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[Ben]:Lifesaving Confidence Discuss This [0 comments so far] View Comments
I'm not sure I like my title. I much prefer Tam's, but while I'll steal either the content or the title to someone else's post, I won't take them both at once.

Tam refers to Breda's post and LabRat's response.

From Breda:
Women often can't tell the difference between being polite and being submissive. We believe we have to be accommodating to perfect strangers. We fear being thought of as anything other than "nice." We apologize too much and for no good reason. We are the first to offer up that fake smile, the one that says, "Please don't hurt me. See? I'm harmless."

Act like prey and that is exactly what you will become.


LabRat:
What else is common to all three situations is the invasion of that significant personal space- it’s an aggressive gesture unless an invitation is issued, which is why we define it as “rude” and incivil. The dog may just want the sandwich and the stranger a bar stool in a location he defines as desirable, but in both cases a deliberate attempt is made to push someone else’s boundaries and get them to yield something desirable against their will. This ancient link between personal space and varying degrees of this kind of behavior is why we use the word “pushy” to describe such a person to begin with- and while pushy individuals may normally never advance beyond taking your time, your seat, or your lunch, “pushy” is also a descriptor applied early on to those who are likely to try for more serious things- like your money, sex, or your life. That is why people who do have a self-defense mindset are usually more aware of when they’re being pushed, and that it’s not appropriate- if you’re allowing yourself to be pushed without a word or look, you’re also confirming to the pusher that you either aren’t aware of them or that you’re reluctant to stop them when they act in this fashion. That’s a go-light to anybody who might have predatory intentions rather than merely pushy ones- and if they’re standing in your space anyway, there’s no room or time left to take action to stop them if they act on it.


LabRat's analysis is particularly interesting and the comments to both are enlightening too. I found the following bit from Exurbankevin particularly interesting given the fact that Cara works essentially full time as a substitute teacher and has mentioned some similar things to me:
My wife’s a middle-school teacher, and she was taught to use a blank, neutral expression when disciplining her students: Not emotional, not overpowering, just look at the student and communicate to them that whatever they do or whatever they say will have no effect on the final outcome of their actions. They’re toast, and they need to know it.


It's all interesting stuff. It does illustrate quite nicely how valuable calm assertiveness is when dealing with people (or dogs, or horses, or sheep, etc.). Had Breda refused to push back, she would have (as LabRat points out) validated and excused the intrusion and in so doing opened the door to further pushiness. In her particular situation I doubt strongly that it would have resulted any anything serious. In other situations, a would-be attacker may use pushiness to scope out a potential target. In that kind of scenario, putting the brakes on the improper activity immediately can prevent a more serious attack later.

Anyway, I thought this exchange might be of general interest to both my male and female readers.
  2008-12-16
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