Thursday, February 9, 2012

Dealing with Creepers and How Not to be seen as one

Sena from Boku Wa Tomodachi Ga Sukunai,
a creeper
Anime conventions are great experiences where people can relax and socialize with fellow anime fans. Occasionally you meet someone who has a level of social awkwardness that makes the socialization experience uncomfortable. These individuals are given the term “creeper” because they are making the people they are trying to mingle with very uncomfortable. Being a creeper is not limited to gender, looks, or personality, anyone can be a creeper if they present themselves in socially awkward way that makes others uncomfortable. As a convention attendee or staffer, how do you deal with these creepers and what do you do so that you do not become one of them?

When trying to determine a stereotypical creeper, it is difficult because it is a person could be a male or female or they could be ugly or very beautiful. What defines a creeper is how they interact with other people and the level of comfort the person has with another. In other words, a creeper is subjective and it is heavily dependent on what a person accepts as socially acceptable. What is a creeper for one person could be viewed as completely acceptable to another. What makes a person a creeper is the misanthropic aspect of a person. Traditionally they do not socialize with people, and when they go to a convention, they are overwhelmed at the strong social aspects of a convention. When they cannot deal with it, they comport themselves in a way that other people may find unacceptable, thus a creeper is born.

There are many strategies to deal with creepers, many of them require some common sense so that it doesn’t escalate into something further like full-on stalking:
  • Don’t have them as friends on facebook – This is obvious, if they are creeping you out don’t add them as a friend. As a rule of thumb, don’t add someone on facebook unless you actually met them face to face and talked to them for more than 10 seconds.
  • Don’t be by yourself in a convention, go to a con with friends – The easiest thing to do to a creeper is to tell them that you have to hang out with friends or that your friends are waiting for you.
  • Notify staff and con security if it escalates – If a creeper is bothering you and it is starting to escalate, notify convention staff so that your convention experience will not be compromised further.
  • Be honest and tell the person that they are creeping you out – If someone is a creeper; it is likely that they are not a crazy sexual predator, but they do have issues socializing. If you tell them that they are a creeper, at least they can try to stop being one. The first step for improvement is to know that you have an issue that needs to be dealt with.
  • Learn self-defense – If a creeper is stalking you, do not be afraid to protect yourself.
  • Do not give personal information – Never give your personal phone number, address, or even your real name to a creeper so that they turn from a creeper to a full-blown stalker that can ruin your life.
  • Don’t be afraid to say no – Saying no always helps, it may be hard at first, but if you feel uncomfortable, don’t be afraid to say that simple two letter word.
  • Ask them what they are going to do with pictures of you – If you are a cosplayer and your creeper is a photographer, do not be afraid to ask them what they are going to do with your photo. A warning sign is that they do not have a website and that they are not willing to share the photos they took of you.
What is harder than stopping a creeper is doing what you can to prevent being considered a creeper. First off, if you like someone, talk to him or her as naturally as possible. The key to being better socially is to talk to people and try to relate to them. While it may be hard at first, it takes practice to get better at talking with people. Following them and admiring them from a distance is wrong, there is a word for it….stalking. Secondly, go to a convention with friends. It is much easier to talk to strangers if you have friends next to you. If by chance you do not go to a con with friends, try to make friends with people by being nice and approachable. Third, appearances say a lot about you. If your actions can be interpreted as creepy, clothes can multiply that factor. Keep your appearance clean and it will be easier to reduce the creep factor. Another suggestion by my friend is that you consider how someone has creeped you out in the past, and you do everything you can so that you are not interpreted that way.

Creepers in general are not bad people; they make you uncomfortable because they are not in their traditional modes of safety. Since they are not in what are traditional boundaries of comfort, they act in ways that may create a negative social image. A creeper may likely be unaware of the fact that they make other people uncomfortable. In the instance that you have to interact with creepers, you must use common sense when dealing with them. The hardest thing is when you may be a creeper yourself; taking steps is difficult and takes practice. I hope you guys enjoyed this short article.

1 comment:

JamieD said...

Other suggestions for not being a creeper:

-learn to take social cues. Most people give off clues that they are uncomfortable or uninterested...looking around(as if they are trying to find a way out), giving weak responses without much eye contact, being fidgety and more.

(On the opposite of that, if someone is creeping you out, then don't be afraid to show it. Don't lead them on. Don't be afraid to tell them no more pictures.)

-Don't take a lot of pictures of one single person and don't single a person out of a group photo for more than a couple of photos. Unless you're doing a photo shoot this can seem strange for the person.

-Don't constantly invite them out to places or try to get them things. If the person is interested they will go, but if you are constantly asking them to go to this party or if you can get them a drink and they say no then they aren't interested and will get creeped out. (If someone wants to hang out with you, but can't go to that event they will say something like "maybe another time". If they still keep saying no or maybe next time you should stop wasting your time.)

-Don't give someone gifts that you barely know. It's very uncomfortable.

-Don't brush aside the significant other. If you want more than a friendship with this person, but they have someone in their life then you need to move on to someone else. If you want a friendship with this person it's fine. Being "friends" in hopes that one day they will leave their significant other and be with you is less than likely. It is creepy when a person clearly wants more than a friendship and bashes the significant other or thinks cheating is okay.

Some of these are more general, but still apply.