Thankfully, the world is changing for women, but a lot of guys don’t know how to behave now that we’re calling out their inappropriate behavior on a regular basis. It’s mainly common sense. There are exceptions to the rule, but for the most part, act like a decent human and you’ll be just fine.
Err on the safe side. In doubt? Just don’t do it. Follow your gut and if something seems like it might not be received well, don’t go there. Don’t risk it. Think before you act! It sounds simple but apparently for some guys, it’s not. It’s always better to be cautious than impulsive in sensitive situations.
Pay attention to visual cues. It’s not that hard to tell when someone feels uncomfortable if you take a moment to notice. Body language and facial expressions can give you a great deal of information, even if that person isn’t speaking up. Sometimes they might say things they don’t mean because they feel pressured in some way, so don’t go blindly on words alone.
Pay attention to physical cues. If someone is shrinking away from your touch, never initiates physical contact, or cuts it off shortly and awkwardly, chances are they don’t want you to touch them at all! Unfortunately, many women are afraid to speak up and refuse touch because they’re then attacked or harassed for being “uptight.” Let them initiate it so you can avoid confusion (or at least ask first).
Learn to understand the situation from the other perspective. You most likely don’t mean to be inconsiderate or thoughtless, but the fact is that often when people interact, there’s often a lack of forethought involved. Don’t assume that a problem doesn’t exist because it’s never happened to you. Understand that everyone has different experiences, fears, and needs. Don’t be so quick to pass judgment.
Ask questions. It’s so simple and yet it hardly ever happens! Communication is of paramount importance and unfortunately sorely lacking these days. Not sure if you should speak or act a certain way? Ask the other person involved how they feel about it. It’s the easiest way to avoid a huge headache and make sure everyone feels comfortable.
Always overcommunicate. If it seems like too much, it’s most likely just about right. There’s no harm in being too careful and too solicitous. At worst, it’s mildly annoying, but at best, it keeps you and everyone around you safe and happy. The better you know the boundaries of the people you interact with, the less likely you are to get into trouble.
Listen very carefully. We all think that we listen better than we actually do. Don’t be that guy. Pay attention, and when you do ask questions, make sure you understand the answers. Again, the clearer everything is between you and someone else, the better your odds of having a decent reputation.
Make women feel like they can be real with you. This is incredibly important and often undervalued by men. The more at ease a woman feels, the better able she is to be completely honest and forthright about a situation. Be a decent human and a considerate man and you’ll know exactly where you stand.
If something seems off, don’t ignore it. Often when someone feels uncomfortable or afraid, they aren’t going to hit you over the head with it. There’s likely some past trauma or some previous issue that affects how they react. You have to understand that these things are complicated and err on the side of caution when in doubt.
Be overly sensitive. Actually, there’s no such thing as being overly sensitive, but you get the point. You have no idea what has happened in someone’s past or what informs their reactions. You’re much better off if you know why someone feels how they do and then act with respect. Be kind.
Exercise patience. Know what gets most guys into trouble? Not thinking before you act, being insensitive, and being impatient, especially when it comes to the physical aspect of a relationship. You’re never ever entitled to another human’s affection, attention, or body. If everyone truly understood that, the world would be a much better place.
Don’t initiate touch, especially when you barely know someone. Yes, I do think the world needs more hugs and physical expression of affection, but they must be accepted by everyone involved in the interaction. It’s so awkward when a person touches someone who hardly knows them just because they’re a “friendly person.” It’s way more friendly to respect someone’s space!
Know that you can only do so much, but that you’ll be way ahead if you do it. I’m not insinuating that all women are angels who never accuse men of sexual misconduct unjustly. I do believe that most of the time, however, it is warranted and that if you’re sensitive, kind, cautious, and decent, you’ll have very little chance of getting yourself into a bad spot.
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