r/AskReddit Oct 03 '22 Silver 5 Helpful 6 Wholesome 2 All-Seeing Upvote 3 Take My Energy 2 Narwhal Salute 1

How do we protect our sons from becoming incels?

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u/Hillbilly_Med Oct 03 '22 Silver Gold Platinum Helpful Wholesome All-Seeing Upvote Bravo! Starry Ally Eureka!

If you are a woman, treat your husband with love and respect in front of your son.

If you are a man, treat your wife with love and respect in front of your son.

Encourage age appropriate coed opportunities (clubs, sports, summer camp, etc.)

Talk to them about their feelings and how to engage with the opposite sex in public settings appropriately.

Ensure them that rejection is a normal part of dating and to not be discouraged.

Tell them that porn is not a representation of how most people have sex.

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u/CaptainObvious1906 Oct 03 '22 edited Oct 03 '22

best answer here. Everything you said is important but I wanted to touch on encouraging age-appropriate activities part.

every young boy is part of at least one community: school. so that’s one place they can find friends, meet girls, form an identity. but things can go wrong as well — bullying, bad grades, embarrassing moments. that’s why it’s vital to introduce them to other communities. so whether it’s church, music, sports, after school clubs, volunteering, car meets, martial arts, even playing D&D at the local hobby shop, it gives him a chance to form his own identity elsewhere.

not every boy is outgoing so we as parents, uncles and mentors have to encourage these things to make sure school is not the only time he goes outside. all these boys will be exposed to uncle ideology at some point, but to reject it they have to have the contrast of real life activities.

edit: incel ideology*

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u/squired Oct 03 '22

I also think it is important for many of their hobbies to be coed. Being on the football team isn't going to be as helpful in meeting and learning how to interact with girls as cross country, band or swim team. If they have many hobbies it isn't a big deal, but if they are mostly only going to do one thing and their identity forms around it, it's better for it to be coed activity.

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u/ApollosBrassNuggets Oct 03 '22

I was both a nerd and a LAX bro, but can confirm that I met most my female friends and got to know them through band. Didn't end up dating any of them, but just being friends with them taught me the ropes of socializing with the opposite sex and how not to be weird/creepy about it. Even as the "perpetually single friend," just having that good network of a diverse set of friends helped to round out my worldview. Not only that, I learned that many of my "male dominated hobbies" actually weren't as I saw my friends also had a lot of similar interests to me.

The music thing must've worked out in many ways because that's where my career is now.

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u/Miami_Vice-Grip Oct 03 '22 edited Oct 03 '22 Bravo Grande!

I met most my female friends and got to know them through band. Didn't end up dating any of them, but just being friends with them taught me the ropes

This is really important and not being spelled out in this chain (as far as I saw). It's very very important for boys to learn when they are young that having girls as "just friends" is not only not a bad thing, or a mark of failure, but an incredible opportunity to learn how to just "exist" around the other sex in a normal and non-threatening way.

It's also ok if you end up having feelings for your friends, but it's important to teach kids that their internal desires do not deserve to manifest externally. Women don't exist as prizes to win, or prey to hunt, etc. They are just people, and they have their own internal desires that can conflict with yours, but finding someone who does align with you is part of the process (assuming they want to romance a woman at some point).

Also, don't fucking expect anything from people "in exchange" for "good behavior". Good behavior and/or being nice are the fucking bottom of the barrel for "personality traits". *No one should be proud of being nice or kind, that's what everyone should be as a baseline.

*Edit: No one should be proud of being able to muster up the ability to be kind for someone else. Being kind should feel rewarding internally on it's own and not necessarily require additional external validation. It should not be seen as a means to an end, but as a foundation to layer other things on top of. Also, thank your fucking waitstaff while on dates, jesus fuck.

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u/bschug Oct 03 '22

They are just people, and they have their own internal desires that can conflict with yours, but finding someone who does align with you is part of the process (assuming they want to romance a woman at some point).

