'You're Leading Me On!' Women Reveal Innocent Behaviors That Men Misinterpret

Women's bodies are usually objectified and with that we are completely disregarded as autonomous beings. So we are always doing something that is 'asking for it' even if we aren't aware of what they are doing - or if we are actually doing nothing at all.

The following Ask Redditors share behaviors that warrant men to think they are leading them on and their experiences to go with it.

If you are interested in more stories? Find the original thread at the end of the article.

During my pre-pubescent years, I had a lot of male and female friends and I found it easy to talk to both genders because I treated both the same way-as if they were full people deserving of my interest and attention during a conversation.

During the teenage years I realized that more and more of my male friends started dropping off because they assumed that my friendship meant that I was really in love with them. In early adulthood I became apprehensive to even start friendships with men and as a mid-20s adult I am apprehensive to even hold deep conversations with men lest they expect something in return. 

Sure, I'll do small talk and am friendly but I won't ever let you know me or try to get to know you unless I know for SURE that you're not one of those guys who thinks that women are incapable of holding an engaged conversation unless they crave the penis.


Being young.

Turning fifty was the best idea I've ever had.


Mentioning that I have a girlfriend, weirdly enough. 

You know how saying you have a boyfriend is normally pretty good for making guys go away? Well, saying you have a girlfriend just leads to a bunch of gross questions and offers of "if you're ever looking for a threesome, hit me up" (gag). 

Like what, does this guy think I'll go home and excitedly tell my gal pal, "Guess what? I met a guy at a bar, and, you won't believe this, he wants to have SEX with BOTH of us!! What a rare and exciting offer, we need to take him up on this!"


If I have to pick something off the ground I bend my legs and squat down to do it so it doesn't look like I'm showing off my butt, even though it'd be a lot easier to just bend down.


Asking a question or giving a compliment.

But the worst thing is when I've walked back to my car alone and in the dark. I'd been out one day and was wearing cute and kind of revealing clothes. A guy followed me from the train station to where I'd parked (about 10 minutes), and when I got in my car he started to yell at me for leading him on. We hadn't spoken, but we'd made eye contact a couple of times on the hour long train ride, which seemed to be enough for him.

I didn't think that the phrase "leading someone along" was so literal, but okay.


So many times, just being friendly and polite have been taken as "showing interest." A few times after being asked out, there was the whole "why were you leading me on?" followed by an insult. How does being genuinely nice make me a female dog?

This always happened when I worked customer service jobs, where...you know...I was practicing good customer service.


I'm a naturally smiley person and smile when I talk to people. I do it just to be friendly, but I have to be careful about it if I notice a guy taking it the wrong way.

I had one coworker who took it way, way too far and I ended up having to show him a picture of my ex boyfriend and I together and buy a cheap ring to wear to get him to back off. All because I smiled when I talked.


Let's just say I don't eat bananas in public anymore.


I'm thinking more in terms of social media, but I've found if a guy messages me and I send back so much as a polite 'hello' that guy will never leave me alone. Every couple months he'll pop up trying to start a conversation, usually being rude or lewd, long after I've stopped messaging him. 

Last time it happened the guy had been trying this for a while and right now I'm 7 months pregnant and in a serious relationship and I just went off on him. It's so sad that it has to come to that. And I know it's just a few delusional, ridiculous guys that do this but holy...what on Earth makes them think this behavior is ever going to get them anywhere?


Today, apparently, I shouldn't have carried a nightstand down the street. It was a little awkward but not heavy at all, and some guy came up to me and tried to take it from my hands, unasked. 

I held onto it and told him, "no thanks." He kept pulling on it. I had to ask him to let go. When I said "Jesus Christ" he went on, "oh, like it was such a bad thing." Yes, dude, that was absolutely a bad way to try to help someone out. You don't take something from someone's hands unbidden if you actually want to help them. Frankly, you pulling a medium-large object from my grasp makes me think you're trying to steal from me.


Not accepting any favor from a man. No rides. No coffees. Avoid avoid. It sucks.

I had a male friend rant on Facebook that women get so much "free" stuff: free drinks, free coffees, get out of tickets... I just replied "it's NEVER free." Something's always expected, whether it's as small as a conversation or as invasive as sex. 

