The Real Reason Women Are Becoming More Unapproachable

There is sort of an unspoken secret among all men that we are all aware of, and have always been aware of since the moment we became old enough to recognize our interest in women. It is something that is not frequently spoken about and therefore women do not usually have the same innate understanding of the issue. They may not even realize that it exists.

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Here it is: It is terrifying for a man to approach a woman.

As (single) men, we find ourselves in the midst of countless women that we would like to talk to every single day. Whether it be passing in the halls at work, on the subway, or even just on Facebook. Yet, many rarely actually walk on up and just say ‘hello.’ Why is this?

Because it is not only scary, but risky. One thing men will not openly admit is that it genuinely does put our ego on the line, if only for a short time. Nobody likes to be rejected, no matter how confident they are in themselves. Even then, men may be intimidated by you or not really know what to say, so he will just say nothing at all.

Many times this may happen because he perceives her as unapproachable for one reason or another. Maybe she has closed off body language, maybe her headphones are in and she has her head down, walking swiftly. Clearly not a good time to try to start a conversation. Eventually, as we see more and more of these women, we reach a blanket conclusion:

Women are unapproachable.

This automatic assumption gives men even more pause when it comes to talking to a woman because he automatically thinks she will have her guard up, and most of the time he is right. But, why?

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The answer is equally as simple: Men. Men are the reason why. Not the men who have genuine intentions to just start a conversation and maybe actually make an attempt to get to know her, but the men who make women uncomfortable every day on the street and give the rest of us a bad name.

Last night I watched an interesting segment on The Daily Show With Jon Steward (Please take the few minutes to watch it here). The segment followed Daily Show correspondent Jessica Williams around New York City as she did nothing more than walk along the street and document the experiences she had being constantly approached and yelled at by men. Subsequently, she gathered a group of women who had also experienced street harassment and discussed their experiences as well as mapped out all of the locations that they happened throughout the city. The frequency of how often women deal with this might surprise you.

What is the only logical response to this being a consistent problem? The answer is easy – ignore people. Put your headphones on. Put your head down. Make no eye contact. Look unapproachable.

Are we seeing how things are coming full circle here? Men become frustrated because they can’t meet women because they think women are unapproachable. Women are unapproachable because of men who are idiots. And the cycle continues on and on and on.

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The reality is that most of these men are equivalent to a dog chasing an ice cream truck…even if he actually caught it, he would have no idea what to do with it. They are looking for attention, they are looking for validation, and they are probably so bored with themselves that any sort of reaction from a woman would add a little excitement into their lives, whether it be positive or negative.

But, “boys will be boys,” right? I don’t know about any other men reading this but I find this both insulting and degrading on a personal level. As a man, the thought that I cannot control my own hormones or outbursts around an attractive woman is essentially calling me a caveman incapable of a civilized coexistence with the opposite sex. Not exactly something I find to be accurate, and definitely not a perception I would calmly allow to permeate society. How about you, guys?

Are we supposed to just submit to the perception that if a woman wears a short skirt around us or whatever it is that she has the right to choose to wear, we immediately revert back a few hundred thousand years and start beating our chests and grunting nonsense at her to get her attention? And are we supposed to think it’s okay that women are feeling this way about us and therefore need to alter how they live their own lives just so we don’t harass them?

What nonsense.

I think spreading awareness of just how prominent this issue is is important. If we stop allowing things like this to be ‘acceptable’ and just brush it off, the no tolerance policy will of course spread to other more serious offenses. These aren’t just some harmless statements yelled from a construction site, they’re an encroachment on a human being’s day to day activities which causes severe discomfort. Not okay.

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What do you think are some necessary steps to take in order to help eliminate this problem? Have you had a direct experience with or witnessed street harassment? Leave your thoughts on this important discussion in the comments below.

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29 thoughts on “The Real Reason Women Are Becoming More Unapproachable

  1. James, this is wonderful. Every time I read your posts I thank God for men like you out there!

    I actually just wrote a post about sexual harassment in NYC yesterday. I don’t feel safe here and street harassment plays a big part in it, hence why I try to ignore everyone on the street.

    You are 100% right about women being unapproachable. I’m guilty of it and I feel terrible for assuming every man that comes up to me is a sleazeball, but most of the time, they are lol. Even if a guy comes up to me to ask me directions, I tense up, thinking, “oh no, what NOW?” haha.

    I think, as women, we all hope for that one guy to go out of his way to show us that despite how unapproachable we may look on the outside, he’s still trying, and that he’s genuine. Being genuine, especially in this modern hookup society, is rare. But we’re not as mean as we look. I promise! 😀

    • How? can you be more specific? From your post, it doesn’t seem like a guy can penetrate through your skepticism to have a conversation if he doesn’t know you through friends.