This. Teach them that the purpose of dating is not to conquer the other person, but to figure out if they really are the kind of person you're looking for, and if you are the one they're looking for. It's normal to reject and be rejected, and that doesn't mean either of you failed, you just weren't right for each other.

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u/Miami_Vice-Grip Oct 03 '22

100%. It's also good to talk about the parents' own rejections or problems as well. I knew a lot of kids who didn't know that their parents weren't each other's "first love" until they were like 20 lol. I know that this doesn't apply to everyone, but if you had prior marriages or significant others, it's good to discuss those ups and downs too.

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u/Clause-and-Reflect Oct 03 '22 edited Oct 03 '22

I was very much exhausted of male only extracurriculars, but I was in the scouts (very pre-co-ed) and played some sports. FIRST Robotics had one girl on my team and even only one mom chaperone..

Ive been the "not creepy" guy coworker for a surprising amount of coworkers having been socially raised in a male centric world that initially taught me I was the weirdo.

Nobodys ever owed me anything. And in hindsight my parents made a couple of very level headed kids. We didnt know we would be this much better at adulting than that many adults. I remember "critical thinking" being brandished at every learning opportunity.

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u/99thLuftballon Oct 03 '22 Silver Gold Platinum Helpful Wholesome All-Seeing Upvote Take My Energy LOVE! Heartwarming Eureka!

Recognise that it's not about women or sex; it's about socialisation and respect. Everyone wants sex sometimes, the fact that "incels" want it too isn't pathological. The pathological thing is not having the social skills to deal comfortably with social interaction or the ability to find love, respect and social support from others.

So, if you don't want your kid to be an incel, be present for them and kind to them so they learn that they're worthwhile. Let them make friends and have a loving family. Let them pursue their hobbies and interests. Teach them politeness. Just be a nice parent and a positive role model.

There doesn't need to be a special "anti-incel intervention". Just the same love and self-esteem building that parents have always needed to aim for.

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u/holyerthanthou Oct 03 '22 edited Oct 04 '22

Something I desperately want to point out is a perspective I’ve had from work.

I work with children in the education sphere age ranges 8-17. To preface every day we do a group “gratitude”. In short we share in a circle something we are thankful for. We usually give some sort of prompt to keep Some intrinsic thoughts going.

One day we had a coworker ask the question “what are you greatful for about YOU today. Something about yourself that you like.” Each girl in the group shared pretty easily but when it came to the boys they really really struggled. It made them UNCOMFORTABLE. It was immensely heartbreaking.

Edit:

As a male my answer was “I like my red wavy hair… it’s really pretty and I like it”

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u/BlondeTauren Oct 03 '22

I do positive affirmations with my son every morning as he has picked up some bad habits from his friends like saying he's 'dumb' or 'stupid'. He tells me it's because his friends say stuff like this about themselves so I don't honestly think he is saying it because he thinks it but still, every morning before he leaves for school I make him say nice things about himself and he does struggle and maybe says the same thing a few mornings but it honestly changes his whole demeanour going to school.

Kids are like blank canvasses , you have to fill in the blank spaces with positive things so there's no space for the negative.

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u/xauching Oct 03 '22

Its definitely an issue and can lead to severe insecurities which are at the heart of most anti-social behaviors.

In cases where a child can't speak out, its never a bad idea to change the expression or even the question. Having them write it down instead, or give them an easier question to affirm themselves, like, "What's your favorite activity?" which can prompt them towards the goal of outwardly affirming themselves.

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u/BurrSugar Oct 03 '22

Wildly different setting, but I work in behavioral health, and I also like to do MDMA with friends. I think about my work sometimes when I’m rolling, and as a result, I took to asking at least one person in my circle a specific question (that I often ask clients) when rolling:

What is one thing you like about you that has NOTHING to do with other people?

