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Mention it or don’t? How should I phrase it?

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  • penguinmama87penguinmama87 Member, Premium Posts: 913 Member Member, Premium Posts: 913 Member
    jjpptt2 wrote: »
    jjpptt2 wrote: »
    glassyo wrote: »
    Avidkeo wrote: »
    John772016 wrote: »
    Avidkeo wrote: »
    John772016 wrote: »
    When I lost 110lbs I got lots of comments; they started around 55lbs. I took all of them as positive. All.
    We're they? No idea. They were to me.

    We're so wired sometimes to be offended that we can forget that most people are trying to be nice. Awkward, sure, we're human.

    I agree with @jjpptt2 , your intention is important and you cannot control their choices. You decided not to say anything and that's fine.

    I know when I eventually get back into the gym, I hope some regulars acknowledge my hard work while being locked out.

    Try being a woman who is just working out and getting unsolicited comments. All. The. Time.
    And no, it's not nice, the words may be nice but the intent and tone is not. So I agree with others, a man commenting on my progress would probably be unwelcome, and probably downright creepy. We don't want or need to hear the opinion of a random person at the gym. Ask why you feel the need to compliment.

    That said, the OP seems to have a previous relationship with her, so then I'd say it would be fine.

    Except the OP wasn't describing your situation, and I wasn't commenting on your situation but the one he described.
    My own comment was I hoped 'the regulars' acknowledge my efforts, not random strangers.

    Nothing I said deserved your rebuke.

    Fair call.

    The bit I took as feeling off in your comment was "We're so wired sometimes to be offended that we can forget that most people are trying to be nice. Awkward, sure, we're human." and that feels so dismissive to me. Whenever a woman says that a man's comments make us uncomfortable, we get hit with the "I'm just trying to be friendly/nice" response, so your comment about being wired to be offended hit a nerve.

    The conversation is around whether someone should say something to another person about their appearance. And saying that people are wired to be offended is so dismissive to how people feel about unsolicited comments is appropriate to that conversation

    *peeks in*

    Even tho no one asked, I'm with John772016 on this.

    Someone on a tumblr page I frequent was literally offended because a guy said she had good taste in music. She couldn't take the compliment and THEN see if the guy turned creepy? No, she had to be offended because she didn't need her taste in music validated.

    It's too much. Have some faith not everyone wants in your pants.

    The thing to get is that when a guy tells a woman she's looking great or deems her taste in music good, it's the first time he's saying it to her but it may be something she's dealt with dozens of times. Sometimes a guy will have the greatest intentions, but the overall dynamic of guys deciding they will declare who looks great, has good taste, is great at whatever. . . it can be tiring over the course of a lifetime.

    Every guy who wants to validate strangers should understand this overall situation so they can at least understand when it goes sideways.

    I'll stipulate to that, but shouldn't the woman also be aware that she's imposing her past experience on the current situation, potentially unfairly/inappropriately?

    My only point in asking this is that, IMO, communication is a 2-way street. Just like the person speaking needs to be thoughtful and considerate about how they can be interpreted, the person listening needs to be thoughtful and considerate about what might be meant. BOTH parties have to be aware of their own tendencies/biases, no?

    Have you ever been in an interaction that went from normal to creepy or even threatening really quickly? That's the balance that many women are pondering when guys make comments like this. I'm not trying to justify bad behavior, I'm just pointing out that lots of women have experience with seemingly routine interactions going south really quickly (and I'm sure there are men who have this experience as well).

    Everyone should be considerate. For men who want to compliment people they don't know well, I think consideration includes understanding why a woman might have a negative response to a compliment. That's all I'm saying. It's not that women are randomly deciding that this specific dude wants in their pants . . . it's that lots of experiences with men trying to get in our pants (or do something else unwanted) begins with a seemingly innocent statement.

    That's fair. I think I needed the reminder that what starts as a "simple compliment" could potentially turn into a guy waiting by a woman's car outside the gym after her workout (for example). That slope could get really slippery really fast.

    Yes, I think that's it. A guy KNOWS he isn't going to be a threat to a woman. The woman, she doesn't know that. That's why guys get confused sometimes, because it seems like a woman is being mean or shutting him down for no reason.

    Yeah, I think this is the crux of it. It stinks that it is this way, but it is.

