Creeping everyone out no matter what I do.

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Post by celette482 on Fri Feb 20, 2015 6:03 pm

Ahhh this reminds me of the time I was vomiting from a migraine on the streets of Kiev in the middle of the afternoon and terrified because I don't speak Russian or Ukranian and wasn't really sure if I wanted help or not.

But, let's be real. Sometimes people DO treat "different" as creepy. No, I don't think that most women's definition of creepy behavior means "person with obvious disabilities, standing there bein' differ'nt at me," but people can be total douchebags to those with the temerity to be "different" in public.
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Post by Guest on Fri Feb 20, 2015 6:39 pm

Wondering wrote:
None of that stops people from calling 911, though. Mall security in Atlach's case should have called the mall medical team, or 911 if there was no medical team.

I believe that my state has a Good Samaritan protection law so that you're not allowed to sue someone who helps you in a way that doesn't exceed their ability. Like, they can't do surgery on you if they're not a surgeon, but they can help you up.

Oh for sure, I wholeheartedly agree. Nobody is stopping anyone from dialing 911, but sometimes people's initial response just isn't to dial 911, unfortunately. :\

I also think California may have a Good Samaritan law though, I'm not sure. I'd be surprised if we didn't though. Uh-oh

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Post by AtlachNacha on Fri Feb 20, 2015 7:25 pm

Texas does, in fact, have a good samaritan law, as does California. I seem to remember California's having a 'duty to assist' clause or something, meaning people are actually liable if they DON'T help, but that could have been a different state. It sounds like a good thing to me.

celette482 wrote:Ahhh this reminds me of the time I was vomiting from a migraine on the streets of Kiev in the middle of the afternoon and terrified because I don't speak Russian or Ukranian and wasn't really sure if I wanted help or not..

That sounds like a nightmare. Shocked

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Post by AtlachNacha on Sat Feb 21, 2015 12:42 pm

Ok so I complimented this girl's hair (becuse it was really awesome this betty page kinda thing only all gravity defying and bright red and awesome) and she gave me this big smile and said thanks but i know she thought i was a creep because everyone thinks i'm a creep so i collapsed again and now i don't know what to do and the police are probably looking for 'some creepy guy ina top hat' and i shouldn't have done that that was awful i shouldn't have bothered her why do i keep having this urge to actually talk to people it's disgusting i should just leave everyone alone i should know better i've gotten screamed at for saying things like that before i should KNOW BETRTER she was just smiling and saying thanks because she thought i would beat her to death if she did anything else wasn't she i should know better how do i stop help how do i stop wanting to talk to people i only disgust them it's wrongi should just lock myself in my room how do it stpo peleas heeklp how mcuhh does na institution cost does anyone know what if i don't have insurance is there yway?

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Post by reboot on Sat Feb 21, 2015 12:57 pm

Um, dude. Women generally do not smile and say thank you at the compliments of creeps. That is your jerkbrain talking. No the cops are not looking for you.
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Post by Enail on Sat Feb 21, 2015 1:19 pm

AtlachNacha, take a breath, step back from yourself a little, try to remind yourself that your feelings and the outside world are not the same thing. You have severe anxiety about being perceived as a creep, that's something you know about your feelings, right? So you know that when you react this way, it can be because that's something your brain does, and it doesn't necessarily mean anything about the situation you're in. Right? Like Reboot said, that's your jerkbrain talking.

When you feel a little calmer and can look at what happened without it making you go straight into panic mode, you can look at what happened in that experience. Some thoughts:

-You complimented someone on her hair, which was something she obviously put a lot of thought and effort into making eye-catching - that's a good aspect of appearance to compliment! People generally feel more comfortable being complimented by strangers on things to do with their choices and their efforts than about their body or their natural features.

-You got a positive response to it. She gave you a big smile and said thank you, those are signs she was okay with and appreciated it.

-At some point after that, your anxiety flared up, even though you recognized that you received positive cues counter to your anxious thoughts. Do you have a sense of what triggered that?
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Post by AtlachNacha on Sat Feb 21, 2015 1:20 pm

1 klonopin tablet later:

Here's my problem, as rationally stated as i can manage right now. I had no way of knowing she would NOT be creeped out by it, and a combination of past experiences and things read would seem to indicate she would be creeped out by it, and that her reaction was not in fact an indicator either way:

1. It was a compliment on her appearance, which i've gathered is bad?

2. it was outside the context of any other interaction, and in public (a bookstore) while she was int he middle of something else (browsing the clearance table)

3. I'm given to understand women sometimes pretend to not be bothered if feeling threatened so as not to escalate the situation? or it could have been a 'polite' smile. her hair was in her eyes a bit, i couldn't see if the duchenne thing was happening.

So whether or not she actually WAS creeped out is irrelevant right now, I had no way of knowing that my actions would turn out alright, and reason to beleive (if i'd thought about it) that they wouldn't, but still did it anyway, which feels immoral, like I voluntarily disregarded any potential for harm. I feel like a horrible and inconsiderate person.

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Post by Prajnaparamita on Sat Feb 21, 2015 1:24 pm

Hey Atlach--I don't know how much comfort I'm going to be able to provide in this moment because you seem pretty agitated and I know there isn't much I can do from a distance but I want you to know if I was there right now I'd be giving you a big hug and preparing you a cup of tea if you'd want but for now jedi hugs will just have to do. Let's see what we can try to do at the moment to help you calm down.

AtlachNacha wrote:Ok so I complimented this girl's hair (becuse it was really awesome this betty page kinda thing only all gravity defying and bright red and awesome) and she gave me this big smile and said thanks

You know what? This is really nice and I'm pretty sure did not come off as creepy at all. Creepy is things like "hey babe" or "nice tits" or so on, just the generic harassing a woman on the street just for the heck of it. Complimenting someone on something specific for the most part doesn't come off as creepy, it comes off as acknowledging the other person for something I believe they're proud of and want people to notice (espcially seeing as this sounds like a rather elaborate 'do.)


but i know she thought i was a creep because everyone thinks i'm a creep

No you don't. I know this is really hard to hear right now, because you've been getting so many shitty negative messages from others, but it sounds like she was legitimately flattered by your attention. Not everyone thinks you're a creep. We certainly don't here. Here's the facts of it, you're far too self-aware to be a creep. Creeps and harassers and those who push boundaries come from a conscious mindset of "others exist for my pleasure and I'm free to do whatever I want to get that from them." And I don't get that from you at all. You're very aware of the effect you have on others and you don't want it to be like this, you want to change and interact with people better. A creep wouldn't care or would revel in it.


so i collapsed again and now i don't know what to do

Okay, so I'm getting worried about this, because this is seriously interfering with your ability to function and making it harder and harder for you to get out and feel confident in the world, which makes perfect sense. I'm not going to call it psychosomatic, because I'm sorry, the brain is directly connected to the nervous system and what affects one affects the other. (That being said, when I was 17, I had a nervous breakdown where I started falling down from sudden dizzy spells until it got bad enough that I spent a couple weeks barely able to get up into a sitting position at its worst or walk straight in general and even when it faded for about a year afterwards I would get dizzy whenever I was acutely anxious. Man, I basically blocked that out from my memory... You're not alone.)

