First off, please be aware that I am NOT speaking about those who are socially awkward. More often than not, being socially awkward is a result of quite a number of factors, some of which have to do with the person’s development and security as a child. Social awkwardness can be trained to be better, but if a person has social anxiety on top of being socially awkward, they have a much harder time of dealing with the rest of humanity.
No, I am speaking directly to those – male or female – who have such a narcissistic view of the world that they felt they had no need to learn courtesy, manners or any other kind of social norm as the Universe somehow revolves around them. Whether it is because they feel entitled to such worship because of their childhood, or simply because their caregivers (I won’t say parents, because not everyone was raised by their parents) essentially taught them that they were the center of the Universe, like Veruca Salt in Willy Wanka and the Chocolate Factory (old version).
It’s a matter of being intentionally and willfully ignorant. Worse, some of them actually KNOW the social norms, they only use them if no other option of getting their way works.
Veruca is a very obvious example of this behavior, as are most portrayals of narcissists in TV or film. The problem is, these people aren’t always so obvious about their behavior. And they find ways to make you somehow agree it is YOUR fault that the situation is going sour.
Sadly, this is also something that is considered acceptable in men primarily in our culture. If a woman is attentive, involved in a conversation with a man, obviously they must be romantically interested in that man. It couldn’t be that the man might actually have something interesting to say on a subject.
And it is not just about the man wanting to be romantically involved with the woman. No, it ALSO includes men who are NOT interested in a woman romantically. If a woman gives her attention to some male, because she was engaged in the conversation, and he does not find her attractive, he responds often in a rejection. Not of the conversation, but of the person.
Not every conversation in the world is about getting into someone’s pants. Sex is NOT the answer to all social interaction.
And, God forbid, the woman is interested in the conversation but not the guy. We get responses from the silent hurt to violently aggressive if we aren’t interested in the guy. The silent hurt is OK, sad but OK. You aren’t forcing your worldview on me.
But the closer we get to the other side of the spectrum, the more endangered we are just by talking to a man.
Is it any surprise that most women are often afraid to be involved in a conversation with any male?
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a public space, and had a conversation with a stranger. But it has ONLY been the men who are offended if I’m not interested. I’ve been threatened, attacked and assaulted just because some guy thought me talking to him meant he had a “green light.”
And we women need to STOP saying “I’m Sorry” in those situations. It only encourages these people to continue the behavior.