zeborah: Map of New Zealand with a zebra salient (Default)
[personal profile] zeborah
It turns out there's a right way and a wrong way of offering unsolicited advice and help to random strangers.

Some weeks ago, someone solicitously advised me that I oughtn't to use my laptop at my bus-stop in the evenings in this part of town. I said I was happy taking the risk. At which, much offended that I wasn't taking his advice, he said huffily, "Well, I hope nothing bad happens to you." I may not have sounded terribly sincere when I returned the good wishes word for word to him. As soon as someone invents lolcat videos, this scene gets tagged with "Chivalry: ur doin it wrong".

And probably around about the same time, I read a conversation on the interweb about respecting a woman's "no" instead of asking again and again on the assumption that she's just playing hard to get. In frustration some guy announced, "Okay, ladies: if I ask you out and you say no, that's it: I won't ask you out again!" At which I blinked and thought, "...Um, this is supposed to abash us? If only everyone did that as a matter of course!"

(I think he was operating under the assumption that only men can ask women out. If that were true, then his only asking once means that a woman only has that one chance to say yes or no, so his taking her no at face value when she means yes would be a disaster. But it's not true. She can say no, and see him turning away, and if she wants she can run after him and say, "Actually yes." Or if she means no but changes her mind an hour, day, week, year later, she can phone him up and say, "Hey, if you're still interested, would you like to go out with me?" And then the ball's in his court again.)

So, bearing in mind this pattern where someone makes an offer, is refused courteously enough, and responds to the refusal with anger or cajoling or the like...

Last night I was walking down the street from one bus stop, where the bus was 18 minutes late, to another, which has a telepathic doodacky that tells you when the next bus is coming. I was glancing behind myself as I went in case the bus overtook me on the way, and as I did this a car full of young guys pulled up alongside me. I prepared for wolf-whistles. Conversation ensued:

Driver: "Hey, d'you need a ride somewhere?"

Me: "Nah, I'm good, thanks."

Driver: "Okay!"

And he cheerfully did a U-ie and drove off; and I blinked a couple of times and walked cheerfully on to my bus stop.

"No, thanks."


It was that simple.

Date: 2008-05-26 02:02 pm (UTC)
ext_153365: Leaf with a dead edge (South Park Claws)
From: [identity profile] oldsma.livejournal.com
When I was younger, a guy pulled over at a bus stop late at night to ask me in a very creepy and persistent way if he could give me a ride--twice, months and towns apart. I'd bet he thought he was "being nice" and that I was crazy unreasonable when I wrote down his plate number and told him that if I ever saw him again I would call the police.


Date: 2008-05-27 02:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mjlayman.livejournal.com
I think a lot of people feel like they're going out of their way to be good when they offer help and when you say no, they're offended because they'd gone out of their way. This happens to me a lot -- today at the grocery, the bagger offered to carry my bags to the car, and kept offering when I said no -- and I'm happy to accept help when it's safe and I need it, but a lot of the time I've already calculated what I can do on my own.

Date: 2008-05-28 12:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] via-pigeon.livejournal.com

People like the ones in the car make me warm and fuzzy.

Family dinnah next Monday eeeeevening?


zeborah: Map of New Zealand with a zebra salient (Default)

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