Being socially awkward is no excuse

Socially awkward isn’t an excuse for creepy or harassing behaviour.

UW Police Services commented on recent reports of a man harassing women on campus and called it a case of the individual being “socially awkward.”

Guys, I’ve got news for you. Being socially awkward does not absolve you of your actions. Grabbing women on campus? That’s harassment, and it makes you a creep. Even if the individual didn’t know what he was doing was wrong, ignorance should not be an excuse for that behaviour.

But wait, you say, some people are genuinely socially awkward, why do you have to be so hard on them?

Well, the difference between the person who is truly socially awkward and the person using socially awkward as a cover for creepy behaviour is that the socially awkward person will apologize the moment they’ve done something wrong.

Most often, men engaging in creepy behaviour know very well that what they are doing is wrong. They continue to do it even if it’s obvious their actions are making the other people involved uncomfortable. When called out on it, they retreat behind the “socially awkward” defence.

I can only hope that the individual in question really did learn his lesson and won’t engage in that kind of behaviour again.


Chris Burke
M.E.S. Sustainability Management