How to handle “creepy man”, no matter your age.

“Creeped Out” in the Marina wrote that she’s 23 years old and she works at her uncle’s auto shop. She’s the one responsible for dealing with the delivery drivers who deliver car parts and other materials to the store.  80% of the drivers are “old creepy men” in their late 30’s and 40’s, who most of the time do their job and leave her alone without trying to flirt but there is one driver in particular, who is probably almost 30 years her senior who keeps flirting with her constantly and is inappropriate at times. She doesn’t know how to handle him and wants me to tell her “how to tell him off in a nice way”.

That’s where I say that parents are failing to do their jobs right. They are so busy with their busy lives that they’re not paying attention and teaching life skills to their offspring. A young woman by the age of 15 should know how to strongly fend off creepy guys, uninvited suitors, inappropriate comments, etc. My own then-teenage daughter knew how to tell anyone off who annoyed her or acted inappropriately without her feeling badly at all, no matter what their age range.

“Telling off” by definition has nothing to do with being nice. One has to take a stand. I won’t lie—it won’t look or feel nice, but it would be appropriate for the situation and this is a lesson that every woman should learn growing up. We as women, don’t have to be nice all the time. I understand why “Creeped Out” wants to “tell him off in a nice way”. She doesn’t want to look bad. Some women tend to be very passive and non-confrontational in situations like this. Therefore when the women don’t say NO in a very forceful way, guys like that think it’s a “MAYBE” and when we don’t take a stand, we look weak. Predators like weak. Bullies like weak. That’s why they thrive—by praying on someone’s weakness.

“Creeped Out”, usually the way people deal with us is not only on the basis of their quality as a person but it’s also on our willingness to be strong. So take note: next time a guy comes in and is inappropriate with you, handle the moment and take charge. You stand up, shoulders back, lift up your chin, look him straight in the eyes, make sure your voice is firm and resolved, and very SERIOUSLY tell the jerk: “I AM in charge of the (whatever you do at the store) and I am not here for you to hit on. Got it?”.

Then don’t give him a chance to respond and go right back to professional mode: “Where is the (invoice, bill, parts, paperwork … whatever he’s there to deliver to you)”. Do NOT smile at any time, do not engage him in any response unless it is about the work at hand. This way you’re showing him that you are getting back to work. That makes you look professional and strong.

When you do nothing about it, when you say nothing, when all you do is look uncomfortable, or have a half-smile because you don’t want to look bad, or you don’t look up, don’t stare him in his eyes, and your shoulders are slumped, folded-in, you become a victim. It’s up to you to show strength. If you do it like I wrote, it doesn’t take long, it doesn’t even take any yelling or screaming. It takes you standing up for yourself and saying who you are and what your job is.

Once it’s done, he knows you’re someone to reckon with—he knows you’re not a target, that you’re not a little meek thing that he can play with anytime he wants. If you don’t do it, it may get worse. Get stronger and don’t worry about not sounding nice. I’m counting on you to be assertive.

Comments

  1. I’m currently dealing with one of these guys at my work but I work the front counter at the YMCA my entire job is consumer service and member rentetion. This guy is a member and comes in every day and makes me uncomfortable even going as far as to ask for a message (I told him there are plently of great message parlors in the city). I don’t talk to him or his friend (unless they talk to me first) but I’m really not sure how to handle it considering my entire job is to be nice to him.

    • Your job is NOT to be nice to him when he’s been rude and crude. You need to go and tell your supervisor or boss what is happening. You have the right to work in an environment where you feel safe, secure and can do your job to the best of your ability. Accepting crude behavior, is not part of your job description and if they don’t straight him out or place you somewhere else, sue them or start looking for some other job. You have to have the courage too act, meanwhile do not acknowledge him anymore and if he continues with his boorish behavior, embarrass him in front of people. Say “I am ignoring you because I don’t want you to ask me to massage you anymore. I’m sick of it. You’re rude and disrespectful”. I would. Good luck.

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