10.03.2015

I spent time recently with a dear family friend, Emily.
Emily is 29 years old, with a college degree and a new professional job. 
She shares a cute apartment in Los Angeles with a roommate and manages her finances well enough to be self-supporting and free of student debt. 
She's travelled extensively and cared for her ailing mother.

I say all of this so that you understand she is able to function competently, with communication skills and a basic knowledge of her rights in this world - solid.
My friend, Emily, (not her real name) began telling me how she recently leased a car from a large well-respected local dealership - and had an "awkward" experience with the finance man who handled her leasing paperwork. 

EMILY: "He started texting and calling me, invited me out, in the middle of the paperwork process. I told him no and that I had a boyfriend"
ME: "That's horrible."
HER: "I felt so uncomfortable. And, he wanted me to come in over and over again for information that I know I could have given to him over the phone.
ME: "Emily, why didn't you call her manager or something?"
HER: "I didn't want to get him in trouble. We went to the same high school. And he kept bringing that up."
ME: "So what! That is creepy, inappropriate and bordering on harassment."
HER: "Well, I was a little scared too because he had my address, license number...everything."

 I'm surprised, given that she has all the right ingredients to stand up for herself...nice folks that encouraged her strengths, esteem-building of security and love, AVID classes in a diverse high school, un-coddled and independent.

I am sharing this story because it perfectly illustrates the fear of perceived power.  
She chose to ignore him and hope he would go away. 

Of course, there were many other smarter responses and I am sure this man would have lost his job over such behavior. 
Furthermore, I suspect he has done this before.
Did he cross a line? Yes
How could my friend have behaved proactively and less fearfully? 
My experience says that her response is typical and not some cowardly anomaly. The guy was creepy and anyone of us would see it for just that. I am sure that his company's owner would be mortified and his co-worker's embarrassed by such unprofessionalism.

By the way, I don't find this sheepishness in the face of to be unique to females either. It seems to be our first response, as pack animals that innately don't want to make waves or invite further conflict.


ME: "What's his name?"
HER: "I'm not telling you."


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