Navigating the world by yourself is unfortunately quite a different experience for women than it is for men. You never know if the random stranger following you or hassling you on the street is just annoying or if there are more nefarious intentions at play. As such, girls often figure out from a young age different strategies to make it seem like they aren’t so alone after all, and make themselves less of a target for these creepy dudes hanging around.
One of the go-tos is walking up to another random woman or group of people and pretending that you all know each other. Pretty much everyone woman has a story of a time they’ve had to do this to shake some guy who wouldn’t leave them alone, or a time they played along with another woman who pretended to know them for the same reason.
A recent tweet by @mxrixm_nk spawned a conversation about how common these scenarios are.
“If a girl suddenly acts as if she knows you in public and you’re friends, go along w it she could be in danger,” she wrote.
A depressing number of men immediately felt the need to chime in and chastise women for doing this.
So women started sharing their own stories about times this strategy may have saved their life, or someone else’s because they played along.
It’s possible @mxrixm_nk’s tweet was inspired by an incident that recently went viral, showing a young woman approach a group of streamers mid-video because a man was following her.
The guy she approached took a long while to catch on to what was happening, and once he did, rather than he play along, he kept talking about it and trying to address the creepy man directly.
The woman in the group, on the other hand, played along immediately, and acted like the woman who approached them was basically her best friend. It’s a perfect encapsulation of how different life experiences between men and women often cause something like this to play out in real time.
The stories that followed that video were just as harrowing.
So next time a woman comes up to you in public and acts like you’re old friends, like @mxrixm_nk said, play along. You never know whose life you might be saving.