Another One Rides the Bus

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Dear Dharma,

I’m a twenty something female that just got her first real job in the city and life couldn’t be better! Except I’m writing to you so clearly I am in need of some advice.

I commute to work by public transit every day, twice a day and while I meet some interesting characters along the way, there is one in particular that is unsettling. He’s an older man. Well, older to me so he’s like 35 or something.

He always watches me from the time he catches the bus from his stop to when I depart at mine. While that’s not for an hour or anything, it’s very uncomfortable. It doesn’t matter where in the bus I am in relation to him, he stares. Leers even.

I don’t know how to make him stop. We’ve never spoken but I don’t feel comfortable approaching him. What should I do?

Time to Buy a Car?

Dear Buy a Car,

Ugh.

So you know how Dharma always says you can’t change the behaviour of others, only your own, right?

Unfortunately, that’s what we’re dealing with here.  Without confronting this creep – which, understandably, you don’t want to – you can’t do much to change what he’s doing.  It sucks that he thinks it’s cool to leer at women and make them feel uncomfortable and it sucks even more that the advice I have for you is more geared towards avoidance rather than effecting change.

The easiest, non-confrontational solution here is to change the bus you take.  Start taking one bus earlier and use that few extra minutes to enjoy a latte once you get to work.

I know that seems like we’re handing him a win by you rearranging your schedule to avoid his disgusting behaviour, but sometimes we need to pick our battles, non?

If this suggestion leaves you feeling powerless and it just doesn’t work for you, another thing you could do is hold your ground, keep taking the same bus, but maybe find a friend – preferably one who looks mean – to ride the bus with you for a few mornings in a row.  And perhaps you could quietly point this guy out to your mean looking friend and perhaps your mean looking friend could shoot a few sharp glances his way.

The thing with creeps is they most often don’t want to be seen.  Leering is a passive way of bullying, and bullies almost always sit down when others stand up to them.

Take care of yourself, and stay safe… Oh, and if any of Dharma’s smart and savvy readers have any other suggestions, the comment section below is ready and waiting.

Dharma

 

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Categories: Advice, conflict, Friends

2 Comments

  • Vern says:

    I agree that it sucks to make the original poster change her schedule to avoid Leering Man, but that is a simple and painless step to take. I would also say, if she does that, and after a few days Mr Weird has ALSO changed his bus, then she does need to escalate this either to the driver or transit security. He has already made the big step from innocuous to strange, so it is just another small step from annoying to harassing.

    • Dharma says:

      That’s a really good point, Vern. If the LW does go ahead and start taking a different bus, and Leery Guy shows up there, things reach a different level of concern.

      Thanks for your comment…

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