why is being nice considered weird/creepy?

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lostonearth35
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02 Dec 2015, 12:04 pm

I guess it depends on where you live. Where I live people will still use words like "dear" and "sweetheart" to total strangers as way of being friendly, but in a major city it would probably get you arrested, and just saying "hi" to someone you pass on the street makes them think you're a serial killer. :)



BenderRodriguez
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02 Dec 2015, 12:35 pm

lostonearth35 wrote:
I guess it depends on where you live. Where I live people will still use words like "dear" and "sweetheart" to total strangers as way of being friendly, but in a major city it would probably get you arrested, and just saying "hi" to someone you pass on the street makes them think you're a serial killer. :)


Interesting, around these parts nobody would arrest you for it, but it would definitely be considered very bad manners. I seriously doubt anybody would even think of calling me "dear", nerveless "sweetheart" :lol: but I think I would be taken aback by such familiarity from a complete stranger.


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Pileo
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02 Dec 2015, 12:46 pm

joshskuxx wrote:
why do people always assume that nice people have some kind of hidden motive (eg.when a guy is nice to a girl, the girl thinks that he is creepy).


A lot of the time, the guy was being normal-level nice, sometimes not even flirting, and the girl just found him unattractive. These girls can't tell the difference between them being uninterested and true creepiness. There was a serious AskReddit post recently that asked women 'What's the difference between flirting and harassment?' and most of the answers admitted that the line was the guys attractiveness.

Guys, on the other hand, tend to have a more realistic definition of creepy and funny enough, tend to handle it in a more mature manner. You don't see guys complaining about girls being creepy. 'Crazy' and 'Bitchy', yes, but 'Creepy' no.



Pineapplejuicex
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02 Dec 2015, 1:06 pm

Quote:
A lot of the time, the guy was being normal-level nice, sometimes not even flirting, and the girl just found him unattractive. These girls can't tell the difference between them being uninterested and true creepiness.


No. No. No ad infinitium. Girls have brains.

I cannot believe you just said that! That girls are too stupid to tell the difference between normal nice and flirting. No. No. No.

There's no single definition of creepy and to paraphrase Porter Stewart, it really is a can't define it but know it when you see it thing. What's creepy and overbearing to me, may well be overbearing to some other girl.

Quote:
There was a serious AskReddit post recently that asked women 'What's the difference between flirting and harassment?' and most of the answers admitted that the line was the guys attractiveness.


No, no, no and more no! Creepy is unrelated to attractiveness.

Harassment is a series of incidents - like, a guy who keeps romantically pursuing a girl when she's not interested (declines dates, says she just wants to be friends, hangs out as friends-only, etc). It's unwanted and ongoing after the girl's made her intentions clear.

Flirting is more of a one-off -- trying to chat up/get to know a girl. Totally different thing!

Asking any girl out (or for her #) once does not constitute harassment and 99.9% of the time isn't even creepy (over-enthusiastic and kind of ugh if you're not into the guy, but not creepy or threatening).

The surefire way to not be creepy is to take no for an answer (don't keep asking her out!) and, if she offers to be friends, accept only if you actually want to be her friend , i.e. no hanging around as a pretend friend for the sole purpose of getting into her pants.



AR1500
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02 Dec 2015, 2:16 pm

BenderRodriguez wrote:
joshskuxx wrote:
why do people always assume that nice people have some kind of hidden motive (eg.when a guy is nice to a girl, the girl thinks that he is creepy).


They don't. Surely not all or always. As for the "hidden motive" that could be the voice of experience, as it's hardly uncommon for someone to be "nice" only when and as long they want something from you.

As far as I've noticed it's not that it's considered creepy to be nice, it's considered creepy to expect to be rewarded for being nice.



It really depends on the culture. In America, which is a highly competitive society, being nice is viewed as being desperate because society teaches people to engage in behavior that produces a reward. Also, if you're male, being nice is equated with being submissive. Now in certain social situations, being nice is considered politeness and if you're a restaurant hostess, being nice to patrons is good for business. I would say that niceness in women is looked highly upon, but not in men. Double standards abound and there ain't nothing you or I can do about it.



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02 Dec 2015, 2:32 pm

AR1500 wrote:
It really depends on the culture. In America, which is a highly competitive society, being nice is viewed as being desperate because society teaches people to engage in behavior that produces a reward. Also, if you're male, being nice is equated with being submissive. Now in certain social situations, being nice is considered politeness and if you're a restaurant hostess, being nice to patrons is good for business. I would say that niceness in women is looked highly upon, but not in men. Double standards abound and there ain't nothing you or I can do about it.


