Ask Dr. NerdLove: How Can I Trust The Men I Work With?

Hello all you death monkies of the noosphere, and welcome to Ask Dr. NerdLove, the only dating advice column with a battle royale mode.

This week, we're talking about trust and judgement. How can you trust that someone actually likes and respects you instead of just trying to get into your pants? And for that matter, how can you know if having a crush means your relationship is in trouble? How can you trust your own judgement when you've only had one serious relationship?

It's time to airdrop in and remember that all's fair in love and war. Let's do this.

Hey Doc,

This question is basically the direct opposite of a lot of the questions on this site, but I think it shares some commonalities — picking up other people's signals. So hopefully you can help.

I'm a young (mid 20s) woman in a happy long-term relationship. As much as this is going to sound like a humble-brag, I'm dealing with a problem: I'm pretty attractive. I know this because people, men and women, stop me in the street to tell me I should model, I look like [hot celebrity], etc. I have to fend off a lot of unwanted advances, sometimes very aggressive ones, sometimes in professional settings. I've also been a victim of sexual violence. I am, frankly, pretty afraid of men.

I'm accustomed to people reacting to my looks before they react to anything else about me. (For the record, I have a lot of interests and am pretty smart, so there is definitely more to me.) This has had two major effects:

1) I find it difficult to simply be friendly to men, and instead find myself radiating hostility in settings where that's not appropriate (i.e. professional ones) as a pre-emptive defensive measure. I work in a male-dominated industry.

2) When I'm able to let my guard down enough to be friendly, I find it difficult to tell when men are interested in what I have to say. I fear that they are pretending to be interested, either because they want to have sex with me, or because my attractiveness generates goodwill that's unrelated to what I'm talking about (geopolitics! urban planning!).

This is all a problem because I'm not looking for a date — my partner's awesome — but I am looking to make friends and build a professional network.

My fears about men are not unfounded, as I'm sure you understand. I've had men pretend to offer me opportunities for professional advancement as a guise to get a date on multiple occasions. I've been raped and harassed. I've started to feel like I must not be a truly likable person, and that the only reason anyone would be interested in talking to me is because I'm hot.

I want to live in such a way that I can relax some of my barriers, without sacrificing my safety. I want to feel more confident when I attempt to gauge whether someone is interested in me as a human being. How do I tell when someone actually just wants to be friends or friendly colleagues?

Pretty With A Pistol

There are a lot of folks who're going to insist that you don't actually have a problem, PWaP, or that your problem is a "good problem." I mean, c'mon… you're just too pretty for people? How is this a problem? After all, one of the weird ways that humans are wired, psychologically, involves what's known as the Halo Effect.

This is a cognitive bias where we unconsciously ascribe positive characteristics to people we see as attractive. Since you're good looking, people tend to see you as friendlier, more intelligent and generally better than someone who's more average or plain.

Except… that doesn't always help as much professionally. In fact, it can hinder you. A lot of people tend to see attractive women — particularly in STEM fields — as being less intelligent and less accomplished.

It's all based on bullshit stereotypes to be sure, ranging from ideas about hair colour to breast size, but it's a very real phenomenon. As a result, a lot of women in white collar fields will often play down their looks: darkening their hair if they're blonde, wearing clothes that are less stylish or form-fitting and so on.

The issue you're having, though, isn't about your looks. Not really. Your issue is about trust, and you have good reason not to trust a lot of the men you deal with on a regular basis. One of the ongoing issues right now is the societal expectation that men are entitled to women — to their time, to their attention and to their bodies.

This can be seen in a multitude of areas, from how women were literally treated as commodities and prizes in advertising and games, to the issues surrounding inexcusable behaviour at "professional" events — particularly when alcohol was involved — to the ever classic "telling women to smile".

Part of the reason why so many men wrung their hands and worried about how the #MeToo movement was going to end "flirting" was that a lot of what was previously dismissed as "flirtatious workplace behaviour" was in fact straight up harassment or sexual assault.

When you combine all that with your personal experiences ... honestly, it's a little amazing that you don't pepper-spray dudes in advance. But as you say: having resting murder face may ward of some dudes, but it doesn't work well in professional settings. And you want to be able to trust men, and to meet men who are worthy of your trust. So what is there to do?

Well, your two goals actually reinforce themselves. Part of why you wear your murder face is because of how many men have proven themselves to be untrustworthy. One of the ways to help make that less necessary is to look for the ones who are worth trusting.

Now this, admittedly, can be a slow process, and it should be. You have legitimate reasons to be hesitant around men who offer career advancement or friendship or both. So part of what may help is to see your trust and your friendship as something that's earned over time, not given away with abandon.

