How to avoid looking like an easy target

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Emu Egg
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15 Jun 2015, 10:14 am

I'm 34 years old and fit (some 6 feet tall 8% body fat 155 pounds...at least I wouldn't consider myself untypically weak). I also hold my head up, stand tall, and have no problem handing out a solid "you are crazy / there is no way in hell I am scared of you" facial expression.

But, for some odd reason, people seem to think I must be a really easy pushover likely because I'm "slow", which they also seem to take as "has no work ethic or self respect".

However, maybe once a month, someone will pull some crap like yelling "what the...are you doing?" when I'm not moving fast enough for their tastes in a line when there is someone ahead of me. Or, last week, I was getting on a bus from a local race and a guy pushed me aside and start letting a couple of his buddies pass...but then proceeded to call out random people to pass me (and no, he was not an authority at the event). When I didn't put down my umbrella quickly enough for his taste he yelled "nice going" and I pushed him into a corner and said very firmly (but not shouting) "f*ck off" and clenching my fist and -finally- he just said "ok" and shut his cake hole. In other cases, I've had people push me and call me boy (or match tone of voice) or claim I have no hobbies/job...and actually start being kind to me and asking me about what I do -once- I pushed them back or completely humiliated them at a verbal (e.g. a guy said I must have no hobbies or family and I replied "That's my child in my profile pic, dumbass") or athletic challenge (usually running sprints) and made it clear I respect myself and actually have talent. In about half cases, I just stare them down and walk toward them in a way that makes it obvious I have absolutely no fear of them and they get a clue and shut up (and usually suddenly start talking respectfully to me e.g. "sorry about that").

This is the sick thing...it seems the pattern is the only way I can make friends is by showing someone I am more than just an inconvenient dumping ground for their problems. It's like every friendship has to start with at least one fight to let said morons know I can stand my ground and deserve human respect.

Seriously...what's up with this and what are the/any alternatives?

Also, what are some of your favorite comebacks for absolutely humiliating someone who mistakes you for a weakling and/or avoid being viewed as an easy target in the first place?

INB4 "get better friends". Well, you know what, I can only choose between/among people who are actually willing to hang out with me.



Cyllya1
Deinonychus
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16 Jun 2015, 3:05 am

You paint a pretty hostile-looking picture of yourself. I think the fact that you act this way and hang around these kinds of people could be a big part of the reason that the nicer sort of people don't want to be around you.

In fact, now that I think of it, maybe the reason those types of guys are always picking fights is because you particularly look like you're not a pushover. Society grooms men to be competitive, but some guys take it way too far. They're like pissy territorial dogs. Even if they are reasonably peaceful most of the time, if they feel like you are challenging them, they are compelled to meet the perceived challenge in order to feel like they've kept their place in whatever social heirarchy exists in their heads. (You know how those dogs get when they meet each other. First they stare each other down. They stand up straight and fluff themselves up to look big and tough. Then they start growling. Then they start a physical fight. The process ends when one dog expresses submission. You described yourself or your opponents doing the human equivelent of all those things.) It will be especially important for them to show you who's boss if their friends are present.

Of course, their plan backfires if they lose to you, but I don't think you can make yourself look so formidible that they aren't going to try (at least not without making yourself look so freakish and dangerous that it causes you other problems). The best bet is to avoid issuing a challange in the first place. Granted, that could be easier said than done, depending on what triggers each person's insecurities (your size and fitness?), but the "I'm not afraid of you" stare is generally going to start trouble.


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SocOfAutism
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16 Jun 2015, 2:02 pm

I agree with the Cyllya1.

I hate to bring cats into this, but more than once I've had a cat that's gotten paranoid about other cats jumping her. Then the other cats pick up on this and bully the defensive cat. The defensive cat will stand up for herself and the bully cats think it's a fun game, so they keep doing it. The defensive cat ends up being stressed out.

I'm not saying you're skulking about like a cat, but maybe you have good situational awareness, or seem to be wirey, or something else that make other guys think they should be hostile towards you.



Venger
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17 Jun 2015, 1:39 am

Cyllya1 wrote:
In fact, now that I think of it, maybe the reason those types of guys are always picking fights is because you particularly look like you're not a pushover.


uhh, for some reason I doubt that if he's 6 ft. but only weighs 155 pounds.



Summer_Twilight
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17 Jun 2015, 7:28 am

First off these people are not your friends because if you have to earn their acceptance by way of fighting then stop it. It also shows that you have a controlling side.

The best way to set boundaries with these people is by being kind but also being honest with them in a loving way. In the bus situation where that guy cut in front of you. Something like "Excuse but I believe I was here first. The back of the line is behind me. So you will have to wait like everyone else." If he gives you an attitude you can tell him "Then don't push me and try to start trouble."