  2. Yep. True, true, true. I wish we didn’t react like this, but that’s how it ends up. I put my “face” on, so skeezeballs don’t approach me, but then I see decent guys at places like the gym and know my closed off vibes are no way of getting them to approach me. We just have our guards up and the second we let them down some loser is likely to come along and be a creep.

    • I don’t feel bad for you. I feel really bad for the guys that just want to get to know you, not for sex, and you won’t allow it. All I hope is they don’t waste their time on you and put it towards someone who at least allows them a chance to talk, and not write them off right away because they have a penis. I really, really don’t feel bad for you at all.

      • You don’t feel bad because you have zero idea what women go through and are self-focused. Women have to worry about more than just guys who want to have sex and who say inappropriate things on the street. We have to worry about safety. Men are bigger and stronger than us, so it is scary being approached or talked to in certain ways by guys. But you don’t understand that and aren’t trying to. And not trying to makes you a jerk, unlike the guy who wrote this post. Real men care about not making women uncomfortable and emphasize the safety of women and children.

        And I’ve seen guys whine all over the internet about not knowing how to approach women. And the truth about most of those guys is, regardless of how approachable a woman seems, those guys who have no idea what they’re doing with women will always find some reason not to approach.

        I saw your question about how to get a woman to let her guard down, and it’s not that hard. Some of the things Jamee mentions in his post, like women with headphones and walking fast with her head down–leave those women alone. Those are the women who are sending signals that they don’t want ANYONE bothering them. I do it all the time, and it pisses me off when people don’t get that earphones or reading means “don’t interrupt.” If a woman has closed body language but keeps looking at you, even if she doesn’t smile, as long as she doesn’t look pissed at you or disgusted, you can put a smile on your face and introduce yourself warmly. Let women know you’re not threatening through your demeanor. Don’t ask her to go places by herself with you where you’ll be alone. Don’t try to coax her into anything. Tell her you hope you’re not disturbing her or making her uncomfortable. If after a minute or two she doesn’t warm up a bit, move on.

        And be mindful that it’s different for approaching women who are at work, because they have to be nice to you. Most of the time, these women don’t want to be approached (been in this situation many times, and it is so uncomfortable). If you DO approach one, don’t automatically take smiling and friendliness as interest, and pay attention to hints she gives that she’s not interested, ie saying she has a lot of work to do, not making much eye contact, talking about her boss being around or in earshot, short answers, etc.

      • Naw, you got me twisted with other guys. The women who have responded to this post openly admit that they won’t allow good guys to approach them, because of bad guys and they feel bad, but ultimately – ‘eh don’t really care, good guys should just lecture bad guys about it, not my problem’ is the real thought process, if any, on that unintended result. Not understanding how that makes us guys feel makes you a jerk.

        In your entire response, you post several examples of what not to do, and I get all those things. I don’t do them. I have cold-approached women in public like 5 times in the past 3 years. But there’s no point to even do it if all women in public aren’t approachable. This article and its responses confirmed a long-held suspicion I’ve had – which its its not me getting rejected on my merits, its women openly admitting they are making themselves completely unapproachable and unreachable, no matter who you look like, or what you say or do. Because its ok to generalize, its ok to stereotype, and its ok to assume the worst case scenario as the default scenario anytime a guy talks to you in public, or online, that isn’t a family member or someone you already know. As opposed to the best case scenario. And there’s nothing negative or toxic about that way of thinking. Am I right? I’m not reading any distinctions from your post between a good guy or a bad guy. Newsflash, what if NO girl ever gives you signs? Because all girls are thinking along the lines of this article? Fuck making myself approachable, I never will, no matter what the guys are like, because of all the bad guys. That’s crazy.

        Everything you’re saying to look for in terms of signs, I don’t even see it when I’m out in public. You listed like one single thing, if she is smiling, and that never fucking happens when I’m out an about. It’s not even there. While I do sympathize and agree with some of the things that are said, some I don’t agree with. It’s a bad situation we are in, we can’t approach exactly because of this mindset that women have created – the worst case scenario is always the one to expect, no matter what. I am truly surprised the writer of this article didn’t catch that or point it out – if you think every guy is out to get you, no matter the circumstances, at all, which is really the gist of this article, then you will miss out on some positive interactions, and so will that guy, because he HAS to approach, no ones gonna go up to him, that’s not our society.

        This is also why courtship is dead. In courtship, men are expected to initiate interest, and women are expected to reciprocate, if she is interested as well. Under your logic, men cannot initiate interest anymore at all, because we’re all rapists. It’s almost never to ok approach. UNLESS women give signs, but this article openly says that women aren’t even making themselves approachable to guys they might LIKE, two posters are admitting it, and not even considering that it may be self-sabotaging, or just unfair.

