21

I am a 24 year old Indian girl.

A few days before, I got this message from one of my school friends in Facebook after a long long time. Back in school we were not that good friends or anything just that we used to talk at times. And while chatting he asked for my number.

Since he was my classmate (I do regard him as my friend), I gave him my number. So we were casually talking on WhatsApp about general stuff like what are you doing now and things like that.

Then he asked me if I had had one night stands and I told him "No". And after a while with a lot of build up (like can "I ask you something?" "Don't tell anyone that I asked you this") he asked me if I was still a virgin. I was taken aback. He then wanted to know why, to which I replied that I am waiting for my special someone. He went on to make fun of that.

I don't know if these questions offended me, but it definitely made me uncomfortable. He messages me out of the blue and asks me all these very personal questions when I was least expecting it. The thing is I let it pass because I didn't know how else to react since I have never been in this situation before. After that I started ignoring the messages.

Question

So how can I respond to these kinds of questions? I think it was inappropriate of him to ask me things like that, but I still kept mum.

Goal: I would like to cut things off right then and there. But in a way that he won't get offended (I don't want to be rude or impolite even if he was) as there are chances that we might end up meeting each other at social gatherings. That said, I am not sure I want to be friends with him anymore.

42

Indian, male here.

I think you don't owe any kind of explanation to anyone. It's your choice how you live or lead your life.

I would most definitely suggest you to not interact with him anymore as you are not at all interested.

When someone asks very personal things out of the blue, It is better to give them a answer in a way that further refrains them from asking possibly these kind of awkward questions. Even better if you counter question them.

Furthermore, You have every right to block the person and don't engage with conversation with the person anymore.

22

I know this is largely a cultural thing, but it seems apparent that this guy is assuming that since you're not married, then you must be available and willing to sleep with him. The fact you don't want this doesn't even compute in his mind.

Obviously, this is abusive and predatory behaviour and should not be tolerated. He's also attempting to shift the blame onto you for respectfully refusing his advances.

Tell him clearly that you're not interested in this line of conversation:

Please understand and take note, I'm not interested in you in this way - I don't feel comfortable talking about these subjects with you. I don't want this kind of conversation to continue, please stop asking.

If he continues his line of abuse, then simply delete his number and block him on social networks and carry on with living your life the way you want to live it.

Do not give in to this kind of abuse, do not accept shaming for not giving in. You have control over who you interact with and on what basis.

  • 3
    From what I read, it isn't at all clear that this guy is assuming anything. He doesn't ask for anything directly as you would, if you expected a yes. – Chris Wohlert Dec 8 '17 at 13:13
21

It may not always exactly meet your stated goal of "cutting things off right then and there", but it can and is useful under many circumstances:

Ask a counter question

Dude: Did you ever have a one-night stand?
You: Why do you want to know that?

Dude: Are you still a virgin?
You: Why are you asking?

or more directly challenging his approach (thanks to @EnglishStudent for noting how good the question is):

You: Do you think it's appropriate to ask such a question?

Pros:

  1. You don't give away information.
  2. You may end the discussion right then and there, because considering the nature of the questions, they will probably lack a good way to explain themselves.
  3. You remain polite. For sure, when someone requests information from you, you have a right to know why - you never know whether they have good intentions or not. Imagine a stranger asking you how much money you carry with you... Oftentimes, the reason for asking is clear and people are polite, so a counter question is often unnecessary or may even appear rude (imagine someone asking for direction, or someone asking you if they can help you if you are clearly in distress etc.). But the more impolite the question, the more polite the counter question.
  4. You may actually find out the reason why they are asking. In rare cases, e. g. an XY problem, it may indeed be helpful.
  5. It makes it easier to end the discussion without appearing too rude. You have a right to know, so if they try to avoid answering (e. g. "Why do you ask?", "Why don't you want to tell me?" or making fun of you), they are becoming even more rude. Then you can end the discussion, maybe even in a friendly way ("Have a nice day!" and not answer to messages anymore).
  6. It's frustrating: They did not only not get an answer, they now have to come up with a way to keep the discussion going. You, on the other hand, can simply insist on wanting to get a satisfying answer, if you want. That's also why it is not well-liked in the cases I mentioned at the end of bulletpoint 3 ("Excuse me, where is the next public bathroom?" "Why do you want to know that?"). But in the situation you described, it's perfectly fine.
  7. In my opinion, it's generally useful to keep counter questions in mind. In your question, you noted how you were least expecting the questions, and at minimum a counter question gains you some time to adapt to the situation.
  8. They are flexible, e. g. above I gave examples of how to react to the questions directly, but you described how he introduced the virgin-question. Now, your counter question could target a weak spot there instead, e. g.

Dude: Don't tell anyone that I asked you this!
Dude: Are you still a virgin?
You: Why don't you want me to tell anyone about it?

It's even more of a deflection and you may be better able to bring to light how problematic his behavior is.

