Pepper spray in your bag? Check. Keys between your fingers? Check. A friend who is tracking your location and waiting for a text letting her know you made it home safely? Check check check.
Ladies, we all know that feeling of being uneasy walking alone at night or encountering a man who makes us feel like we could potentially be in danger. Your brain says that it’s not likely anything will happen to you, but your gut knows better. It is an unfortunate part of being a woman that none of us should have to deal with, but sometimes, men just will not leave us alone. Unless they are confronted with another guy, that is.
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Someone recently started a conversation on Reddit by asking what men would do if a woman approached them saying, “Pretend we’re friends. I’m being followed.” The post received thousands of comments sharing stories where men intervened or played along by pretending to know women to make them feel safer. Enjoy these stories that might restore a bit of your faith in humanity, knowing that a stranger might be around to help you out of a desperate situation, and be sure to upvote all of your favorites. Then if you’re interested in reading another Bored Panda piece where women explain how men can avoid coming off as creepy by accident, check out this story next.
I remember being at a bar and telling this guy I had a boyfriend and still getting harassed, dude was all up in my personal space, like, right up in it, and some big Viking looking dude put his arm around me, looks the dude in the eye and goes “I’m the boyfriend.” I was left alone for the rest of the night haha. I don’t know who you are big Viking dude because you disappeared into the night, but I hope you’re living your best life.
Image credits: u/foldbackclip
Female here, and I’ve played that part.
My husband and I were walking in San Francisco, and hubs noticed a young girl (~18) looking very uncomfortable while a guy was talking to her. She wasn’t in any danger since we were still in public but obviously uneasy since it sounded like the other guy was trying to get her to go somewhere with her. Hubs suggested I intervene while he stood back as to not alarm her, so I swooped in with a hug and said “OMG why haven’t you been answering your phone?! Let’s go get some food!” I grabbed her, waved at the guy, and steered her away.
When we were out of earshot, we kept walking but I asked her if she was ok. She kept saying “thank you” over and over again, and realized she spoke limited English. Figured out she spoke Mandarin and was able to converse with her in my crappy Mandarin. Made sure she knew where to go meet back up with her friends, told her to be careful, and we parted ways.
Image credits: half_sweet_less_ice
I used this and was so grateful to the guys who went along with it!
I was in a taxi queue to go home after a night out, my friend had gone home with a guy, the city I was in is super safe and it was a 20-minute cab ride so it was totally fine.
The guy behind me struck up conversation and I just got “off” vibes from him. After trying to shut down the conversation a few times and him not getting it, I tapped the shoulder of one of the guys in front of me “Hi, Paul right? I think we met at my friend Laura’s party a few weeks ago?” – he immediately got it and chatted to me while we waited, to the point where he asked what direction I was heading in – turns out he was going the same way and insisted on me getting in the cab with him and his pal so they could drop me off.
An absolute gem of a man who I am forever grateful for.
Image credits: caca_milis_
Now, I’d like to preface this piece with the fact that women do not need men to save them, and of course, in an ideal world, women would never encounter creepy men in the first place. But the unfortunate reality is that we often do find ourselves in situations where we’re not quite sure what a man’s intentions are or what he is capable of. So a kind bystander can really save the day. Progress is made one step at a time, and hopefully, in the future, we will all know how to look out for one another and avoid making each other uncomfortable altogether.
When it comes to making women feel safer in public spaces though, there are plenty of things men can do, especially when dating. Elaine Parker, founder of Safer Date, a dating app that prioritizes the safety of its users above all else, told Metro UK, “With all of the horror stories out there, it’s important to strike the right balance and to make your date feel comfortable and safe, while still having fun.”
Back when I was 19 I was at a work Xmas party and noticed a girl I was good friends with getting harassed by a much older guy who was a manager. Not only was he a creep but I’d met his wife and child. I stepped in and asked her to dance and we spent the evening together. Didn’t deter him he kept getting in her face and trying to shoulder me aside. We decided to leave together and called a taxi and when it arrived he tried to leave with us. I managed to push him out and we got away safely.