There are indeed men who treat professional events as an opportunity to mix business with (their) pleasure. But there are also men who can and will treat you as a colleague and friend, not another potential human-shaped Fleshlight.

How do you tell the difference? Well, as a wise man once said, "deeds, not words." To start with, guys who are worth trusting are the ones who will keep clear, defined lines between the professional and personal. They are the ones who don't try to switch gears during a "business lunch" and start suggesting that you two have another drink to loosen up or who want to quit being so serious and talk about more "fun" things. When they're at work, they're there to work, even if that work is happening over a meal instead of in the office.

Other signs that they're more trustworthy than some of their comrades: they don't get serious, solemn or distant when you just "casually" bring up your partner. For too many men, an attractive woman is valuable and interesting as long as he feels like he has a chance.

As soon as he knows that she's not available to him… well, what's the goddamn point of her? If the fact that you're not single isn't a cause for them to deprioritise your professional or personal relationship, then they're showing that they are more deserving of your trust.

Another is to look at how they treat others. They may be polite and attentive to you, sure. But how do they treat people who don't have something they want or who can't benefit them in some way? Are they respectful to, say, wait-staff and service-industry people? Or are they rude, snarky or otherwise dickish?

While they're at it: do they respect your boundaries? If you ask them to not do something, do they listen, or do they take it as the start of a negotiation? How many times do you have to enforce your boundaries before they listen? If they make a mistake — assuming your friendliness was flirting, for example — do they apologise and take steps to not do it again? Or do they argue about why you're wrong to see it the way you do?

Also: how do they treat your input and your ideas? Do they listen, ask intelligent questions, seek your opinion and actually implement your suggestions? Or do they argue with you up until a man says the exact same thing… and then they agree with him? For that matter: do they give you credit for your input, particularly to your superiors? Or do they stay silent when people assume that it was their idea?

Do they back you up, or do they cover their own asses? And do they ask you to go along to get along, even when it works against your own best interests?

None of those tells are going to be fool-proof; there are people out there who are good at masking their true intentions. There are also people who are reasonably trustworthy most of the time but allow a sort of "mission creep" to set in — especially if alcohol is involved.

But time will tell with most; the longer you observe someone, the more data you will have that will let you know if this is someone you can (carefully) lower your guard around or if they're someone who gets the "polite-but-distant" treatment.

There are good men out there, men who will be good friends, good mentors, good professional contacts or all of the above. Finding them can be a task in and of itself. But by letting people earn your trust, a little at a time, you will find the people who are worth trusting.

And once you know they exist and they have your back, you will hopefully be feel safe and secure enough to relax your shields from "active hostility" to "guarded, if distant politeness", and possibly even "friendly" in the future.

Good luck.

Hello Dr. NerdLove,

I am an average looking college student who throughout high school didn't ever have a serious relationship. For a variety of factors. But anyway that was also true for the first couple years of college. I didn't have a problem with it. Then I met my current girlfriend.

We can call her L. We have been dating for over a year and a half now and are moving in together for the next school year. However, the fact that she is the only serious girlfriend I've had has me worried.

I just am worried that I am just kind of going along for the ride. I do love her and I love spending time with her. But there's always that little nagging thought in the back of my head that it could be better. I could always fight off this thought because I could definitely see myself spending the rest of my life with L.

However, then entered A. I can preface that me and L do not share the same major. In one of my major classes this past semester I met A and we instantly hit it off. We became fast friends and would talk all class and would often get lunch in between classes.

At first that's all we were was friends. But by the end of the semester I would often get butterflies in my stomach when we were talking. She also showed several signs of being interested and ended up making sure we signed up for a class together.

I chalked up my butterflies with A as just textbook infatuation, but it did feed that lingering doubt in my mind whether L was the best possible person for me to spend the rest of my life with. I love L and the last thing I want to do is hurt her feelings. And I would never cheat on her. She was in a bad relationship before we met and is very attached and I know it'd tear her apart if she knew this or if I ever asked for a break.

Thanks, Is the Grass Actually Greener?

There are a couple of things going on here, IGAG.

The first is simple: you're human. Humans are an incredibly adaptable species, which has benefits and drawbacks. On the one hand, that adaptability is a core reason why we've become the dominant species on the planet, surviving catastrophes that wiped out other species and living in areas that are proof of God's hate. On the other hand: we can adapt to anything… which also means we get bored.

Hedonic adaptation is part of the human experience, which means that anything, no matter how amazing, can become part of our status quo. We are novelty-seeking creatures; new and different experiences hit us square in the pleasure centres of our brains. This is true when it comes to food, to music, to lifestyle… and to our relationships.

So the fact that A makes your stomach do flipflops and your penis smile is in no small part because, well, she's new and different and exciting. That's all perfectly normal; crushes happen all the time. If you just leave it alone, then it will fade on it's own over time.

