Author Topic: I have a problem with getting hit on a lot because I'm being nice?  (Read 2015 times)

Offline tomatosupu

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I have an issue where I am following the noble eightfold path, and so I am nice to everyone - equally.
I don't delineate people based on their status, their weight, whether they are old or young, ugly or beautiful, etc. because I know inside we are all the "same" space. I am also practicing equanimity.

I'm a young, married woman.

I'm having an issue where men take me the wrong way and start having crushes. I do not flirt. All I do is smile, and am very nice, and respond to any emails or discussions they want to talk about.
This has happened to men who were married and men who were single. The married men that hit on me are really disturbing to me, because of their low morals. I noticed more so that men who are not popular or have low self esteem attach themselves to me very quickly than those who are more confident. Perhaps it is because I don't discriminate against them whereas I see lots of other people avoid them.

I get hit on at the gym, at work, at school, even among my husband's married coworkers. I absolutely do not dress sexually nor do I flirt in any way, besides the normal smiling. Sometimes they start touching me or hugging me from behind (people I just met!). I sort of laugh it off and say, "Um, excuse me, please don't do that, hehe" but it doesn't seem to work. It's like their minds are still stuck in sex mode. Should I ignore them? But if I ignore them because I'm disgusted (I am), then I'm not being equanimous.

Sigh.
How do I balance my buddhist practice with this issue? Should I stop being nice? But shouldn't one be compassionate? That goes against my beliefs.

I apologize if this message sounds shallow. I sort of know in the back of my mind why I'm so annoyed and disturbed by this constant harrassing of men who send me private messages /facebook messages with graphic words/ and emails. It's because I believe in my ego, and my ego is feeling threatened.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2015, 12:56:44 am by tomatosupu »

Offline tomatosupu

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Re: I have a problem with getting hit on a lot because I'm being nice?
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2015, 01:23:14 am »
I also want to add, should one truly be nice to everyone?
What if it's a terrorist? Or a murderer?
Does it make sense to be nice knowing that they may be dangerous?
Logically the answer is clearly no, but according to Buddhism, is it worth risking my life to be nice in order to uphold the noble 8-fold path?

Offline yagr

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Re: I have a problem with getting hit on a lot because I'm being nice?
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2015, 05:23:56 pm »
I also want to add, should one truly be nice to everyone?

Personally, I prefer to avoid words like 'should', but for me, the answer is a resounding yes.

What if it's a terrorist? Or a murderer?

Yes and yes.  The difference between a terrorist and a freedom fighter is determined by the victor.  The difference between a murderer and a hero is often determined by whether one is wearing a uniform or not.  I don't believe it makes much difference to the dead.  Would you withhold kindness from a returning soldier?  Do you think you have been neither in countless incarnations?

Does it make sense to be nice knowing that they may be dangerous?
Logically the answer is clearly no, but according to Buddhism, is it worth risking my life to be nice in order to uphold the noble 8-fold path?

Logic can be subjective.  Perhaps it is true that no one needs kindness more than the dangerous.  I would like to share something personal with you.  It's a bit wordy, please bear with me.

Last May, my doctor told me that I could continue working or live to see Christmas. My wife was not working at the time but quickly got a job. Then she got a second job. She still volunteers regularly though, making lunches for the elderly at the senior center on the Reservation and working at a horse rescue operation that works with Down Syndrome kids She cleans houses as well, whenever she gets the opportunity for a little extra money.

Late last year she was hurt on the job and couldn't work for four months. We fell on extremely hard times. We moved into a place with no running water or heat about 40 miles from the Canadian border because it was cheap and our savings had already been decimated. She was released back to work three weeks ago. We had gotten to the point where we were ripping up old clothes for toilet paper that they gave away at the food bank. Destitute.

In two days she receives her first paycheck from this job and it'll be the first money we've had in months. Two days ago, she went to clean an elderly neighbors house who had offered her $50 to do so. She came home empty handed. "Honey, I couldn't take the money - she's almost as bad off as we are." That's the woman I'm married to. The girl who's deathly afraid of spiders but carries them outside while running out of the bathroom screaming cause she'd rather be scared to death than to hurt anything. She is, without a doubt, the most compassionate person I know.

And one last thing, she did twenty-four years in prison for aggravated murder. Read the newspapers or watch the news and you'll deem her a sociopath. Live with her and you'll deem her a saint. I suppose at the end of the day, she's a person - just like her victim.

And then there's me. I'm a murderer too. Of course, mine happened while I was wearing a uniform and following orders; that makes me a hero I'm told. Her case was after being kidnapped, sold into the sex trade and during an escape attempt - at fifteen years old. We're pretty much the same, her and I, except she's the greatest teacher I've ever had and I'm just a poor, barely worthy student.