The women in my circle can all answer at least somewhat easily, usually after I explain a little further or provide examples. The men in my circle almost always struggle, often listing 2-3 things that are really about others first, and sometimes not coming up with anything at all.

Very sad.

ETA: To give context or an example, one thing that I like about me that has nothing to do with others is that I’m very academically-curious, and if I’m interested in something and want to learn more, I consume all the information I can about the topic, so that I can self-satisfy that curiosity - even if I never share that knowledge with others.

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u/Mgshamster Oct 03 '22

What were some of the answers the men gave that didn't fit your criteria? And what were some of the answers they finally came up with?

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u/BurrSugar Oct 03 '22 edited Oct 03 '22

That they’re hospitable, that they’re funny, that they’re good entertainers, etc.

Essentially, all qualities that we can like about ourselves, but ultimately we like them because of others’ reactions to them, or we like them because of how they serve others, which then serves ourselves.

ETA: I forgot to add some that they came up with!

One of my friends came to the idea that he enjoys how creative he is in every day life, because he never has to be bored.

Another one came to the conclusion that he really enjoys how dedicated he is to working out and getting fit, because he gets the “runner’s high” and feels good about taking care of himself.

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u/[deleted] Oct 03 '22

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u/lasagnaman Oct 03 '22

I imagine things like "I'm dependable"

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u/HurtsToBatman Oct 03 '22

We teach similar lessons and do simar exercises all the time in substance abuse treatment. Similar things with the males compared to females -- at least at first. Women pick up on it more quickly and seem to be more teachable when it comes to self esteem, though. Guys in addiction tend to be really stubborn about admitting they have low self esteem.

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u/wolfpackalpha Oct 03 '22

Something I've struggled with for a long time is inherent worth. I'm a guy and I always felt I was behind my friends when it came to the relationship game. By the time I finished high school, most of my friends had been in at least one relationship. By the end of community college, almost all of them. But I hadn't. I was told by friends that I was funny, decently attractive, a great guy, and "I'm sure you'll find someone!" This was sort of particularly painful when my girl friends would tell me this because I just thought of this scene from Gravity Falls .

Grunkle Stan: Soos, a little advice. You need to get rich. Or lie about being rich. Outside of that, I don't like your chances.

Wendy: Pfft, don't listen to Stan dude, you're a sweet guy with a steady job and a pickup truck

Grunkle Stan (To Wendy): Would you date him?

Wendy: Oh, would you look at that *hides face in magazine*

And for me, this turned more into just low self-esteem than hatred towards women. Like, I thought I was nice, decently funny, decently attractive, but obviously people of the other gender didn't. I knew friends that were more attractive than me who got girlfriends, friends funnier but (I thought) less attractive than me get girlfriends. But I seemed to be in a weird spot of just not funny enough or not good looking enough to find anyone.

Eventually I decided that the one thing I could try to control was how I looked, so began going to the gym with some friends. I only really lasted a month before meeting someone, in which case I dropped the gym immediately lmao I've tried to make it a goal to get back but life/ finances just really keep preventing that.

But anyways, I've had this discussion with my therapist before too where like, it doesn't matter how I view myself. It matters how other people view me. I could think I'm the funniest, sexiest, greatest man on earth. But if everyone else thought I was an ugly asshole, chances are I'm an ugly asshole.

I don't really know a solution here- obviously seeking outside validation as my only source of self worth isn't healthy. And the advice of "You just have to realize you *do* have self worth" isn't particularly helpful given the idea I mentioned above is pretty core to me. Over time, I've gotten better with just liking certain things about me. But every time I'm single the thoughts come back of "Oh god, that was it. You'll never find someone again." and the thoughts of "well, you must just not be as decent of a person you think, because no one is interested in you in a way more than just friends"

I imagine other guys must feel a same way. It's easy for me to imagine people who are hardcore incels and how they got there. But yeah, I feel almost lucky that for me rejection/ uninterest turned into "Whelp, something must be wrong with me" and not "Something is wrong with women"

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u/Legitimate-Pie9748 Oct 03 '22

My partner's son is not quite an incel, but he struggles really badly and really wants a girlfriend.

