When you are a Nice Guy, “No” does not apply

9 Apr

So, a guy I met online became facebook friends with me months ago. He seemed normal and interesting so I thought it was fine and said I’d like to get pie with him sometime. Then he turned out to be a philosophical troll who commented on my activist statuses nonstop with questions about the structure of my arguments etc, etc, and I finally told him off. I told him I was not interested in making my activist statements fit his masculinist ideas of legitimate logical arguments and that I’d prefer it if he would stop.

So he started messaging me on facebook, telling me how I was wrong about him and his arguments and I was misinterpreting what he was trying to do (while at the same time proving everything I had said about his being concerned with the argument structure and whether it was “logical” theoretically instead of what the actual issue was). I ignored him for a while and then, when it became clear that he would keep messaging me whether I responded or not, told him in very explicit terms that I was not interested in talking to him or hearing his opinion and he could stay facebook friends with me if he wanted to but I was not interested in talking to him, thank you very much.

He stopped messaging me, but went back to commenting on my statuses, links my friends would share, and news articles/activist stories that I posted on my timeline. Then, he texted me (because my number is visible to my friends on facebook. Something that has since been changed). I did not respond. Finally I got completely tired of seeing his commentary and deleted him as a friend.

Then, the texting ramped up:

“What gives? You’ve gone from ignoring me to deleting me? Because I respect you enough to ask your opinions? How is that fair? I’d like you to show me the respect I’ve been trying to show you all along, even if you feel I have failed.”

This is when I said, “Please stop contacting me. Just stop.”

“Why did you agree to hang out then? You had planned to do so. Also, I responded to your portrayal of me. A lot of the interpretations you’ve had of me have been mistaken and unfair. I’m not out to upset you, I want to understand you.”

I told him his interest in my opinion did not entitle him to my wanting to know anything about him, and again said, “Stop contacting me.”

“I didn’t say I was entitled, but I’ve extended several olive branches. What can I do to convince you I’m worth your time, which was your initial judgment?”

And when I did not respond,

“We have a lot in common. I don’t get why you’re freaking out on me. I’m not trying to date you or anything sketchy.”

My friends then advised me to ignore him, and that maybe then he would stop. This was last Tuesday. And then on Sunday,

“Happy resurrection of Jesus day, Ms. C ;)”

And at that point, I had completely had it. I had told him on multiple occasions, explicitly, that I did not want to talk to him or engage with him. I explicitly asked him to stop contacting me twice using the phrase, “Please stop contacting me,” when he started texting me. And ignoring him was not helping. I was angry because he was completely ignoring every instance of me telling him to stop trying to communicate with me, and it scared me that he did not respect my autonomy in choosing whether to communicate with him or not.

Despite what he said, he did feel entitled to my attention. Before I knew him at all, I said “yes” to going to get pie sometime. Once it became obvious that he was one of those philosophy doctoral students whose obsession with logic drives me up the wall, I knew friending him on facebook had been a mistake and knew without a doubt that I had no interest in meeting him.

But he did not accept that. Instead, he took my initial interest in meeting him to mean that I would always be interested, despite multiple occasions where I made it very obvious that I was no longer interested in communication.

He said he didn’t understand why I was “freaking out on him” because he wasn’t trying to “date me” or do anything “sketchy,” but he completely failed to see how continuing to contact me after being explicitly asked (and told) to stop was incredibly inappropriate and absolutely “sketchy.”

And then, to have the gall to text me about Easter in a very clearly personal (and not mass) text message after I had ignored his last texts and explicitly told him to stop contacting me, it just sent me over the edge. Obviously ignoring him was not going to work, and I felt frightened.

This is what I really want to talk about. He did not (and does not) have my address or any other contact information for me (especially now that he is blocked on facebook). All he has is my phone number. With just that information (assuming it would never escalate beyond his using my number to text me) he cannot actually physically find me or hurt me, as my friends and my mother pointed out when I brought this up with them.

But by absolutely refusing to respect my right to choose who I do or do not interact with, and by ignoring all of my efforts to communicate the fact that I wanted him to stop contacting me, he was undermining my ability to control who I let into my life. He was completely denying me the right to refuse my attention to him, and he was not listening when I said, “no.” Because my statements did not reflect what he understood the situation to be, that I was misunderstanding him and thus making these statements from a position of misinformation and therefore could not actually mean them, he chose to completely disregard my feelings on whether he could or should continue to contact me. My desires had nothing to do with his desire to “know me,” or “understand me.”

