I recently had a conversation with a colleague at work. We talked about a encounter I had where a man who had been clearly watching me on the light rail train home proceeded to follow me on the street during my route home.
There was nothing menacing about the man, nor was he speaking to me threateningly or inappropriately. The issue is that he was breaking a clear barrier and I needed to get him to follow my rules.
My colleague suggested I share this story to illustrate the downside of attraction and practical ways to combat the issue.
When you look approachable, attractive, and interesting people will want to get to know you. In fact, they may go to uncomfortable lengths just to have the opportunity to talk with you.
Whether you're being approached by people who want to network with you (but you want to move on) or someone of the opposite sex that you'd rather not connect with, you can control the interaction by following a few simple rules of body language.
For my encounter, I found it difficult to be completely rude to someone who may be my neighbor, so I was cordial as he tried to engage with me, but told him in a straight-forward manner "I'm not interested in having a conversation with you right now." He then said, "I understand, I'll leave you alone." And he crossed a different street.
It turned out this person lives a few blocks away from me, so I was right to be somewhat cordial, but staring at me on the light rail and following me home while trying to engage was inappropriate, so I was right to tell him to keep his distance.
Things may not always work as simply, but in every unwanted encounter it's important to remember that you have the control and you can command the situation.