In Offering to share my umbrella without sounding creepy op, assumed to be a man, shares an umbrella with a woman because it's raining a lot. For some reason good portion of the response to this question revolves around flirting.

Given the situation, I don't understand why this is considered flirting at all. Furthermore, the top answer for this question mentions giving the woman the umbrella when she wants to part ways so she won't get wet. I'll be honest. This move is pure class from my point of view. It's just something you do if you're not going to walk another couple of miles in the rain. The issue is that in the last sentence of this paragraph the answerer mentions a date being a possible result of this action.

What followed this was a bunch of push back from who I can only assume to be women about how this was bad. None of the people who had a problem with this actually engaged with the act of giving someone else an umbrella. All of the comments were about the inclusion of a possibility of a date being a massive problem. Even the mod who deleted said string of comments asked for it to be removed.

Why is the suggestion of a date being a possible outcome of an interaction so offensive?

There are a few other answers to this question which also state that op seems to have been flirting and such kindness would have made the answerers uncomfortable. I just don't get it.

I tried to hash this out in the comments, but this doesn't seem appropriate to discuss there for whatever reason.


Why is the suggestion of a date being a possible outcome of an interaction so offensive?

  • 4
    "Is this offensive?" Is a opinion based question, and given that this question focuses on another question on the site it may be better to take this to Interpersonal Skills Meta.
    – apaul
    Sep 21 '18 at 22:27
  • 1
    This might be OK as a meta question.
    – paparazzo
    Sep 22 '18 at 15:00
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    @apaul "Is this offensive?" is not my question. My question is about why there's a problem with the suggestion that a date might be an outcome. There's a big difference between being unsure something is offensive and wanting to understand why any sees it as a problem.
    – user13972
    Sep 24 '18 at 15:31
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    interpersonal.stackexchange.com/help/closed-questions If you need further information please feel free to ask a question on Interpersonal Skills Meta.
    – apaul
    Sep 24 '18 at 20:23
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    @Steve if you think something is offensive, there's flags for that on IPS. If you want to discuss whether or not an answer is offensive (because of e.g. a declined flag) or has no place on the site as it isn't about Interpersonal Skills, that's a question for meta. Generally, 'why do people consider X to be offensive/rude/fun' is a primarily opinion based question, that has no answer to be found in Interpersonal Skills. If anything, it's more a question of anthropology/sociology (for which there is no stackexchange site) or better suited to a forum.
    – Tinkeringbell
    Sep 25 '18 at 6:29

Offering help with ulterior romantic motive is usually fine, provided the intent is clear and the recipient has the option of turning down said help. If both conditions are met, I could see the offer to help as a flirtatious gesture, or the start of one.

However, the issue here is that the recipient in question is in a tough spot where it would be harmful to her to turn down OP's help. She was out uncovered in the "menacing rain" after all. So if OP is only helping because of an ulterior motive, it gives the situation a slimy feel by making it seem like OP is taking advantage of someone else's misfortune to get them to let him close when ordinarily they wouldn't have. Would he have helped if the girl were less pretty? If it was a guy instead? Not to mention that now that he's helped will he feel like she owes him something? What if he acts on this?

And this is the basis for the question OP asked. How can he take what might be a flirtatious situation and make it clear that he is just trying for a random act of kindness. This is why, when the top answer mentions "get[ting] a date afterwards," it comes off as a little tone deaf. The whole point after all was to make it seem like that wasn't what OP was expecting.

In other words, to quote a comment on this answer, "To tell anyone you 'could' get something out of a kind act is, IMO, taking the 'kindness' out of the act."

  • 1
    Having written that answer I just want to mention it said the he "might even" ... nowhere it stated that he should expect. It was more of a joke as I had a girlfriend that I started seeing after she returned a chair to me after she borrowed it for a random meetup in her dormroom. Just wanted to say that something unexpected might happen. Because it didn't relate to the question and I never imagined that would cause such a fuss. I removed that line today.
    – Ontamu
    Sep 25 '18 at 10:12
  • @Ontamu And that was exactly how i picked it up from your answer. I IMHO liked it and dont understand peoples problems. You can do something nice and expect nothing, but if something eveolves it is still nice, which does not mean that the act of kindness was done BECAUSE of the possibility :)
    – MansNotHot
    Sep 25 '18 at 10:33
  • @MansNotHot: that is why I think this question is important: it gives the opportunity for the reasons behind the knee-jerk reactions to Ontamu's answer to be clarified. After all, isn't this site supposed to help people understand (as objectively as possible) why certain actions and words should be avoided in favour of others? For what is worth, I understand Ontamu meant nothing that deserved the volumous response, but the response existed nonetheless. Sep 25 '18 at 11:48
  • And if someone is at a loss to understand the reasons behing the response, then I feel asking a new question is the thing to do. I apologise for having ranted a bit (especially as you have nothing to do with it), but, like Steve, I too feel a bit frustrated this question was closed. Sep 25 '18 at 11:50
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    @Ontamu I guess that was worded poorly. I was thinking more that with that line you were planting the thought in OP's head. How else would OP take that except as a confirmation that there is a possibility for a date and a reason to raise his expectations? I understand that's not how you wrote it, but I'm guessing that's how it was interpreted. I've reworded that part of the answer to be more fair to you though, sorry about the misunderstanding.
    – scohe001
    Sep 25 '18 at 14:29