    I do think it's very good that the OP wants to carefully navigate this dynamic. A lot depends on the pre-existing relationship. Generally though, I think a man who makes an effort to be trustworthy, rather than demanding trust, is much more likely to develop the kinds of friendships with women where supportive comments could be made and understood in the way they're intended, rather than being viewed as suspicious. Being aware is a really important first step here. :)
  • glassyoglassyo Member Posts: 5,707 Member Member Posts: 5,707 Member
    jjpptt2 wrote: »
    jjpptt2 wrote: »
    glassyo wrote: »
    Avidkeo wrote: »
    John772016 wrote: »
    Avidkeo wrote: »
    John772016 wrote: »
    When I lost 110lbs I got lots of comments; they started around 55lbs. I took all of them as positive. All.
    We're they? No idea. They were to me.

    We're so wired sometimes to be offended that we can forget that most people are trying to be nice. Awkward, sure, we're human.

    I agree with @jjpptt2 , your intention is important and you cannot control their choices. You decided not to say anything and that's fine.

    I know when I eventually get back into the gym, I hope some regulars acknowledge my hard work while being locked out.

    Try being a woman who is just working out and getting unsolicited comments. All. The. Time.
    And no, it's not nice, the words may be nice but the intent and tone is not. So I agree with others, a man commenting on my progress would probably be unwelcome, and probably downright creepy. We don't want or need to hear the opinion of a random person at the gym. Ask why you feel the need to compliment.

    That said, the OP seems to have a previous relationship with her, so then I'd say it would be fine.

    Except the OP wasn't describing your situation, and I wasn't commenting on your situation but the one he described.
    My own comment was I hoped 'the regulars' acknowledge my efforts, not random strangers.

    Nothing I said deserved your rebuke.

    Fair call.

    The bit I took as feeling off in your comment was "We're so wired sometimes to be offended that we can forget that most people are trying to be nice. Awkward, sure, we're human." and that feels so dismissive to me. Whenever a woman says that a man's comments make us uncomfortable, we get hit with the "I'm just trying to be friendly/nice" response, so your comment about being wired to be offended hit a nerve.

    The conversation is around whether someone should say something to another person about their appearance. And saying that people are wired to be offended is so dismissive to how people feel about unsolicited comments is appropriate to that conversation

    *peeks in*

    Even tho no one asked, I'm with John772016 on this.

    Someone on a tumblr page I frequent was literally offended because a guy said she had good taste in music. She couldn't take the compliment and THEN see if the guy turned creepy? No, she had to be offended because she didn't need her taste in music validated.

    It's too much. Have some faith not everyone wants in your pants.

    The thing to get is that when a guy tells a woman she's looking great or deems her taste in music good, it's the first time he's saying it to her but it may be something she's dealt with dozens of times. Sometimes a guy will have the greatest intentions, but the overall dynamic of guys deciding they will declare who looks great, has good taste, is great at whatever. . . it can be tiring over the course of a lifetime.

    Every guy who wants to validate strangers should understand this overall situation so they can at least understand when it goes sideways.

    I'll stipulate to that, but shouldn't the woman also be aware that she's imposing her past experience on the current situation, potentially unfairly/inappropriately?

    My only point in asking this is that, IMO, communication is a 2-way street. Just like the person speaking needs to be thoughtful and considerate about how they can be interpreted, the person listening needs to be thoughtful and considerate about what might be meant. BOTH parties have to be aware of their own tendencies/biases, no?

    Have you ever been in an interaction that went from normal to creepy or even threatening really quickly? That's the balance that many women are pondering when guys make comments like this. I'm not trying to justify bad behavior, I'm just pointing out that lots of women have experience with seemingly routine interactions going south really quickly (and I'm sure there are men who have this experience as well).

    Everyone should be considerate. For men who want to compliment people they don't know well, I think consideration includes understanding why a woman might have a negative response to a compliment. That's all I'm saying. It's not that women are randomly deciding that this specific dude wants in their pants . . . it's that lots of experiences with men trying to get in our pants (or do something else unwanted) begins with a seemingly innocent statement.

    That's fair. I think I needed the reminder that what starts as a "simple compliment" could potentially turn into a guy waiting by a woman's car outside the gym after her workout (for example). That slope could get really slippery really fast.

    That's what tasers are for. 😀

    I'm a female who considers myself a feminist. I just also believe in "not all men" and "innocent until proven guilty".