It doesn't mean that there's anything wrong with your relationship. It just means that this a new person who turns your particular crank.

Which actually leads us to the second point: L is your first serious girlfriend. We live in a culture that teaches men that they need to sample as much sex as possible, that they should sow their wild oats, as it were, and then decide to settle down with someone. After all, how can you be sure you're happy if you haven't taken a taste of every cereal in the variety pack?

And sure, some folks want to sample everything before they pick a favourite. But others find someone they like and, y'know what? There may well be others out there are great and all, but they're happy with who they have found. And that's perfectly legitimate.

That societal narrative is still hard to shake. Socialisation is a motherfucker, and even when you know you dig what you dig, there's still a lot of pressure to double and triple check because WHAT IF??? What if there's someone else out there who you might like even more? Which… OK, sure, but what if you throw away a perfectly good relationship, one that makes you happy, because you thought you were supposed to keep looking?

Here is a truth, IGAG: there will always be other people out there that you're attracted to. That has nothing to do with the quality or strength of your relationship. Being in a committed, monogamous relationship just means that you've agreed to not date or sleep with other people; it doesn't mean that you won't want to.

Here is another truth: your first relationship often isn't your last. Maybe it's the right relationship for you now, but it won't be in the future. Sometimes we outgrow our relationships or simply reach a point where it's time to move on to the next one, and that's fine. Not every love story is meant to be an epic poem. Some are meant to be a short story. Some are just a dirty limerick.

Sometimes, our relationships can and do grow with us and can last our entire lives if we care for it and maintain it properly. Other times, we end up killing a relationship and never get to find out if it was one that would last. Your relationship with L could well be the relationship that will last you the rest of your life.

It might not be. You could well reach the point of the end of it's natural lifespan and it will be time for you and L to go your own ways.

But the fact that this is your first relationship doesn't automatically mean that it has to end that way. You should take care to ask yourself whether you actually want to explore other possibilities… or it's that you feel like you're supposed to want that. The difference between those two things can be subtle, but it's significant.

If you're happy with L, if you're satisfied and fulfilled and you find the joy and contentment is worth the slings and arrows that come with every relationship, then just relax and let yourself enjoy what you have. And enjoy your crush on A too; crushes are fun! They're a little surprise thrill that can liven up your life.

Just realise that a crush is not a command, and attraction isn't an obligation. You can appreciate the feeling of having a crush on someone without having to act on it. Feel the fuck out of your feelings and just let them be; your crush will fade on its own soon enough.

Regardless of whether L is your last relationship or not, don't throw a good thing aside just because you feel like you're supposed to bang more women. It's one thing for a relationship to come to its end. It's another to cut it down in its prime, and the pain from giving up something great for no reason be far worse than the fear that you might be missing out.

Good luck.

Did you have to deal with someone trying to sabotage your relationship? Have you had to wade through fetishsts and afficionados to find love? Share your story in the comments below and we'll be back with more of your questions in two weeks.

Ask Dr. Nerdlove is Kotaku's bi-weekly dating column, hosted by the one and only Harris O'Malley, AKA Dr. NerdLove. Got a question you'd like answered? Write [email protected] and put "Kotaku" in the subject line.

Harris O'Malley is a writer and dating coach who provides geek dating advice at his blog, Paging Dr. NerdLove, and on the Dr. NerdLove podcast. His dating guide New Game+: The Geek's Guide to Love, Sex and Dating is available on Amazon, iTunes and everywhere fine books are sold. He is also a regular guest at One Of Us.

He can be found dispensing snark and advice on Facebook and on Twitter at @DrNerdLove.


Comments

    #metoo has help kill chivalry and general politeness towards women from men.

    It's gotten to the point that any kind of interaction can be seen as a sexual advances from one person to another as everyone has a different perspective, limits and ideas of what is just friendly talking or "unwanted" flirtatious interactions.

    It is now just safer to ignore people in the work place as it is far better to be seen as a asshole the be accused of sexual misconduct.

    I personally see a paradigm shift occurring where women will be the ones seeking out men in more aggressive ways, we already see women are using dating apps more and more as they can't find anyone to "date".

    I also see male escorts increasing in number too as women don't like approaching men due to lack of self confidence or whatever and men will be on guard around women so won't make an attempt.

    Women will have little choice but to either "woman up" or pay for intimacy, which is one of the main reasons people use escorts in the first place.

      I'm not seeing too much of a downside, that's what equality means, men and women being treated equally by everyone, regardless of the bits between their legs. Men should be just as chivalrous toward other men and women toward men as well etc, that's the ideal. It's unfortunate now, but it will just take time to balance out.

