Women Are Sharing Things Men Do To Help But That They Actually Find Hurtful, And Men, Take Notes

·13 min read

Ever heard of the expression “Kill them with kindness”?

CBC/Pop TV / Via media.giphy.com

Well, I'm sure that that we've all had a time where someone is trying to be kind to you, but it sort of feels like they're killing you instead.

Recently, Reddit user u/imaginebreaker7567 asked women, “What are some things that guys do in an attempt to be thoughtful that actually has the opposite of the intended effect?”

Here are some of the best responses:

1.“It's really annoying when guys insist on doing something nice when I tell them no. More than once, I've had to straight-up argue with guys who insisted on being ‘gentlemen.’”

It's not even a romantic angle thing, it's just an incredibly patronizing 'I know what's best for you' thing.”


2.“Back in lockdown, I was best friends with this guy I worked with. I said in passing how I missed a certain fast-food restaurant because they had been shut down for months at that point. He offered to buy me some food when they opened, and I said no. In the past, I had explained to him that I had anxiety and couldn’t eat in public. I also told him that I was recovering from an ED and wasn’t in a position to be leaving my food-comfort zone in case of relapse. I think he asked around two dozen times, and I kept saying no. Anyway, the day this fast-food restaurant opened up, he showed up to his shift half an hour early with a shit-ton of food for me to eat alone. It was enough food for three people.”

“It turns out, he forced his dad to take him to the drive-thru, and they sat for almost two hours for this food for me — even after I said no almost 30 times. I had to eat the food because he sat and basically watched me my entire break, and I did end up having a small relapse in my ED because of it. Please just listen to a woman when she says no.”


3.“Buying generic gifts. For example, on one birthday, my then-boyfriend of years bought me a silver pendant necklace that looked like whatever you usually see in a Jared commercial. I don’t wear jewelry often, and when I do, it’s gold and isn’t that style at all. While the gesture of the gift is appreciated, it also says that you could not take the time to figure out what I like.”

You just went with what product marketing decided women want.


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4.“Thinking that I need practical advice when I’m just trying to vent. Or, focusing on problem-solving instead of listening.”


5.“Guys often do what they think is a nice thing, without actually considering what the other person would perceive as a nice thing.”

For example, if they buy me flowers when I'm pissed off that they were disrespectfully late for a date and haven't been answering texts regularly. You could just...promise not to do those things anymore, and then legitimately never do them anymore. I'd prefer that over flowers.


6.“When men refuse to go through a door I've opened for them, grabbing the door over my head, and insisting I go through first. I'm just trying to be nice, I'm not challenging your masculinity.”

I know they think they're being chivalrous and kind, but it comes off misogynistic. You simply can't bear the thought of a woman holding the door for you?”


7.“This whole, ‘Oh, if I see another guy harassing you, I'm going to beat his ass’. Unless I specifically ask you to do that — which I won't because that's stupid — you're just going to make the situation worse, get hurt, and make it about your heroism (or pain when you likely get battered).”

“There are ways to help in those situations without making it more dangerous for everyone involved.”


8.“My motorcycle stalled and wouldn’t start again. I was pushing it down the street back to my house when this guy saw me and insisted that he needed to help. He pushed my bike a total of 10 feet before he dropped it, picked it up, and dropped it again. Then, he started complaining that it was too heavy. Funny, I was doing fine on my own without him?”

Thanks to his ‘help’, my poor bike got all scratched and dented.”


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9.“Letting me on the elevator first if it's just the two of us and we're strangers. I'm going to need you in my sight the whole time, thank you very much.”


10.“When they say things like, ‘There are men who actually love [the thing you’re insecure about].’ Or, when they say, ‘I, for one, actually love [the thing you’re insecure about],’ when you open up about your insecurities. Whether I love my own body or not shouldn’t be determined by whether there are men out there who find it attractive.”

“It’s not about whether men like something. You could have a hundred men compliment the thing you’re insecure about, and still hate it by the end.”


11.“When they insist on paying for everything, no matter how small — like, I’m also an adult who can pay for things.”

“I know that there are women who love getting spoiled and good for them, but when someone always insists on paying, it just feels patronizing to me.”


12.“When they talk about how they want to beat up past abusers or men who harass us. They make our own stories about themselves and try to be the savior, which is usually not what we need.”


13.“Trying to be supportive or validating by saying things — like, ‘You're feeling [type of way] right now,’ or ‘I know you're thinking [thoughts]’ — that are not at all how I'm feeling or what I'm thinking. It's infuriating and actually highly invalidating.”

Instead of being thoughtful, it comes off as assuming they know me better than I know myself. Or it shows that they've totally misinterpreted my thoughts and feelings, and just assume things about me that aren't true.


14.“Making big grand gestures because they think that's what girls want, ignoring the fact that you're a very low-key person who hates attention.”

“Thanks, movies and social media.” —u/ohhownowpurplecow

NBC / Via media.giphy.com

15.“When I'm sick and they insist, ‘Okay, I'm coming over. What can I bring?’ Why would you come and get sick when I'm sick?”

“I get that it's sweet and a great gesture, but if I'm sick, I'm not in the mood to entertain, have sex, or talk much. I'm just telling you I'm sick so you know why I'm not texting a lot.”


16.“Being too pushy in order to comfort.”


17.“My partner and I adopted a dog last year. I know dogs quite well, and could quickly tell that we would not be able to keep it for many reasons. In the week that followed, I was obviously VERY sad and stressed out about handling the situation. My partner's reaction, however, was to say, ‘I can just go and have it killed.’”

