How To Deal with Forward Men If You're Shy - A Wandering Scribbler
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How To Deal with Forward Men If You’re Shy


How To Deal with Forward Men If You’re Shy

ist.watermarkForward men are everywhere, in every culture, but some countries seem to have men who are more so.  It’s usually fine, I’ve been in a few uncomfortable situations but I’ve been able to get out of them with only the feeling of being dirty, without actually being harmed.  And while some men do have harmful intensions in mind, I think that most guys don’t (or am I just naive?), and they are just forward in ways we’re not used to.  Being shy, I don’t love attention anyway, especially unwanted attention that seems to come from everyone.  I’ve come up with a few things to either lessen the blow of this annoyance, or how to deal with it and let it go.  And because it’s always important to know how to deal with more serious forms of attention, I’ve compiled two other lists too.

Low level of attention- Feeling uncomfortable.

  1. Smile if you can.  Sometimes being too “down” or not outgoing, makes them want to bother you more.  If it’s something harmless, just try to have fun with it.  Even if it’s uncomfortable or annoying, remember it’s nothing big.  Just get through it.
  2. Just walk away. With confidence.  If possible, and you’re just not into that attention, just walk away. If you hesitate they might take it as a sign to follow, or pursue.  Maybe they will anyway, but at least you won’t be sending any “mixed signals” as they like to blame it on.
  3. Look them in the eye.  Just like walking away with confidence, being strong will show that they don’t have any wiggle room.  Show that you aren’t afraid of their forwardness but make sure they know that’s it.  That the talking is as far as it’s going to go.
  4. Remember that’s how it is in X country.  Italy, Turkey, and many South American countries have reputations for having very forward men.  Just remember that the amount of attention and “aggressive” behavior you get there, doesn’t correlate to those same actions by men at home.  So what feels aggressive might not be at all.  Obviously trust your instincts though, if it feels wrong, it probably is.

Medium level of attention- Getting anxious from the pressure.

  1. Go into a crowded cafe or store.  If you feel things are getting too intense, if he won’t take no for an answer, doesn’t care, go somewhere where other people can help you out.  Even if no one steps up to stop the situation, being around many people might just put the situation to an end.
  2. Learn a few words in that language.  Even if “no” is pretty well-known everywhere, you don’t want to leave it up to chance, or be “misunderstood” by a guy who was fluent in English five seconds before. Or, if he genuinely doesn’t know English this will help.
  3. Have a story planned. Knowing what to say will take the edge off of the uneasiness you feel.  With a set story you can say it confidently, even if it’s a lie, so he will take you seriously and hopefully leave you alone.
  4. Never say you’re alone. Even if you are, don’t say it. This might make the situation worse, and better for him.  Just like having a story, know what to say.  Say you’re friends are in that store, across the street, or you parents are meeting you any second.  Be confident, he has no reason to think you’re lying, but if he continues, try something from below.

High level of attention- Seriously concerned about safety.

  1. Run. If you’re alone, or even in public, run.  Don’t try to fight, don’t think he’ll give up.  If it’s reached this level he’s probably not going to go easily.  So run.  Hopefully you can get somewhere safe, or someone will see what’s happening.
  2. Make a scene. Like running, making a scene will draw attention to you.  Whether someone helps you or just notices you, the attacker will most likely give up
  3. Think of protecting yourself. If it has to come to it, look for ways to protract yourself.  Maybe pepper spray isn’t great to travel with- being illegal in some countries or difficulty on planes- hairspray is another option.  Or use your surroundings.  No one likes thinking it might come to this but you don’t want to be caught unsurprised if you need to be proactive.


What have you experienced with forward men?  Tell me in the comments below.

Go to my Dealing with Shyness, or Being an Introverted Traveler pages for other posts like this.

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