Hey everyone, So I feel kinda foolish and also worried. Don't really like this combination! Below is a long story about a mildly creepy encounter, and my probably disproportionate reaction to it. Also, I don't know if this is the right thread.
Yesterday I was walking home in the rain and bumped into a regular from the restaurant I work at. He asked if I wanted to have a drink with him. I declined. He offered me a ride, telling me where he was going. It was my street. I took the ride, texting my flatmate when I got in the car.
On the way he ascertained that I'm not single, talked about his life and said that the reason he was going to this street (let's call it Green St.) was to visit his daughter. It's a long street. I explained that I also lived on it, but got him to drop me at the opposite end. He dropped me on a corner, and then turned off Green St onto Blue Rd. This could mean that he needed to get back to the start of the street to visit his daughter, or that he had no reason to be driving there in the first place but had seen me around there or followed me.
I know that it's probably not something I should stress out about a lot, but I feel dumb, and like I have put myself at risk unnecessarily. I forgot when I bumped into him how creepy another girl at my work finds him: he tries to flirt with her very regularly and unwantedly. As soon as I got in his car, I felt a bit uneasy and couldn't really concentrate on what he was saying. This man didn't do or say anything offensive, but looking back, I still feel weirded out by the chain of events.
I feel like I won't be able to protect myself if I can't even refrain from doing things like this.I think part of the reason I got into his car was that I see him only in my work environment, where I HAVE to be nice and polite and give people what they want.
I already get really freaked out if I'm home alone at night time. (I have to check over the whole house. Then I still jump at any little noise, and find it hard to concentrate on anything) I wanted to work on being less controlled by this, but now I just don't ever want to be in that situation in my current house. When I walked home today I took a different route than normal and kept checking over my shoulder. I have found an Aikido class that I'm going to start at next week, to make me feel better. I talked to my boyfriend, and at his suggestion told one of the managers at my work what happened.
I guess I'm wondering if there's anything else I should do, either to minimise the risk or to feel more confident. It's such a small thing, and I realise I am worrying about a problem that may not even exist. Sigh. Thanks for reading if you got this far.
Posts: 79 | From: the southern hemisphere | Registered: May 2006
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Personnally, I'd suggest not taking a ride home late at night from a guy that you do not know very well because this can put you at risk. This guy looks creepy, especially if he's far older than you (and I assume he might be if he has a daughter) and is flirting with girls far younger than him, even when they are clearly not interested. I don't think this is normal for an older guy to offer a young girl that he doesn't know well a ride home, to me it's some sort of red flag. He's just a client at the restaurant so I assume that you probably don't know him very well and probably aren't really close friends with him.
You have the right to decline a ride home, when someone asks you for a ride, you don't have to accept, it's really up to you.
I hear you saying that you are scared of walking home alone at night. Can anyone walk with you ? If this is a problem mostly when it comes to work, then is there anyone at your work that lives near your house that you could walk with, at least for some distances or could you do some carpool with a co-worker who owns a car ? If you find that the only way is to walk alone at night to get home, then some people find that taking a self-defense class might help with feeling safer. I think that taking an Aikido class might help you. You might also feel safer if you carry a can of pepper spray with you or if you have your cellphone on you.
Your reaction sounds natural, if a bit tough and "d'oh!" in retrospect. cool87 gave you some good suggestions for general safety stuff; it is always good to be proactive if you're feeling funny about something. However, I'm also going to go argue that it's probably ok. I've been in your position and know that very feeling. I honestly believe that most people pretty much everywhere do have good intentions; it's just that small number of people to watch out for, and it's hard finding a balance.
I think men often do not realize the fears women and girls face on a daily basis when walking around and the like. I walk to work and have had coworkers, often middle-aged men, pull over to offer me a ride. I've turned them down all except once (and it worked out just fine); for them, they see the cold weather or rain or what not being an issue, that it would be rude not to offer. (Ironically, as a woman, having someone in a car pull over or honk makes me think "run!" not "good samaritian" ) If he has a daughter, he might also think of you in that way, like he wouldn't want his daughter having to walk in the rain. As for where he dropped you off, I can suggest this: Do you regularly drive places? I ask because drivers and walkers tend to look at traffic and travel patterns very differently. I say this as someone who just drove around the block twice looking for a parking space on a series of one way streets but who usually walks. I don't know but it's probably ok.
