A Positive Experience Chatting with a Stranger: “This is how it should be!”

Location: Red Line metro, at Silver Spring
Time:  Daytime (9:30am-3:30pm)

conversations with strangers
“I hope more people can engage in friendly conversations without feeling threatened or uncomfortable.”

I want to share a positive experience. Today on the metro a man struck up a conversation with me. I did not have a book out nor was I listening to an ipod. He was polite and kept his distance. We ended up casually chatting for the rest of his time on the metro. Only once did he compliment a physical aspect of my body (eyes, which is still in the realm of appropriate things to say in my book) and I thanked him for the compliment and continued our conversation. He took my acknowledgement and then brush off of the comment in stride. We shook hands as he left.

It was an overall pleasant conversation with another person. Afterwards I thought to myself, “That’s how it should be!” Being polite and even trying to indicate interest in another person is fine, but if the other person reacts to the interest by moving the conversation along or looking uncomfortable, then it is time to leave it alone. If I had been interested in more than a friendly conversation I had many openings to express those feelings. When I did not, it was not a problem.

I hope more people can engage in friendly conversations without feeling threatened or uncomfortable. Kudos to this man for reading my signals and for being a decent person. I read so many frustrating, scary and familiar stories about street harassment that I wanted to share a positive experience. Approaching someone or striking up a conversation should not be frightening.

Emphases by CASS.
Submitted 7/3/13 by “EM.”


Do you have a personal experience with gender-based public sexual harassment or assault? Submit your story to help raise awareness about the pervasiveness and harmful effects of street harassment. All submissions are posted anonymously unless otherwise specified.

If you experience or have experienced sexual harassment on the DC Metro system: Whether the event is happening at the moment or occurred months ago, we strongly encourage you to report to Metro Transit Police (MTP): www.wmata.com/harassment or 202-962-2121. Reporting helps identify suspects as well as commons trends in harassment. Recommended tip: Program MTP’s number into your phone so you can easily reach them when needed.

If you need assistance in coping with public sexual harassment or assault, please contact the DC Rape Crisis Center (DCRCC) 24/7 crisis hotline at 202-333-RAPE (202-333-7279).

2 Responses

  1. Fredrick Y. Mills
    | Reply

    I hope more people can engage in friendly conversations without feeling threatened or uncomfortable. Kudos to this man for reading my signals and for being a decent person. I read so many frustrating, scary and familiar stories about street harassment that I wanted to share a positive experience. Approaching someone or striking up a conversation should not be frightening.

  2. Lily W. Farley
    | Reply

    Throughout these processes I kept reflecting on how the problem of street harassment was at first dismissed by officials claiming that the stories submitted to Hollaback! Ottawa weren’t themselves legitimate enough to justify further conversation.

Leave a Reply