        If a guy doesn’t mention sex, talks politely, doesn’t matter, waive him off or just ignore him and keep walking. It’s ok to do because some other guys approached you in a crude way. Tattoo them forever into your mindset. That’s the message of this article.

        If you consider a potentially good guy approaching you in the gym surrounded by staff and security, and other gym-goers who probably have a cell phone to call the police on the off chance he thinks he can rape in front of everyone, or leave you alone after you reject him, instead of maybe thinking ‘we might have an awesome conversation’ then courtship really is fucking dead.

        Guys can’t show their interest, cuz you’re not allowing it, and you’re also saying there’s no way to get around it. With all due respect, if that’s what you’re saying about me, openly saying I’m just like the potential rapist/harrasser no matter what I do, then why the fuck should i care about your struggles at all?

      • I can’t only but agree with johnny here. The “victim” mentality have made things as they are, unlikely worst case scenario is taken as the defacto outcome always. It’s like saying avoiding taking a car, a bus or crossing the street because there are people that have died by doing that.
        And yes, courtship is indeed dead, and when somehow someone shows interest (after being tagged “safe” by a long standing queue of a supporting mixed group of friends), then the games begins, even if she is authentically interested in you she will reply late or ghost you out of fear of being called “slutty, easy, needy”.
        My .2 cents, just keep trying, there are quite a few women that are not contaminated by the victim or by the games mentality. Don’t try to play games yourself, you want to go straight and to the point and if she starts with weird timings let it go, she will be left to grow old alone. You have to politely and warmly continue to approach women, if they don’t change face, let it go, she will be left to grow old alone. And I find that actually sad.
        I had a friend to whom I had a crush, always keeping me at bay flirtly for about a year, to make it even worse, through a friend I knew she had an interest and she was completely single… I bail out, go on with life, about 8 years after she has a true interest. Thing is I’m now in my prime years, she is not and I don’t trust her, this is something that women don’t seem to get, time is counted, for all of us and your actions will have consequences forever. You are cold-stone-face even after being politely approached? Then, sorry, no amount of “man-ing” up from us will fix your issues.
        Thing is, you don’t want to put all the women in the same bag like women and the commenters have done with men. Yes there are men that women had a burden with (as guys we do too, we weed out the “douches” from the “bros”), and yes there are women that make us feel like undeserving-of-life rapists everyday, but not all of them, trust me on this one. You won’t find them in these corners of the Internet though, they are out there desperately trying too, in tennis classes, yoga sessions, coffee places, etc.
        Wish the writer or the previous poster would challenge some of his statements? Something constructive can come out.

  3. I always have my guard up. And honestly, it makes me sad. Sad because I know it pushes away good men.
    I see the look of hurt on their face when I talk to them in “that tone.” And then I walk away feeling sad that I did that to a good man. And, sad that it’s just so hard for me to turn it off.
    Men may not want to feel rejected, but i don’t think any woman wants to feel vulnerable. Not just vulnerable to ‘creeps’ but also vulnerable to men who want to get your interest, do some light flirting, then you find out they’re unavailable?! So, basically i exist to give you an ego boost.
    No thanks.

    I told a friend about you. I read your article about 15 Traits that you recently published. She exclaimed, “Who IS this mythical man!”
    I agree with her. I would go out on a date with you if I still lived in MA. 🙂

    Cheers to your success.
    Rachel.

  4. Thank you for writing this. I find it true and sad as well. Unfortunately, I don’t think much can be done to fix this besides creating awareness, as you have done. Respect and compassion for others is a choice and often a taught trait. We can though, teach our children that harassment is not acceptable and hopefully they will have a brighter, safer future. I don’t think there is much women can do in these situations. Living in NYC for 6 years I experienced this everyday, multiple times per day and often felt threatened by the situations. It just not safe to stand up for ourselves. Being unapproachable is better than being on the nightly news.

    Thank you for writing. You’re outlook on relationships and respecting the opposite sex give me hope!

  5. Understanding the challenge is the first step to overcoming! How do men break through the barrier? I’ve had a tough barrier in place, but I’ve known a few guys who took it on and broke through. How? Determination, practice, strategy…

    First of all, knowing her guard is up, don’t come at her head on. If she’s someone you see regularly in your routine, make an effort to exhibit kindness without singling her out. If she is with friends, approach her as part of a group and don’t immediately start cutting her from the herd–wolves do that to deer. It will make anyone’s alarm system go off to be hunted. Give her a safe space from which to start noticing what a great guy you really are. She doesn’t want to think you’re flirting with her friends though. Be kind to all, show respectful specific interest in her, but accept and include everyone. And if her friends like you–enlist their help. How soon to switch from courteous courting to romancing her? That’s the million dollar question. But being willing to invest yourself in getting past her guard and earning a chance to win her trust will show a good woman that you aren’t just passing the time of day and playing with another pretty face. A good woman will appreciate that. And if you don’t pick equally kind and considerate women of depth to pursue, then that’s a separate article.