I am grateful that you take your practice serious enough to ask these types of questions.  I hope that my response is of some value.

Offline Dharmakara

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Re: I have a problem with getting hit on a lot because I'm being nice?
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2015, 08:20:56 pm »
How do I balance my buddhist practice with this issue? Should I stop being nice? But shouldn't one be compassionate? That goes against my beliefs.

To answer your question, the first thing I would like to point out is that this issue can be addressed in a way that's in keeping with Buddhist tradition, namely through the use of Right Speech.

Furthermore, holding your tongue and not addressing the issue is far from compassionate --- in other words, you might feel you're being compassionate toward the ill-behaved man, when in fact you're setting the stage for the person's behavior to manifest and continue toward other women in the future, where more or less through your silence you've also become an accessory after the fact when it comes to this type of behavior

Offline tomatosupu

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Re: I have a problem with getting hit on a lot because I'm being nice?
« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2015, 11:37:19 am »
I have read both posts and it was very valuable and helpful to me.
I need some time to digest the response before I can formulate an answer, but I first wanted to thank you two for your responses, very much.

Offline tomatosupu

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Re: I have a problem with getting hit on a lot because I'm being nice?
« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2015, 01:20:20 am »


Quote
Yes and yes.  The difference between a terrorist and a freedom fighter is determined by the victor.  The difference between a murderer and a hero is often determined by whether one is wearing a uniform or not.  I don't believe it makes much difference to the dead.  Would you withhold kindness from a returning soldier?  Do you think you have been neither in countless incarnations?

I've thought about this before, because my husband is also a soldier.
(Pause)
I remember talking to a group of soldiers on my military base about killing (I didn't bring up the subject, they did, during a safety arms class). He was telling me that it's either, "you or me" and so his killing is justified. He taught me that I should think the same way - it's going to be "you or him, so need to be okay with killing others if push comes to shove." This greatly disturbed me, because it goes against all my beliefs. I don't even hurt insects because of the 5 precepts that I practice for lay buddhists (No killing, no stealing, no cheating, no drink/drugs, no lying). I remember my husband asking me the same question, "Honey. If it was you, or if someone was threatening me or the children, would you kill?" I said no. He was greatly disappointed. But I've never been in a life or death situation, so I don't know what could happen.

I think you and your wife's situation was a result of the world's karma, that is, other people's karma affecting decisions which led to that kind of situation. Like a butterfly effect. One person's negativity can affect another, and then another, and another, until it may start to change politics or society to move in a certain direction such as war or crime. So I think it is very important to not create negative karma so that negative ripples aren't sent out. So when I deal with people, I try always to be nice, so that they may have a nicer day or hopefully that will affect others as well in a daisy chain. This is also why I would never cheat, because that would generate lots of negative karma to the everyone involved which can multiply to many people. The problem is, my niceness is interpreted (I think) as a signal I may have interest in said person. I really have no interest in men or relationships, because everything is impermanent and human sentimentality is emotional, attachment based mess that I don't want to affect my practice. This is probably the hardest thing I'm dealing with right now, as I do not want to love my husband or my parents any more than my friends or complete strangers, because I am practicing equanimty. It is not true love if I favor one over the other - that would be conditional love.

What Dharmakara said about Right Speech was very helpful. But the way I interpreted Right Speech was that, if it is something not nice to say, then to not say it at all and to keep silent. So that is how I am dealing with my situation right now with the men that keep sending me messages. I just answer their question or concern very succinctly.


Offline Dharmakara

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Re: I have a problem with getting hit on a lot because I'm being nice?
« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2015, 03:04:58 am »
What Dharmakara said about Right Speech was very helpful. But the way I interpreted Right Speech was that, if it is something not nice to say, then to not say it at all and to keep silent.

No, that's not exactly correct --- for example, Right Speech was defined by the Buddha as follows:

Quote
[1] "In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be unfactual, untrue, unbeneficial (or: not connected with the goal), unendearing & disagreeable to others, he does not say them.

[2] "In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, unbeneficial, unendearing & disagreeable to others, he does not say them.

[3] "In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, beneficial, but unendearing & disagreeable to others, he has a sense of the proper time for saying them.

[4] "In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be unfactual, untrue, unbeneficial, but endearing & agreeable to others, he does not say them.

[5] "In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, unbeneficial, but endearing & agreeable to others, he does not say them.

[6] "In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be factual, true, beneficial, and endearing & agreeable to others, he has a sense of the proper time for saying them. Why is that? Because the Tathagata has sympathy for living beings."

(MN 58)

Likewise, in his book Returning to Silence, Jikai Dainin Katagiri (1928-1990) discusses Dogen’s teaching on kind speech: "Kind speech is not merely speaking with an ingratiating voice, like a cat purring...[this] very naturally, consciously or unconsciously, is trying to get a favor by fawning or flattering. This is not kind speech."

