a newby to our group was ignored early on and she muttered "rude b!tch" to the passerby.   The passerby turned around and called the newby on what she'd just said.   The newby crumpled and said "nothing" and to my knowledge has never said "rude b!tch" to any one else ignoring her.

Sometimes, standing up to people really CAN make a difference.   They can make a difference for people like the OP who cannot stand up for herself.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-22-2007
Mon, 08-27-2012 - 5:50pm

>>Truthfully, I would think if someone needs to acknowledge a person who huffs and puffs because they cannot get through a door fast enough, I would think that person has self esteem issues or anger issues and probably needs to learn to let some things go.<<

Sigh.  I'm working at being really clear, but apparently my messages are not clear enough.    I do not bother with someone who huffs and puffs.  A huffer and puffer is insignificant and not worthy of acknowledgement.  

I'm talking about letting my thoughts fly at someone who openly uses words to insult/attack me or mine, completely unprovoked, for being too slow due to reasons we cannot help.   

And for what it's worth, in many years of being in the community, this has happened maybe two or three times ever.   Most people are patient and friendly and a joy to be around. 

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-17-2003
Mon, 08-27-2012 - 7:36am

Of course, I was using an example of "bullies" as to mimic your example. But, it's not always a bully, as I said earlier.

You can stand up to bullies if you want and I suppose sometimes that is necessary.  Usually, I don't find it necessary to spout off to people unless I feel threatened or in danger. ... The point is .... really, you cannot judge another situation because you are not there. If age feels unsafe, for whatever reason, she feels unsafe. It is not up to the greeter to judge what is going on with age or anyone else.

Truthfully, I would think if someone needs to acknowledge a person who huffs and puffs because they cannot get through a door fast enough, I would think that person has self esteem issues or anger issues and probably needs to learn to let some things go.

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