Two kids and 4 grandchildren later we have been married for 39 blissful years.
Happened to me last week. Just chatted to her as if I knew her then when my mate joined I introduced them and quietly explained the scenario.
Turned out a group of undesirable’s had been following her and she was a little drunk and scared of their intentions.
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We helped pick her spirits up and make her laugh a little then walked her to the nearest taxi rank
Image credits: ToastedCrumpet
I’m 6′ 3 ~250lb and I cannot count on both hands how many times a scared woman has joined my brothers and me or my friends and me, asking if we can pretend to know her because of some guy not taking no for an answer. We’ve walked people to cars, gotten people cabs, waited with them until they felt safer. I am always happy to help them, because I hope someone will do the same for my female friends, but it’s sad that the need is there.
When it comes to meeting a woman out for a date, Elaine recommends that men choose, or suggest and coordinate with their date, a meeting place that is very public and easily accessible for both parties. It’s also great if it is about halfway between where both daters live, so the woman does not feel stranded or out of her element and stuck with a long commute home. On the date, Elaine warns men to be careful of “love bombing” and recommends that they show up without any gifts or attempting any romantic gestures. These can be seen as instant red flags.
And while it might be tempting to go for a drink, be sure to ask your date if that’s what she is interested in. She might feel safer waiting to have alcohol until she knows you a bit better, so a day-time date to grab coffee and stroll around a park is always a great option. After all, the best way to get to know a person is by engaging in conversation with them, so if your date feels most relaxed and at ease in the daytime while in a public place, you’ll get much more insight into whether you two are a match.
Been there. On a day off was at the bar/club I worked at with having a smoke with my girlfriend, when another girl came up and started chatting to us and she lead with something like “are you trying to steal my man?!?” to my girlfriend.
First reaction from me was ‘huh’ then realised a guy was a couple steps behind her telling her she forgot her drink while trying to give her a glass.
Fortunately my girlfriend was also a bartender and recognised the situation and got a bouncers attention. Unfortunately, we had both seen what was going on more than a few times from the other side of the bar top.
I wrapped my arm around the girl, told the ‘home wrecker’ to p**s off, and grabbed the drink from the guy, thanking him for bringing it to me. Then poured it into a planter while staring at him since he’d most probably put something in it.
Bouncers kicked him out and the girl hung with us until she felt ok to leave and we walked her to a taxi.
Image credits: kap_bid
pretend that we are friends then take her to a busy restaurant/store and stay with her there until she contacts her boyfriend or husband or friend, and I wait with her until they come.
Image credits: SevenFallsCo
Act like I’ve known her for years, offer to give her a hug and identify the person that’s following her so I can make sure the person leaves and she’s safe.
At least that’s what I did the last time it happened, and I was able to notify security at the convention I was at.
Image credits: ionstorm20
The end of the date is another opportunity for men to help women feel safe. Depending on where you are and where you are both headed next, the goodbye could be at a variety of locations. You can walk her to her car or bus stop, or she might prefer that you take her all the way to her neighborhood. Everyone has different boundaries, so the important thing is that both of your boundaries are respected. Make sure she gets home safely, whatever that requires, whether it is asking for a text when she arrives home or waiting with her until her taxi picks her up. Even after having a wonderful time on a date, the commute home, especially if late at night, can be a treacherous journey if a woman is followed, harassed, cat called or approached at all by threatening men.
One time in a bar years back, a girl came up behind me and said urgently “pretend to be my boyfriend. Please.”
I see an angry guy shoving his way through the crowd towards us. I causally put my arm over her shoulder, and made eye contact with him. She was trembling violently.
He slowed a bit. I’m 6’4, 240. I just glared at him. We’re standing at the bar; he’s approaching from behind, she’s on my left staring straight ahead, with her back to him, I’m looking at him over my left shoulder.