I believe benzodiazepines to be the pills of the devil because of their potential to destroy lives (please don't freak out about that right now, I just believe the pharmaceutical industry has a lot to answer to in how they pushed them and covered up the addiction potential), but they can be used responsibly and become a valuable, if temporary tool, in being able to function. Right now it seems when it gets bad you need something that can just shut the panic down so you can get yourself to a safe place, and I think having a Xanax in your back pocket might be able to give you the reassurance (even if you don't take it) that things don't have to get so bad that you're collapsing on the ground. Which I think might make getting out in public a lot easier.


and the police are probably looking for 'some creepy guy ina  top hat' and i shouldn't have done that that was awful i shouldn't have bothered her why do i keep having this urge to actually talk to people it's disgusting i should just leave everyone alone i should know better i've gotten screamed at for saying things like that before i should KNOW BETRTER she was just smiling and saying thanks because she thought i would beat her to death if she did anything else wasn't she i should know better how do i stop help how do i stop wanting to talk to people i only disgust them it's wrongi should just lock myself in my room how do it stpo peleas heeklp how mcuhh does na institution cost does anyone know what if i don't have insurance is there yway?

Okay, I really don't know what I can possibly say to this right now because you just sound like you're in so much pain and fear at the moment, and I know what just telling someone to calm down does--nothing. But the police aren't coming after you, and she was genuinely flattered. I think potentially even more so, because it sounded from your description that she had something of an edgy hairstyle, and getting a compliment from someone else who is counterculture probably meant a lot, because what do you bet that she gets shit from people about her hair too?

If by an institution you're talking about temporary psychiatric hospitalization (and I'm not sure how much you really want me to engage you on this because it sounds like you just need to be provided with some comfort and reassurance, and talk you down from your fears) that sounds like the last thing you need. Psych wards are temporary holding tanks for those in a state of emergency, they're not places of healing--that comes after. Permanent mental health institutions don't exist anymore, they started getting dismantled in the 80s and are basically illegal now. But it sounds like right now what you don't want is that, what you want is some way to feel okay in yourself and your interactions with the world and not be so frightened of what others think/say/are going to do to you. And as much as I wish I could, I can't just say its all going to be okay, because I am neither omniscient nor omnipotent or have any kind of power at all. But I can tell you this--you are a good person, even from these limited interactions online, and I'm so sorry others are unable to see you that way. And that's fundamentally all that matters in the end, because no one can take that away from you.

We're here to listen to you and help you as best we can. Please, if it is at all possible, remember that and try not to be so angry at yourself right now. Once again, jedi hugs?
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Post by Prajnaparamita on Sat Feb 21, 2015 1:42 pm

Okay, I'm just going to reiterate some of the things I just said because I didn't see your new post before posting and I think you could afford to hear it again.

AtlachNacha wrote:1 klonopin tablet later:
1. It was a compliment on her appearance, which i've gathered is bad?

There is a different between catcalling/harassing and genuinely paying someone a complement, and it boils down to this--catcalling/harassing is about showing someone that their body is for your consumption/enjoyment and by virtue of them just being outside you get a right to judge it. That's the problem with "hey beautiful!" and "smile!" its from an attitude of "you're here for my pleasure and I'm going to make that clear to you" (that's the ones that aren't outright harassment at least). However, saying things like "I really like your shirt" or "your hair is awesome" in a sincere, polite way (like maybe not shouting it as you drive by or something?) is recognizing them as a person because you are complimenting them on something that they likely chose for themselves to represent their style and who they are. You're recognizing them as a person, not treating them as a thing. And you're showing that you've noticed something about them that makes the awesome and different from others, and want them to know that. Its reaffirming. Does that make any sense?


2. it was outside the context of any other interaction, and in public (a bookstore) while she was int he middle of something else (browsing the clearance table)

Ehhh, bookstores aren't a terrible place to talk to people. As long as they don't have their nose directly in a book, its a place where people come together around a common interest, and it isn't bad to approach someone who's looking at book from your favorite fantasy series and be like "Oh, is that [book I like] I love that book!" If they don't respond you can just move on, but they might also be interested in fangirl/boy-ing with you over finding someone else who is into that series too.


3. I'm given to understand women sometimes pretend to not be bothered if feeling threatened so as not to escalate the situation? or it could have been a 'polite' smile. her hair was in her eyes a bit, i couldn't see if the duchenne thing was happening.

When I'm pretending to not be bothered I have a neutral expression on my face and try to engage as little as possible so not to encourage them to continue talking to me when mentally giving them the middle finger. When I'm flattered I give a genuine smile, I can't help it. I don't know, that's just me.
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Post by Enail on Sat Feb 21, 2015 2:36 pm

AtlachNacha wrote:1 klonopin tablet later:

Here's my problem, as rationally stated as i can manage right now. I had no way of knowing she would NOT be creeped out by it, and a combination of past experiences and things read would seem to indicate she would be creeped out by it, and that her reaction was not in fact an indicator either way:

1. It was a compliment on her appearance, which i've gathered is bad?

Prajna already said it, but just to second that: compliments on an aspect of someone's appearance that they chose and that don't relate to the more sexualized body parts are generally considered safe and good!

AtlachNacha wrote:
2. it was outside the context of any other interaction, and in public (a bookstore) while she was int he middle of something else (browsing the clearance table)

Browsing in a bookstore is actually a pretty decent situation to give someone a brief compliment. She's probably not there specifically to be social, but she's engaged in a meandering sort of activity, so probably not actively on a mission to get shit done, more likely to be open to interaction. That it was in public is a good thing, because other people around means safety, and in a place where it would be easy for her to get away if she was uncomfortable. That's good!  

AtlachNacha wrote:
3. I'm given to understand women sometimes pretend to not be bothered if feeling threatened so as not to escalate the situation? or it could have been a 'polite' smile. her hair was in her eyes a bit, i couldn't see if the duchenne thing was happening.

That's true, but you described it as a big smile, which is not generally just a polite smile. You can't know for sure, of course, but it sounds like the most likely interpretation is that she found it a-okay.

AtlachNacha wrote:
So whether or not she actually WAS creeped out is irrelevant right now, I had no way of knowing that my actions would turn out alright, and reason to beleive (if i'd thought about it) that they wouldn't, but still did it anyway, which feels immoral, like I voluntarily disregarded any potential for harm. I feel like a horrible and inconsiderate person.

It sounds to me like your initial instincts are actually pretty good. That was an appropriate, considerate way to speak to a stranger.  You had no way of knowing your actions would turn out alright - no one ever knows for sure that their actions will turn out alright - but your actions were well within social acceptability and the "don't be a creeper" recommendations I've seen, and that's the best anyone can do.

And even if you had made her uncomfortable - I don't think you did, but if you had - you kept the interaction brief and in a situation that was pretty safe for her (other people around, easy for her to leave), so any discomfort she experienced would have been very mild. That's not something worthy of feeling horrible for, that's a disproportionate reaction.

