Not because they tried to ‘hit on you’ or said the wrong thing. Not because their eyes lingered on you a little longer than you’d have liked… well, maybe that.
Not for any reason in particular, other than it gave you a bad feeling in your gut.
Alicia contacted the Mamamia Out Loud last week asking for advice on this very subject. She said:
“I own a small business and sell my products at the local market. One of my very first and good-ish customers makes me feel a little bit uncomfortable. Both my mother-in-law and fiance say they see how he is with me and it’s unsettling, but I brush it off and try not to think twice about it.
“He’s never done anything physically to me but he overstays his welcome at my stall, he’ll stand there and look me up and down and won’t leave when it’s finished. Yesterday I was packing up my stall when he walked over and was doing the normal chit chat. Normally someone would leave when the conversation has clearly finished, but he stayed and watched me as a pack up for what felt like a lifetime.
“I feel so uncomfortable but I don’t know what to say. I’m 24 and had a similar situation when I was 16, but I had my mum there then to tell him to bugger off. Am I too nice, what should I say?”
Mamamia Out Loud co-hosts, Holly Wainwright, Mia Freedman and Jessie Stephens struggled to come up with a conclusive answer.
“So many women would feel like this, when someone feels creepy, but not creepy enough to call them out for being inappropriate,” said Wainwright. Freedman agreed, adding, “I think gut instinct is good, as a woman you have to always be in tune with how your body feels… don’t be afraid to be a bit rude.”
Stephens also suggested trying a line like, “I think it’s probably time you go, we’re shutting up [shop]”.
Then, because women are so bloody epic, a fellow ‘Outlouder’ called Lucinda phoned in with the perfect phrase for Alicia to use to solve her problem.
And it only has seven words.
“The phrase she needs to learn is, ‘I’ll have to let you go now’,” she advised.
LISTEN: Hear Lucinda’s excellent advice in full below (post continues after audio…)
“By saying that, you’re letting them get out of the situation, it’s a clear signal that the conversation is over and they can get out without any embarrassment. They get to go, ‘Oh yeah, I’ve got this to do so I’ll see you next week’.
It makes sense. “I’ll have to let you go now” puts the ball in their court, almost as if you’re being an inconvenience for taking up their time. It also serves the purpose of giving you some concrete evidence to back up the way you’re feeling if, after that, they still don’t leave.
Lucinda also suggested Alicia could also try teeing up her mum, her friend, her fiance to ring her at a prearranged time, so she can then say something like, ‘I’m sorry to be rude but I’ve got to take this call’.
A big thanks to Lucinda for the epic advice, and to Alicia for sharing an issue so many women have felt before.
Do you have another trick to get out of uncomfortable situations?
You can listen to the full episode of Mamamia Out Loud below…