How can I change my attitude

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    I was walking through a paved shortcut the other day, and a man was walking in the other direction. When he got close to me, he went totally off the path, deep into the woods, just so he shouldn’t cross paths with me. (There was plenty of room for both of us to pass, it’s a decent, well-used path.)

    I work in an office building with an elevator and very often, when a man sees me in it or going in, they’ll choose not to go along, even though the whole ride is less than 30 seconds.

    When these things happen, I end up feeling like a piece of garbage, instead of feeling like a princess. I feel like I’m afflicted with leprosy and to be avoided. I know it’s the wrong way of thinking and these people are being super-frum, but how can I view it so that I don’t feel offended every time this happens?

    am yisrael chai

    “I end up feeling like a piece of garbage”

    One possibility:

    Think clearly of an EARLIER time in your life when you felt personally rejected. After you successfully deal with that, then you will not be as affected by this seeming display of rejection which is not their intention.

    Another possibility:

    Do you think of yourself as “less than?” If so, then you would naturally interpret others’ actions as justifying your demeaning thought of yourself.

    If this is the case, you know what you need to do.

    I’m sure other posters will give you additional possibilities and suggestions.


    Try coming up with ridiculous reasons – the man who walked through the woods just saw a beautul bird and wanted to take a closer look but it flew away by the time he got to it. The man who wouldn’t ride the elevator just remembered something he forgot in his office.

    If ever someone does something that seams wrong (not sure if that is the right word to use but it was the best I could think of) I would use this technique and I must say I find it helpful. You’d be surprised by how many times the most far fetched excuses turn out to be closer to the truth than you realized.

    And remember Elanor Rosevelt’s words ” No one can make you feel inferior without your concent.” You ARE a princess – never forget it!

    I hope this helps!


    I get much chizuk hearing how these men are careful regarding arayos.


    Try not to take their Zehirus personally. Also, keep in mind that this is far better than dealing with men who get uncomfortably close to women.

    Queen Bee

    One time I was leaving the train station and there was a frum guy (probably in his 50s) walking ahead of me. And you know how those doors always slam shut after you? So instead of holding it open, the man let the door slam in my face. It bothered me because had it been a goy, he would have held it open. (Had it been me walking ahead of him, I’d at least hold it wide enough so that it wouldn’t slam in his face…)But I did get over it. There is being frum, but there is also having manners. But we can’t do anything about it. Just move on. Not all frum men act that way.


    I would just admire these people for being careful, and realize that it’s got nothing to do with me personally.

    One line that you wrote should be clarified “even though the whole ride is less than 30 seconds.”

    if a situation should be avoided because of yichud, it doesn’t matter if it’s thirty seconds or thiry minutes!


    I think mustang’s idea is interesting.

    Climbing mountains, just know that these men definitely do not intend to make you feel that way. They are simply doing what they believe to be a good thing. Should they consider that by doing so, they are making you feel bad? Perhaps. But that is their problem, not yours.

    And as Queen Bee said, “There is being frum, but there is also having manners”, and I think having manners means having derech eretz. And derech eretz is kadma latorah.

    am yisrael chai

    there is no yichud in a 30 second elevator ride, according to many.


    therealmgama, Is there a problem with going on an elevator in a business building?


    ayc: According to many it is yichud. These men obviously didn’t want to have this yichud. Kudos for them.


    “if a situation should be avoided because of yichud, it doesn’t matter if it’s thirty seconds or thiry minutes!”

    Please check your school notes, it does make a difrence. There is a time frame for yichud and in an elevaitor that could be open from the outside by people pushing the button on any floor there is no yichud.

    “therealmgama, Is there a problem with going on an elevator in a business building? “

    besides the above rerason for not being yichud an elevaitor in an office building usealy has a security camara.


    Maybe you can try to be the one “in control” of the situation. If you see a frum man coming towards you on a path take a step to the side to give extra room. You actually might get part of the schar for the zehirus.

    In terms of attitude, I know it’s insulting. I’ve felt it myself. Some men avert their eyes so completely, it’s almost like being invisible. My mother reinterpreted it for me saying” if you were a hundred year old unattractive woman they might behave differently, so take it as a compliment. That really helped me reframe it.


    Are we only speaking of frum men here? If a regular goy or someone of a particular sect, like the Amish, did that, would you feel the same resentment? You would prefer they walk close to you and stare? They think they are preventing a possibly uncomfortable situation, they may not realize they are creating one. Maybe you could tell yourself to be flattered, they are acknowledging you as a frum Jewish female.