That said, if giving women compliments is often this stressful for you, maybe it would be better for you to work on less stressful interactions until you've got more comfort with those? To be really clear, that's not for the sake of the women you'd hypothetically be complimenting, because it sounds like that part's totally fine, but for your sake. It's okay to take things slow and look after your well-being first.
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Post by AtlachNacha on Sat Feb 21, 2015 2:39 pm

OK, this stuff works REALLY WELL. I don't feel dizzy or inhibited the way I did with Lexapro, but everyhting just seems... less, and i can think a bit more clearly. that's really all I wanted from a pill. And it doesn't seem to be giving me gas like lexapro did so there's that going for it too.

I'm once again a little overwhelmed by all the kindness here, i'm not sure I fully understand why everyone's going to the trouble... but thank you.

Prajnaparamita wrote:
There is a different between catcalling/harassing and genuinely paying someone a complement, and it boils down to this--catcalling/harassing is about showing someone that their body is for your consumption/enjoyment and by virtue of them just being outside you get a right to judge it. That's the problem with "hey beautiful!" and "smile!" its from an attitude of "you're here for my pleasure and I'm going to make that clear to you" (that's the ones that aren't outright harassment at least). However, saying things like "I really like your shirt" or "your hair is awesome" in a sincere, polite way (like maybe not shouting it as you drive by or something?) is recognizing them as a person because you are complimenting them on something that they likely chose for themselves to represent their style and who they are. You're recognizing them as a person, not treating them as a thing. And you're showing that you've noticed something about them that makes the awesome and different from others, and want them to know that. Its reaffirming. Does that make any sense?

Enail wrote:-You complimented someone on her hair, which was something she obviously put a lot of thought and effort into making eye-catching - that's a good aspect of appearance to compliment! People generally feel more comfortable being complimented by strangers on things to do with their choices and their efforts than about their body or their natural features.

This makes me feel a bit better about it, and this has usually been my policy before; always something they seem to have consciously put effort into. it's just that I've seen/had bad reactions to it before... I once saw a blog post where someone ranted for several paragraphs about 'creepy old guys hitting on her' because a guy said 'i like your batman shirt.' and then did not interact with her in any other way. And have seen several feminist blogs with posts literally flat out saying that it is not acceptable for a man to talk to a woman he does not know ever, or only if he gets SOIs from her first, or not if you aren't conventionally attractive/conventionally dressed... and... so... yeah. frightening.

Prajnaparamita wrote:
Ehhh, bookstores aren't a terrible place to talk to people. As long as they don't have their nose directly in a book, its a place where people come together around a common interest, and it isn't bad to approach someone who's looking at book from your favorite fantasy series and be like "Oh, is that [book I like] I love that book!" If they don't respond you can just move on, but they might also be interested in fangirl/boy-ing with you over finding someone else who is into that series too.

OK, I was pretty much under the impression that I wasn't supposed to interact outside of specifically designated areas (if at all) and that stores were not those, so this is new information. If both of you and my therapist are saying I didn't do anything really wrong, then I guess I didn't do anything wrong, but... what if she HAD reacted badly? That's basically the main sticking point here, is, there was a risk of that happening and I feel bad for taking a risk with someone else's feelings, and, how do I deal with it if it does go bad? it's difficult to apologize with pepper spray in my face or after she has already run screaming, and I'm still not convinced an apology would be worth anything in that situation anyway.

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Post by UristMcBunny on Sat Feb 21, 2015 3:00 pm

Okay, I think right now, although you're calmer and thinking more clearly, there is still a lot of major jerkbrain thinking muddled in with the rest of your thought processes - it's not outright lying to you, but it is exaggerating things quite severely.

I'm going to try and address a few of the things you've said.

Firstly, please don't worry that a mild, friendly and non-sexual compliment like you gave the lady today is a bad thing. Speaking as one of the feminists who does talk about creepy behaviour and unwanted advances online... the description you've given for your actions doesn't qualify at all.

Secondly, when we say certain places aren't good places to approach someone, we're trying to lay down some simple ground rules for the people who Really Don't Get It. It's rarely about absolutes. It's not "never do this" it's "this specific scenario is weighted heavily towards them not wanting your attention and you coming across badly". It's "if you claim to be completely unable to read or understand the signals women send related to interest/willingness to chat then stick to spaces where human interaction is an expected norm" and "if you are able to read and understand signals, pay attention to those and consider the environment at the same time".

So your timing, your location and your specific choice of compliment were all totally fine.

But mainly, remember this. If you actually did creep her out when you complimented her, the chances of you getting maced in a bookshop for complimenting someone's hair is astronomically small. I know comedy movies tend to show the shlubby main character asking someone for the time of day and getting violently maced for comedic effect as though this is A Thing. But honestly? By far the most likely reaction you would've gotten is stony silence and her quietly finding a way to move away. If you are genuinely coming across as physically threatening, people aren't going to attack you in the event you make them feel uncomfortable.

Now that said, your concern for causing someone else discomfort in general is a fine thing, and indicative that you're a good, well-meaning person. Right now, your ability to make clear judgements on that in your favour is diminished because of the extreme and negative history you have with other people's treatment and judgement of you.

Your action today actually was a good thing for you - you engaged in a small, limited amount of friendly interaction with a stranger and it didn't go badly. You had a panic attack afterwards, which is understandable given the situation you're in. The trick is to learn from this. It might help to try and analyse the situation without considering what-ifs. Some things to think about, regarding your reaction and the interaction:

1- What was good about the interaction you had? Concretely, speaking.
2- How did you feel when you spoke to her?
3- How did you feel immediately after the interaction ended?
4- What fears did you have prior to and during the event? What fears did you have afterwards?
5- If you were to try the same approach again, what would you do differently? What would stay the same?

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Post by The Wisp on Sat Feb 21, 2015 3:04 pm

AtlachNacha wrote:OK, this stuff works REALLY WELL. I don't feel dizzy or inhibited the way I did with Lexapro, but everyhting just seems... less, and i can think a bit more clearly. that's really all I wanted from a pill. And it doesn't seem to be giving me gas like lexapro did so there's that going for it too.

I think everybody else is being much more helpful than I could possibly be. I just want to reiterate (I think Prajna pointed this out) that you have to be careful with meds like Klonopin, as they're addictive if you overuse them (like multiple times a day). But, as long as you're careful, they can be a helpful tool to deal with anxiety. I'm glad you're finding it helpful!
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Post by Prajnaparamita on Sat Feb 21, 2015 3:33 pm

AtlachNacha wrote:OK, this stuff works REALLY WELL. I don't feel dizzy or inhibited the way I did with Lexapro, but everyhting just seems... less, and i can think a bit more clearly. that's really all I wanted from a pill. And it doesn't seem to be giving me gas like lexapro did so there's that going for it too.

