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Hey Marc,

The question I have comes from a recent experience I had while I was travelling. I was staying in a youth hostel and playing guitar and singing for some people in the common room where I was hanging out with these German girls I'd met earlier in the day. There were also two French guys there who were trying to compete for the attention of these girls and were obviously trying pretty hard to get laid.

Anyway mostly I ignored them and let them do their own thing as I kept on playing, then at one point they were getting jealous of the attention I was getting from the girls with my singing and whatnot, and so they started openly mocking my singing and heckling and doing little parody-singing of their own while I was in the middle of a song. I sort of paused for a bit and implied they were being douchebags, before deciding I wasn't going to give them the satisfaction of putting me off in my singing or getting a proper rise out of me. Eventually they left and the girls didn't go with them despite their constant hounding. Although I felt sort of deflated for letting them get away with their behaviour.

I'd like to know a better way of dealing with guys when they behave in a way that's very unambiguously crossing a line, and I feel like openly mocking somebody when they haven't done anything at all to you is pretty clearly crossing a line.

I mean it would be satisfying to just punch the guy but I know that's a completely stupid decision that would probably just get me booted from the place anyway. But surely there has to be an assertive middle-ground between socking a guy and just copping his harassment on the chin? I'm trying to find a good way of dealing with people like this, one that doesn't mean getting violent OR letting them get away with walking all over you.

I've been struggling with this since getting picked on a lot in highschool, and my parents had always drilled in to me that you just had to be a pacifist and let teachers deal with it and just cop the abuse on the chin. I know now in my adult life that this is actually psychologically unhealthy and damaging to your self-respect, but I also don't know how to deal with these situations in a way that allows me to retain my dignity without resorting to violence.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Answer
Okay let me give you a set of standards any situation that doesn't result in you bleeding, in jail or thrown out into the cold is OK.

It's not a win per se, but in a list of
Fucked up
Bad
Screwed up
OK
Good
Better
Best

It ain't that bad. What's chewing on you are your own expectations and beliefs. Starting with the fact that you no longer believe what you were raised with.  Ya know what? Violence is seldom the right answer. But when it is, it's the best answer. I say that because the statement "Violence never solved anything" is wrong, unsupportable, and -- most of all -- extremist. That's because 'never' is a HUGE word.

See you'd have to go out and ask every person on the planet if violence has ever solved a problem for them. As by using the absolutist 'never' turned the situation into Aristotelian/Classic logic, one answer 'yes' debunks the contention.  Start the line with me of those saying "No, in fact, violence did solve problems -- many times in fact."

But even if they utterly discount those, (rationalizing it away) THEN the true believer of 'never' would have to build a time machine and go and ask every person who had ever lived. THAT'S how big a word never is.

And it's also very much why you're not satisfied with OK.

So they were jerks, so what? So they were trying to score and didn't. How much of what's bothering you is that they screwed up your chances of getting laid that night? I mean face it, if they can't get laid, they're going to make sure nobody else does. Again, so what? There will be other times.

Thing to consider is: What time does the bell go off?

By this I mean in bars, parties and gathering places there's a silent bell that seems to go off when young guys realize they're not going to get laid that night -- so it's time to try to pick a fight. They do this by becoming obnoxious and self-righteous when someone calls them on their shitty behavior. In otherwords, had you called them on it you'd have been the target of them both.

So why you feeling bad about not falling into a trap?

Let's say violence is over something. Here's something to seriously consider. Could you have  put whatever that violence would have been over in a wheelbarrow?

You can't put your feelings into a wheelbarrow. You can't put your pride in a wheelbarrow. You can't put your social status into a wheelbarrow. You can't put your expectations into a wheelbarrow. That's because they have no physical existence. So-- although much violence is over these things -- that's violence over things that don't really exist. No matter how subjectively we feel about them.

Whereas, you can put your wallet into a wheelbarrow. You yourself can climb into one and sit. Protecting things that have physical existence -- well, that's when violence starts making sense. And where you may have cause for feeling bad about not acting.

So these guys were rude. So they wer misbehaving. They weren't endangering you or anyone else. Now on top of that, you were a guest in someone else's territory. So why would you feel bad about not getting into a fight with two assholes who were looking for one?

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Marc MacYoung

Expertise

Street self-defense, crime avoidance and personal safety

Experience

I grew up in the streets of Los Angeles in 'situational poverty.' I have dealt with criminals and violent people all my life -- both personally and professionally. I have written 15 books and 6 videos on surviving street violence. I was originally published under the name Marc Animal MacYoung. (Animal was my street name). I've taught police and military both internationally and within the US. I've lectured at universities, academies and done countless TV, radio, newspaper and magazine interviews. I'm a professional speaker on crime avoidance and personal safety. And I am an expert witness recognized by the US court system. My bio is at www.nononsenseselfdefense.com/marcmacyoung.html My abridged CV (Curriculum Vitae) is at http://www.nononsenseselfdefense.com/seminarEW.htm

Organizations
See CV

Publications
Too numerous to list here. My CV (for my expert witness work in court) is at http://www.nononsenseselfdefense.com/seminarEW.htm

Education/Credentials
Read "In the Name of Self-Defense" the streets don't give a Ph.D in scuffle.

Awards and Honors
See CV

Past/Present Clients
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