I kinda growled “what?” at him as he stopped. He mumbled something I couldn’t hear over the music, and cleared off. After a minute, she stopped shaking, said thanks, and left. And that was it.
Yes “r/thathappened” but this is an occasional part of being tall and big. More often though, you just get asked to lift heavy stuff, grab things from the top shelf, and stand in the back for every photo.
I’ve had it happen a few times at bars. Just a girl sits next to me and says she’s freaked out by some guy and she just wants to sit and chat with me until she spots her friends. I walked one to a cab (yeah I’m old).
Image credits: jerkITwithRIGHTYnewb
“SOMEONE’S LATE!” Then head to nearest cafe, pub, coffee shop.
Only time this has ever happened to me was when I was 18 (37 now) down at Ozfest in Milton Keynes and a girl about my age (who looked like a proper rock chick who wouldn’t be scared of anything) asked if she could walk with us after the day had ended along a few dark paths. (3 of us) we said hell yeah and walked her 20 mins along the road and she said thank you so much and went on her way. We all felt pretty good that she asked us ha.
I get some men get offended by the whole “not all men” thing. But to women it is potentially every man. So I just do what I can and my friends are all the same. Gotta look out for each other man.
There is a delicate balance between being observant and aware of our surroundings and people-watching to a creepy degree, but in general, keeping an eye out for how women are being treated can be an easy way to make them feel safer in public. For example, if you notice a woman being followed by a man through a train station or walking down the street, it would not hurt to ask, “Hey! How are you?” to her, just to see if the man leaves her alone. Try not to accidentally startle her by doing this, but she might be a bit confused at first. Hopefully, you’ll get the chance to explain what was going on, but even if you don’t, if you see the man who was following leave her alone, mission accomplished.
This happened to me in Vegas…it was wild. Two girls walked up to me and a friend of mine at a bar with a creepy older guy hovering behind them. They started talking to us as if our parties were together. I was so confused but caught on, and awkwardly asked if they wanted to go get another round at the bar before realizing their drinks were full. I joking grabbed one of their cocktails and downed it to give us an excuse to go – it was one of the last things I remember from that night. The guy had roofied her drink.
I’m not a small dude (easily had the girl by 70lbs) and within 30 mins (I’m told) sh*t went sideways for me. Before I lost track of everything, I distinctly remember him watching us like he was waiting for something. To this day I’m grateful I picked her drink.
Happened to me. Or close to it. She wasn’t being followed, but a creepy person was trying to intoxicate her in a packed bar. I noticed, approachd her and said “oh heey!! Long time no see, how are you doing?” (I’ve never seen her before)
She immediately reacted and started chatting with me. After a while the person tried to pull her back saying “hey, she’s with me” and I was like “oh not right now dude, we haven’t seen each other for a long time”.
We ended up dating.
Been in a similar situation before, I was going home when I seen 2 teenage girls walking, behind them was 2 grown a*s men on push bikes wolf whistling to them an cat calling! I asked the girls if they wanted me to walk with them until they got where they were going! Men disappeared and one of the girls parents then accused me of hanging around with teenagers until there daughter stepped up and said what was happening, her dad then wrapped his arms around me and said “what a man, thank you for being a great bloke”
We all know that the bystander effect is a real thing, so let’s not make it worse by staying oblivious to what’s happening around us. Body language can tell a whole lot, and sometimes at bars or on public transit, women even verbally ask men to leave them alone to no avail. If you see this happening, feel free to step in. The stories on this list provide plenty of tactics for getting men to leave women alone, and by employing some of them, you might be able to keep a woman from being roofied or stalked. As dramatic as it may sound, we really never know what another person is capable of. While the vast majority of men are not predators, it can be, unfortunately, very hard to distinguish who is. And we would rather be safe than sorry.
