Assumptions & Faux Pas


When did it become acceptable for the presumption of romantic or sexual attraction and attention from a neutral party to be commonplace?

Co-workers had mentioned to me that male patrons have mistaken their politeness and courtesy behind the counter or on the floor as interest. One is a busy mom of three with two in-laws to care for as well as her working hubby. The other female co-worker is happily with boyfriend.

A female acquaintance has said many times that her natural tendency to be friendly and curious was often mistaken for flirting and romantic interest, whether it’s on the job helping customers, talking to coworkers or even everyday things.

A male family member who formerly worked at an educational institution had commented on how a female student used to hover outside his closed office door or in the corners of the nearby hallway. He was the friendly, outgoing type. 

I myself have run across at least one patron who thought that just because I say hello out of politeness was an indication of my romantic interest towards him (and thus his following me around the public workplace ‘discreetly’). Security and human resources eventually had to be involved with that matter.

So whom or what is teaching (brain washing? Indoctrinating?) the public at large about the misunderstanding of what a healthy, genuine romantic attraction is or is not?