    Mi K’amcha Yisroel!

    This kind of “problem” would NEVER exist by goyim. Here our holy brothers are doing their utmost not to be nichshol in arayos. They are averting their eyes to not look at the opposite gender. They are moving far aside not to even inadvertently come too close to the opposite gender. They are not going in a 30 second elevator ride to avoid even the slightest possibility of wrong thoughts even.

    A pruste goy? Punkt farkert! Could you ever imagine any goy anywhere going to these lengths? Not in a million years! They would be davka looking, twinkling the eye, coming closer, and if there were two elevators going up simultaneously — one with a businessman and one with a girl — which do you think he is taking?

    Rabbosai, this inyan gave me a much needed needed reminder of how thankful I must be every morning, and how much kavana I must have, when I make that brocho of Shelo Asani Goy.


    Chein, your post made me smile :).


    I hope that helps change your attitude Climbing mountains. 🙂


    It is admirable from a frumkeit perspective, but we have to remember, people’s feelings are involved here.

    Rav shimshon pincus,zt’l, was our teacher in seminary. Upon walking into the classroom, he would remove his eyeglasses, before teaching. It was so subtle. He was able to avoid actually seeing any of the women, while preserving our honor by making it appear like he simply didn’t need them to teach in class. It was only if someone made an effort to look did one notice that it appeared from his gaze that he could not see others. Truly admirable.

    am yisrael chai

    m22, I’m with you.

    It’s important to be careful in a NON-offensive way.

    Respecting others’ feelings is just as important. Btw, there’s a posek here who removes his glasses immediately when walking outside.


    mommamia22, that’s exactly my problem with it. It isn’t done subtly. It’s one thing to step aside, it’s another to escape into the woods. I really want to be able to admire them, but I guess I have a way to go.


    Men who are trying to work on Shmiras Einayim should be appplauded and we should be proud of them. Would you rather they stare or make a comment as the secular world does?? Yiras Shamayim is to be admired. When you see it daven you should be able to train your family in that midah


    The OP complains about tzadikim because they don’t come in the elevator with her. She says that “the whole ride is less than 30 seconds.” Well, I don’t care if there is a rabbi somewhere who says it is okay. There are those who say it isn’t okay. And these men have a right, nay obligation, to follow their posek on that. Even if it offends someone. Because it is something that shouldn’t offend. It should be admired. I mean they’re not telling her to wait for the next elevator! HE is waiting for the next elevator. And HIS hanhaga is to not go in the elevator with a strange woman. Respect that.


    To be completely honest, if I were walking down the street and a Jewish girl was approaching, I would stay on the same side of the street and when we were passing, I may give a quick glance and a smile. This has NO connotation that I’m interested in her, it is simply acknowledging another Jew, and greeting them with a smile. I personally feel there is nothing wrong with what I do. If other people feel they are on a higher level by avoiding the girl, good for them. I respect that. But I feel that I am doing what is right for me. For other people, it may not be ideal, and that’s fine.

    am yisrael chai

    The point that’s being made is that shmiras aynayim and NOT being offensive are NOT mutually exclusive. Both may be done simultaneously.


    It seems that the comments applauding the greatness all come from men. Has anyone else noticed that?


    MP: Do you also smile to every guy you pass in the street?


    Obaminator, to a guy, I would either smile or give a nod to. To a girl, it would most probably be a smile, because giving a nod is more of a guy thing.


    My point isn’t that extra frumkeit isn’t admirable. It is. But there are ways to do things without making it so obvious.

    There is a Rebbe who lives on my block. Whenever he walks, he keeps his head down, regardless of who is out at that time. Therefore, if we pass in the street, he doesn’t do anything obvious to show that he won’t look at me. He was never looking up in the first place! He does it in such a modest way, and I guess I wish everyone would do it like that and R’ Pincus. Subtle.

    As for the elevator, when I learned hilchos yichud, we were told that an elevator, especially such a short ride as mine is permisslbe. That’s why I had a hard time wrapping my mind around people who would walk out of an elevator if I was in it.

    kol daveed

    MiddlePath and Obaminator –

    This is brought in Pirke Avos – “Hevei Makdim B’Shalom Kol Adam.” (I inquired with my Rav and he said this applies to whomever a person may pass in the street – men and women, Jewish or otherwise.)