pretend to be her friend, walk her to a public place with enough people around to make approaching us a bit harder, and preferbly a place with enough escape routes, and call the cops in the mean time
Image credits: Saif_Horny_And_Mad
Ooo… story time. Years ago I was at my favorite bar, ordering a drink and I see this guy kinda hanging on/around this girl. She just looked really uncomfortable. I kinda assessed the body language for some minutes longer trying to figure out if they were familiar like is this a “my boyfriend is drunk and I’m embarrassed” or a “this is a rando and I cannot politely excuse myself” situation. Figured out it was the latter. Drank my shot. Pretended to stumble upon her presence. Faked a big huge smile and said “Omg, I haven’t seen you in forever” and put my arms out for a hug. She looked hella confused (how many of us have made some bar friends that we couldn’t pick out a line up lol) but went in for the hug. At which point I whispered in her ear “you don’t know me but you look really uncomfortable are you okay”. I felt her body relax as she began to thank me profusely. Just told her to pretend we know each other and we proceeded to converse until the creep meandered away.
Moral of the story, they don’t always come up to you. Please practice situational awareness, it could really help someone.
A guy was hitting on me at a party and I pointed to my brother next to me and said I’m with him, and this little douche stands next to him and goes “your sister is really cute” and my brother replied, “yeah, and she’ll kick your ass.” He looked very uncomfortable and left xD I love that my brother still gave me the power but made it clear enough that he’s my backup xP.
Image credits: u/Sumoki_Kuma
It is often obvious when a woman is being harassed or not interested at all in advances being made towards her, but some men feel entitled to attention and believe they can wear a woman down through persistence. If you see this happening, do not be scared to put an end to it. Obviously, it does not always take a man to shut down another man. Sometimes women check in with each other, even if we are strangers, because we know exactly how those situations feel and are attuned to noticing them. But sadly, the type of man who harasses a woman is not likely to listen to another when she tells him to back off. This is a perfect opportunity for a man to use his privilege to get through to another guy and explain why bothering women is wrong. Because, for some reason, some people need a lesson on that!
I had a girl do this at a concert. She walked up to me hugged me and said something like pretend to be my boyfriend some guy is being creepy. We talked about the show for a little while I kept an eye on the guy until he walked away. She thanked me and went to find her friends.
I’d do it again.
“Yo what the heck, why were you SO late I told you (time). Let’s go!” (and then go from there and try to move together to some coffee shop or boba shop.)
Image credits: AZNDevil
woman here; I’ve done this before in the past. Was at a club, lost my friends and this creepy dude kept following/pestering me. It was so crowded I couldn’t get to the security guy at the back so I turned to another guy and said “there’s a creepy guy following me, can you pls help and pretend that we’re friends?” and without missing a beat, he said “don’t worry”, then he turned his back to creepy guy who was looking at me, blocked my body with his and stood there. When creepy guy got closer and tried to talk to me again, he kept blocking me until creepy guy said “excuse me” and tried to pass the guy; guy turned around and said “what do you want with my girlfriend?” and creepy guy said sorry and left.
When it comes to why women are so cautious around men, there are a variety of valid reasons. According to the American Addiction Centers, 56% of women report that they have unknowingly consumed food or drinks that were spiked. And what can be even more frightening than being drugged is what happens after a woman has been incapacitated. Perpetrators of sexual assualt often use drugs and alcohol against their victims, and in fact, in one third of sexual assaults, the aggressor is also intoxicated. This might be one reason women seem uneasy around men, particularly in bars and nightclubs, at concerts, at college parties, and anywhere else alcohol is being consumed. Sadly, women often need to be on guard and take precautions to protect themselves in these situations because they never know when a man will have nefarious intentions.
When I was about 19 years old I was at my favorite bar having a drink and waiting for a friend to show up. They had a warm smoking area you could drink in.
