If you’re a woman, chances are you’ve definitely dealt with a creepy guy.
Whether you’ve been catcalled, harassed at work, had a friend suddenly try and take advantage of you, or find yourself being objectified (oh, there are so many other ways—I could write a novel, but you get it), women often feel like they are in situations that feel dangerous.
But the thing is, men often don’t realize how uncomfortable they are making women feel. It sometimes takes years or an Aha! moment for them to change their ways.
On Reddit, men are sharing the moments that helped them stop treating women as prizes and start treating them as people.
“Hearing women complain and thinking ‘oh s**t, I’ve done that.’ Seriously has helped me improve a lot of things.” — jmn242
“I didn’t have any sisters, and no female friends growing up. Girls were always this magic unknown entity, who were capable of sex. So I was always awkward around them, because I didn’t know what to do or say. I didn’t want to accidentally offend anyone or say something stupid. So I pretty much said nothing. In my last year of high school, I spent more time around girls and realized that they really aren’t that different than my male friends. They make the same dick jokes and stuff. They have the same goals in life. So slowly, I learned to relax a bit and treat women like normal human beings, just like everyone else.” — svenson_26
“In middle school, I was a mid-puberty, horniness-stricken, little perv. I didn’t do a good job of concealing it either, I would always get really close to my one friend because I liked her at the time and looking back it was so wrong to do. It took me looking at what they were thinking and how my behavior affected them to really stop being creepy. Hindsight helps a lot as well.” — user1one-
“Talking to women, becoming friends with women, changing my circle of friends, growing up, learning empathy, and the final nail in the coffin was sobriety.” — ruberusmaximus
“Growing self-awareness that I wasn’t the centre of the goddamn universe. Went through a chasing-potential-girlfriends-too-hard phase in my earlier adult years, including mistaking simple offers of friendship and work colleague status for actual interest. It wasn’t ‘stalking’ level and it never reached the point of discipline (or even commenting), but it was probably to the point of being a little unprofessional and uncomfortable for the girl involved. That was decades ago and I’m now with a company that doesn’t tolerate that sort of thing.” — the_original_Retro
“Saw this answer some time ago. It was this dude that tried to confess to the girl he liked by going to her apartment and make her dinner with candles, flowers and all that shit But then the girl came home and the first thing she said was ‘are you going to kill me?'” — ilovthebooty
“I’m guilty of this, though naively and innocently so. This sounds weird to me now, but I actually grew up in a household that valued back, neck. and shoulder rubs. I did this for a long, long time to people I was friends with, men and women. In my head, it was just a way of saying I cared. In retrospect, it undoubtedly gave of a super-creepy vibe. I stopped once I saw it in context of someone else doing it to a woman, and her facial reaction to it. Then it just clicked. ‘Oh…OHHHHHhhh…wow, that’s inappropriate…'” — virgilreality
“I realized that I wasn’t a knight in shining armor, and they weren’t princesses to be adored and saved. Rather than trying to ingratiate myself with them, I stopped giving a f**k and just started casual conversations. If they gave curt responses and standoffish body language, I politely exited the conversation and moved on.” — DancinginAshes
“I used to have this older man always flirt & be unprofessional towards me at work when I first started, I was around 24 years old. After I had enough of his weird comments & flirting, I told him that he has a daughter the same age as me (which was true because he’d talk about his family at times) and that how would he like it if some older man was talking to his daughter like that and making sexual comments to her. He became less weird and flirtatious and more ‘regular’ holding normal conversations. He moved shifts so I don’t even see him anymore.” — pwa09
“When I was in my late teens and early 20s I was constantly “chasing girls” as the expression goes. Nobody ever seemed to take offence to it, that kind of behaviour seemed expected. Plus, I always seemed to be able to find someone who was interested in hooking up. Then I got married so obviously I stopped. I found myself single again 10 years later and quickly reverted to my old ways. It wasn’t long before I realized that things that I could get away with at 21 no longer worked at 32. In fact, based on the reactions of a couple of women, I realized I was being creepy. Of course the women I was perusing where also older too. I realized I had to take a more mature approach. Things went much better after that, but I still cringe to think of some of my early attempts to get back in the game.” — WYMYZR