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Women Shared The Things They Avoid Doing Around Men So They Don't "Lead Them On," And It's No Wonder Women Constantly Feel On Edge

In short: Don't do anything ever.

The sad truth is that because of many men's precious egos, women have to correct/change A LOT of their behavior to avoid making men angry and putting themselves in danger. And if you don't believe me, Reddit user u/Throwyourtoothbrush proved it a while back when they asked women to share which "innocent behaviors" they've changed around men to avoid being perceived as "leading them on." Here are the responses that prove women literally can't win, ever:

Warning: This post discusses stalking, sexual harassment, and sexual assault.

1. "General affection. Even with hugs and compliments, I'm pretty reserved unless our relationship is clearly drawn out and we both know that nothing is being implied."

Frank Gallagher from shameless saying, "where's my hug"
Showtime

2. "Trying to politely decline their advances. Sometimes, I have to be rude just for them to get the point."

u/convergence_limit

"I used to be polite, then started to be rude. Sometimes, even that isn't enough. 'Don't touch me, don't say that.' And then to have it ignored, it's infuriating and belittling."

u/briarbrave


3. "Asking a question or giving them a compliment."

u/darlinglark

"I once gave a compliment to my friend at a party. I just said that his shirt looked nice on him, and then all his peers went 'ooooooooooooooooooh' behind him. I  really just wanted to compliment my friend. I never gave a compliment to him ever again."

u/ginnychewsley


4. "If I have to pick something off the ground, I bend my legs and squat down to do it so it doesn't look like I'm showing off my ass, even though it'd be a lot easier to just bend down."

u/acontreras1228


5. "Let's just say I don't eat bananas in public anymore."

A woman eating a banana
ABC

6. "How about doing something without warning? I made the mistake of saying out loud I was cold, and got a jacket from a complete stranger man almost forcibly put on me. I went the awkward route and practically ran away, saying, 'No thanks' to avoid it being put on my body."

u/vanityprojects

7. "I don't let on to any guys I just met that I'm into gaming, especially if I know they're gamers too. There's still this stereotype floating around the gaming community that women who game are a rarity, or they're not really a gamer, just a 'slut' trying to get male attention. So, if I bring up gaming early on, I usually get one of two responses: Either the guy keeps hitting on me relentlessly, or I get the 'Gaming Pop Quiz.' Any woman who plays games knows exactly what the 'Gaming Pop Quiz' is."

u/Aelle1209


8. "I used to always greet everyone with a smile and happy eyes, either a nod, or a quick 'hello'. But I got hit on way too often while doing that, to the point where they kept following me."

u/Spotgaai


9. "I stopped accepting any favors from men. No rides, No coffees. Just avoid, avoid, avoid. It sucks."

Liz Lemon saying, "no, thank you, please"

10. "Mentioning that I have a girlfriend, weirdly enough. You know how saying you have a boyfriend is normally pretty good for making guys go away? Well, saying you have a girlfriend just leads to a bunch of gross questions and offers, like, 'If you're ever looking for a threesome, hit me up.' Does this guy think I'll go home and excitedly tell my girlfriend, 'Guess what? I met a guy at a bar, and you won't believe this, he wants to have SEX with BOTH of us! What a rare and exciting offer, we need to take him up on this!'"

u/strych91

11. "Whenever I'm talking with a guy, I'm always super conscious about not mentioning too soon or too late that I have a significant other. Too soon, and it's 'jeez, I was just making conversation!' Too late, and it's 'jeez, way to lead me on!' Thankfully, since becoming engaged, this is less and less of a problem, as my ring sort of speaks for itself on its own."

u/Cat_Toucher

12. "Showing any kind of concern for a man. Like, if you have a guy friend who looks sad, and you try to be a good friend and comfort him, that's seen as flirting somehow."

A guy saying, "stop flirting"
BBC3

13. "I don't ask random men for directions anymore. One time, I was taking the Greyhound bus for the first time by myself. I asked a random guy where the line for where I wanted to go was. He didn't know, but he was also looking for the same line. We agreed to look together — why not — and ended up sitting next to each other and chatting."

"Two hours into the bus ride, he said he was 'tired' and then 'fell asleep.' He wrapped his arm around me while he was 'asleep' and then started kissing my neck. I was so uneasy and scared in that moment because I didn't know how he'd react to me pushing him off, and I didn't want to make a scene. Also, the seats were all full, so switching wasn't really an option. I was leaning almost fully into the aisle to get away from him. Eventually he 'woke up' and THEN asked if I had a boyfriend/wanted to date him. I promptly turned him down and listened to music for the next three awkward-as-hell hours."

u/vestegaard


14. "In terms of social media, I've found that if a guy messages me and I send back so much as a polite 'hello,' that guy will never leave me alone. Every couple of months, he'll pop up trying to start a conversation, usually being rude or lewd, long after I've stopped messaging him. What on earth makes men think this behavior is ever going to get them anywhere?"

u/DiscoLemonade0107

15. "Being in shape. Many men think that women get in shape solely to impress them, so fitness is like an open invitation for unsolicited attention."

A woman telling a man to go away and leave her alone

16. And finally, "Smiling. I'm a naturally smiley person and smile when I talk to people just to be friendly, but I have to be careful about it if I notice a guy taking it the wrong way. I had a coworker who took it way, way too far and I ended up having to show him a picture of my ex-boyfriend and I together and buy a cheap ring to wear to get him to back off. All because I smiled when I talked to him."

u/what_the_whatever

PSA to all the men out there who STILL think women owe them something simply because we showed a little bit of kindness: WE DON'T. We never have. Stop forcing us to change our behavior so we can feel a little bit safer around you. It's time to look inward and be better (or at the very least, leave us the fuck alone).

Paramount

Note: Responses have been edited for length/clarity.

If you or someone you know has experienced sexual assault, you can speak to someone by contacting RAINN at 800-656-HOPE (4673). And here are sexual assault helplines outside the US.

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