This dude who I know as a regular at this bar via my mom’s friend (who says he raped her, had the bruises and everything) kept trying to force me to heavily drink. Then he tried to convince me to go to his house to do coke. This guy was like 50 and “just wanted to have a good time”
Another man was sitting across from me, and after creeps left to go get a drink other dude made sure to look right at me and say “no matter what happens, I won’t leave you with him. Is someone coming for you?” Damn near cried into my beer and assured him someone was coming for me.
Years ago, my friend and I (both 17 at the time and female) were walking in the evening in downtown Portland. I think we were walking to a gym our hotel had a partnership with.
My spidey senses went off and I noticed a very creepy dude behind us. After verifying he was following us, my friend was completely oblivious, I grabbed her and walked into a department store. Again, she was clueless and like , oh , why are we shopping? Creepy dude came into the store, walked a circle and then walked right back out.
I showed my friend the guy who was CLEARLY following us and had no business being in any department store, he was likely homeless and possibly mentally ill. Told the staff there, we stayed a bit and then hightailed it back to the hotel.
Doesn’t really apply here but as a woman, it’s always best to have your wits about you. You don’t have to walk up to a random man to ask for help. Can always just go into any available store and tell them what’s up. They will likely help you.
This happened to me once. I was at Preston station and a girl approached me and said can we pretend to be friends and chat as there’s a creepy guy that keeps following me around the station.
I probably shouldn’t have said “how do you know I’m not a creepy guy too?”. But it did make her laugh. We chatted, and when the train got arrived we sat together. When we got to Lancaster she met a friend, said thanks, and we went our separate ways. And thankfully no problems with creepy guy.
God it must be s**t being female at times.
Last year, The Guardian published a piece sharing accounts from women who wanted to explain why they are fearful of walking alone at night, and some of their stories are heartbreaking. “It’s the everyday things women go through that breeds this fear of being alone at night – catcalls on the street, men twice my age staring, vulgar comments at the pub with my friends,” one 19-year-old student said. “These are things that every woman has experienced, and so, when it comes to being alone in a public space at night, I’ve found I’m naturally more fearful… Occasionally, I might put my earphones in and play loud music, or a podcast to distract myself. I know this isn’t the safest option because I am making myself more vulnerable to attacks, however it distracts me from my fear.”
Been in this situation. She’s probably being followed by a weirdo who doesn’t understand rejection or uncomfortable around someone. She trusts you, a stranger, so keep her safe until her normal safety arrives.
Image credits: WillyNilly018
Engage in conversation, take mental notes of where we are, and get a description of the person they are referencing. From there, try to direct us to someplace public with security.
Image credits: Agent_Orangina_
A version of this actually happened to me. I was in a bar with my sister waiting on a table for dinner and two girls near us were being bothered by a somewhat drunk guy. My sister asked me to intervene so I went over and pretended to be an old friend for high school, luckily they picked up on it pretty quick and I situated myself in between them and the drunk guy and eventually he left. I ended up dating one of them for a few years and we are still good friend to this day.
The responsibility of feeling safe should not fall solely on the innocent women who are just trying to live their lives, enjoy a night out with friends, or walk home at night to cuddle with their dog and watch some Netflix in bed. If you’re a man who ever notices a woman in a potentially dangerous situation, please feel free to step in. She might have been fine without your help, but you never know when you could be preventing the worst night of her life from taking place. Be sure to keep upvoting your favorite stories from this list, and then let us know in the comments if you too have ever been saved by a kind stranger.
Back in the ’90s, I pulled up to the bank ATM on a Saturday. There was a guy at the ATM, and another lady in her car – I was third in line, so I just sat in my truck to wait.
The lady got out and walked up to the ATM booth about the time the guy was finishing up, and I heard her ask him if he would mind waiting there until she got done. It took me a few minutes to realize that it was me, unshaved, wearing my old field jacket, sitting in a 20 year-old project truck with different color cab and bed, that she was nervous about.
But the guy stayed there in his car until she got back into hers, so… you know… that dude was a good guy.
