People are raised to believe all kinds of stereotypes. For men, one of those stereotypes is that friendly women are interested in sex. In the May 25, 2013 Dear Abby column, one young woman wrote that she was “naturally friendly and sometimes guys I’m not interested in think I’m flirting with them.” I am also a friendly woman. I encounter this stereotype frequently.
I have been widowed for decades and single by choice since 1998. The last man I dated wanted to marry me. I said no because I do not want to be married again. If my husband were still alive, I hope we would still be married. But I have reached a stage in my life where I am happily single. I intend to remain happily single for the rest of my life.
However, I do enjoy having conversations with men. I start conversations with men in public. I also start conversations with repairmen who come to my house to work on my telephone, furnace, electricity, and plumbing. Some of the repairmen are interesting to talk to, so I look forward to new conversations when those repairmen come back to my house.
One of those repairmen keeps mentioning his wife, which means he has missed my compliment — that I enjoy our conversations.
When I was in my 20s, I worked in a small neighborhood store in Chicago. A man with a high paying job who lived across the street from the store would come in to talk to the owner. One day when the owner wasn’t there, the man came over and talked to me. We had such a good conversation that he invited me out to dinner. Our interesting conversation continued through dinner. I went home knowing that the man had paid me the compliment of considering me an interesting person to talk to. He was free for that evening and invited me out so he could enjoy further conversation. I never expected anything more.
Compliments can smooth the irritations of the day. Compliments can increase confidence. Compliments can show people the positive things others see in them.
My conversations with men are compliments. I wish more of the men would recognize the compliment, because I intend to keep the compliments coming.
Below are some resources that reveal men’s mistaken assumptions about friendly women. Ironically, a study of college students found that men can misread women’s sexual come-ons as friendly gestures. The Dear Abby advice seeker also wrote that, “…when I try to flirt with a guy, it never works.” See this happen for yourself. Watch Leonard mistake Alex’s sexual come on as friendliness, “The 43 Peculiarity” episode of The Big Bang Theory.
It seems that too many men are missing more than compliments.
Men can also misread sexual desire in other men. Below are three quotes from three articles about the television show Death In Paradise. The characters mentioned are Detective Inspector (DI) Humphrey Goodman and Detective Sergeant (DS) Florence Cassell.
“I don’t think they’re like that together – I think they’re just mates. I think that it would be a little disingenuous and a little cheating to the show.”
Kris Marshall, the actor who plays DI Humphrey Goodman
“You’ll see their friendship and how Florence wants to help him find a new girlfriend,” reveals Josephine. “But it is just friendship and nothing else. Humphrey had a kind of love story with Camille, so it’d be too silly to have another love story with another French policewoman.”
Josephine Jobert, the actor who plays DS Florence Cassel
I watch this show. I read Wollaston’s review before I watched the episode where Wollaston saw Goodman “clearly” in love with Cassell. I saw no evidence of love. Wollaston is just one man out of many who make the same mistakes. Makes me wonder what Wollaston has missed.
“Actor Kris Marshall on Death In Paradise: We have some real cracking murders coming up”
December 20, 2015
“Alcohol’s Role in Sexual Violence Perpetration: Theoretical Explanations, Existing Evidence, and Future Directions”
Drug and Alcohol Review
September 2011, Volume 30, Issue 5, pages 481-489
“Clueless Guys Can’t Read Women”
March 19, 2008
“Death in Paradise review: the TV equivalent of a boring holiday timeshare”
February 27, 2015 02.00 EST
“Death in Paradise star Kris Marshall reveals all about series five of the BBC drama”
January 7, 2016
“Science Confirms The Obvious: Men Mistake Female Friendliness For Sexual Interest”
April 4, 2009
“Trying to flirt can backfire”
March 24, 2013
1. What’s happening?
2. Why is it important?
3. What don’t I see?
4. How do I know?
5. Who is saying it?
6. What else? What if?
Stereotype Thinking Questions
1. What is threatening my beliefs?
2. How can I make it unimportant?
3. What can I reject?
4. What can I laugh at?
5. How can I attack people who threaten my beliefs?
6. How can I deflect?
The stereotype thinking questions are mine, based on my observations of stereotype thinkers.
Online workshop that provides strategies to chip away stereotypes in both professional and personal relationships:
“After participating in the gossip power presentation, I know I now have a better plan to be more effective in understanding how gossip affects every area of a person’s personal and professional life. Using her strategies on gossip power and gossip ears I feel I will be better able to navigate these areas both inside and outside the office. Paula does a great job, using both scientific research and personal anecdotes and examples, to develop strategies for turning the power of gossip into positives for anyone attending her presentation. I left energized and excited about her message and what I learned and am definitely looking forward to learning more at her glass ceiling presentation.“
Paula M. Kramer
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