Remember what I said about devil pills? DEVIL PILLS. Benzos aren't addictive the way crack or meth is, there's no euphoric dopamine rush that comes with them. But for those who have panic disorder/GAD, it might as well be the same thing, because the first time I ever took Xanax I think it was perhaps the most wonderful experience I had ever known, because all of a sudden this anxiety that had just been a constance presence in my life slipped away and I just felt so peaceful and free and just like any other normal human being who doesn't have to live with this and if that isn't euphoria I don't know what is. Anywaaaay, I never ended up an addict but there was a time I came damn close, waking up at 3 am every single night like clockwork because I just needed that next dose. I don't mean to get into horror stories, but benzos can kill you. Literally. I don't mean destroy your life, I mean that detoxing off them can cause lethal seizures. And no other drug really does that, and there's nothing they can do to stop that if it starts happening. I've met benzo addicts during my time in the system, just... Don't. I know I'm a hypocrite, because I cope with Klonopine sometimes too, but that's after being away from those drugs for a long time, and knowing my limits and when I'm really in crisis at lot more.

Okay, rant over. And the end of the day you know yourself best and what you need to get though the day and take care of yourself.


I'm once again a little overwhelmed by all the kindness here, i'm not sure I fully understand why everyone's going to the trouble... but thank you.

Please don't worry about it, I've come here at my worst and received support and I try to do the same for others who come honestly seeking assistance. That's what we're here for. And I'm sure you'll be able to give back and provide empathy to others who need it too in time.


This makes me feel a bit better about it, and this has usually been my policy before; always something they seem to have consciously put effort into. it's just that I've seen/had bad reactions to it before... I once saw a blog post where someone ranted for several paragraphs about 'creepy old guys hitting on her' because a guy said 'i like your batman shirt.' and then did not interact with her in any other way.  And have seen several feminist blogs with posts literally flat out saying that it is not acceptable for a man to talk to a woman he does not know ever, or only if he gets SOIs from her first, or not if you aren't conventionally attractive/conventionally dressed... and... so... yeah. frightening.

If I could make up a mantra to repeat in regards to some of the issues you are facing, it would be this: "SOME PEOPLE ARE JERKS, JERKY JERKY JEEEERKS!!!" I don't want to belittle other people's experiences and their comfort levels, because they probably have their own histories and reasons why they believe what they do, but they are pretty much the minority. Their voices can get magnified beyond their actual numbers because what they're saying plays into our insecurities, but they don't get to decide how everyone else, once they have carefully thought through their actions, considered how they might effect others, and worked to be aware of how they are behaving, decide how to act. I don't mind if people give me a polite, honest compliment or attempt to strike up a conversation for the most part--it gets me out of my head and back into the world. If I don't seem to really engage its often because I'm thinking "Oh my god did someone just talk to me ahh they just spoke to me what do I say in response that isn't going to sound stupid dammit social anxiety don't do this to me right now oh shit the moment has passed god this is so awkward for both of us I could have had a nice conversation and met someone new now the moment has passed oh god this is so awkward for both of us let's just pretend nothing happened and go our own ways... Dammit." I can't say I'm the majority, but girls struggle with social anxiety too ya know! But yeah, be empathetic, be kind, be thoughtful, and screw what others who don't know you might say to judge you.


OK, I was pretty much under the impression that I wasn't supposed to interact outside of specifically designated areas (if at all) and that stores were not those, so this is new information. If both of you and my therapist are saying I didn't do anything really wrong, then I guess I didn't do anything wrong, but... what if she HAD reacted badly? That's basically the main sticking point here, is, there was a risk of that happening and I feel bad for taking a risk with someone else's feelings, and, how do I deal with it if it does go bad? it's difficult to apologize with pepper spray in my face or after she has already run screaming, and I'm still not convinced an apology would be worth anything in that situation anyway.

So I don't really think that its the case that there are specific designated areas where you can approach, and everything else is totally off limits. Its more like a sliding scale from meetups, bars and parties (absolutely!) to walking home alone (absolutely not!) and stores fit into the grey area there. I think bookstores are a lot more friendly than, say grocery stories. At a grocery store I just want to get my shopping done and over with, like many other boring but necessary life tasks, and don't want to waste time talking to strangers, while at a book store I'd be much more open to talking to people, because I'm engaging in a hobby on my own time and might want to meet people. Of course this is completely different if the person is working at said store, in which I will generally lean towards nooope because they're just trying to do their job.

And if she had reacted badly... Well, she would have reacted badly, and that would have sucked, because you don't need more negative reenforcement right now, but I don't think you intentionally did anything wrong. So if she had reacted badly, you would have apologized if you could, and then thought about ways in the future that you could improve the non-verbal cues you give off to people ever more.
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Post by The Wisp on Sat Feb 21, 2015 4:13 pm

Prajnaparamita wrote:I'm a hypocrite, because I cope with Klonopine sometimes too, but that's after being away from those drugs for a long time, and knowing my limits and when I'm really in crisis at lot more.

My rule with Ativan (which is similar to Klonopine) is that I can only take it once in a 24 hour period (it's effects last for like 4-6 hours, I don't know about other benzos). Additionally, I usually take half a mg dose even though I can take up to 1 mg, unless I'm really really anxious. I also only take a dose if I either (1) am having a panic attack that I haven't been able to come out of with mindfulness and breathing control and other non-pharmaceutical techniques, or (2) I am going to be doing something that I find highly stressful that I might not do otherwise. Finally, when I'm going through a relatively low-anxiety phase, I take a break from the drug entirely for weeks, sometimes even a month or two.

I've never been close to being addicted or dependent, or even develop habitual use.
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Post by Prajnaparamita on Sat Feb 21, 2015 4:28 pm

The Wisp wrote:
Prajnaparamita wrote:I'm a hypocrite, because I cope with Klonopine sometimes too, but that's after being away from those drugs for a long time, and knowing my limits and when I'm really in crisis at lot more.

My rule with Ativan (which is similar to Klonopine) is that I can only take it once in a 24 hour period (it's effects last for like 4-6 hours, I don't know about other benzos). Additionally, I usually take half a mg dose even though I can take up to 1 mg, unless I'm really really anxious. I also only take a dose if I either (1) am having a panic attack that I haven't been able to come out of with mindfulness and breathing control and other non-pharmaceutical techniques, or (2) I am going to be doing something that I find highly stressful that I might not do otherwise. Finally, when I'm going through a relatively low-anxiety phase, I take a break from the drug entirely for weeks, sometimes even a month or two.

I've never been close to being addicted or dependent, or even develop habitual use.

My experience with Klonopine, as well as what other's have told me, is that it has a really long half-life and stays in your body for a long time, like 8-12 hours, so after the initial calm it just kind of sticks around leaving my head feeling really fuzzy and like I'm hung over. I've had to learn that if I take Klonopine I'm going to be out of it for the rest of the day, which is sometimes just what I need, to put the brakes on everything and shut down for a bit, but it also works as a disincentive to taking it too often because I know if there's stuff I really need to do I won't be able to get it done while on Klonopine. But of course Altach, your experience may vary, I'm a very small female so biologically I'm more med sensitive, but my boyfriend took Klonopine once to work himself down from a manic and he said it made him oversleep and then feel hung over the rest of the day. Just in general though its a safer med than Xanax or Valium. It sounds like you were newly prescribed it though so I would advise in this time to pay attention to how it affects you and how long it lasts, so you can have a sense of how to use it in the future.
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Post by celette482 on Sat Feb 21, 2015 10:07 pm

AtlachNacha wrote:
I'm once again a little overwhelmed by all the kindness here, i'm not sure I fully understand why everyone's going to the trouble... but thank you.

