This isn’t just a random post — I’ve had this happen to me a couple times and it makes me squirm with uncomfortableness. At first, I didn’t really think much of it. It was annoying, but it wasn’t like I was being harassed.

It happened again, a couple months ago, at a public library while I was working. This time it really irked me because I had a lot of work to do that day, and this guy ended up taking up a good 20 minutes of my time — obviously not taking any of my hints that I was not interested whatsoever.

He was persistent. I finally gave in and took his number so he would leave me alone. The thing that really bugged me was that he felt like he needed something from me, like I owed him something for the fact that he approached me first with flattery.

Here’s a few tips for you the next time you think about approaching a total stranger:

  1. You’re not providing a service to women by giving us attention. When we’re at places like the gym, grocery store or library, we are most likely there for a purpose — to get something done. There’s nothing romantic about being approached by a complete stranger when you’re in the middle of a completely different task.
  2. You’re not just trying to be nice. Most likely, you’re just trying to buy 5 minutes of my time to guilt me into giving up my number, in the off chance that you might score a date. Since you know nothing about me, you’re basing this encounter on looks alone and that logic doesn’t impress me. Give me the privilege to go about my day the way I like. I don’t want a guy “taking a shot” at me like I’m a freaking slot machine.
  3. There’s a time and a place to approach strangers. In society, men are expected to make the first move, and sure, I can understand it can be scary to put your ego on the line and face rejection. There’s a lot of social risk to mustering up the courage to approach women who are attractive. But sometimes, you need to take the hints when we clearly want to be left alone. When I’m hunched over my computer, headphones in, no one else around and obviously busy working, it might be a good idea to think before you barge into my personal space. My body language is not receptive to socialization. On the other hand, bars facilitate an environment where social interaction is expected and encouraged. People are sometimes there for the sole purpose of hopefully meeting someone of the opposite sex (or same sex, whatever you’re into). Chances are, she’ll be more receptive to that drink you offer.

If you approach a woman in an uninviting situation, don’t expect her to be warm and fuzzy. If she’s rude, it’s your fault. If you’re really that desperate, I hear there are websites now that are specifically for helping people hook up. Maybe give one of those a try.