Not So Nice Guys

There’s this guy on Twitter named Dave that has caused a stir. He sidles up to young women writers, promotes them, and then expects favors from them. He slides into their DMs and makes them uncomfortable. Several women on Twitter have recently exposed his behavior, and I’m not going to link to him or any of the people he harassed, because I don’t want to give him any extra attention.

I’ve already blocked him and moved on. Tonight, I want to talk about people like him and some of the secondary damage they do.

Some of these online predators have learned to disguise themselves in kindness. They seem polite and generous. As they stalk, they pass themselves off as attentive. They use positivity and platitudes to win their suspects over, so they can get into their target’s DMs and apply pressure, either subtly or directly.

Women shouldn’t have to second guess kindness, but thanks to guys like Dave, they do. There are too many men out their putting on false smiles, masking their intentions.

It puts me in a bind, because I try to be honest and positive. I strive to be a sweet man, not a nice guy. I want to lift people up. I also want genuine connection and friendship.

Unless your name is Melissa Buhl and you live in my house, I’m not looking to get in your pants. Seriously.

So what are some ways to tell a not-actually-nice person (asshole) from someone like me?

  1. The assholes try too hard. Their motivation is for themselves and not for the person they’re interacting with, so their comments are a little bit off. Too heavy-handed, and they don’t know when to back off.
  2. The assholes focus on young women. I offer kindness to anyone that shows up on my feed, regardless of age or gender.
  3. The assholes are trying to get into their target’s DMs. I rarely DM anyone.
  4. The assholes are focused on their targets, so they don’t usually post about different subjects, if they post anything at all. Most of their communication is in replies to other people. I post stuff, about a wide range of topics.

What should you do when you find someone online like what I just described?

First and foremost, check with the people they appear to be targeting. Maybe the suspect is socially awkward online and accidentally giving off some creeper vibes. If the people they’re targeting are fine and happy, it’s better to leave things alone and not create unnecessary drama.

Once you know you’re dealing with a creep, expose them. Take screen shots of the posts, making sure to get context. The creep is likely to delete posts once they’re brought into the light, so hold onto the receipts.

Next, report them. Use your best judgement. Be honest and be fair. Let your friends know that there is a predator out there. Let them see the receipts.

Finally, block the asshole. This is important, because there is no amount of arguing on the internet that will make the situation better. You’ve already done due diligence before you got to this stage, and you’re not going to change them. By now you should have done what you can to protect would-be victims. Blocking the creep is how you protect yourself.

If they go around the block, with an alt account or something, report them again, but do not engage.

That’s basically it.

I think the world needs more genuine kindness. We need to keep lifting each other up, and we need to listen to each other with empathy. We cannot let the creeps make us less than who we are. Act and speak with integrity, and be as kind as possible.