People are being kind because you have demonstrated yourself to be a kind and thoughtful person. Remember, your response to a random internet stranger telling her story about being sick in Kiev (y'all, that wasn't much fun) was sympathy. Your response to a different random internet stranger telling about her experience collapsing in public was also sympathy. People are being kind because you are a person who has demonstrated more kindness than apparently the world thinks is necessary (see: all those people walking right past someone obviously in distress) which makes you an overall KIND person.
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Post by Prajnaparamita on Sat Feb 21, 2015 10:33 pm

celette482 wrote:
AtlachNacha wrote:
I'm once again a little overwhelmed by all the kindness here, i'm not sure I fully understand why everyone's going to the trouble... but thank you.

People are being kind because you have demonstrated yourself to be a kind and thoughtful person. Remember, your response to a random internet stranger telling her story about being sick in Kiev (y'all, that wasn't much fun) was sympathy. Your response to a different random internet stranger telling about her experience collapsing in public was also sympathy. People are being kind because you are a person who has demonstrated more kindness than apparently the world thinks is necessary (see: all those people walking right past someone obviously in distress) which makes you an overall KIND person.

To add to this, this is an advice forum. People come here ideally to give support, and receive it from others. I don't need to do this or help strangers, I just often find it rewarding, to give and receive. That being said, there are people here that will post who I will choose not to respond to, people who I find argumentative or defensive or ungrateful (or people for whom I have no context on their particular issues and I feel like there's no helpful advice I can give given my lack of experience or difference in experience.) They have every right to post here too, provided they follow the rules, but I don't feel called to expend emotional energy in trying to help them. I'm grateful others do, but I don't want to risk burnout again.

You however, as celette pointed out, are a kind and thoughtful person, so I'm inclined to want to help you based on your personality. I feel like I've struggled with similar emotional states and distortions of mood as you have, so I feel I can provide some understanding in those areas. You have articulated what you feel your problem is, and what you would like to have change, so I feel like there are concrete things we can help you work towards. In summary, I feel like I might be able to assist you, even in just a tiny way in the form of emotional support. And when you come across someone who you consider a good person who you think you might be able to provide some support for, you want to. Simple as that.
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Post by AtlachNacha on Sun Mar 01, 2015 8:26 am

UristMcBunny wrote: Speaking as one of the feminists who does talk about creepy behaviour and unwanted advances online... the description you've given for your actions doesn't qualify at all.  

Secondly, when we say certain places aren't good places to approach someone, we're trying to lay down some simple ground rules for the people who Really Don't Get It.  It's rarely about absolutes.  It's not "never do this" it's "this specific scenario is weighted heavily towards them not wanting your attention and you coming across badly".  It's "if you claim to be completely unable to read or understand the signals women send related to interest/willingness to chat then stick to spaces where human interaction is an expected norm" and "if you are able to read and understand signals, pay attention to those and consider the environment at the same time".

So your timing, your location and your specific choice of compliment were all totally fine.

The kinds of things you've been writing, and what I've been reading... have clearly not had much overlap. (I would appreciate some links, the stuff I end up reading if left to my own devices... my therapist usually finds it appalling. Her word exactly.)

Prajnaparamita wrote:
If I could make up a mantra to repeat in regards to some of the issues you are facing, it would be this: "SOME PEOPLE ARE JERKS, JERKY JERKY JEEEERKS!!!" I don't want to belittle other people's experiences and their comfort levels, because they probably have their own histories and reasons why they believe what they do, but they are pretty much the minority. Their voices can get magnified beyond their actual numbers because what they're saying plays into our insecurities, but they don't get to decide how everyone else, once they have carefully thought through their actions, considered how they might effect others, and worked to be aware of how they are behaving, decide how to act. I don't mind if people give me a polite, honest compliment or attempt to strike up a conversation for the most part--it gets me out of my head and back into the world. If I don't seem to really engage its often because I'm thinking "Oh my god did someone just talk to me ahh they just spoke to me what do I say in response that isn't going to sound stupid dammit social anxiety don't do this to me right now oh shit the moment has passed god this is so awkward for both of us I could have had a nice conversation and met someone new now the moment has passed oh god this is so awkward for both of us let's just pretend nothing happened and go our own ways... Dammit." I can't say I'm the majority, but girls struggle with social anxiety too ya know! But yeah, be empathetic, be kind, be thoughtful, and screw what others who don't know you might say to judge you.

Prajnaparamita wrote:
And if she had reacted badly... Well, she would have reacted badly, and that would have sucked, because you don't need more negative reenforcement right now, but I don't think you intentionally did anything wrong. So if she had reacted badly, you would have apologized if you could, and then thought about ways in the future that you could improve the non-verbal cues you give off to people ever more.

I'm... not really sure how this works? I still can't seem to shake the feeling that one mistake makes me an irredeemably terrible person, or that I will get completely shunned from a given social group for it, because that has happened, or that it will result in physical violence, and i'll deserve it, because i'm a terrible person. Regardless of actual consequences, the guilt is proving hardest to deal with. there's a risk she would've reacted badly, if she'd reacted badly it would mean that what i did was immoral, therefore taking the risk in the first place was immoral. that's the way my math is going.



And I STILL don't get all the contradictions. Why do I keep reading that I am obligated to do things that not five minutes ago I read on the SAME SITE are considered creepy? Like touching, and innuendo, which is apparently necessary and the only way to ever flirt with someone because all romantic relationships must be founded entirely on sex, and etc. especially the touching. As near as I can tell from reading DNL, i'm basically just supposed to 'go for it' and see which way it goes; 50/50 either she's okay with it or I get charged with a crime (because if she's not okay with it that is, in fact, legally assault, and i SHOULD be charged with a crime). but if i'm not willing to do that i'm just a coward and i'll be alone for the rest of my life because of it, and if i want to wait for her to initiate (touching, flirting, whatever) i'm just expecting women to fall into my lap without me having to do any work, or am pathetic for being so socially awkward, or any number of the other things people say in the comments on those articles, and if maybe i want to wait and get to know the person a bit more and mabye actually have a better idea where her boundaries are before i try to flirt with her then i'm trying to 'backdoor my way into a relationship'. and then I read stuff oother places on the internet on how not to be creepy, and the basic message i get is that there are a few overlapping points and then twenty or so different definable standards of what constitutes creepy and they all contradict each other so no matter what i'm always a horrible persona nd if i jhust want to give up and not talk to people anymore well then i'm a horrible person for giving up like a coward and hiding andi just feel alone and it hurts and i know it's my own fault and that just makes it hurt more and... IDK. I pretty much feel like an irredeemable shitstain for whining about all this anyway.

i should really just stop bothering all of you.
i'm really sorry for wasting your time iwth my ranting.

