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How to Avoid Unwanted Come Ons
Sure, a little attention now and again can be great for the confidence, but it's amazing how quickly this type of attention can become exhausting, degrading and even offensive. Regardless of whether they're not your type, you're happily in a monogamous relationship, or you simply enjoy being single, youalwayshave a right to your privacy and personal space. Here are some steps you can take to repel unwanted attention without compromising your style, your warmth or your optimism.
Don't be a crowd pleaser.It seems like it's the "nice" people who become easy targets for unwanted attention in public spaces. The reason is simple: everyone fears rejection, and nice people can sometimes be so attentive to the feelings of others that they can fail to assert themselves (for example, they laugh at jokes that they don't find funny, so that the person telling the joke won't feel bad). Lonely people gravitate toward people who seem inviting: who make lots of eye contact with strangers, smile a lot, and have a gentle (non-sarcastic) sense of humour. If this describes you, experiment with the opposite sort of behaviour. Reserve your warmth for the people you feel comfortable around; you might be surprised at the results!
Know how to deflect.You might not notice it happening, but before someone approaches you they will usually make their intentions evident in their body language, and look for a 'signal' from you: they will attempt to catch your attention, smile at you, or say something loudly, hoping you'll laugh. This is their way of minimizing the risk of being rejected; they will take your reaction as "pre-approval" to an approach. Be aware of when this is happening, and make your disinterest evident. If someone is trying to catch your eye, ignore them entirely and focus your whole attention on your friend. It may seem cold, but this is actually the kindest thing you can do in this situation.
Add humour.A little sense of humour goes a long way. If someone does approach you and strikes up a conversation, this is your last chance to show them you've got no intention of flirting with them, without actually telling them to go away. Don't be cruel, but gently remind them that you've got a head on your shoulders by having a bit of a laugh. If someone approaches you when you're with some friends, say something gross or bizarre like "oh, we're just having a few pints before our cult leader arrives" or "oh, just unwinding after a grueling week of mindless service to the Hive Mind" or "oh, just celebrating our first day out of quarantine." Even if they find you hilarious, they might be too intimidated to keep vying for your attention.
Say no.If you've done all you can to deflect attention and they start "making moves" anyway, it's important to be clear and succinct: say "I'm sorry, but I'm not looking for anything right now." Be polite and firm. Avoid making excuses for your feelings -- you have nothing to explain, and you don't want to provide them with the opportunity to bargain with you. Then physically leave their presence, even if you just put a few people between you. Don't strike up a conversation, as this can open up a grey territory where they might feel encouraged to try again.
Be mature.Although it can be quite unpleasant to be approached this way, as long as this is done respectfully, be mindful of the person's feelings. Don't be rude, and don't gossip about them afterwards. If you see them again on a separate occasion, nod at them and say hello in a curt, professional way, and then go about your business; they'll get the message that you bear them no ill will, but your previous state of mind still stands.
- Experiment with slightly less open and inviting mannerisms.
- Deflect amorous behaviour and body language with disinterested behaviour and body language.
- Highlight your weirdness. This shouldn't work as well as it does, but it does.
- Don't feel bad about saying no!
- If at any stage in this process the individual becomes touchy or aggressive, or doesn't seem to respect your say in the matter, or repeatedly harasses you, be sure to protect yourself and get away from this person. Tell your friends and, if possible, mention this behavior to the staff of the venue or host of the event. Don't be afraid of seeking help! Sexual harassment is a form of violence, and it's purpose is asserting power over another -- it has nothing to do with romance, desire, or sexuality!
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