Today, I asserted myself. I stood up for myself and stopped being polite. It got real.
There's this place I often stop at to get dinner (to go) on my way home, and the guys that work there are nice enough but I get creepy vibes from the boss. The first time I was there, I was standing by the register waiting for my food to finish, and he kept coming closer and closer to me. I kept backing up and backing up, and by the time my food was ready, I had to walk around him to get back to the register. Yeah.
Turkish has a formal you ("siz") and an informal you ("sen"). About a week ago, Abby taught me this cool trick. If an older man that you don't know well uses "siz" while he's talking to you, he's being polite. If not, he's probably being creepy. Tonight, I took note: when I asked (using "siz"!) how he was, he used "sen" to ask in return.
When my food was finished, he offered to drive me down the hill, saying that he was going that direction anyway. I said 'no' but in a 'that's okay, thanks though!' kind of way. He didn't take my 'no' and went to get his car. Then I mentally deliberated. If he was being nice, I didn't want to be rude. I didn't want him to think that I thought he was creepy. Then I realized that I DO think he's creepy. I knew that I would feel uncomfortable and probably unsafe when I got into his car. Even though it would have been a 5-minute drive, I didn't want to go with him, and I didn't feel like being nice.
When he came back with the car, I didn't move any closer, I used a much more forceful 'no', and I didn't apologize. I walked the rest of the way and watched as he drove halfway down the hill and turned around. He wasn't already heading that direction.
I often complain that when I'm polite, people get the wrong idea about my intentions. I learned today that I have to do my part to not give the wrong idea, which is going to require that I not be polite sometimes. Them's the breaks.
In addition to the life lesson that I learned on my way home, I also saw a family of snails, none of which I stepped on, thank the Lord.