He goes on to mention his own teacher, a man who used rough language and belittled whatever he did, but Katagiri Roshi said when he was older he came to appreciate his teacher’s attitude because it was based on compassion, saying that "sometimes rough language is a great help, but don’t use rough language recklessly, be careful."

Offline tomatosupu

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Re: I have a problem with getting hit on a lot because I'm being nice?
« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2015, 04:25:50 am »
Thank you for the in-depth quotes and explanation of Right Speech.
But I have a question?

I wonder, does the Dalai Lama give compliments? Such as, "you look nice today?"
I wonder if an enlightened person would compliment. It would seem that it meets all those qualities of being true, factual, beneficial, endearing, and agreeable.

I don't compliment if I sense this person will take me the wrong way (as me having interest in them). But I do compliment people often otherwise. "Your baby is so cute" "you're so skilled at (insert talent), thanks for helping me" etc.

Offline Dharmakara

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Re: I have a problem with getting hit on a lot because I'm being nice?
« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2015, 08:27:25 am »
IMHO there's no definitive answer to your question, other than to state that the most obvious concern would be whether the compliment would eventually have the potential of becoming indistinguishable from flattery --- for example, we have the Buddha's advice to Sigalaka:

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"Young man, be aware of these four enemies disguised as friends: the taker, the talker, the flatterer, and the reckless companion.

"The flatterer can be identified by four things: by supporting both bad and good behavior indiscriminately, praising you to your face, and putting you down behind your back.

(DN 31)

Offline tomatosupu

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Re: I have a problem with getting hit on a lot because I'm being nice?
« Reply #9 on: September 26, 2015, 03:49:28 pm »
Thank you.

I think I just found out who are not my real friends.


More good info
https://buddhasadvice.wordpress.com/friendships/
« Last Edit: September 26, 2015, 04:10:23 pm by tomatosupu »

Offline Dharmakara

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Re: I have a problem with getting hit on a lot because I'm being nice?
« Reply #10 on: September 26, 2015, 04:48:35 pm »
Tomatosupa, thank you for providing a link to that excellent article --- it gets right to the point:

Quote
One definition of a good friend is someone who brings out what is best in you. She might do this by following your lead when you do something worth emulating, and by telling you directly what she admires about you. A good friend discourages what is worst in you, perhaps by declining to follow an unwise lead, and sometimes by telling you directly when she thinks something is off. By her actions and words, a good friend gives you helpful feedback. Out of genuine concern for your well-being, a good friend will support your wholesome actions and discourage your unwholesome actions.

Offline yagr

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Re: I have a problem with getting hit on a lot because I'm being nice?
« Reply #11 on: September 26, 2015, 07:13:32 pm »
tomatosupa,

  I believe I do understand what you are going through.  One thing that I do, especially when I am being friendly with the opposite sex, is bring the conversation around to my wife as quickly as possible.  I will make mention of her in nothing less than glowing terms - which is easy because she is wonderful.  Also, I thought a recent post of mine that I posted earlier this month elsewhere might be of interest to you.  It is long, in spite of the fact that I abbreviated it somewhat before posting here. 

Quote
I love people. Hate being around them though. I alternate between deep compassion and, depending upon how much time I'm forced to spend in public, utter contempt. Everyone wants to make a connection with others – we need intimacy; but most people know more about Kim Kardashian than they do about themselves. How on earth can they share themselves with anyone if they don't even know themselves! The answer, it seems to me, is that they make connections with others who have an intimate knowledge of Kim K. or the Dallas Cowboys or the Beatles...and never catch on to the fact that there's really no personal connection present. Which is kind of a nice segue into my point...

My wife and I frequent the dollar store – everything for a buck, if you're unfamiliar. There's a young woman who works there as a cashier who is overtly friendly with us. She's got more baggage than a 747 jumbo jet, which admittedly works on my compassion nerve. No she hasn't told us, but she wears her abuse vividly and is incredibly transparent – at least to my wife and I. Anyway, one of us (Michelle or I) quoted a comedian we find funny the other day in line. The woman perked up even more. “I love him,” she gushed. Yesterday, on the way past her store, we stopped and lent her a DVD we have of a stand-up special he did. “I should have you guys over for dinner one of these days!” Because obviously we want to be friends because who does that? Who takes an almost complete stranger's idle comment, pays attention to it, and then goes out of their way to do something nice for her?

I don't want to be her friend. But I invited it. What else was she going to think? Here's a girl who faced some serious rejection in her life – and we're going to reject her idea of a friendship? She would have been better off if we had never come in her store. Or there's the guy at the gas station...

