Surely this is common, right? Is there a way to fight THIS? Even if it isn’t true, I can’t even casually compliment someone because I get nervous about pissing them off and/or creeping them out.
I used to be obese, so maybe losing the weight doesn’t get rid of the mindset that only the attractive can get away with making a move on someone.
I can’t speak for how common it is, but I can confirm that it’s something that goes through my head a lot whenever I consider approaching someone. While we have different reasons for feeling the same way, they seem to come from common roots: a change in our own self-confidence, and a conscious desire to not be perceived as a threat.
I’ll speak from experience here. I’m very conscious of how people might perceive me, and being perceived as creepy, but mostly being perceived as a threat, is something I’m especially conscious of. As warm, sweet, and as kind as I am, I am also a big dude. I’m 6’2” tall and I’m aware that my size alone can be intimidating to some people. Size can be intimidating, but there’s also the fact that it’s not all that uncommon for men to become violent when their romantic advances are rebuffed. Just check out whenwomenrefuse.tumblr.com if you don’t believe me but fair warning, each of those stories is incredibly heartbreaking. The widely popular Margaret Atwood quote holds true for a lot of people, and it’s something that always sits in the back of my mind:
“Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.”
I feel confident when I say that pretty much every woman you know, at some point in her life, has been either physically or verbally threatened, or at the very least insulted, because they rejected a man. That’s part of the reason why I try to avoid coming on too strong when flirting or approaching women. It might come off as too-passive to some people, but if I had to choose between getting more phone numbers but making more women feel uncomfortable, even if they were only 1% of the women I hit on, I’m okay with being more passive when hitting on women if that 1% feels just a little bit safer. If that’s not how you operate, no judgment here, it’s just how I prefer to do things.
Building self-confidence are things that many of us want, but we’re all a little in the dark as to how we should handle these changes. It’s hard to let go of how you view yourself. So many of us work to improve ourselves, whether it’s mentally or physically, but once we make those changes, it’s hard to get rid of your lingering doubts associated with those changes. I like to think that I’ve worked to make myself a more charming and dynamic person, but part of me will always have a bit of doubt when it comes to approaching women (or anyone) to strike up a conversation. Am I interesting? Are my anecdotes charming? Do I have a weird voice? While not the same as feeling like your physical appearance prevents you from acting in a certain way, I get where the thought comes from. I used to be one way, and even if I view myself differently, those insecurities still linger. I think it’s natural to have some doubts about yourself, especially if who you are today is different in some way then who you were in the past.
I understand your doubts, and even though I’m the sort of person who has similar doubts and concerns, that still doesn’t stop me from talking to women. You shouldn’t let your fears stop you either. What you need to do is figure out a middle ground where you can talk to women, and compliment them, and flirt with them, but do so in a way that leaves you with a clear conscious. For me, a lot of what I do is just being deferential. I try to avoid getting into people’s personal space unless invited, I don’t flirt by touch unless she initiates, and the language I use is flirty without coercion. I’m more likely to say “I’d love it if you came home with me” rather than “Come home with me”. As I said before, this has more to do with my preferences than anything else, so don’t feel like you have to flirt the way I do. Flirting that way works for me, and it makes me feel like I’ve put in effort to not be creepy or pushy. You could always try flirting the way I do, or work on finding a way that works for you. If complimenting women makes you uncomfortable, who says you even have to? Maybe your flirting will be more body language focused, or focused on maintaining eye-contact, or getting her to talk about herself and actively listening, rather than just fawning over her.
All that said, you will always be at risk for pissing someone off, or making them uncomfortable, just by speaking. As much as I try to be respectful in the way that I flirt, there have been times, a very small few times, where I flirt in the way I describe above and still end up offending someone. There is no sure way to go through life without offending someone, so you’ll just have to get to the point where the way you approach women is something you’re comfortable doing, and know that even then, you still might piss someone off. Just try to be a decent person, approach, flirt, and compliment women in a way that you can look back on and say “I don’t think that was creepy” and just hope for the best. You can’t control what people will think of you, or what they’ll say about you, but you can control if you behave in a way that you find respectful.
Good Luck Out There.