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Post by kleenestar on Sun Mar 01, 2015 9:39 am

My advice to you would be to develop an internally calibrated moral framework around this issue. Right now you are trying to make your decisions about how to behave based on how you imagine another person would react - and you are right that eventually you will run into someone who doesn't like what you did. But we all have to learn to make decisions about our behavior that are right or wrong regardless of other people's opinions about them. As a man, you've been trained to discount women's feelings and opinions, and it's honorable of you to try to counteract that - but that doesn't mean "I must please every woman with my behavior at all times." What it means is, "I shoud do my best to understand women's experiences and value their perspectives so I can make an ethical choice."

No matter what one does one cannot reduce the chance of upsetting someone to zero. So you need to make sure that when you do, you can feel that at least you acted ethically and morally. This is a hard lesson for people with anxiety - I can say that from personal experience. But finding an inner compass really does help - I can say that from experience too.

As for the contradictory articles, the difference between them is context. If context is hard for you to read, we can help you come up with some rules that will minimize the need for you to be context-sensitive, and maybe even some techniques for you to safely practice your context skills. If you are interested in having her initiate physical contact, we can help you develop your come-hither skill set, or we can show you the big pitfalls to avoid when getting to know someone to see if you want to date them. The problem isn't doing any of these things, but how one does them - and if that's not something you can navigate by yourself, you have help.

ETA: to be clear, when I say that "no matter what one does one cannot reduce the chances of upsetting someone to zero" I mean you, me, everyone reading this, DNL, Brad Pitt, Miss Manners, every single human being on the planet. Don't let your jerkbrain think I mean uniquely you, because I dont.
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Post by readertorider on Sun Mar 01, 2015 12:06 pm

AtlachNacha wrote: Regardless of actual consequences, the guilt is proving hardest to deal with. there's a risk she would've reacted badly, if she'd reacted badly it would mean that what i did was immoral, therefore taking the risk in the first place was immoral. that's the way my math is going.

To me morality cannot be defined by the actions of others--there lies things like The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas. I have a responsibility to watch and listen to others and adapt my worldview based on what I see and hear, but to me the morality of an action is independent of the reaction-humans are too individual and complicated. If I ask someone if they want directions and they start insulting me or break down crying I won't consider my asking any more immoral than if they smiled and pointed at their map. I'd feel very differently about both encounters. I'd probably spend some time thinking on how my actions could have been a bad thing (was I the 8th person who asked them that day? Should I stop asking people in this location?) and may decide from the new information and looking on the internet/asking friends/whatever that if I was put in that position again the same action would be immoral. The people's reactions, however, don't even necessarily tell me if my action was helpful or hurtful (did speaking to me interrupt a very critical task and they're too polite to say? were they upset about unrelated thing and I was closest?) and also don't tell me if that same action would be helpful or hurtful for someone else /tangent

I think we can agree that you don't want to harm anyone. Obviously the easiest way to not harm anyone is to not interact with them at all. But people like to interact and if you don't interact with people you harm yourself. You count as someone. You also have no opportunity to help people if you don't interact. Therefore it makes sense for you to smile and talk to people.

Unfortunately people are often nonsensical. In the first post you mentioned you had a unique fashion sense and sometimes people are pretty good at playing 'spot the difference' and then feeling uncomfortable. I had a prof that docked my presentation score because my high voice made him think I was terrified and made it difficult for him to concentrate (he was very nice about it and suggested a voice coach, but the rest of my group was rather offended on my behalf). People upthread have given you suggestions for how you can possibly modify your behavior to send different signals to others, but sometimes people you interact with are going to be unaccountably biased--it's not at all your fault.  

AtlachNacha wrote:And I STILL don't get all the contradictions. Why do I keep reading that I am obligated to do things that not five minutes ago I read on the SAME SITE are considered creepy?

I don't know the specifics (and don't read Dr. Nerdlove very often), but my guess is that there are some differences in context and that certain behaviors like touching are dependent on her actions--moving closer, laughing at your jokes, whatever?

'Obligated' is a very strong word and one which definitely isn't true. Having a partner is not required. Doing the 'obligated' tasks won't guarantee you anything. Women do approach and all that matters in dating is what people choose as working for them. (If you're getting some of this from the comment section, please don't worry about it, anyone can comment. I can comment! Wink )  

AtlachNacha wrote:f maybe i want to wait and get to know the person a bit more and mabye actually have a better idea where her boundaries are before i try to flirt with her then i'm trying to 'backdoor my way into a relationship'

Personally I really like this plan. I think the problem here usually arises because some people think because they are friends with the person and they would date that person then that person should want to date them and if that person doesn't want to date them they do not want to be friends. It does not sound like this is your problem.

AtlachNacha wrote:the basic message i get is that there are a few overlapping points and then twenty or so different definable standards of what constitutes creepy and they all contradict each other

Or that only those few overlapping points are relevant and there's a bunch of noise thrown in based on the experiences of the people involved? Also in some situations what constitutes creeping changes just like appropriate jokes change. You do not sound like a horrible person to me or a whole bunch of other people who have commented or are your friends IRL. Please feel very free to keep making posts (if I don't want to read something I know how to use the back button  Wink ).  

I'm not sure where I'm trying to go with this and I'm sorry if I'm being overly simplistic/not helpful, but I do mean everything I say here and want to add to the chorus of well wishers.


Last edited by readertorider on Sun Mar 01, 2015 12:10 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Misplaced word)
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Post by Enail on Sun Mar 01, 2015 1:50 pm

I just want to second the people saying context, because there's a lot of good things being said, and I don't want that particularly good one to be missed in among them.

Different advice and different judgements apply to different circumstances. Some of the contradictions you're seeing are the difference between "I want to make a fruit salad" and "My friend's allergic to berries and melons, what's a healthy dessert I can serve?" Different goals or different circumstances, different advice.  Some of them are the difference between "my dad made me lunch, thanks Dad!" and "that stranger on the street came up to me out of the blue and offered a bite of their sandwich Suspect ," different starting points and different situations, different reactions.  

Similarly, if your goal is "err as much on the side of 'don't bother or distress people' as is humanly possible, above all else" that's going to get you different advice from if your goal is "find someone you're into and ask them out on a date in a way that minimizes the chances of bothering or distressing people." And "everyone I ask out only likes me platonically, I've made a lot of close friends but I'd like someone to want to have sex with me," is going to find different advice useful than "I keep asking people out and then they never want to talk to me ever again," maybe even opposite advice, because what they're doing might be different to start off with so they might need to change different things.  Does that make any sense?

So, advice that will be useful to you needs to be a good match for where you're starting from and what you're hoping to achieve. Like Kleenestar said, if context is something you have trouble reading, that's an important factor that will change what kind of advice is useful to you.