    Best of luck to the good guys out there! This blog is wonderful! The fairy tales haven’t changed. The beautiful lady still needs a determined and noble hero–except the tower she is locked in may be invisible, societal, and surrounded by a new generation of thorns and guardians. He must see past illusion and trickery to find his true love and not the wicked sorceress or a bad-tempered changling… And the hero still needs a faithful and courageous damsel by his side able to face danger with wisdom and resourcefulness and courage. We still need to be these people if we are to see success in the adventure of relationships. Because life is still a grand adventure!

    • “The beautiful lady still needs a determined and noble hero–except the tower she is locked in may be invisible, societal, and surrounded by a new generation of thorns and guardians. He must see past illusion and trickery to find his true love and not the wicked sorceress or a bad-tempered changling… And the hero still needs a faithful and courageous damsel by his side able to face danger with wisdom and resourcefulness and courage. We still need to be these people if we are to see success in the adventure of relationships. Because life is still a grand adventure!”

      This is the bullshit you have to hoop through to have a conversation with a woman. Not sex, not a date, just a conversation, if you don’t know her. And this all men’s fault. Even men who did nothing wrong. Stereotyping men is ok, and in fact, rewarded!

      • It’s fairy tale of the man that can read a woman’s mind somehow, manages to react and do the monkey dance at exactly the proper timing. A woman that plays the hard to get games (because of insecurities) plus dumps all responsibilities and initiatives on the man, I don’t want a woman like that by our sides. I also don’t want accountability-phobic persons as friends, partners and/or associates.

    • I doubt you are worth that much trouble. Stop being stuck up because you are not a princess, you’re a commoner like the rest of us.

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  8. Women are unapproachable but not because of risk or fear to unknown men, but because that’s how females nature works. Females don’t want any relationship with males ecxept loving. Women dont want frienship with men and that’s because of nature. Women are the antisocial genre, and that’s a fact.

  9. i couldn’t agree more with both your article and some of the replies.A lot of man do have a very aggressive way to approach a woman and have some bitterness inside of them. This leaves a woman with no option but to have her guards up and protect her self. Coming from a different culture i tried to reject man in a nice way but it does not really work and i got insulted many times. Lesson learned i protect my self by being rude. The gym i go to have some cute guys and at the beginning i tried to be friendly , but just to find out that it is only a game for them and they soon say they are not available . Really why would you flirt for 3 months or so just to boost your ego as Rachel said!Another guy was so judgemental and said that my clothing are provocative .I mean should i wear a burka ? self confident woman own their body and dress for them selves not to attract attention.Now my guards are up all the time and the right guy who is really interested should see beneath that and approach the right way. Its so hard and never a win win situation that woman pick to protect themselves.

    • This is double sad, see a woman convert to the not-nice attitude after being formerly approachable, I encourage you to not let this be personal and get to you. These guys were not being honest, we like provocative clothes, hell even in a funeral I’ll thumbs up that (don’t do that though). As men shouldn’t give up approaching women you shouldn’t give up on us either! The bitterness comes from so much rejection and feelings of being a burden to women just because we were born men, and as you ask that men should look beneath the guard you put up, I would ask to try see behind the bitterness.
      May I ask, can you share some details about how it went the man you rejected nicely and didn’t work? He approached too aggressively and you were put off?

  10. This article takes a somewhat easy approach by blaming men.

    However, the topic may be more complex and dynamic.

    One potential explanation the article fails to consider is the pyscology of rejection.

    Rejection is power and control. Rejecting someone’s approach both validates the rejector’s value and establishes the rejector’s superiority over the rejectee providing a sugar high for the rejector’s ego.

    So instead of just an unfortunate necessity, being unapproachable could be a form of getting off on control, power and superiority.

    Ironically, it’s the worst cat calling offenders and “losers” who believe or understand this explanation and continue to approach, comment and/or stare after being rejected. It’s a way of saying I see your cold face and your attempts to reject me but I am going to stare and comment anyway. You have no power over me and if I want to look at you and comment I will. Thus the “losers”, “creeps” and woman haters continue on while the “good” sensitive men feel the sting of rejection and stop approaching creating an adverse selection process.

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