A Challenge

As @Neinstein noted, the other person can answer your counter question with a non-answer like "Just curious. So, are/did you?" and so the ball is right back in your court again.
Still, you were polite in giving them a chance to explain themselves, you now know even better with how rude aperson you are dealing there, you gained time to think up a good response and all other options are still on the table:

  • You can counter with another question as there are enough targets ("Do you ask other people...?", "Why are you curious about me?", "Why me?", "Why now?" etc.).
  • You can use one of the other suggested approaches to end the conversation, e. g. like in Snow's answer.
  • You can directly use their answer to end the discussion - as @DanielWagner suggested in a comment: "Okay. I am not responsible for or interested in sating your curiosity."
  • 1
    Best answer IMO. Asking a "why are you asking?" counter-question forces the other person to reflect on their behavior and/or clarify their intentions without revealing any personal information and without attacking the other person. – Philipp Dec 9 '17 at 11:57
  • 1
    "... ?" -> "Why are you asking?" -> "Just curious. So, are you? ;) " -> "ummm..." IOW, this won't work if they don't get the hint... – Neinstein Dec 9 '17 at 12:52
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    @Neinstein In this case, you can either resort to any of the other suggestions, e. g. see Snow's answer, but you gained some time to think up something good, or you simply go on ("Are you still a virgin?" "Why are you asking?" "Just curious. So are you?" "Do you think it's appropriate to ask such a question? / Do you always ask other people such questions? / Why are you curious about me? ..."). You can always come up with counter questions, referring to one's curiosity doesn't protect them from that ("Why now?" Why me?" etc.). – Anne Daunted Dec 9 '17 at 14:04
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    @Neinstein "Just curious." -> "Okay. I am not responsible for or interested in sating your curiosity." If they don't get a hint, solve the whole puzzle for them. – Daniel Wagner Dec 9 '17 at 17:23
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    "Do you think it's appropriate...?" is really good even as the first counter-question @Anne Daunted, since it's almost certain to tie the person into knots: if they really think it is appropriate then they don't know what's socially appropriate and acceptable to ask a woman (either a super rude or a super ignorant person) and if they think it is not appropriate then they shouldn't be asking the question in the first place! Also serves to make 'politely' explicit OP's perception that it's very much an inappropriate question. – English Student Dec 9 '17 at 18:32
9

If I were in your situation, I'd ask myself what I get out of further interaction with him. I feel that the questions he asked you are very much out of line for... pretty much anything but the closest of friends. Going on to make fun of you for your sexual experiences (or lack of such) is also very rude, and usually beyond the boundaries of what's a normal conversation topics for not-that-close acquaintances.

If you decide to stay in contact with him, you should make it very clear expect him not to make any further comments of this sort, and that you won't accept any further bullying of you either.

If you decide to cut contact with him, I'd just stop talking to him, and if that doesn't work, block and / or report him on the social media platforms you communicate on.

6

Cut, cut, cut. I am Indian and would strongly advise you to drop the person immediately like a hot potato. No need to respond to his inappropriate questions. No need to maintain any further communication with him. No need to tell him you are cutting him off. No need to give him any explanation. I never tell anybody that I am even cutting them off from communication, but I will stop interacting with them if they make me uncomfortable. In my experience, the cutting itself would be your best response and explanation, based on your perceptions and your stated goal:

I don't know if these questions offended me, but it definitely made me uncomfortable (...) The thing is I let it pass because I didn't know how else to react since I have never been in this situation before. I think it was inappropriate of him to ask me things like that, but I still kept mum (...)

Goal: I would like to cut things off right then and there. But in a way that he won't get offended

In the poor, stupid person's partial defence, thousands of people (including some famous people and humble myself) have sent uncharacteristic/ controversial text messages because of the disinhibiting effect of text/ online communication, even when one actually knows the other person in the 'real world'. However, you don't have to suffer the psychological effects of his disinhibition. So you have already made a good start with

after that I started ignoring the messages.

Go further by erasing his whatsapp number and unfriending him on facebook. Remove his telephone number from your contact list and never reply to his messages even if he tries to provoke you with more nonsense statements or Indian type of sentiments. Perfect silence is the best reaction to this type of behavior. He can get offended if he wants to, but you are definitely not telling him anything rude or impolite to offend him. And you only said in the question that he is not such a deep friend of yours to (have a right to) be offended by your silence!

Please note that silence may not be a good interpersonal solution in most genuinely interpersonal issues, but silence is a honorable form of hostility here because there is nothing interpersonal about creepy behavior, when men are generally supposed to understand social expectations of decency, and certainly have no excuse for asking sexually loaded nonsense to a woman.

Just give him the deep freeze when you meet him in public as well #. If he directly asks you in person why you stopped speaking with him, tell him that there is no reason. He is not entitled to an explanation because it was he who overstepped the polite limits of an as-yet underdeveloped friendship.