Interesting, just the other day a young American man was telling me that he loves living and working here because his good manners and benevolent behaviour are openly appreciated by both men and women.

Speaking of cultural differences, especially between introverted and more gregarious ones, it's a lot more important here to be respectful (including of boundaries) to strangers or co-workers then "friendly" or sociable. Excessive familiarity and aggressive social behaviour are actually punished in one form or another.


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kraftiekortie
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02 Dec 2015, 2:40 pm

I live in New York City.

The only place where people don't like it when you "hello" is the subway. People are extra-paranoid in the subway. Never look a person directly in the eye in the subway.

In the street, people aren't as paranoid.

If you live in a outer-borough neighborhood (Queens, Staten Island especially), it's actually quite similar to small towns at times. People say hello to each other, help people in a jam (like when a car won't start), stuff like that.



AR1500
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02 Dec 2015, 2:56 pm

BenderRodriguez wrote:
AR1500 wrote:
It really depends on the culture. In America, which is a highly competitive society, being nice is viewed as being desperate because society teaches people to engage in behavior that produces a reward. Also, if you're male, being nice is equated with being submissive. Now in certain social situations, being nice is considered politeness and if you're a restaurant hostess, being nice to patrons is good for business. I would say that niceness in women is looked highly upon, but not in men. Double standards abound and there ain't nothing you or I can do about it.


Interesting, just the other day a young American man was telling me that he loves living and working here because his good manners and benevolent behaviour are openly appreciated by both men and women.

Speaking of cultural differences, especially between introverted and more gregarious ones, it's a lot more important here to be respectful (including of boundaries) to strangers or co-workers then "friendly" or sociable. Excessive familiarity and aggressive social behaviour are actually punished in one form or another.



What country do you live in?

In America, being friendly is viewed differently than being nice. If you're friendly in some situations, people appreciate it. But if you're nice, it's assumed that you are doing so to get some kind of reward. In certain professions, being nice to patrons and customers is expected because even though it doesn't reward *you* personally, it generates business for whomever you're working for.



Pineapplejuicex
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02 Dec 2015, 3:02 pm

AR1500 wrote:
BenderRodriguez wrote:
joshskuxx wrote:
why do people always assume that nice people have some kind of hidden motive (eg.when a guy is nice to a girl, the girl thinks that he is creepy).


They don't. Surely not all or always. As for the "hidden motive" that could be the voice of experience, as it's hardly uncommon for someone to be "nice" only when and as long they want something from you.

As far as I've noticed it's not that it's considered creepy to be nice, it's considered creepy to expect to be rewarded for being nice.



It really depends on the culture. In America, which is a highly competitive society, being nice is viewed as being desperate because society teaches people to engage in behavior that produces a reward. Also, if you're male, being nice is equated with being submissive. Now in certain social situations, being nice is considered politeness and if you're a restaurant hostess, being nice to patrons is good for business. I would say that niceness in women is looked highly upon, but not in men. Double standards abound and there ain't nothing you or I can do about it.


Being polite and civil to all ("nice") isn't at all considered "weak" for either men OR women.
Submissive is something else altogether. So is wishy-washy and indecisive.

Losing your temper, outwardly displaying aggression, demonstrating zip in the way of impulse control is a recipe for career suicide for men in the US - not C-suite jobs. Brute strength mattered most if you were living in the Stone Age... and we no longer are!



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02 Dec 2015, 3:04 pm

kraftiekortie wrote:
I try to be polite, even when I disagree.

I always state that I disagree with something if I disagree with it. People, in fact, call me "argumentative."


i'd call you "is not afraid of his opinion".


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02 Dec 2015, 3:52 pm

joshskuxx wrote:
why do people always assume that nice people have some kind of hidden motive (eg.when a guy is nice to a girl, the girl thinks that he is creepy).

People do not always assume that, no matter where you live. Seriously. When a person is seen as generally nice to everyone, that person is rarely seen as creepy. When the "nice" act seems to be directed exclusively at certain types of person (i.e. the powerful, the attractive, the rich) then it is more likely to be viewed as insincere and self-interested. Insincere and self-interested 'niceness' toward attractive females is sometimes interpreted as 'creepy'.

Be seen as being kind and respectful to everyone, and you're more likely to also be seen as genuinely nice, and less likely to be viewed as "creepy". And there you are.