Also:
AtlachNacha wrote:
I'm... not really sure how this works? I still can't seem to shake the feeling that one mistake makes me an irredeemably terrible person, or that I will get completely shunned from a given social group for it, because that has happened, or that it will result in physical violence, and i'll deserve it, because i'm a terrible person. Regardless of actual consequences, the guilt is proving hardest to deal with. there's a risk she would've reacted badly, if she'd reacted badly it would mean that what i did was immoral, therefore taking the risk in the first place was immoral. that's the way my math is going.

Maybe think about in reverse. You have a lot of anxiety around interacting with people, right? Say someone asked you for the time and it stressed you out, do you think that would make them a terrible person for asking the time to begin with?  What about if you were really obviously in a hurry to get somewhere, and they probably should have noticed you were too busy and not stopped you? You might think it was rather rude or inconsiderate, but do you think they would be a terrible person for that?
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Post by Prajnaparamita on Sun Mar 01, 2015 4:02 pm

AtlachNacha wrote:
I'm... not really sure how this works? I still can't seem to shake the feeling that one mistake makes me an irredeemably terrible person, or that I will get completely shunned from a given social group for it, because that has happened, or that it will result in physical violence, and i'll deserve it, because i'm a terrible person. Regardless of actual consequences, the guilt is proving hardest to deal with. there's a risk she would've reacted badly, if she'd reacted badly it would mean that what i did was immoral, therefore taking the risk in the first place was immoral. that's the way my math is going.

So I don't want to presume anything here that my experiences living with anxiety and the struggles it causes me in interacting with others to comparable to what you've experienced, because you've clearly dealt with a lot more scary shit and people being nasty to you that has conditioned some of your responses to others. But what you said up there really rings true for something I have experienced in regards to my social anxiety. Sometimes after spending the afternoon hanging out with a close friend, laughing and joking and for all appearances they're having a good time, when they leave and I'm alone I'll start having a panic attack, I'll shut down and be unable to think of anything besides how I must have messed that all up horribly and they were actually really annoyed with what I said or they don't like me anymore and they were just pretending. Even when they have seen me involuntarily shut down and asked me what is wrong and I've told them, and been reassured that they're not angry at me, and they had a great time, I'm still terrified. With my social anxiety sometimes, its impossible to shake the feeling that actually everyone around me secretly hates me.

It is undoubtedly true that you have had people treat you in really awful ways due to their own prejudice and misreading of you, but anxiety plays a huge role in this too. One of the symptoms of anxiety is to see everything in black and white, and assume that everything is going to go horribly and its all your fault. But that isn't actually true, and life doesn't work like that at all. I personally struggle a lot with the guilt that I must have unintentionally done something wrong, and if I have, no one will forgive me.

I, too, often feel like I deserve to be punished for when things go badly and I unintentionally mess something up socially, because I get paralyzed and don't know how to make things right. But the thing is, I've had to realize that no one is hurting by my untented offense as much as I am making myself feel horrible with guilt, and engaging in this behavior makes it harder to have positive interactions with others in the future. For instance, when my first instinct when I do something that rubbed someone the wrong way is to flinch away, shut down and start lacerating with guilt, it makes it harder to listen to them honestly about what they had a problem with and how we can move on from here and make things better. Also, hurting yourself for no reason at all is not at all something you should feel like you need to do. I struggle with really believing this myself, but if you truly believe that its wrong for your actions to cause others harm, how is it okay to cause yourself to suffer?

I don't know what I can tell you to help you not be so harsh on yourself, because its something I hardly know how to do myself, but I still wish that you didn't have to have it hurt so much. You haven't done anything wrong and you don't deserve this.

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Post by JP McBride on Sun Mar 01, 2015 6:00 pm

AtlachNacha wrote:And I STILL don't get all the contradictions. Why do I keep reading that I am obligated to do things that not five minutes ago I read on the SAME SITE are considered creepy? Like touching, and innuendo, which is apparently necessary and the only way to ever flirt with someone because all romantic relationships must be founded entirely on sex, and etc. especially the touching. As near as I can tell from reading DNL, i'm basically just supposed to 'go for it' and see which way it goes; 50/50 either she's okay with it or I get charged with a crime (because if she's not okay with it that is, in fact, legally assault, and i SHOULD be charged with a crime). but if i'm not willing to do that i'm just a coward and i'll be alone for the rest of my life because of it, and if i want to wait for her to initiate (touching, flirting, whatever) i'm just expecting women to fall into my lap without me having to do any work, or am pathetic for being so socially awkward, or any number of the other things people say in the comments on those articles, and if maybe i want to wait and get to know the person a bit more and mabye actually have a better idea where her boundaries are before i try to flirt with her then i'm trying to 'backdoor my way into a relationship'. and then I read stuff oother places on the internet on how not to be creepy, and the basic message i get is that there are a few overlapping points and then twenty or so different definable standards of what constitutes creepy and they all contradict each other so no matter what i'm always a horrible persona nd if i jhust want to give up and not talk to people anymore well then i'm a horrible person for giving up like a coward and hiding andi just feel alone and it hurts and i know it's my own fault and that just makes it hurt more and... IDK. I pretty much feel like an irredeemable shitstain for whining about all this anyway.

Confession time: I don't read DNL any more. I just don't find him helpful for me.

You have to decide for yourself what advice you're going to trust. If something makes you feel worthless or paralysed with fear, ditch it as best as you can. Don't bother to argue with it or try to redeem it, just move on to the next thing the best you can.

When you find anything that empowers you to find happiness while making the world a better place, return to it again and again.

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Post by AtlachNacha on Tue Mar 03, 2015 2:41 am

First: sorry for how almost highschoolishly mopey that last post got at the end, that was a bit much. (also sorry for getting more difficult to read when I panic) And thanks, all of you, for not abandoning the thread after that.  Embarassed

kleenestar wrote: As for the contradictory articles, the difference between them is context. If context is hard for you to read, we can help you come up with some rules that will minimize the need for you to be context-sensitive, and maybe even some techniques for you to safely practice your context skills. If you are interested in having her initiate physical contact, we can help you develop your come-hither skill set, or we can show you the big pitfalls to avoid when getting to know someone to see if you want to date them. The problem isn't doing any of these things, but how one does them - and if that's not something you can navigate by yourself, you have help.
readertorider wrote:I don't know the specifics (and don't read Dr. Nerdlove very often), but my guess is that there are some differences in context and that certain behaviors like touching are dependent on her actions--moving closer, laughing at your jokes, whatever?
readertorider wrote:Personally I really like this plan. I think the problem here usually arises because some people think because they are friends with the person and they would date that person then that person should want to date them and if that person doesn't want to date them they do not want to be friends. It does not sound like this is your problem.
Enail wrote:I just want to second the people saying context, because there's a lot of good things being said, and I don't want that particularly good one to be missed in among them.

Different advice and different judgements apply to different circumstances. Some of the contradictions you're seeing are the difference between "I want to make a fruit salad" and "My friend's allergic to berries and melons, what's a healthy dessert I can serve?" Different goals or different circumstances, different advice.  Some of them are the difference between "my dad made me lunch, thanks Dad!" and "that stranger on the street came up to me out of the blue and offered a bite of their sandwich Suspect ," different starting points and different situations, different reactions.  