[#Also see my closely related answer to an earlier question on this website, "how to deal with avoiding a person I don't like?"]

As an Indian woman you might get subtle social messages and cultural expectations constantly telling you to be excessively polite and 'not offend' men, but you should remember there is nothing impolite, nor offensive, about your stopping communication with a person that makes you uncomfortable. Especially when his tone and content can be read as sexual harassment. Empowerment starts with stressing your physical and mental boundaries, even through a 'negative' action such as silence. Some Indian girls are even bold enough to scold him for his behavior but you don't need to do that, when silence is easy, polite and even more effective. And please think twice about accepting the friend requests of persons whom you don't really want to befriend, in future.


Note: as pointed out by @Xen2050, you can decide whether to delete this person's telephone number or retain it in a 'blocked' list:

You suggest "Remove his telephone number from your contact list," but saving it in a blacklist or blocked list is probably better, wouldn't want to get a message or call in the future and answer/respond because you didn't remember who it was – Xen2050 [comment]

Good point which I had considered, thanks @Xen2050. I shall include it in my answer but I think it is psychologically better just to erase his number altogether rather than retain it. But OP can choose from the 2 options. – English Student [comment]

  • You suggest "Remove his telephone number from your contact list," but saving it in a blacklist or blocked list is probably better, wouldn't want to get a message or call in the future and answer/respond because you didn't remember who it was – Xen2050 Dec 9 '17 at 17:02
  • Good point which I had considered, thanks @Xen2050. I shall include it in my answer but I think it is psychologically better just to erase his number altogether rather than retain it. But OP can choose from the 2 options. – English Student Dec 9 '17 at 17:07
  • That's true too, it's nice to erase everything & get a clean slate sometimes. I guess it depends if they ignore all unknown numbers, or answer everyone with "new number, who this" ;-) – Xen2050 Dec 9 '17 at 17:25
  • "I guess it depends if they ignore all unknown numbers, or answer everyone with "new number, who this" __ You are absolutely right @Xen2050, which is why I gave both options for OP. – English Student Dec 9 '17 at 17:33
  • @EnglishStudent While I agree that it is an option to just block someone you consider being rude, I'd always give him the benefit of the doubt. And if that only means that maybe he's not aware that he's being rude. Cutting him without any further notice, he will not learn anything - he may even feel like that was going somewhere and then suddenly this "emotional woman dropped him like a hot potato for no reason, women just are unpredictable". So, to help all man- and womankind, I'd give him a chance to learn by sending him a single line why he's being dumped. – Frank Hopkins Dec 10 '17 at 5:53
2

As you state, you should've ended it right then and there. However, you are blessed by hindsight, and in the moment, it can be hard to tell where something is going.

Some guys are quite forward, they may speak their mind straight up. Others tend to tip toe around the issue and probe you for information first (fear of rejection).

In the future, keep an eye out for guys asking about your sex life and relational status, they aren't necessarily evil, but there is only one reason he contacted you.

He obviously finds you desirable, but when someone you haven't seen in a long time, or never, contacts you, it is possible the person was browsing through friends and friends' friends, to find someone to contact, with the intent of a hookup. Now, just be wary, keep it in mind, but of course analyse each situation individually.

If you don't want to end all communication, a simple

That's personal, I don't really want to talk about it

will suffice, but frankly, don't be afraid to say

None of your business!

  • 5
    You write: "He obviously finds you desirable". Maybe, but maybe not. Maybe the guy just gets a hard on by asking these kind of questions. He must know he makes her uncomfortable and maybe that is exactly what he wants. Some people find their satisfaction in making other people uncomfortable. It is in fact not clear at all if he finds her desirable. – user8838 Dec 8 '17 at 13:41
  • @Edgar I have seen his behaviour before, many times, and it was always for the same reason, but I guess you could be right. – Chris Wohlert Dec 8 '17 at 13:44
  • Could you explain this point in some more detail: "but whenever someone contacts you on social media, they were looking for someone to contact, be wary." – English Student Dec 9 '17 at 16:29
  • @EnglishStudent Gladly, it is an oversimplification, I apologize. If it is someone you are in actual contact with, regularly, you can disregard that comment. However, when it is someone you haven't seen in a long time, or never, it is possible the person was browsing through friends and friends friends, to find someone to contact, with the intent of a hookup. Now, just be wary, keep it in mind, but of course analyse each situation individually. – Chris Wohlert Dec 10 '17 at 2:56
  • Thanks for the explanation and no need to apologize @Chris Wohlert. I just wanted to be sure I got the meaning you intended in that statement. You are right of course in your assessment of the person's attitude and possible intentions. That's exactly why re-hooking-up with an old acquaintance through social media is perceived as quite a weak approach, and often treated with some element of suspicion, which is confirmed here by the inappropriate messages. You might consider editing this useful explanation into your answer. – English Student Dec 10 '17 at 3:01

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