A moment of realization is something that you can't force on someone. If you're the one who needs to learn the lesson, you're going to learn it at your own pace and on your own terms.
For instance, if a man is making a woman uncomfortable in a situation, he might not realize it until it's too late or it's years later. Sometimes it comes from a friend calling them out, or just from life experience.
The Moment Of Truth
People can change over time, and luckily, the men who responded to this question on Reddit have seen the error of their ways.
They changed their behavior after realizing they'd made someone uncomfortable, and they shared that info so maybe some other men can realize it too.
That's Not A Fun Realization
It seems like a big consensus on this Reddit thread was that a lot of men had no idea what they were doing was creeping women out.
It took hearing their sister or their coworker or their friend talk about a bad experience to realize they'd been in a situation like that too.
Minimum Wage Wasn't Worth The Harassment
"I was 18 working at Six Flags. We got a new coworker at the ride I was mainly at and I took a liking to her instantly. I tried talking with her constantly and 'cutely' blocked her path multiple times. This was all on her first day.
"The next day she didn't show back up. That's when I realized I had harassed her, all she wanted to do is just work and get some extra cash and I added stupid stress to that." —Reddit / TehPharoah
Time To See The Light
"My brother used to catcall women ALL THE TIME until once when I was with him. He was driving, I was the passenger, and he yelled out to a woman in another car about how hot she looked. I turned to him and said, 'You know, women hate it when men talk to us like that. It's not flattering, it’s objectifying and disrespectful.'
"He got quiet, his eyes glazed over, and I saw him taking in what I’d just said. It had simply never occurred to him that what he was doing could be seen as anything other than flattering." —Reddit / Barfignugen
TV Relationships Are Not The Model
"I thought all relationships were supposed to be how movies and shows were, so I just emulated what I saw.
"Once I got sober, I realized how much of a monster I was and took the necessary steps to really implement change in my life. Lots of therapy. Lots of crying. Self-reflection as to why I was emulating that specific behavior, and quitting my addictions. It's been a journey, but I’m happy to say I’ve been in a loving committed relationship with proper boundaries for a year now." —Reddit / Ghetto_Pinnocchio
Luckily, Things Have Changed Since Middle School
The person you were in middle school is hopefully not the same person that you are today, and that's probably a good thing!
It's certainly a good thing for this man.
Women Aren't Mythical Mystery Creatures
"I didn't have any sisters, and no female friends growing up. Girls were always this magic unknown entity, who were capable of sex. So I was always awkward around them, because I didn’t know what to do or say.
"In my last year of high school, I spent more time around girls and realized that they really aren’t that different than my male friends. They make the same jokes and stuff. They have the same goals in life. So slowly, I learned to relax a bit and treat women like normal human beings, just like everyone else." —Reddit
Call Out Your Friends
"Being called out. Directly and specifically. I had absolutely no idea that there was anything off about my behavior. I thought nobody was picking up on how horny I was. I thought nobody knew. I thought I was smooth AF.
"But some specific things I did were called out (touches on the arm, inappropriate topics of conversation, things like that) and I realized holy crap, I have been a total disrespectful creep." —Reddit / Ohigetjokes
Literally Just Talk To Your Female Friends
"Growing self-awareness that I wasn't the center of the goddamn universe. Went through a chasing-potential-girlfriends-too-hard phase in my earlier adult years, including mistaking simple offers of friendship and work colleague status for actual interest. It wasn't 'stalking' level and it never reached the point of discipline (or even commenting), but it was probably to the point of being a little unprofessional and uncomfortable for the girl involved.
"That was decades ago, and I'm now with a company that doesn't tolerate that sort of thing." —Reddit / the_original_retro
Maybe Don't Touch People Without Their Consent, Even In A Friendly Way...
Just because it's something that you're used to or you're comfortable with does not mean that everyone is going to feel the same way.
Unsolicited neck rubs might help you calm down, but the woman you're doing it to might be pretty freaked out.
Yes, Hello, HR?
"I used to have this older man always flirt & be unprofessional towards me at work when I first started, I was around 24 years old. After I had enough of his weird comments & flirting, I told him that he has a daughter the same age as me (which was true because he'd talk about his family at times) and that how would he like it if some older man was talking to his daughter like that and making sexual comments to her.
"He became less weird and flirtatious and more 'regular' holding normal conversations. He moved shifts so I don't even see him anymore." —Reddit / pwa09
Please Don't Break Into Her Home
Television and movies may have taught you that a grand romantic gesture is the way to go, but breaking into a woman's home is not it.
Especially when it's someone that you don't even know very well.
Words To Live By
"I used to think cat-calling was just flirtatious compliments, and who doesn't like those, right? I never cat-called anybody, largely because that's not my personality type.
"But now I live by the motto: 'Never say something to a stranger that you wouldn't want a big guy saying to you in prison.'" —Reddit / Luckyboy28
Unintentional Creepiness Is Still Creepy
"My best friend was actually the creepy guy. We were both freshmen in college. It took me leaving a party because he wouldn't stop putting his hands on my shoulders and a guy friend of mine walking up to him a few days later and telling him 'you make [her] really uncomfortable, stay away for her.'
"He apologized to me and gave me space, but we were still in the same social circles, so we saw each other around and gradually became really good friends. He has apologized for making me uncomfortable multiple times." —Reddit / Minaow
The Feeling Isn't Always Mutual
Many women have had an awkward or uncomfortable interaction with a man who wasn't able to take "no" for an answer or who pursued them much longer than they should have.
It wasn't until the cards were reversed that this man realized his mistake in the past.
The Fears Are Different
"One of the most eye-opening adages that helped me immensely was 'Men are afraid women will reject them; women are afraid men will kill them.'
"That helped me to change my interactions in a way that was less likely to set off alarm bells in a woman's mind." —Reddit / CrushHazard
Your Interest Isn't Always Welcome
Any woman who has worked in a customer service or service industry job has probably been the victim of some uncomfortable comments from an older man who might have had genuine intentions.
It doesn't matter what the intention is, though, if it makes someone uncomfortable.
Throw Away The Pickup Lines
"Learning that pickup artistry is a massive grift meant to gamify social interactions with women for men who are socially isolated.
"Every pickup-artist tactic is just weird, toxic emotional abuse. Not only does it not work, but if it DID work, it would be morally abhorrent to do it." —Reddit / Weird_Mood_6790
As A General Rule Of Thumb: Don't Touch Random Strangers
"I'm not the creeper. My friend was. We were out at a bar and he walked up to a girl and brushed her hair with his hand. How he explains it, he started to say, 'You have beautiful hair,' then got punched in the face by the girl and kicked out of the bar.
"We met him at the car after about 10 minutes of realizing he was gone—blood all over his face and just ashamed. I was with my wife and we were both confused as to why he would touch a stranger. He is now married and not a creeper." —Reddit / Roofchop
Keep Your Facebook Stalking To Yourself Like The Rest Of Us
"A girl told me she wasn't interested because I did something creepy and she felt uncomfortable about it. I had no idea it was a creep move at the time. I’d never had that feedback, and I’m very happy she provided it, when she could have just ghosted and moved on.
"For those wondering, it was Facebook stalking. My young, ignorant self thought it would be cool to surprise her with my knowledge because that showed I cared enough to learn about her." —Reddit / Parictis