    But, then again, I took being told to eat a burrito and asked if I was sick after losing so much weight as compliments.
  • glassyoglassyo Member Posts: 5,707 Member Member Posts: 5,707 Member
    glassyo wrote: »
    jjpptt2 wrote: »
    jjpptt2 wrote: »
    glassyo wrote: »
    Avidkeo wrote: »
    John772016 wrote: »
    Avidkeo wrote: »
    John772016 wrote: »
    When I lost 110lbs I got lots of comments; they started around 55lbs. I took all of them as positive. All.
    We're they? No idea. They were to me.

    We're so wired sometimes to be offended that we can forget that most people are trying to be nice. Awkward, sure, we're human.

    I agree with @jjpptt2 , your intention is important and you cannot control their choices. You decided not to say anything and that's fine.

    I know when I eventually get back into the gym, I hope some regulars acknowledge my hard work while being locked out.

    Try being a woman who is just working out and getting unsolicited comments. All. The. Time.
    And no, it's not nice, the words may be nice but the intent and tone is not. So I agree with others, a man commenting on my progress would probably be unwelcome, and probably downright creepy. We don't want or need to hear the opinion of a random person at the gym. Ask why you feel the need to compliment.

    That said, the OP seems to have a previous relationship with her, so then I'd say it would be fine.

    Except the OP wasn't describing your situation, and I wasn't commenting on your situation but the one he described.
    My own comment was I hoped 'the regulars' acknowledge my efforts, not random strangers.

    Nothing I said deserved your rebuke.

    Fair call.

    The bit I took as feeling off in your comment was "We're so wired sometimes to be offended that we can forget that most people are trying to be nice. Awkward, sure, we're human." and that feels so dismissive to me. Whenever a woman says that a man's comments make us uncomfortable, we get hit with the "I'm just trying to be friendly/nice" response, so your comment about being wired to be offended hit a nerve.

    The conversation is around whether someone should say something to another person about their appearance. And saying that people are wired to be offended is so dismissive to how people feel about unsolicited comments is appropriate to that conversation

    *peeks in*

    Even tho no one asked, I'm with John772016 on this.

    Someone on a tumblr page I frequent was literally offended because a guy said she had good taste in music. She couldn't take the compliment and THEN see if the guy turned creepy? No, she had to be offended because she didn't need her taste in music validated.

    It's too much. Have some faith not everyone wants in your pants.

    The thing to get is that when a guy tells a woman she's looking great or deems her taste in music good, it's the first time he's saying it to her but it may be something she's dealt with dozens of times. Sometimes a guy will have the greatest intentions, but the overall dynamic of guys deciding they will declare who looks great, has good taste, is great at whatever. . . it can be tiring over the course of a lifetime.

    Every guy who wants to validate strangers should understand this overall situation so they can at least understand when it goes sideways.

    I'll stipulate to that, but shouldn't the woman also be aware that she's imposing her past experience on the current situation, potentially unfairly/inappropriately?

    My only point in asking this is that, IMO, communication is a 2-way street. Just like the person speaking needs to be thoughtful and considerate about how they can be interpreted, the person listening needs to be thoughtful and considerate about what might be meant. BOTH parties have to be aware of their own tendencies/biases, no?

    Have you ever been in an interaction that went from normal to creepy or even threatening really quickly? That's the balance that many women are pondering when guys make comments like this. I'm not trying to justify bad behavior, I'm just pointing out that lots of women have experience with seemingly routine interactions going south really quickly (and I'm sure there are men who have this experience as well).

    Everyone should be considerate. For men who want to compliment people they don't know well, I think consideration includes understanding why a woman might have a negative response to a compliment. That's all I'm saying. It's not that women are randomly deciding that this specific dude wants in their pants . . . it's that lots of experiences with men trying to get in our pants (or do something else unwanted) begins with a seemingly innocent statement.

    That's fair. I think I needed the reminder that what starts as a "simple compliment" could potentially turn into a guy waiting by a woman's car outside the gym after her workout (for example). That slope could get really slippery really fast.

    That's what tasers are for. 😀

    I'm a female who considers myself a feminist. I just also believe in "not all men" and "innocent until proven guilty".

    But, then again, I took being told to eat a burrito and asked if I was sick after losing so much weight as compliments.

