- 8 years ago
- Wedding: July 2010
My husband and I both are in school. He works during the day and takes evening classes. Generally I will go to school with him and study in the common area (it gets me out of the house and I can concentrate better). I’ve been doing this since September without incident.
Tonight, I was having a difficult time setting up my internet access, so I wasn’t really working on projects yet. A male student walked up to me and sat down at the little two person table right next to me. After sitting down he asks if it was ok. I found it to be a little strange, but agreed.
The first question he asked was “are you married?” I responded that I was. He stated that he was a graduate student from Ghana and he was hoping to find a wife soon so he could permantely live in the US. He proceeded to ask several questions that I would generally consider inappropriate in a normal social setting when first meeting someone (e.g. how old are you? when did you get married? how old is your husband? how much did your ring cost? how much debt do you have from studying in your program? would your family be upset if you married an African? would you family allow you to have children with a person like me? etc.) I tried to be nice, but at the same time make it clear that I felt like his questions were rather forward/inappropriate for just meeting someone and deflected the question/ declined to answer most of them.
He stated that his bus had arrived, and proceeded to leave. He then subsequently reappeared because he decided he would rather visit than go home! I suppose I could have made up an excuse and left, but my husband had my car keys! I felt bad that he clearly didn’t have many/any friends in the U.S., but he was making me uncomfortable! He even asked if I was a virign! I refused to answer the question and told him that it wasn’t appropriate in the US to ask that type of question to a stranger, and actually asked him why he would feel it necessary to. When he stated his reasoning, I suggested that he re-evalute his personal opinions. I trying to figure out how to escape, but thankfully my husband got out of class.
I feel bad for this guy because he seems to not quite understand US customs/ social norms and as a result can’t seem to make any friends. He wasn’t “creepy” or “scary” or anything, just extremely socially awkward. However, I felt so uncomfortable by his questions that I’m not sure I want to go back there to study again (which sucks, considering sometimes I only get to see my husband for the drive to and from school). I generally am very nice (perhaps overly?), and I think that’s why I couldn’t get away from this situation tonight.
So if a random person comes up to you to initiate a conversation, what do you do?
Is there a great way to tell this person that I’m not really interested in a friendship if I decide to study there again? Or should I just stay home?
If a person is of a difficult culture that has different values, how do you respect their culture/ beliefs while indicating that something may not be appropriate where they are at right now? (Honestly, I have no idea if it would be appropriate to ask these types of questions in his home country. I wasn’t going to ask).