This was not about “respecting me enough to ask my opinions,” if he actually respected me he would listen when I told him I did not want to talk to him. Instead, it was about his own feelings, that he is a Nice Guy and not a “sketchy” guy, that I just don’t understand him, that if I just give him a chance I will understand why we should be friends. But that is not nice in the slightest.

Perhaps I should have followed my friends’ advice in continuing to ignore him and blocking his number in silence, but I was angry. I was angry that he felt entitled to my attention, I was angry that he got to walk around thinking that he was a Nice Guy while putting me in a state of anxious panic every time he texted me and again ignored my wanting him to stop. I was angry that he didn’t understand how what he was doing was having an impact on me that was negative, and I was angry that he felt so fucking Nice that he couldn’t be refused by someone. That I did not have the right to say, “I do not want to talk to you, leave me alone.” I did not want to just ignore him and hope that it stopped. I wanted to yell and scream and say, “WHAT THE FUCK IS YOUR GODDAMN PROBLEM?! WHY DON’T YOU SEE THAT WHAT YOU ARE DOING IS WRONG? You are not a nice guy, you are a Nice Guy, and you need to STOP.”

Instead, I just said, “You do not seem to understand what ‘Please do not contact me’ means, so I am blocking your number. Do not try to use another means to communicate.”And then I went online and (I thought) blocked him from communicating with me.

When my phone lit up with two texts from him, I got so anxious that I started to shake. I called my mother and started to say, “It didn’t work, I don’t know why, it didn’t work, we have to try through [my stepdad]’s account number, because it didn’t work” and suddenly I was starting to cry. I felt ridiculous responding in that way, because I knew that he couldn’t actually physically find me, but it was so upsetting to have my autonomy refused and underminded and to have someone completely ignore me telling them to stop that I was shaking and crying on the phone with my mother. She reminded me that he couldn’t actually hurt me, and told me to call a number she had to try to get him blocked from contacting me. But I was so shaken I didn’t even want to look at his texts. And I felt like a fool for allowing his texts messages to make me feel so scared.

Finally, I read them. And I think I finally got through to him with “I am blocking your number” where “Please stop contacting me” failed:

“OK, I’ll stop, but you really are a whiny baby who can’t defend her beliefs for shit. Makes sense that your last name is Cato and not Everdeen. Have a nice life, jerk.”

Partly I am sharing this story because I am still pissed as hell that there are entitled jerk faces walking around thinking they are Nice Guys and refusing to listen when women say, “No.” Because they are so Nice, we must be mistaken when we say “no,” so they feel free to ignore it or call us “whiny babies” and “jerks” and “bitches.”

Well you know what, Nice Guy? FUCK YOU. FUCK YOU. FUCK YOU. FUCK YOU. I do not owe my opinions or my interest or my conversation or my friendship to anyone, no matter how interested in me they are. I have the right to change my mind. If I say I want to get some goddamn pie, and then I decide that I no longer do, that is my right! I am allowed to decide that I no longer want to be friends with people and expect that those decisions be respected whether or not you understand them. And you DON’T respect me, and you AREN’T interested in my opinions, because I have shared them with you TIME AND TIME AGAIN and instead of accepting them, you refuse to recognize them and ignore them because they don’t fit your understanding of how I should respond because you’re such a Nice Guy.

YOU AREN’T NICE. YOU ARE A FUCKING ASSHAT DOUCHEBAG WHO WAS BORDERING ON STALKERISH TENDENCIES. YOU MADE ME FEEL ANXIOUS, UPSET, UNCOMFORTABLE, AND SCARED BECAUSE YOU REFUSED TO LISTEN TO ME WHEN I SAID “NO.”

tl;dr:

You have every right to determine who you do or do not want to interact with, from social encounters to sex. And you have every right to change your mind after you’ve already said yes, whether it is to pie or hooking up. And if anyone, EVER, does not immediately respect your right to choose what you do with your time and your space and your body in relation to them, they are not a Nice Guy. And they can go fuck themselves.

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