    If we are talking about sending someone to jail, I agree with you. But we're not. We're talking about whether a guy's perception of his own niceness and harmlessness overrides every other consideration in the situation, including a woman's prior experiences with men who haven't wished her well and haven't been harmless.

    I would argue that his self-perception should not be the primary consideration, it is only a consideration. A woman's situational awareness and previous experiences can also be considered.

    We're not talking about sending someone to jail, we're talking about his feelings. Those aren't nothing. They also aren't everything.

    I actually completely agree with this. It just seems like some women are very militant in their thinking.

    It's also very different coming from a stranger you've never laid eyes on vs, like someone else pointed out, an acquaintance. There's at least some form of familiarity there.

    It's probably for the best but I think it sucks the op was convinced not to say anything.
  • 33gail3333gail33 Member Posts: 960 Member Member Posts: 960 Member
    MaltedTea wrote: »
    33gail33 wrote: »
    A day in the life:

    Get up - go running. Get shouted at by man passing in a van

    Get ready for work - get on train/bus. 'Smile love it might never happen'

    Get to destination - walk to work. Get cat called by builders

    Work - Not being listened to/ get credit for ideas until male colleagues chime in. Being expected to take the minutes/get the tea as the only woman in the room. Get paid less than male equivalents for the privilege

    Trip home from work - as above, possible inappropriate closeness on crowded public transport.

    Gym after work - someone who might be perfectly nice tries to make conversation and gets shut down.

    I'm not saying that that all of these things happen every day to every woman, but they are fairly typical experiences. I am not interested in other people's opinions of my appearance or performance, it is not my job to be nice to everyone when they choose to tell me anyway.

    Anyone who is interested in this kind of thing will find the Everyday Sexism website quite an eye opener.

    Yes I am guessing that anyone who doesn't understand the "offense" has never been (1) asked if they want to "do business" by a random man outside their office building (no I don't dress "like a hooker" I was wearing mom jeans and a tweed jacket while dropping off the mail), (2) *literally* chased on the highway so a man can pull up beside and wave at me (3) had someone call from a patio across the street telling me to "come on over" when I was at a work lunch with colleagues (4) been catcalled by a group of teenagers young enough to be my children.
    These interactions are not intended to compliment btw - they are meant to exert dominance and control and are humiliating and frightening. Although men may not see their "compliment" in the same category, when it comes from a stranger we just don't want to hear it.

    That assumption is incorrect. And calling/negging a woman out of their feminism is also potentially uncouth (but that's respectability politics, and a whole other discussion). This coming from someone who was recently catcalled while on an evening walk with her adult-sized teenaged son.

    Still, I have chosen to take every interaction with every person in its individual context. Call me naive but I decided not to live life assuming the worst of people...until they show me the worst of themselves.

    The well-meaning and well-intentioned, like the OP, are not the ones needing the Simone de Beauvoir, 4th wave summary.

    That said, hopefully someone has gotten a better idea of how to be an active ally to women the next time they - or a friend - starts going wayward with expressing their feelings towards a woman.

    I wasn't calling/negging a woman out of their feminism, the woman I quoted I was agreeing with?

    My discussion earlier in the thread was with a man (at least that is what the profile picture indicated) - and my examples were intended to give those people (men) who had never experienced this in their daily lives some context as to the fatigue some of us feel around the subject, and why we may not appreciate any types of comments/compliments from random strangers/aquaintances.

    If I inadvertently implied something else in my comments I sincerely apologize for that, to you and anyone else who read it that way, as that was not my intention.

    **You are right when rereading I understand where I gave that impression I worded it awkwardly but it is too late to go back and edit the comment.

    edited May 26
  • MaltedTeaMaltedTea Member, Premium Posts: 6,289 Member Member, Premium Posts: 6,289 Member
    @33gail33 no apology needed and the clarification is appreciated.

    That said, the unintentional wording in that reply - which could have applied to either gender - was what I was responding to.

    It remains relevant because just as many men may not have the experiences mentioned, there are many women who may have had them (along with others) but still choose to relate to people differently. For better or for worse, I'm one of those women.

    Sidenote: the whole back half of this thread makes me wanna "rebinge watch" Handmaid's Tale. Who's with me? 🙌🏿
  • 33gail3333gail33 Member Posts: 960 Member Member Posts: 960 Member
    MaltedTea wrote: »
    @33gail33 no apology needed and the clarification is appreciated.

