I don't want to be a social Batman either.
July 12, 2011 4:44 PM   Subscribe

On dealing with an increasing intolerance for, for lack of a better term, "bad people."

Over the past several months, my circle of friends has been growing. Along with these new friends have come the inevitable unsavory characters, ranging from the relatively harmless perpetual adolescents to the guy I caught apparently attempting to date-rape my drunk friend in my own house. I'm finding it increasingly difficult to stomach the presence of these people who I perceive to be pretty objectively bad (ones who I think present either physical danger or intent to manipulate others), and increasing difficulty in not vocalizing this when they are around. This has led to near altercations. Two recent experiences:

I'd met "Roy" before. He was with another friend of mine at the bar and he said he wanted to fight someone. He wanted to fight me, but I didn't give him the chance, so he spent the evening trying to stare down the youngest and smallest people in the place. He was around again a few weeks later with a dozen or so of our friends (he works with a bunch of them). He punched my (female) friend in her relatively new tattoo and spit on her when she slapped him in the arm back. Said he was, "just flirting." Moments later he grabbed my ass while I was shooting pool, so I stood up and said to him, "Dude. Who the fuck are you?" and moved on with my shooting. Twice after this he came to me and tried to shake my hand saying, "We're cool, right?" Both times, not feeling that it would be productive or appropriate to articulate to him why I thought he was a douchebag, I told him, "I really don't you. I'd really rather just not interact with you." He hovered around creepily for the rest of the night but avoided me.

The second is "Jason." A pretty goofy guy that I met though some actor friends. We'd been hanging out for a couple of weeks, and one of his... quirks... is that he'll hit on any female in the vicinity. It's sort of strange because the guy's literally 110 lbs with a buck-toothed grin... not intimidating to anyone, so he just seemed annoying. He eventually told me two things: He doesn't like to get drunk in case he meets a girl, and he knows that 99% of the women he hits on just want him to go away, but he doesn't care because sometimes it works. Okay. Pretty unsavory. Well, several weeks later a bunch of us were at the bar, and I decided to go home early and go to sleep. A female friend of mine was going to sleep at my place that night since it's about a block from the bar, so a couple of hours later I heard her come in with "Jason." I figured she'd gotten a ride, so I started to go back to sleep, but after a few minutes I got up to get a glass of water and when I stepped into the doorway, my friend was mostly passed out in a chair and "Jason" was hunched over her with his face (at best, as far as I could see in the dark) very close to hers. I said, "Jason, you're a creeper. Get the fuck out of my house." He didn't try to explain himself or anything like that. He just left, and then actively avoided me for weeks after that. I still see him around, though, and since telling all of my inner-circle friends about the incident he's not really a part of that. Still, the incident combined with what he's flat-out told me makes me think he's somewhat more than your common creepy dude. It's my impulse to warn off the girls he's sometimes with by greeting him with, "So, raped any good dates lately?" or something. I haven't, but the impulse is very strong.

I mean, there are plenty of people that I just plain don't like without feeling they're a threat to my friends' and my safety, but how do I deal with those that have been demonstrably loathsome in my presence? Should I have told "Roy" exactly what he'd done that was wildly inappropriate? Should I call "Jason" out when I get the opportunity? What about in the case of "Roy" when some of our mutual friends say, "Aw he's just drunk he's actually a great guy?" I don't wish these guys harm, but even more than that I wish those they might harm no harm. So what do I do?
posted by cmoj to Society & Culture (14 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
What I do -- and this isn't easy nor is it fun -- is not only do I not hang out with those people, but I don't hang out with anyone they hang out with. And I made sure that all my friends politely knew it.

They're toxic. It's not an ultimatum to your friends, any more than saying "I'm deathly allergic to cats, I can't hang out if you have been hanging out with cats" is an ultimatum. I spent a year or three trying other things, but in the end it was only the nuclear option that worked.
posted by Jairus at 5:00 PM on July 12, 2011 [13 favorites]


First off, thank you for saving your friend from what certainly seems like - at the very least - molestation by "Jason". We need more guys like you who are willing to speak up and step in. And warn other women.

And I think this also applies to "Roy". Creepy, and dangerous vibe - punching your female friend's new tattoo? WTF? Looking for fights with folks who he thinks he can take? Damn.

I am glad you're willing to take action. Please do, but please be safe. And if you have influence with your other friends, you'll be spreading the sanity.
posted by likeso at 5:05 PM on July 12, 2011 [9 favorites]


These guys habitually commit sexual assault right in front of you. They belong in prison, not in your social circle. There is no good reason to be in the same room with them. You say you despise them -- go with your gut.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 5:08 PM on July 12, 2011 [6 favorites]


Let all people involved know that guys like Roy are major creeps and that if they're going to be present, you won't.
posted by dunkadunc at 5:09 PM on July 12, 2011


"I really don't you. I'd really rather just not interact with you."

Should say, "I really don't like you." If the meaning wasn't obvious.

Also just in case it's not clear, I'm not questioning my judgement about these guys. I've personally witnessed, if not been told outright by creeps like these why I shouldn't trust them, so that's all I need right there. I want to know what I do about it.
posted by cmoj at 5:23 PM on July 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think you're doing absolutely right so far!

Of course you can't tolerate people like this. I'm surprised they have ANY friends. Ever think maybe they need a nice guy like you as a wingman? Don't do it!