    Additionaly from Pirke Avos (1:15) – “Shammai omar: …m’kabayl et kol ha’adam b’sever panim yafot” (Shammai said: …receive everone with a thoughtful, pleasant countenance).

    Lastly, it’s brought in the Gemara in Berachos 6b – “V’amar R’ Chelbo amar Rav Huna: Kol sh’yadua b’chavero sh’hu ragil l’yitain lo Shalom, yakdim lo Shalom…v’eem natan lo, v’lo h’chazeer, nikra gazlan (R’ Chelbo said Rav Huna said: All who know their friend will commonly greet him, he should precede him in greeting…and if (his friend) gives to him (a greeting) and he does not return (the greeting), he’s call a thief.”

    Based on these three pearls from Chazal, we see the importance of greeting another whomever it may be.

    I make it a point to be makdim b’Shalom each time I pass someone in the street by looking them in the eye, smiling, and recognizing that they too were created “b’tzelem Elokim.”


    could be a sensitivity, a personal feeling, or even a fear. could be a kabalah or gezaira they set up for themselves because they have a certain weakness. many other similar explanations. and they didnt walk out because you were in it, they walked out because a woman was in it.

    do you take it personally when all the birds fly away and the squirrels run when you walk by? theyre running from a person, not from you.


    Based on these three pearls from Chazal, we see the importance of greeting another whomever it may be.

    not everyone poskins with such a broad stroke, and not directly from Chazal, as you well know.

    it depends on whom and on the circumstances.


    CM, to each their own. Not everyone has manners and not everyone knows how to be sensitive and proper. If I found myself in your situation I would just think “your loss”. While they think “my gain”. Each person has their own perspective. “They” work hard on their midos not realizing that they actually insulted you by not doing it properly or in a sensitive manner. YOU were insulted instead of realizing that you need to give them a little bit of credit for their working hard on their middos. It all depends on which window you are looking through or which camera angle, so to speak, you are looking through. From their angle they are doing good, from your perspective they are “rude”. It is a matter of point of view.

    So how do you change your attitude? Pick your chin up off the floor and understand it has nothing to do with you. Please don’t compare them with goyim, because while it is true that a goy will have the common sense to hold the door for you, or to get in the elevator with you, a goy might make you feel uncomfortable as well because HE might stand too close to you, or might be wearing pants that are too tight, or she might be wearing clothes that are just barely covering, or speaking very foul language, etc. Anyone can make anyone else feel uncomfortable if you allow them to and even if you don’t, you just can’t help it. Ignore the things that don’t sit right with you and just chalk it up to different people conduct themselves differently.


    aries, My original intent when I posted was to change my attitude from, dare I say, scorn to admiration. There were a few posters here who gave me ideas of how to do that.


    CM, B”H you came to the right place.

    kol daveed

    Mod 80 – Of course, that goes without saying. What I meant though was that if Chazal felt it necessary to stress this trait time and again (certainly not limited to what I referenced above), we clearly see its importance. In practice, just like in most areas, certainly things are different.


    Take it as a compliment , if u where ugly there would be no need to stay far.


    @yahud – good point!

    i used to be insulted when a man would do that. but now, i just got used to it and i dont even think about it.

    its interesting to read what was previously written. It makes me realize that instead of it just being okay with me, i should realize the ‘greatness’ and take pride in being part of such a nation that takes such precautions!

    something similar comes to mind. I used to be disgusted when Kosher eateries and restaurants would name their establishment or name some of their food similar to non kosher establishments. then i just accepted it. But now i realize that this is something that we can find positive – it gives those with a taiva for those delicious looking non kosher advertisements a kosher subsitute.

    Queen Bee

    Everyone’s posts got me thinking. If I were alone in an elevator and a guy walked in (Jewish or not) I would feel uncomfortable. So I’m glad frum guys don’t come in. I guess I was just bothered because I was so used to frum guys acting the way they do, and then when I attended college, EVERY single guy held the door for me. Even when I was a few feet away from the door, he would hold it open and wait. And they never struck a conversation with me–I just said thank you, he said you’re welcome, and that was that. I’m not saying frum guys should hold the door open for girls, but at least hold it open a bit so I can catch it before it slams into my face…

    You’re all right. It’s better that guys don’t look at women like the goyim do, BUT running across the street or into the woods seem a little over the top. At least to me. A guy can just keep his eyes right in front of him and continue walking, like I do.

    Aren’t girls taught not to look at guys either?

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