Similarly, if your goal is "err as much on the side of 'don't bother or distress people' as is humanly possible, above all else" that's going to get you different advice from if your goal is "find someone you're into and ask them out on a date in a way that minimizes the chances of bothering or distressing people." And "everyone I ask out only likes me platonically, I've made a lot of close friends but I'd like someone to want to have sex with me," is going to find different advice useful than "I keep asking people out and then they never want to talk to me ever again," maybe even opposite advice, because what they're doing might be different to start off with so they might need to change different things.  Does that make any sense?

So, advice that will be useful to you needs to be a good match for where you're starting from and what you're hoping to achieve. Like Kleenestar said, if context is something you have trouble reading, that's an important factor that will change what kind of advice is useful to you.

Ok, so most of this is pretty much what I was originally thinking, but then a bunch of people told me that I have to signal romantic interest within 8 minutes of first meeting a person or it'll never go anywhere, and then DNL said the only way to signal romantic interest is with innuendo and putting my hands all over her, and then some other people said that was creepy and none of it really made sense to me either and that's how I got here, because basically i'm kind of confused how you accelerate fast enough to fit all this stuff into the first 8 minutes without it being just SO DAMN CREEPY. (And DNL's article on touching doesn't seem to mention how to tell when it'll be okay, either, just repeated insistence that you'll never get anywhere without it.) So hopefully that's a clearer statement of what's going on than that panicked ranting up there. (I feel like this maybe should have been two threads, the unintentional nonverbal creepiness and the contradictory messages? idk, maybe they tie together enough.)

also:

Enail wrote:Some of them are the difference between "my dad made me lunch, thanks Dad!" and "that stranger on the street came up to me out of the blue and offered a bite of their sandwich Suspect ,"

I lol'd.

Enail wrote:
Maybe think about in reverse. You have a lot of anxiety around interacting with people, right? Say someone asked you for the time and it stressed you out, do you think that would make them a terrible person for asking the time to begin with?  What about if you were really obviously in a hurry to get somewhere, and they probably should have noticed you were too busy and not stopped you? You might think it was rather rude or inconsiderate, but do you think they would be a terrible person for that?

Let's say, hypothetically, I googled 'asking people for the time' and got a bunch of results of people saying that anyone who asks a stranger for the time should be shot because they are terrible people. Whether or not other people or myself would be bothered by being asked the time now seems sorta irrelevant because I now know there's someone out there who will shoot me for it, which then makes me think that asking people the time must be something Very Bad because people are getting freaked out enough by it to give out death threats over it. Am I making any sense?

Prajnaparamita wrote: So I don't want to presume anything here that my experiences living with anxiety and the struggles it causes me in interacting with others to comparable to what you've experienced, because you've clearly dealt with a lot more scary shit and people being nasty to you that has conditioned some of your responses to others.

It still feels weird to have people telling me the things I've dealt with actually are awful, rather than something completely normal I just have to get over and stop caring about.

This:

Prajnaparamita wrote: But what you said up there really rings true for something I have experienced in regards to my social anxiety. Sometimes after spending the afternoon hanging out with a close friend, laughing and joking and for all appearances they're having a good time, when they leave and I'm alone I'll start having a panic attack, I'll shut down and be unable to think of anything besides how I must have messed that all up horribly and they were actually really annoyed with what I said or they don't like me anymore and they were just pretending. Even when they have seen me involuntarily shut down and asked me what is wrong and I've told them, and been reassured that they're not angry at me, and they had a great time, I'm still terrified. With my social anxiety sometimes, its impossible to shake the feeling that actually everyone around me secretly hates me.

sounds VERY familiar, and I'm sorry you have to go through it too.  Sad

Prajnaparamita wrote: It is undoubtedly true that you have had people treat you in really awful ways due to their own prejudice and misreading of you, but anxiety plays a huge role in this too. One of the symptoms of anxiety is to see everything in black and white, and assume that everything is going to go horribly and its all your fault. But that isn't actually true, and life doesn't work like that at all. I personally struggle a lot with the guilt that I must have unintentionally done something wrong, and if I have, no one will forgive me.

I, too, often feel like I deserve to be punished for when things go badly and I unintentionally mess something up socially, because I get paralyzed and don't know how to make things right. But the thing is, I've had to realize that no one is hurting by my untented offense as much as I am making myself feel horrible with guilt, and engaging in this behavior makes it harder to have positive interactions with others in the future. For instance, when my first instinct when I do something that rubbed someone the wrong way is to flinch away, shut down and start lacerating with guilt, it makes it harder to listen to them honestly about what they had a problem with and how we can move on from here and make things better. Also, hurting yourself for no reason at all is not at all something you should feel like you need to do. I struggle with really believing this myself, but if you truly believe that its wrong for your actions to cause others harm, how is it okay to cause yourself to suffer?

I don't know what I can tell you to help you not be so harsh on yourself, because its something I hardly know how to do myself, but I still wish that you didn't have to have it hurt so much. You haven't done anything wrong and you don't deserve this.

This helps a lot, thank you.

JP McBride wrote:You have to decide for yourself what advice you're going to trust. If something makes you feel worthless or paralysed with fear, ditch it as best as you can. Don't bother to argue with it or try to redeem it, just move on to the next thing the best you can.

The whole 'find your own way' trend running through these responses just makes me think 'well that's what MRAs/PUAs do/think they're doing and look where it gets them.'. Having your morality based internally risks it being WAY too out of sync with everyone else's, I guess is my problem here. And if I followed your advice exactly as you worded it, I would've had to ditch a lot of feminist stuff, among other things, because of my anxiety blowing things out of proportion and because some of those things are initally hard to swallow for people without anxiety.

readertorider wrote:Unfortunately people are often nonsensical. In the first post you mentioned you had a unique fashion sense and sometimes people are pretty good at playing 'spot the difference' and then feeling uncomfortable. I had a prof that docked my presentation score because my high voice made him think I was terrified and made it difficult for him to concentrate (he was very nice about it and suggested a voice coach, but the rest of my group was rather offended on my behalf). People upthread have given you suggestions for how you can possibly modify your behavior to send different signals to others, but sometimes people you interact with are going to be unaccountably biased--it's not at all your fault.  

I've pretty much decided at this point that if someone is made uncomfortable by my wearing steel-toes or whatever i'm just going to try to avoid them and not care. (easier said than done... but I guess I just have to keep repeating to myself that their rights do not extend to other people's choice of footwear... (unless there's like, rape jokes or racial slurs or something printed on them I guess. or they're coated in live zombie virus or whatever. has to be a line somewhere, but I don't think my ordinary black docs are going to cross it. ((wooo ADD tangent. (wooo nested parentheses.)))). I meet enough people who like the way I dress anyway, and the better I get at fixing my resting expression and etc. the more compliments I seem to be getting, so I'm less worried about that.

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