Shun these guys, tell them why you are shunning them, and tell everyone who asks too.
posted by tel3path at 5:24 PM on July 12, 2011 [7 favorites]


First, you should know you don't owe an explanation to anyone. If your other friends pressure you to hang out with these guys, you don't have to PROVE that they're creeps. You can just stand your ground. "Aw he's just drunk he's actually a great guy," you say, "That's your opinion, but I don't like him and I won't hang out with him." End of story. That's it.

Second.... I wouldn't look too favorably on someone who excuses, ignores, or otherwise puts up with such behavior. You should find a new social group. You deserve better friends.
posted by meese at 5:35 PM on July 12, 2011 [7 favorites]


You sound like a stand-up guy. Tell your friends that you're not hanging around with these guys because the one is violent and harasses women and the other one tried to feel up a friend of yours when she was asleep. You may be surprised at how much moral authority you have - some of your friends may avoid you, but probably quite a few will go along, some because they also hate these guys and don't know how to handle it. Don't be afraid to be the moral center in your group. IME, a lot of social circles need a couple of people who will stand up and set norms or things just get out of hand. You don't want the fall out when Jason or Roy turns out to have raped a number of your female friends - this happened in my social circle (well, really more next to my social circle) and it was pretty tough for everyone to deal with because everyone knew they'd been turning a blind eye to this guy's behavior for a long time, and because the women he assaulted had been isolated and silenced by the group's behavior.

Also, let's just assume that these guys can change (I know a former Jason, right down to the groping - he's changed a lot and done therapy and is a new guy). They'll change when their behavior is called out and they are forced to see its consequences.
posted by Frowner at 5:39 PM on July 12, 2011 [13 favorites]


You've probably going to need to curtail your involvement with this social circle. Your new friends lack sound judgement if they keep finding themselves in dangerous situations that you need to rescue them from. Eventually one of the bad guys is likely to take out his frustrations on you.
posted by bonobothegreat at 5:40 PM on July 12, 2011


Yeah there is no rule saying you have to hang with folks ya don't like.

See them in a bar with your friends as you walk in? What do you value? Are these good friends or casuals? Perhaps before going to the local hangout suggest a different venue, before contact with Roy and or Jason.

Roy just sounds a little too drunk and gregarious, hasn't learned his limitations yet, he'll get beat down bad in a bar eventually, trust me. Just avoid him, he'll learn his lessons, you don't have to give them.

Jason, I would vocally descry to those of my friends who would forgive him his actions.
posted by Max Power at 5:42 PM on July 12, 2011


Agree with everyone that you need not to have these people in your life. Also:

It's my impulse to warn off the girls he's sometimes with by greeting him with, "So, raped any good dates lately?" or something. I haven't, but the impulse is very strong.

No. That is going to make YOU look like a dick, not him. Girls who do not know you will not take that as a joke -- at least I wouldn't -- and I realize you don't mean it as a joke, but I'm just saying that shit is going to backfire.
posted by pupstocks at 6:15 PM on July 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


None of this is at all normal. Most people are not like this, and you should choose not to associate with people like this, or their friends. Hanging out with their friends would only serve as a way to meet more people who are accepting of this behavior.

You don't really have to make excuses as to why you don't hang out with people. When they ask if you want to hang out, you simply say "Nah, I'm going to chill at home tonight." When they ask more, you repeat the same thing with increasing forcefullness. Then, after a while they stop asking.

one of his quirks is that he'll hit on any female in the vicinity. It's sort of strange because the guy's literally 110 lbs with a buck-toothed grin... not intimidating to anyone...

I don't understand this statement. Why would hitting on women be correlated with being intimidating?

Along with these new friends have come the inevitable unsavory characters...

This is not really inevitable. People choose their friends, and many people refuse to be friends with unsavory people. Find those people, and then be friends with them!
posted by !Jim at 7:23 PM on July 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Along with these new friends have come the inevitable unsavory characters,

Uhh, no. It is not inevitable that when you make new friends, there will be several people in the group who punch, spit on, or molest any new women in their vicinity.

No offense, but what the hell are your friends thinking to put up with these assholes? Go ahead and act properly horrified, and anyone who thinks that's not cool can suck eggs. Maybe everyone needs a reality check.
posted by desuetude at 10:12 PM on July 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


No. That is going to make YOU look like a dick, not him. Girls who do not know you will not take that as a joke -- at least I wouldn't -- and I realize you don't mean it as a joke, but I'm just saying that shit is going to backfire.

You're right, of course, which is why I haven't done it. But how can I stand by knowing what he'll do given the chance?

one of his quirks is that he'll hit on any female in the vicinity. It's sort of strange because the guy's literally 110 lbs with a buck-toothed grin... not intimidating to anyone...

I don't understand this statement. Why would hitting on women be correlated with being intimidating?


Sorry I didn't make myself clear. Those two things weren't meant to be directly related. I meant that he's so unintimidating, both physically and in demeanor, that people tend to overlook the hitting on women as nothing more serious than a quirk.

Thanks for your thoughts everyone. I feel the need to make it clear that Jason wan thoroughly ejected from our circle a while ago, and that Roy doesn't seem to be a close friend to anyone I know. He's a cook at the restaurant man of them work at, I think that he's little more than an acquaintance outside that to most of them, and I'm a lot quicker to sniff out and shut the door on these goons.

Don't be afraid to be the moral center in your group.

I think you're right and this is what I needed to hear. Thinking about it, I did exactly this dealing with Jason and another guy who I didn't mention here. I guess all I can do is carry on either way.
posted by cmoj at 1:33 PM on July 13, 2011


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