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02 Dec 2015, 4:28 pm

AR1500 wrote:

What country do you live in?

In America, being friendly is viewed differently than being nice. If you're friendly in some situations, people appreciate it. But if you're nice, it's assumed that you are doing so to get some kind of reward. In certain professions, being nice to patrons and customers is expected because even though it doesn't reward *you* personally, it generates business for whomever you're working for.


Germany. I'm Scandinavian and find the Germans more laid-back and socially engaging.

"Nice", especially in the work environment or between acquaintances and strangers, would amount here to being polite, not raising your voice, no bragging, gossiping and dissing others directly or indirectly. Being loud, pushy, dominating the conversation, intrerupting or aggressively trying to "assert" yourself would make a disastrous impression and you'll be penalized in one way or another.

Boundaries are very important: excessive familiarity, standing too close to people or god forbid touching them in any way, approaching strangers, making comments about people appearance and so on is definitely frowned upon and people from other cultures acting like that as a way to be friendly, usually consider Germans and Scandinavians to be cold and rude. In a place like Hamburg or Malmö, trying to strike up a conversation in public transportation or asking a random woman for her phone number would have people think you're crazy or drunk.

I have another American at work, a young woman who is getting very frustrated because not even one man approached her in the year she's been here. She's completely ignoring the cultural differences and getting quite angry with German men :lol:

I've always been fascinated by this kind of stuff: what's highly recommended in one place, can get you in serious trouble in another, and I'm talking mostly about the Western world.


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Pileo
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02 Dec 2015, 6:17 pm

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No. No. No ad infinitium. Girls have brains.

I cannot believe you just said that! That girls are too stupid to tell the difference between normal nice and flirting. No. No. No.


I didn't say they were stupid or didn't have brains. I said they were immature. Note that the op is 15-years-old and is probably talking about people from his generation. At least I was.

Girls, from certain circles, in the younger generation, have a tendency to claim to be harassed or to be creeped out by a guy, who wasn't doing anything inappropriate (and yes, the guys attractiveness does play a factor). It's basically like guys calling girls "crazy", but with more severe potential consequences, as 'creepy' carries more negative connotations. It's also kinda like 'the Boy who cried wolf'.

I've been a victim of this myself. There was a girl, a college freshmen, who claimed I was being creepy and constantly hitting on her. She told everyone in our group this... but I'm gay and have never flirted with a girl in my life. Popped her bubble real hard when she found out, but still, the damage was done. I already had issues socializing, but this made me extra uncomfortable being nice and polite to straight girls. I don't like I have to out myself or I have to appear "more gay" in order to avoid such accusations.

ThoughtCatalog - Stop Calling Guys Creepy
The Good Men Project - The Creepy Factor - There's some interesting conversations in the comments as well.

Mind you, no one is saying women are never harassed or approached by truly creepy people. If anything, the people who are genuinely going through the real thing are being trivialized by this "I don't like this person for *insert petty reason*, go away" triumph card.



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02 Dec 2015, 11:14 pm

Well, as long as they have that card, many will use it. I don’t think we can do anything about it, because that would involve abandoning victims of actual harassment to their fate, so we’ll just have to live with the fact that being anywhere within sight of a woman involves the perpetual risk of being declared a sex offender and imprisoned or tormented and executed by an angry mob.


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03 Dec 2015, 12:02 pm

Spiderpig wrote:
Well, as long as they have that card, many will use it. I don’t think we can do anything about it, because that would involve abandoning victims of actual harassment to their fate, so we’ll just have to live with the fact that being anywhere within sight of a woman involves the perpetual risk of being declared a sex offender and imprisoned or tormented and executed by an angry mob.


This is a very, very minute risk, even for actual sexual offenders. Many of those go undetected for decades, as their victims often do not report the abuse and prefer to 'put in behind them'. People do tend to overestimate low probability events, especially ones they fear greatly. If a person greatly fears that when they approach people who attract them, that this will lead to not only rejection but false accusations, they're more likely to overestimate the likelihood of that outcome.

Considering someone 'creepy' is an opinion based on individual experience, influences from the person's social network (aka friends and peers), and whatever media the person is exposed to. Often the perception that someone is 'creepy' is a misunderstanding. Elevating a misunderstanding to the level of mass persecution, however, does not really do anyone much good. It just perpetuates the feelings of anxiety that then generate the defensive behaviour that is often seen as aloof, hesitant, hostile or... creepy.