I don't accept anything free from men after a few terrible experiences, it's just not safe.


Giving any form of general affection. Even when it comes to hugs and compliments I'm pretty reserved unless our relationship is clearly drawn out and we both know that nothing is being implied.


Showing any kind of concern for a guy. Like if you have a guy friend that looks sad and you try to be a good friend and comfort them that's seen as flirting somehow.


Honestly, even making conversation, being kind and genuinely interested in what they have to say can be misunderstood as flirting because so few women do it...for fear that they will look like they're flirting.

I don't want to resign myself to ostracising half the human population, so I'm just going to keep being kind and friendly to guys and hopefully it will catch on.

The only inconvenience is that sometimes you have to clarify your intentions, if a guy does (understandably) misinterpret the situation but that gets easy to do after the first couple of times.


I've had to deliberately force myself to stop squeeing or smiling at puppies being walked by single men who aren't obviously gay, because of the frequency with which interest in the puppy gets interpreted as interest in the human.


I don't let on to any guys I just met that I'm into gaming, especially if I know they're gamers too. There's still this stereotype floating around the gaming community that women who game are a rarity or they're not really a gamer, just an 'easy girl' trying to get male attention. So if I bring up gaming early on I usually get one of two responses: either the guy keeps hitting on me relentlessly or I get the Gaming Pop Quiz. Any woman who plays games knows exactly what the Gaming Pop Quiz is.

There's also a third option which happens way less often, but I've experienced it all the same: guy just outright becomes hostile, like I've dared to step foot in the boys only clubhouse or something. In all of my 20+ years of gaming that's only happened to me twice, though.

And just a disclaimer: most of the guys I meet while I'm actually gaming are cool dudes. For some reason I only get this behavior out in the wild.


Whenever I'm talking with a guy I'm always super conscious about not mentioning too soon or too late that I have a significant other. Too soon and its 'geez lady, God I was just making conversation!!!!' and too late and it's 'geez lady, way to lead me on!!!!' 

Thankfully since becoming engaged, this is less and less of a problem as my ring sort of speaks for itself.


I work at a makeup store. Whenever a couple comes up to my till I make sure I avoid acknowledging the guy because I fear that either the girl is going to think her man is flirting with me or that the man is going to think I'm interested in him. 

This never used to be a concern until one girl flipped out at her boyfriend for 'flirting' with me. He literally just responded "good" to me asking both of them how they were.


Being alone with men, physical contact of any kind, even just sweeping lint or crumbs off of their sleeves, eye contact, dressing comfortably, wearing even relatively tight shirts, touching my hair when nervous, moistening my lips with my tongue while talking...

Honestly, I nearly stopped interacting with men in general, as my bust size is used as an excuse to claim I was flirting.


The time I was eleven and I started needing a training bra. My teacher gave me a weird talk about keeping bra straps hidden at all times? I didn't even know how to properly adjust the straps so they wouldn't slide and I really didn't need Mr. N's bra strap advice as an impressionable 11-year-old.


When I was young and still in my home town, my friend and I got into a lot of bars underage. We would usually just go to get drinks and food while we talked about life. Most of the time though, she would get drunk and go dance with some guy she just met, which left me at the bar, bored, alone. 

I was always approached by dudes who wanted to talk to me. I was bored as  and thought a conversation would be nice, but I would always make it abundantly clear that I had a boyfriend and didn't want to advance beyond talking. These dudes did NOT care. "Hey, dancing with me doesn't mean you're cheating on your boyfriend." "I know it's 3 in the morning and we're both drunk, but if you come out to my car with me, I can teach you how to drive stick and sell you the car for cheap." They were always super persistent and I could NEVER get rid of them. I just turned into a giant jerk whenever I went there so nobody else talked to me while my friend was making poor life choices.

I almost never go out anymore and when I do I'm always with my boyfriend so nobody ever bothers me. But if I went alone, I'd feel like some kind of conquest for a guy there, looking to screw a girl in a relationship.

Moral of the story: I hate bars.



Breaking up is hard to do.

And when you get the law involved, it's even worse. But sometimes people don't need the law's help to make things overcomplicated, they just have a grand ole time making that happen themselves.

People on the front lines of human cruelty include divorce lawyers. These are their stories.

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