I was part of a discussion on Facebook about “vague-flirting.” You know, when someone says something teetering on the line of “definite flirtation” and “possible flirtation.” You can’t call the flirter out on it, because it’s so vague that they can easily say, “hey, I’m just trying to be nice. I didn’t mean it that way.”
This is a bit off-topic from writing, but something that people on Social Media should probably keep in mind.
I hate to say it, but, this is more often a woman’s problem, though it does happen to men, too. Cue angry chicks. Sorry, but this is the world we’re living in right now. I don’t like it. I hate it, actually. But I’m not a fire-breather unless my people are threatened. I like living my hermit life with my nose in my books. I have a reputation of being kind and bubbly. I don’t like to call people out on petty things.
I can hear the feminists accusing me for being part of the problem now. Get over it. Not everyone is a fighter, but aggression is not the only way to make change. Ever heard of the phrase, “kill it with kindness?” It does work.
Anywho, my bubbly personality puts me in a place that makes me an easy target for men who are looking for some attention. Fortunately, I am happily spoken for. I love my man, and I show the world. Unfortunately, many of the men looking for attention don’t respond well to “kind rejection” or diverting the conversation away from what they’re after, and then situations like mine come into play. Keep in mind, this is an almost word-for-word conversation I’ve had several times.
Stranger: “You have gorgeous eyes. I love red heads.”
Me: “Thank you so much. I grew them myself lol”
Stranger: “Redheads with green eyes are my idea of a perfect woman.”
Me: “I’m sure yours is out there somewhere 🙂 “
Stranger: “So what are you up to? Are you alone? Can I call?”
Me: “No, I’m not alone. I’m with my guy. We’re in the middle of writing, then we have a movie planned. But it was nice chatting with you. Have a great evening!”
Stranger: “Can we talk later?”
Me: “I’m sorry, I don’t really have a lot of time to chitchat all the time. We have books we’re finishing. Have a good night!”
I close my messenger, then I come back later to f*bombs and calling me names and telling me I’m not good enough for him anyway. Then, I block.
I use this example because it’s clear the guy isn’t just complimenting me.
There is a difference between kindly offering a compliment, and hitting on someone.
After some discussion with Facebook friends, I found I’m not the only one who’s had experiences like this. But, thanks to some changes in self-presentation I’ve adopted in social media, the majority of these messages have stopped. The change includes,
Making the relationship status known. (obviously, this is for those in a relationship, unless you want to pretend you’re in a relationship, which might work, too lol)
- Make your relationship known at first glance of your profile. Featured photos, cover photo, or profile pictures can be used. I understand that if you’re a writer like me, you’re going to want to have your author picture as your profile picture, or a picture that shows off your personality and hints at your writing genre. But, if you’re being harassed often enough that it’s really getting under your skin, this will help keep attention-seekers at bay.
- Include your guy/girl in your posts. I don’t mean it like you think. It’s easy. For example:
“I’m roadtrippin! WHOOO!” vs “We’re roadtrippin! WHOOO!”
Just changing your pronoun in posts talking about life is enough to tell people that you’re not on Facebook “as a single.” You can even do this if you are single and just want to lessen unwanted attention. The point is that you’re showing life is being shared with someone already.
As a “public figure,” I try to keep my relationship status clear throughout my time on social media, as I have had issues with stalkers and sexual harassment over the years. When Attention-seekers know there’s a big guy on my side, they back off. But, if I am still approached, just mentioning my guy helps me get my point across without tainting my reputation of kindness. There’s no being mean or being aggressive. My guy doesn’t even have to say or do anything on his part–he just has to be passively present in the life I present to social media.
Now, I’m not saying a girl’s gotta have her man to save her. Not at all. But presenting your better half in your life (even if they’re not on social media themselves) is simply an unspoken call for respect of a relationship…and it works for men, too! It’s letting others know that your better half is beside you- again, physically, and in heart. It’s a message that you won’t be participating in what Mr./Mrs. Attention-Seeker is looking for.
Hopefully, people will grow to respect others enough that this type of thing isn’t even a problem anymore. But, until then, I hope this reaches anyone who may be having issues in this department.