The manager was just unloading on the cashier as I came in. It's not the first time I've heard this manager unload on one of his employee's and not the first time I've ascertained that it was unwarranted. It was the first time I've seen one of his employees taking it so hard. The guy looked like he was about to cry as I approached the counter. My total game to twenty-one dollars and some change. I plopped a twenty dollar bill on the counter and waited. “Um,” he stammered, “you don't have enough.” I looked up at him in mock anger, just enough of a hint of a smile to insure he saw it and blustered, “I could have stayed in bed with my wife this morning if I wanted to hear that shit!” He was too distracted by the earlier events with his manager to figure it out so I helped him along... “Oh! You mean I don't have enough MONEY.” His hurt feelings forgotten for a moment, he laughed till he had tears running down his face. “Thank you, so much! You have no idea how much I needed to laugh just then.” Yeah. No idea.

But every time I go into the gas station these days, it seems he's on shift. He's so happy to see me. “We should hang out some time!” he says this last time...and I never want to go to that gas station again.

Really, it makes no difference whether I do or not. Eventually I'll cause the same reaction in the next gas station I go to. Or Dollar Store. Or restaurant. Or grocery store. It's been this way my whole life – but it's always worked out because I had a job I could travel with at will. Playing poker professionally has perks. Las Vegas gets too much, there's always Atlantic City...or L.A. Or the Mississippi gulf coast, or any one of a thousand other venues. Unfortunately, wherever I go – there I am. As many of you know, I'm stuck geographically now and can't move out of state. So I'm going to have to find a solution to this issue. I may be ready to listen if anyone wants to make a go at it.

Oh! Yeah, just recalled something else that's a bit more serious but it's the same issue. I think I mentioned...though I may have been gone with no internet at the time...that a fellow vet I know ended up falling off the wagon. When I arrived at his home I found him with a gun in one hand and a bottle of vodka in the other trying to figure out which one he wanted to put in his mouth next. My wife and I stayed with him; I stayed up with him talking and listening until he agreed to go to the V.A. Hospital a day or so later.

He's not my friend. He's just a guy who needed help and no one was there for him. To his mind, that makes me just about his best friend because “who else would do that?” ← his words. To me, he was just someone who needed help – help that I could give. I'm dodging invites and phone calls a few times a week now. I don't regret being there but I do rather regret the consequences. Thanks for reading.

Offline tomatosupu

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Re: I have a problem with getting hit on a lot because I'm being nice?
« Reply #12 on: September 27, 2015, 12:45:51 pm »
Wow, that's so similar to how I feel. Sometimes I sense people need help, so I offer it. But then they think that I'm suddenly their friend, and keep inviting me over and asking where I am, what I'm doing. It's definitely a bit annoying. So I know what you mean!

Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: I have a problem with getting hit on a lot because I'm being nice?
« Reply #13 on: September 28, 2015, 02:18:39 pm »
Quote
tomatosupu:  "How do I balance my buddhist practice with this issue? Should I stop being nice? But shouldn't one be compassionate? That goes against my beliefs.

I apologize if this message sounds shallow. I sort of know in the back of my mind why I'm so annoyed and disturbed by this constant harrassing of men who send me private messages /facebook messages with graphic words/ and emails. It's because I believe in my ego, and my ego is feeling threatened. "

I had the same problem when I was young, also.  The way that I handled such advances was to smile, thank them for their compliments, and to excuse myself.  The problem became overwhelming in some public venues when women would literally press their bodies against me, especially in groups in which it was common practice to greet with hugs.  The best I ever came up with was to smile and to walk away.

Then as now, my take on the situation is to realize that responsibility for moral / ethical limits lies with me, and to respond appropriately without being unkind, or abusive.

When bothered I reflect upon what  Kermit the Frog of The Muppets used to say, "It's not easy being green."  The same is true for those of us in which animal magnetism has raised it's handsome, or in your case, lovely...head.    :hug:
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Offline tomatosupu

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Re: I have a problem with getting hit on a lot because I'm being nice?
« Reply #14 on: September 29, 2015, 03:33:22 pm »
Quote
Then as now, my take on the situation is to realize that responsibility for moral / ethical limits lies with me, and to respond appropriately without being unkind, or abusive.

I do this (responding appropriately without being unkind) but sometimes that person just......does...not.....get it. I've tried this before but they don't get it. I still get phone texts and random messages. I've had this drag on for months. I figured the person would eventually get it after many months of neutral responses, but the problem is in the response itself. The continual communication and messaging is in itself the issue. I can walk away when it's a stranger, but in work or class situations, not always feasible.
So I think ignoring is the best option. It's effective, but is not equanimous.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2015, 03:36:03 pm by tomatosupu »

 


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