      Last edited 02/07/18 2:16 pm

        I agree, should be nice to each other regardless, but there are still a lot of women who "want there cake and eat the whole god dam thing", I mean what about me where the hell is my cake.

        The cake is a lie

          Chivalry is a goddamn lie.

            Chivalry was a bullshit consolation prize from a time when we were literally treated like property. I can open a door myself.

              Fuck that. Being polite is still a thing.
              If a man holds a car door open for you, he’s probably gonna be the kinda guy to open it for male mates as well.
              Not everyone is a sexist cunt just because they have manners.

              On the flip side of that notion, to all the people saying #metoo has made interacting with women harder: Stop being basic.
              You know what your intentions around others are and you know when you’re being a creeper. Own it. Just because you don’t have the tools to be seductive without causing discomfort, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work at developing them. It’s not hard.

                Cheers for scolding me about a point I didn't make and never have. Super polite.

                  Me: Yeah chivalry is a bullshit concept.
                  Uptight dude #374: FUCK THAT! BEING POLITE IS A GOOD THING! SOME MEN ARE GOOD MEN!!
                  Me: Not what was discussed in my comment.
                  Uptight dude #374: OH, what a SHAME FOR YOU, that you don't mindlessly accept me weighing in with a bizarre misinterpretation of chivalry as just being polite, generally, and an even MORE bizarre misinterpretation of disliking chivalry as accusing all men who COMPLY with chivalry as being SEXIST CUNTS.
                  Me: Wow I'd be surprised if this hadn't happened 373 times before over the course of my entire life.

                I agree with the first part of your statement. Maybe it's that I was raised in the South US but I remember when, what is called chivalry today, was simply thought of as being polite and well-mannered. Now, the term chivalry seems to refer to anything from any amount of uncommon decency to being used in a derogatory manner.

                  That's the way I was raised to a degree, but also went deeper like never hit a girl back even if she's kicking the shit out of you.
                  Always pay for dinner and movies, a lot of it has become outdated though as women are earning more now, and a big one was never use profanity in front of a woman.

                Well said. There's far too much generalisation when discussing male behaviour on the whole...

              Well poor choice of words on my part then, by chivalry I meant women being treated as more than equal in a relationship or in general, paying for dinner or being doted on.

      You know what's hilarious (or tragic, depending on your take)? It's only the 'nice' guys who actually worry about their interactions being mistaken for harassment or 'unwanted advances' (lol... that term). The people who probably should take notice of the zeitgeist are those who (usually) don't give a shit and will continue to chat up women as they always did.

        Don't know if the "nice guys" ever approached many women in the first place, they always had respect, or were to self conscious, but now they won't even pursue a friendship or banter because it might be taken the wrong way.

        End of the day everything no matter what it is, somebody out there will find it offensive or perceive it in a context not intended.

        Which is the right to do so, I find things offensive others don't and vice versa. Everyone's got different limits,.

        Although there is a kind of majority to certain things that are offensive (racism as one example) it's hard to draw a line in other ways (Jimmy Carr jokes) which are highly offensive to some.

        Just work when your at work, don't risk your job or reputation by intentionally offending someone. Unfortunate but the only way I see a way forward.

        “Nice guy” is a self identified label based on being told you are that by people using it as a way of saying “You’re a person I can tolerate but I’d never touch you”.
        I see dudes that dress like their mums chose their clothes, rocking 80’s Lego man haircuts pondering why they can’t “score”. At the end of the day, “Nice Guy” = Scrub. And TLC already told us they don’t want no scrubs.

        Nah, I've always felt that way about making any kind of advance. Keep your cards close to your chest, spend forever trying to figure out if there's any interest on their end, oops too late it's been way too long and things have changed in whatever manner, continue just being friends, rinse repeat with the next one :P

      Nope. No way. Not even a bit.

      If you think that a social movement specifically to root out sexual assault has drastically changed how you interact with women, then you should be having a good, long look at how you've been interacting with women up until now.

        It has changed the way people are allowed to interact in many workplaces, some company's have implemented policies that prohibits any discussion that might be interpreted as sexual in nature as to avoid any potential law suits or bad press.

        This was a direct result of the movement, Netflix have a policy that your not allowed to look at someone for more than 5sec because of how it might be perceived.

        Also Ive been interacting with women just fine thanks, my workplace isn't filled with snowflakes. In fact it's the women at my work who should be watching the way they interact, if some of the stuff they do and say came out of my mouth I would be fucked

          It has changed the way people interact by not allowing shitty people to be unchallenged. That's it.

            Nope, it'd gagged everyone while they are at work, which im fine with by the way.

            I can just see where it's coming from, like I already said avoiding law suits and bad press.

              It gagged people who were saying and doing things that should never have been in a workplace. It has not changed a single thing about how I act in my workplace because I was always conscious of treating everyone respectfully and professionally.