    That said, the unintentional wording in that reply - which could have applied to either gender - was what I was responding to.

    It remains relevant because just as many men may not have the experiences mentioned, there are many women who may have had them (along with others) but still choose to relate to people differently. For better or for worse, I'm one of those women.

    Sidenote: the whole back half of this thread makes me wanna "rebinge watch" Handmaid's Tale. Who's with me? 🙌🏿

    Yes I see how I definitely universalized my reaction to those experiences - thank you for calling me out on it.
  • glassyoglassyo Member Posts: 5,707 Member Member Posts: 5,707 Member
    Can I just say one more thing? Well, since none of us actually needs permission, I'm going to anyway. :)

    People have their experiences but when someone who isn't close enough to you to be considered a bestie comes up to you they don't know that. Should they err on the side of caution and not say a damn thing just in case a person's been assaulted or harrassed or whatever? Maybe. But it would be a bleak world if everyone was too scared of the backlash to pay someone a compliment tho.

    cktbhp2hobta.jpeg
  • NorthCascadesNorthCascades Member Posts: 10,666 Member Member Posts: 10,666 Member
    This thread reminds me of the beginning of a Robert Burns poem:

    Wee, sleeket, cowran, tim’rous beastie,
    O, what a panic’s in thy breastie!
    Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
    Wi’ bickerin brattle!
    I wad be laith to rin an’ chase thee
    Wi’ murd’ring pattle!

    I’m truly sorry Man’s dominion
    Has broken Nature’s social union,
    An’ justifies that ill opinion,
    Which makes thee startle,
    At me, thy poor, earth-born companion,
    An’ fellow-mortal!

    ...

    But Mousie, thou art no thy-lane,
    In proving foresight may be vain:
    The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men
    Gang aft agley,
    An’ lea’e us nought but grief an’ pain,
    For promis’d joy!
  • Speakeasy76Speakeasy76 Member Posts: 820 Member Member Posts: 820 Member
    glassyo wrote: »
    Can I just say one more thing? Well, since none of us actually needs permission, I'm going to anyway. :)

    People have their experiences but when someone who isn't close enough to you to be considered a bestie comes up to you they don't know that. Should they err on the side of caution and not say a damn thing just in case a person's been assaulted or harrassed or whatever? Maybe. But it would be a bleak world if everyone was too scared of the backlash to pay someone a compliment tho.

    cktbhp2hobta.jpeg

    I was just thinking this very thing: that if we all just stopped giving sincere compliments that are generally accepted as socially appropriate because we might offend someone, what kind of world are we living in?

    I may be old school, but I think it is socially appropriate to give a sincere compliment about someone's weight loss to an acquaintance you haven't seen in a long time. I don't see "you look great!" to someone who's clearly been working on themselves as offensive? Following it up with "what have you been doing?" and/or something along the lines of how you are trying to improve yourself would probably come off as even less offensive. Most of us know, though, that it's not so much about what you say, but how you say it. If you said while looking her up and down or staring at a specific body part, that would be creepy. Same thing if you were a complete stranger just happens to work out at the same gym, then it comes as being a creepy creeperton. Even if the stranger were being totally sincere, it still can come off weird. Context is everything.

    As a female, I totally get the barrage of unsolicited comments from the opposite sex and other unacceptable male-to-female behavior. Unfortunately, while still uncomfortable (to say the least) for us females, some of the catcalling and such wasn't even called out until recently. Are we to the point, though, where only people of the same sex/sexual orientation are allowed to make genuine compliments without being perceived as creepy? I don't know if that's what others are implying, but I hope not.

    I'll be honest: if an acquaintance I hadn't seen awhile DIDN'T mention anything about an obvious weight loss, I'd be kind of bummed. I also personally feel weird giving compliments to acquaintances, only because I feel awkward receiving them.
    However, those are own issues that I have to deal with, not the person who didn't say anything. There's that saying "You can't control other people's actions, only your reaction to that person." I completely understand why someone who's been the victim of unsolicited creepy comments, gazes, and other offensive acts could be uncomfortable with a compliment such as the OP was suggesting. I know I will get disagrees, but it seems to me that if such sincere, appropriate compliments trigger someone because of those past experiences, maybe there's some work to do on that person's end?
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