The drink offer could make it seem sketchy, but it doesn't necessarily have to really be his intention. As a regular, he probably feels a certain connection to you, if not exactly friendship but not totally professional; if he assumed you had a boyfriend, he probably wasn't then trying to make a move? Again, I'd just chalk it up to coming from two different mindsets.
I don't mean to discount your gut feeling here; it's so important to listen to and it's unfortunate that we have to analyze even well-intentioned actions. However, even if this turns out to be ok, you'll have your guard up again and it'll help you avoid some other situation in the near future? I tend to think that our uncomfortable-but-ultimately-ok experiences help teach us to be aware and help us avoid more dangerous situations; I would try to look at it positively or at least not so negatively if you can?
Your plans for increasing your general sense of safety and confidence sound very good! Good luck with those! If you are not feeling safe home alone at night right now, is there any way to move to a place where you would be safer or it is just a general feeling thing?
Posts: 3318 | Registered: Jun 2003
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I'd personally say that your instincts are cool thing to go by! If a situation feeels unsafe it's perfectly ok to avoid it with no physical justification.
We can speculate about age, and what "type" of person this may be; whether they're a bad seed or a good seed. But essentially all that's really known is how you feel - to avoid risks all together it wouldn't have been rude to turn down the ride... it's also perfectly legitimate to trust in your confidence if you think something IS safe. It's entirely up to you and what makes you comfortable.
Worrying what we could have done differently in a situation that actually didn't have an immediately harmful outcome is a lot more pressure on yourself than is any help!
Now however, I'm getting that you DO feel uncomfortable, with the idea of this guy and the ambiguity of where he was driving - there's no harm in being extra cautious for now with interactions with this guy, it won't hurt him if he's perfectly innocent, and if not, then you've avoided a potentially dangerous situation.
(It looked like a party here so I thought I'd join in, too. )
I think everyone's made some really great points, and the one that seems to be consistent is that of trusting your instincts, which I agree with very much. I do want to echo what Lena said, though, because I know I have gone through periods where I became so distrustful of people that I ended up being paranoid and scared of any personal encounter. That limited me, limited where I went and what I did, and that's really no way to live.
I think when we get that way we start believing there are only certain "safe" places for us to be in and so we stay in those "safe" places and often end up missing out on a lot of things because it's outside of our safety zones. But the thing is, all those "safe" places aren't really safe. We put locks on our doors, bars on our windows, but it seems we're only shutting ourselves in, rather than keeping others out. If someone wants to get you, if someone wants to get it, they're going to no matter how many deadbolts you have.
You can look at that and be frightened, or you can look at it and realize that while it's good to take precautions, you have to give yourself room to live a little and experience things, too. So my basic point: don't be scared or suspect the worst of every person you meet. Yes, it's good to protect yourself as best you can, but you also have to have some faith in people that they're not all bad and out to hurt you.
-------------------- Listen, strange women lyin' in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.--Monty Python and the Holy Grail Posts: 2726 | From: North America | Registered: Apr 2007
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(This is SOME kinda party! ) Thanks all you cats for your replies. I feel a lot better after reading them. Also because this week is over.
Orca, I feel something similiar to that kind of paranoia whenever I'm home alone at night. It really sucks, because it's not something that I can avoid my entire life..I need to be able to be in the place where I'm living. I am lucky that one of my flatmates is home a lot though.
Ecofem, I think I didn't explain very clearly: he asked me if I was seeing anyone in a way that made it clear that he was interested. But you're right, that street is devilish to try and turn around on. I am known for my hatred of driving anywhere in my suburb.
I think I can let this just be a learning experience or whatever rather than being scared all the time now, so thanks everyone
Posts: 79 | From: the southern hemisphere | Registered: May 2006
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