              The people it did stop are the ones who said shit "all in good fun" and swore that nobody ever had a problem with it. What they didn't realise is that if it's going to negatively effect your ability to pay rent, you laugh along with them even though you hate them.

                OK, so for example right, I was discussing favourite comedians with a friend at work once I said Jimmy Carr, my friend had never heard of him asked what's some of his jokes.

                I replied "what's the one good thing about paedophiles?" "at least they drive slowly through school zones"

                This, was not in my view inappropriate or offensive, neither in my friends case, but from someone walking in at the wrong moment...

                This can be applied to sexist/racist jokes as well, or even comments taken out of context, you either have to know a person specifically won't get offended or don't talk in that kind of way in the first place.

                Admittedly this is more USA liberals who are pushing this kind of stuff, probably isn't a big issue here yet.

                A direct result of a number and dickheads and predators has put a blanket ban on everyone.

                I never thought that I ever behaved in a way that might be disrespectful, but upon reflection I can think of times I have said or done things that might be interpreted that way unintentionally.

                Prime example telling a joke that might be overheard by someone that might be offended.

                  So here;s a question: Were you at work?

                  If yes, then don't. That's not cool for an office. At the pub? Sure. But that is 100% inappropriate for a workplace. It's got nothing to do with how liberal a person is. It's got everything to do with professionalism. That is remarkably unprofessional.

                  I work in a workplace which really encourages personal communication within the office.
                  The basis of which seems to be the Johari window model (http://www.selfawareness.org.uk/news/understanding-the-johari-window-model).
                  The idea being that we need to work as a team, so we should get to know each other better. The explicit goal is to get everyone to know each other as the people they are and to trust each other.
                  In these kinds of workplaces, what you would say should not be considered inappropriate or unprofessional, but about improving workplace relationships, and more on the non-professional side (as opposed to unprofessional).
                  But I'm still not sure it would be a good idea to test this though, when pressed management tend to do a bit of hand wringing :P

                @pokedad
                That's the point I've been trying to make this whole time, everybody has a different opinion of what is or isn't offensive, the job I had at the time was warehousing, all guys.

                We were discussing Rick and Morty on a lunch break and comedians came up, it's your opinion that it was unprofessional, I disagree it was a conversation between two people on a break, nobody else around it wasn't told in front of a group or over a PA system.

                I acknowledge that in today's current climate it would be inappropriate.
                I also agree with policy that discourages talk that might be offensive, as it may make you think about saying something that could be taken the wrong way.

                At the same time it has everything to do with how liberal people are, as clearly we both have a different idea about what is and isn't appropriate.

                What you might see as offensive I or others might not see as offensive, vice versa, it's far easier to have a blanket ban on any talk that might in some way be interpreted in a way in which was not intended.

                  I'm not offended by it at all. That's really not the issue. It's more that there is a socially accepted model of appropriate things to say in a workplace and when in doubt, don't. That doesn't matter where you are. The rule of thumb is that if it looks bad, then it is bad. Don't look bad. That's got nothing to do with MeToo and saying that your workplace has become bad because you're not allowed to say shit that upsets people anymore is just kinda selfish.

                  It's like learning to stop calling things "gay" when you don't like them. I did it all the time as a teenager. I had friends who were hurt by that, so I stopped. It was an adjustment I had to learn to make, but it made zero negative impact on my life. Not being able to tell jokes about paedophilia at work is a weird hill to die on.

                @pokedad
                I've said from the get go I was in support of the bans on this kind of stuff, i'm just pointing out that what some find offensive others don't. So just don't say anything, which I believe we are in agreement on most of this. Just not completely.

                I'm not trying to make a stand for anything, just gave an example of one interaction that could to some be offensive. My current workplace is actually pretty chill no one really cares much what is said. I was never in support of being able to offend people at work either.

                This has become more prevalent in work places since #metoo as there was policy created (rightly so) that made people accountable for there shitty behaviour, this has also extended (rightly so as well) to other interactions such as telling potentially offensive jokes etc.

                Before that there was barely anything to hold people accountable for either sexual misconduct, racist remarks and of course insensitive jokes etc.

          Think about it in a practical way: When such restrictions are in place, who is more affected? The guy who is interested in a girl and the girl is interested in him and they share looks and look away and little by little understand that it is mutual? Or the creepster who can't believe that "this chick hasn't noticed what a hunk I am and I just need to make sure that she notices me and then for sure she'll beg me to have her--maybe I just need to use some alcohol to help her realise it!"?

          Not all flirting is dying. Only the unwanted, unilateral kind.

      What a load of nonsense.

      I work in a female dominated industry. I am the only man in my business, they all know I am straight.