A few months ago after leaving a bar I watched as two girls dressed to go out (it was a Saturday) had a youngish, homeless guy stop them dead in their tracks and start getting extremely aggressive with them. I started shouting, got his attention, and jumped in between them. He was clearly high and wanted them, but I stayed in his face and thwarted his aggression by standing my ground and telling to back up and move along until he did and disappeared.
Image credits: thenewmook
This has happened to me a few times. Different scenarios, but similar enough.
One time, a girl was being harassed at a bar and asked if in would pretend to be her boyfriend (or whatever) to get him away. I said yes in a heartbeat, got in the guys face and told him “politely” to stop, or he would regret it. Me and this girl hung out and had fun afterwards 🙂 (no, we didn’t go home together or anything, just hung out at the bar)
Would do it again almost without thought.
Edit: i live in a relativaly safe country where ambushes, robberies amd murders are pretty low.
Image credits: NotAnAlcoholicToday
Happened to me before, I replied “okay, roll with it”
“hi sweetheart you’re late as always!” put my arm over, feigned a kiss, held her hand and walked her home. Creeper followed us the entire way so we carried on walking until we got to a house of a friend of hers, went in had coffee and waited for the utter wierdo to leave. Made some good friend that night though
Calling the police and telling them there is a suspicious man following a woman who is asking for help.
That way, if is a robbery set up, I’m already on the phone with the police, and if she’s actually being followed, police will know about that behavior in that area.
I’d probably get her into a public building area and see what the next move would be.
Image credits: Lazymanproductions
Pretend but at the same time be cautious in case she’s a honeypot. Take her somewhere open public and safe for me as well.
Image credits: Chance815
Hmmmmm. I have done this for many women in college, but I generally knew them from a class or something. I am 6’7″ tall, so a lot of times I think they came to me because I was the biggest guy they knew.
A woman I don’t know? First, identify the guy following her. Then tell her to follow me. If she insists on a different direction, then I will think it’s a setup. I will be heading to increasingly public and populated areas. A coffeeshop, club, mall, library, hospital or police station are all good options. Hotel lobbies can be good, but might freak her out. But any port in a storm.
Generally my presence will make the guy take a walk. Sometimes they may wait a few minutes. But if this person keeps following us, I am assuming he is armed and will act accordingly. If necessary, I will call for a police escort for her. At some point, the risk becomes great enough to involve actual authorities.
Image credits: ScottdaDM
I did something similar for a girl at the bar once. Guy kept bugging her, she knew my friend’s wife, so we pretended to be a couple for the night. Eventually he left.
Depends what country.
In the USA play along.
Hondiras – you’re about to wake up in an alley with a few less major organs.
Image credits: HipHoppopotamus123
Start a public live stream with my new friend and try and capture all ppl that are around us and talk loudly about our surroundings and all that
Pretend we’re friends, but not follow her to a second location.
That seems like a good way to lose a kidney.
Pretty we’re friends and take out my phone record a video selfie with my “friend” maybe capture an image of her stalker.
I’ll do my best to help but I’m keeping a close eye on her, could always be a setup for a robbery or pickpocketing
Pretend we’re friends
So this has actually happened to my fiance and I, we where at Walmart and this lady comes up to us and just started talking like she knew us. I was confused and knew it was off, so I did a quick check over my shoulder and sure enough there was a some dude following her. Confronting the person following her is always my first instic, in this situation I wasn’t willing to risk my fiance or the girls safety. We got into the store and called the police. If your old enough I think in today’s age it’s important for men and women to carry a firearm and learn self defense.
Take my clothes off and chase after the guy following her
This actually happened to me. All I did was be like “oh my god Jennifer I haven’t seen you in ages I’meeting up with John are you going that way? “ then we banged. Okay okay we didn’t bang but I did make sure she was safely where she needed to be before parting ways
Image credits: DirtyMudder92