Here's a beautiful dog that I had been waiting to take home for months (COVID delayed everything), and we couldn't keep him. I was devastated for myself, but mostly for the poor dog.

I cried every day, and all I needed was emotional support and someone to tell me that it was going to be okay. I did not need to hear that we could just kill it off to get rid of it. Thankfully, the dog was re-homed. He is now living his last years with a happy pack of German Shepards out in the countryside.


18.“Well for me, if the thoughtful thing that they do has a clear intention or I need to praise them an awful lot afterward, it just makes me feel worse.”


19.“I dated a guy once who got me a heart-shaped pendant necklace, which was so not my style. But the kicker was that he knew, before purchasing the necklace, that I already had a necklace that I wore every single day. It also had major sentimental value to me, because the pendant held my grandmother’s ashes.”

Upon giving me the necklace, I expressed to him my confusion as to why he would choose that specific jewelry when he was well aware of the fact that I didn’t wear any necklaces other than my grandmother’s pendant. His response? 'Well, I thought you’d add it to the chain so they could be together.

I refused the gift.”


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20.“When I share an emotional story and they respond with a similar story. I know that they are trying to make me feel connected, but it comes off as one-upmanship.”

“Validate my emotions instead.”




22.“Doing things for me when I have indicated that I prefer to do them myself.”


23.“When they say things like, ‘Let's just do everything your way. You can decide. I have no opinion’. Sir, this is your date/wedding/house/kids as much as mine. It doesn't come across as thoughtful, it comes across as you not giving a shit.”


24.“At this point, I just write off any sort of devil's advocate. They just want to provoke a negative response and feel superior when you get mad due to their bad-faith ‘arguments.’”

I have yet to find one who isn't an obnoxious asshole trying to disguise their true nature by attempting to appear to see an issue from all sides. They aren't.


25.“Thinking that the response they would want to something is the one that I would also want, without actually asking me or listening.”


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26.“Thinking that sex cures everything.”


27.“I've had several men insist on helping me lift something they think is too heavy for me while I'm at work. I have to explain that I was hired to do a demanding job, I need to be physically capable of doing it, and their attempt to ‘help’ me is actually hurting my image.”


28.“I always split the check on first dates, and I hate that I have to argue with them! It’s thoughtful that you’d want to pay for me, but I’d prefer to pay for myself. Usually, they’ll settle with me buying drinks and they’ll buy food, but it’s frustrating and looks weird in restaurants.”


29.“Giving unsolicited advice on ways for me to get fit or live healthier, particularly if they’re my partner. They think they’re being supportive, but what I hear is ‘you’re fat.’”


30.“I’ve been irritated at a buddy of mine for something he recently did to try to be nice. I’m recently out of an abusive relationship, and I noticed that I have kind of an abusive type, which freaked me out. So I’ve been researching — I’m a trained researcher with a doctoral degree — and I’ve been thinking about this for a couple of months. I started telling him about my findings and what I’ve learned about myself, and he just ignored my content, repeatedly, to tell me to stop victim-blaming — that my exes are all assholes, that I shouldn’t be blaming myself, that I shouldn’t poison my good nature by being overly suspicious, etc. It was so aggravating.”

“I guess it’s a form of gatekeeping where he’s trying to protect me from myself but he’s actually smothering communication? I get that he was trying to protect me somehow, but I was adamantly saying, ‘I am not doing that, I am investigating what has caused me to fall into this kind of problem repeatedly so I can avoid it in the future.’

He also kept denying my research had any efficacy after citing dictionary terms to me. So I said, ‘My ex had narcissistic traits.’ He said, ‘I don’t think he did, but I’m not that familiar with it. Let me check the dictionary. Yes, I’m right.’ ARE YOU KIDDING ME?”


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31.“Writing love letters or poems with generic, Googled love quotes.”


32.“When my husband cleans the kitchen, it's like he thinks he did me a favor and then expects a thank you. It's not just my kitchen, I'm not thanking you for something you should do more often.”


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33.“One of my exes put a downpayment on a custom wedding ring after I told him I would never be interested in wearing one and that I don't like diamonds. We hadn't even been dating a year — all red flags. Surprise, surprise, the guy who did this turned out to be crazy.”


34.“Not being able to tell me the truth because I was ‘too sensitive.’ He dated my best friend for weeks and didn't want to tell me anything because he thought he would hurt me.”

“The rest is history.” —u/vgdandelion

35.“My rage soars when I get the, ‘What can I do to make it up to you, now?’ question after I’ve explained that I’m mad they did something disrespectful. What they mean is, ‘Is there a gift I can buy you to fix this so that I don’t have to change my actions?’”



36.“Assume things. My partner will sometimes just assume I'm going to say no and therefore doesn't tell me or ask me. When I confront him about it, he just says, ‘I was going to ask that, but I didn't think that you would want to.’”


37.“My husband will buy me things that I mention that I want or need, but always completely misses the mark. He once bought me a pair of shorts that were six sizes too big, and not at all like anything I would ever wear.”


38.“Doing things for me instead of teaching me how to do it. I want to learn; I don’t want it handed to me.”


39.“Washing the dishes. I don't know why, but a couple of guys I've dated have washed the dishes, and there's always crusted chunks of visible food, oil, completely missed spots, etc., so I end up having to re-wash them. My current boyfriend does this.”


Hulu / Via media.giphy.com

Have anything to add? Let me know in the comments!

Note: Some responses have been edited for length and/or clarity.