      I don't tip toe or step on egg shells with them.
      I talk to them on a daily basis, make jokes, offer help, use their names. Occasionally they hug me.

      Its pretty easy to navigate because I m a decent human bring that respects personal space and recognises what is relevant to a workplace and what isn't.

      I am not admin, I don't have authority or sway so I can't cover up behaviour
      .. And yet there has never been a complaint because I follow a simple rule:
      When you're interacting with another human being act like it.

      Jesus..anyone talking about how they feel afraid doesn't understand you are allowed to talk to women about something other than their appearance.

        So what happens when someone new starts working there, do you straight away treat them the way you treat your other female colleges that you already know and have an understanding with, or do you get to know them first feel out who they are as a person before bringing up different topics.

        Male or female when every I have started working with someone new I get to know them first before discussing different topics.

        Let's say for example, I personally like to keep fit and I'm also a vegetarian, some people feel like I am preaching to them when I talk about fitness and food, so I don't discuss that stuff with people that aren't into it.

        Just like I'm sure people won't talk about eating meat around me because they might think it will offend me or I might "preach" at them.

          Yes I do.

          Because I don't talk to my female colleagues about their sex life or personal appearance ever. Its not relevant to the workplace.

          There is an infinite number of other topics available to discuss.

          I wouldn't want to tall about it with male colleagues either.
          Its not relevant to our workplace.

          Last edited 05/07/18 6:20 am

            So you treat everyone the same, not as individuals with different likes and dislikes.

            Which by the way is the whole point.

            It's not only about "sex" talk, I wouldn't discus fitness with a colleague who is overweight as it might upset them or offend.

            Like I wouldn't try and make someone feel like shut fit eating meat, but others do there are some batshit crazy vegans out there that lose there shit.

      'It's gotten to the point that any kind of interaction can be seen as a sexual advances'

      In the minds of conservative white guys who probably have a very poor understanding of how to relate to women, sure.

      Not in the real world.

        Did you not read the rest of what I said, everyone has a different perspective, limits and ideas of what is just friendly talking or "unwanted" flirtatious interactions..

        My first job when I was 14-21 ended up very flirtatious in the end, we were all young and all had raging hormones.

        Both the guys and the girls were flirting with each other constantly, but we also shared a friendly hug quite often, some of what went on could be misinterpreted as hitting on someone with a different set of ideals or limits.

        What is offensive to you might not be offensive to others vice versa.

          I'm pretty sure

          a) You emphasise the first part of your statement more than the second
          b) You haven't taken the time to consider that your statement is either illogical or pointless, depending on how you interpret it

            To put it simply, for lack of a better phrase "snowflakes", people exist that find the most benign things offensive or hurtfull.

              Based on your reactions to people criticising you here, you certainly fit under that category.

      I haven't found that.

      Chivalry is something you do because of who you are.

      Do you do Chivalrous acts to men as well? are you annoyed because something isn't reciprocated or mentioned. If you are, it's not Chivalry, you're trying to manipulate someone. Look at why you are doing it and call it what it is.

      Chivalry isn't dead, it just weeding out the people who used it as an acceptable way to hit on people without getting called out on it.

        Depends on your definition of chivalry, for some it's an antiquated ideal dating back to when women were objects.

        For me it's how I was raised, don't swear around a woman, never hit a woman even if she hits you, be the main bread winner basically look after them.

    She's definitely overreacting. The majority of the men she interacts with have partners as well, she isn't special in that regard, or could be gay, she wouldn't know. Obviously it's something she's developed in response to past events and isn't healthy or realistic, she should be talking to a therapist, not writing to an advice column.

      I dunno, man. You say she's overreacting but she says she has been sexually assaulted in the past. That's pretty traumatic and could cause a shift of mind, feeling and decision-making in the future. I don't blame her for not trusting men. Gonna be forward here, but have you ever been sexually assaulted or raped? Trauma has the potential to change people and it's not their fault.

      In regards to the majority of men she interacts with, you assume that they have partners or might be homosexual and thus not interested in her. For all we know, these men could be heterosexual, with a partner, but still not conducting themselves appropriately with her. I unfortunately know of people who don't give a single shit if someone (e.g. such as another woman) has a partner, it won't stop them from behaving inappropriately.

      The reason I say that is because I have a partner myself, we've been together for over four years, and my partner has been harassed before by other men, who are well aware that she is "taken" but they honestly don't care, it doesn't stop them from trying.

      I do believe that you are right to a degree, that this woman should be speaking to a psychologist / psychiatrist, but who's to say she isn't already (or has in the past)? I don't think there's anything wrong with reaching out to an advice column online in an anonymous matter.

