It’s easy to overlook a small piece of material from Psychology Today, though the content is puzzling to say the least.
I’d like to add, in all capital letters: IT’S NOT THAT HALF THE MEN IN THE WORLD ARE AFRAID TO TALK TO A WOMAN. It’s about a study conducted by Blaine Anderson, a well-known American coach, which he told the journalists of Psychology Today, a renowned platform dedicated to mental health with a fanbase of nearly 7.5 million on Facebook alone. Let’s give the floor to the man himself.
Since the beginning of the year, I’ve noticed an increase in potential clients contacting me saying something like: “I’m afraid to approach women because I don’t want to be seen as a creeper.” In doing so, Anderson added that there is no clear definition of being a creeper, which is paradoxically worse for both men and women. Men have no idea how they think normal behavior will be perceived, so they prefer not to do anything to be sure. For women, on the other hand, the chances of meeting an attractive partner decrease. Exactly for the same reason – perhaps this partner will be embarrassed to talk. The fear of being creepy can cause deeper social anxiety, the coach added.
A few words about Anderson’s study, which involved 2,000 American women in the 18-40 age range and half as many men (age range the same). The results? As many as 82% of women admitted to experiencing creepy behavior from men. Conversely, 44% of guys admitted to being afraid to approach women for fear that their behavior might be perceived as creepier. And what is creepiness in the definition of women? It’s for example inappropriate comments, persistent staring, indecent messages sent on social media, pressure to have sex, non-recognition of the word no or stalking behaviour.
In an interview with Psychology Today, Blaine Anderson highlighted the problems that come with meeting new people through dating apps. During the research, both genders admitted that they weren’t able to get much out of a profile with a photo and a few sentences of text; often meetings in real life ended in big disappointments. Seemingly obvious, because that’s the dubious charm of the app. But it’s worth keeping it in the back of your mind when thinking about the problems of constancy of relationships in our reality. It’s one thing if we are talking about a creeper from You series (the one in the picture of the main text), but it’s quite another if the man behaves in an eccentric way, for example when he is stressed.
So what is the coach’s advice? Make your app profiles more specific: not that I like travelling, because almost everyone does, but for example: I like travelling in Greece. Before you upload a picture, ask your friends if it’s OK and you don’t look creepy. And anyway, it’s best to approach in real life and talk. And if it doesn’t work, accept the rejection process.
Perhaps the advice of a guy who coaches for a living won’t be an encouragement to everyone struggling with a problem titled: I can’t meet my other half. But it is worth talking about the fact that the fear of being perceived as a freak can become a problem for a really big part of the society. And from there it’s not a long way to deeper psychological problems. You can read the entire conversation about the study at Psychology Today.