        NOTHING stops these "nice guys". I've had a dude who has literally no excuses for not knowing I'm a lesbian, it's repeatedly bought up whenever I'm talking to a gay friend nearby about upcoming LGBT professionel networking events and the word "lesbian" is used verbatim every other day, and he STILL tried to put the moves on me at the Christmas party. Appalling.

          That sounds nothing like what people tend to think of when they use the term "nice guys". I can't speak for your idea of "nice guys" but I've always seen them as the more quiet and timid, introverted guys who are unsure how to approach women but try to be polite to the point of a fault for fear of being seen as disrespectful (yes, they really do exist). The guys you're talking about, as you describe him, sounds persistent but not a "nice guy".

            LMFAO because he is quiet and introverted. Don't tell me how this shit goes down, I've got more first hand experience on being on the receiving end of this shit than you can possibly imagaine. And all you'll ever have to do is imagine it, so quit trivialising and start taking notes.

              Clearly the dude was a dickhead and in no way a "nice guy" by anybody's definition.

                  It's funny to me how many men will throw themselves into discussions about gender and sexual consent without even bothering to learn the common terms that have been widely known for like, over 5 years.

                  Urban dictionary, ah well fair enough if the first definition is what you consider a "nice guy" then fine, but it hasn't been widely known for years that that is the only definition, and is clearly not mine or others here.

                  Deciding to delete my comment.

                  Have a nice day.

                  Last edited 02/07/18 5:59 pm

                  @almightysparrow it's not the first definition, but it sure as fuck is the definition I intended when I used it, in quotation marks, in a discussion that was explicitly about that definition. And yet you and so many others barge in, thumping the dictionary like some kind of keyboard warrior bible, and try to act like you had no idea about it when I point it out? I don't buy that confusion for a single second, because you know what else is chock-a-block with widely known terms that deviate from their dictionary definitions? Video games and geek culture.

                  Wow, I didn't know the definition you were using at all, I don't use urban dictionary as a credible source, also your the one thumping a dictionary.

                  You just fly off the handle being a professional victim, because people use a term in different ways, by the way I'm not a mind reader I can't intemperate your "intentions".

                  Also if so many people "barge in" then maybe your definition of crap, and once again clearly not widely known

                  You're using urban dictionary a mostly Americanized resource for your references?

                To be fair, the UD definition of "nice guy" (the speech marks are important if lacking capitals :P) is exactly the one Nerdlove has used time and time again, so it's kind of a context thing being in the comments of one of his articles.

                Check Reddit. Check the NiceGuys subreddit.

                This has been the socially accepted term for weird creepsters for a long time. Specifically because they are always the ones describing themselves that way. "I'm a nice guy, why does that roastie whore fuck all the Chads instead of seeing the nice guy who will worship her forever"

                  Like I said was never aware of that definition, I always called them "dogs".

                  @almightysparrow

                  Then it wasn't aproblem with her using a weird or obscure term. It was a problem with you not understanding the context. That's not her fault. It is yours.

                  Granted, it's only a small fault, but instead of saying "Oh shit, I didn't know" you said "Professional victim" like a jerk because you did a bad job at explaining someone's own life to them. You didn't need to be a jerk. You didn't need to try to tell her what her own life entails or react as if you'd been wronged when corrected on your mistake.

              I wasn't telling you how shit goes down. I was conveying my view of "nice guys" as opposed to your assertion that the man you spoke of is a "nice guy". You probably do have more experience being on the receiving end of this shit, can't argue with that, though I wouldn't be adverse to the story being flipped and having members of the opposite sex throwing themselves at me. I'm sorry if you feel I was trivialising your suffering, it was not my intention at all, but I don't think I'll be taking notes from someone who gets offended from having the door opened for them but thank you for the offer.

                  @geth So you WERE aware of the term, you just felt like being argumentative for what, fun?

                  @ginadean
                  No. The link I posted backs up my earlier statement. I didn’t don’t bother looking at Urban Dictionary because yeah, nah. I felt like participating in this part of the discussion because I had a differing opinion because that’s what discussions are largely about. You seem angry and defensive as though you have something to prove, but we’re all equals here. Would you like to discuss it?

                  @geth

                  Your opinion isn't a valid as the opinion of someone with actual experience. She gave her opinion and you are less interested in engaging with it as you are putting yours forward. It's also starting to seem a little bit sealion-ish.

                  @pokedad
                  I never contested her experience but, instead, acknowledged it. Gina was referring to one type of nice guy; I and others were referring to another and we’re met with unwarranted hostility, about which I made some observations, after having accusations levelled against me despite remaining fairly civil. I don’t think of the type of person she described as a nice guy; I have a myriad of other terms I would use ranging from wolf to douche. Sorry if you don’t think my opinion is valid. I can’t do much to change this with you because no matter what I or anyone else says, your opinion and allegiance is and has been pretty clear. Now please pardon me while I slap my fins and declare orc!-orc!-orc!

          That's unfortunate to hear, I'm sorry to hear about that. I can't imagine what it must be like to be repeatedly hit on and harassed by someone who claims to be aware of your preferences. Not to sound weird but I have heard of people (guys and girls) who try and... I dunno, see if they can "convert" others, if that makes sense.

          So it's like, theoretically speaking, if this guy got with you, he either A - hopes he can make you interested and attracted to men (or at least, him) or/and B - he would run away later to tell all his friends about how he banged a lesbian, like some kinda ultimate "achievement unlocked" thing.

          People can be -really- weird when it comes to those they're attracted to. "Not everyone", of course, but people can be so shallow. "You're not attracted to men? Screw that, you will be." "You've got a boy/girlfriend? Screw that, we'll end up having sex, I guarantee it."

          As for the whole "nice guy" thing... your uh, acquaintance certainly doesn't sound like a nice guy, he sounds like a douche. To be fair though, I understand the concept of "nice guys" (in quotations) and they too, are total douches, but it doesn't sound like he is trying to be a "nice guy" either, it sounds to me like he's just an over confident wanker.

          My partner actually had to deal with a "nice guy". See, before she and I started dating over four years ago, she used to be super close friends with this guy. When she and I met and started dating, he started acting quite hostile towards her, asking her things like "What's he got that's so special?" and telling her things like "He better not make me angry if we meet". He then proceeded to talk shit about me behind my back to my partner's friends, calling me a "loser" because she was the first person I ever shared a romantic relationship with. The funny thing about all that? I never actually met him. My partner dealt with him pretty well, after that.

          In the bizarre world of relationship and sex, people are bloody weird.

            I have a gay friend who says "banging" a straight guy would be an ultimate achievement

              Oh wow, I guess you helped prove my point, then. :P

                I'm sure a lot of guys would see "bedding" a lesbian an achievement, same as a gay guy "doing" a straight guy or a lesbian "hooking up" with a straight girl.

                Don't know how wide spread it is but my mate made it seem pretty common amongst gay men.

                  You never know, it seems like a douchey thing to do.

              Ah yes, the predatory gays. They're the REAL monsters! Anyone but the people like your peer group! That's uncomfortable to acknowledge. These horrible, home-wrecking gays are such a wide-spread problem, man, it feels like every other day another one, who was a role model to millions, is exposed as a heinous, violent criminal. Oh wait, that's not the predatory gays. I was thinking of male celebrities. My bad.

                Competly miss the point, I also said straight guys trying to sleep with lesbians or did you miss that part and jump straight to me being some sort of homophobic.

                I word for word said I have a gay mate who wants to sleep with a straight guy, nothing about married or in a relationship, going off of cr33g comment that it happens on both sides.

                I never said they were monsters either no worse than anyone trying to get laid regardless of gender or sexual orientation.

                But by all means live in your fantasy world were no gay man has ever tried to sleep with a straight guy.

                Oh and by the way KEVIN SPACEY!!!!

                Drops mic.

                  You think this is a stage? That explains the panic.

            You give me hope for the world, cr33g.

              It doesn't cost anything to try and be nice to people.

    Where did I put that ten foot pole I'm not touching this one with...

      you're gunna need a 50ft pole minimum for this one

    I also have this problem. Except it's the opposite.

    I have a friend who is a attractive and she is the worst. Thinks she's the hottest girl in every room, all this and that. Apparently every guy hits on her but no one's ever witnessed it. In the end she's just arrogant with her head up her ass.

    Anyone use UD ?

    A lot of fedoras in these comments today.

      Kind of surprised we haven’t seen an utterance of “milady” yet.

      Nah man. Some of us were raised by women FOR women. You can go on about fedoras and I can lead into a rant about why that makes you a beta male background character.
      But you’d already know how much the world forgets you’re there. Don’t you.

      Last edited 03/07/18 4:49 pm

    Great article, love the comments, especially the bit where the usual posse of incels and alt-righters dogpiled that girl who dared talk back to them.

    Doesn't take much around here, does it?

      Dared to talk back in a hostile way, why is it OK to misinterpret one person's idea of what "chivalry" is, but not OK to intemperate "nice guy" differently when it was already established in this comment section.

      Some of this devolved way to far, but gender had little to do with the way it started, I shared a conversation I had with a gay friend and just one post later said the same about straight guys backing up the statement the girl your referring to already made, only I was made out to be some kind of homophobic

      It doesn't matter if your male or female getting hostile begets hostility in return, I already acknowledged I was a prick before but the comment was delete by moderators.

      If it makes me an incel alt-right then fine you can believe what you want.

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