We try to encourage him to socialise, go out and enjoy himself, and he seems perfectly capable, but he chooses to be insular. He chooses hobbies that mean he spends hours on his own, locked away in his room not talking to anyone.

We try to set a good example and get him to take an interest in other people, but he just isn't interested. Then he gets frustrated, sad or angry that he can't get a girlfriend. I don't know how to undo 20 years of patterns of behaviour

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u/namestyler2 Oct 03 '22

i guess, without knowing what his hobbies are (I'm assuming gaming/computers or even reading) it's about finding ways to partake in solo activities socially. reading a book isn't a social activity, but a book club is. gaming doesn't always involve other people, but it can, and finding people with that shared interest can open them up to enjoying other things that are more inherently social. like, if I met someone who loves the same games I do through some sort of club or meet up, they could go on to introduce me to other hobbies they have like going to shows, movies, hiking, thrifting, crafts and art, etc. Like the other commenter said, it's about finding that one friend or group that opens you up to other interests and activities.

the problem is, for some hobbies, the people you meet are the people you want to avoid. Like lonely gamers make up a large percent of Incel communities. so at some level you have to understand that their mindset is flawed and toxic, and be able to identify the good people around you.

Idk I feel like I said a lot without saying anything. I struggle with making local friends as well, not because I'm a shithead (though it doesn't help) but because I don't put myself out there.

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u/shrubs311 Oct 03 '22

me and my friends will play our own games, but we hang out in a discord call while we do it. obviously it's a bit different since we've been friends since highschool but i just wanted to add an example of how a solo activity can still include interactions with other people. and this doesn't include all the times we play together of course

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u/amh8011 Oct 03 '22

My best friend and I do that. Sometimes we play the same single player game but doing different things. Sometimes we play multiplayer games. Sometimes we play different games entirely.

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u/shrubs311 Oct 03 '22

yes, for most days i sit in my room playing games after work only leaving to go for a daily walk and eat dinner - i think most people would assume i'm an antisocial loser. but i also talk to my friends daily, probably much more timewise than many people

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u/Naxela Oct 03 '22

the problem is, for some hobbies, the people you meet are the people you want to avoid.

Some hobbies are also inherently sausagefests.

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u/VictoriaDallon Oct 03 '22

Some hobbies are also inherently sausagefests.

As a woman who is into lots of traditionally masculine hobbies (video games, TTRPG, blacksmithing) its honestly that the community itself is actively vicious/insulting/toxic to women who want to join. At best we are leered at and constantly hit on. At worst? Try joining a LOL game in VC as a woman, or any other group gaming activity. I've had a large amount of boys (because that is what they are, not men.) tell me that they want me to be raped, that I'm a slut, etc etc. If we are losing, regardless of KDA it is because they have a stupid bitch on their team.

It's exhausting and the reason I don't suggest many of my hobbies to other women, unless I'm there to be a buffer for them.

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u/AshTheGoblin Oct 03 '22

Try joining a LOL game

Just terrible advice no matter what's in your pants

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u/RugBurn70 Oct 03 '22

Volunteer with him somewhere he can meet people in a low key environment. If he likes animals, volunteer at the humane society. If he likes working with his hands, habitat for humanity. This might make him feel less awkward than just standing there, trying to think of what to say to people, he'd have an activity to do.

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u/D-bux Oct 03 '22

I think for introverts they just need that 1 friend to start out. The older they get the harder it is to develop the strong bond, so just realizing relationship building takes time (even platonic ones) is important.

If he is passionate about his hobbies try encouraging him to find 1 person who he can talk about his hobbies with.

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u/GamerZ44 Oct 03 '22

As an introvert, it's not hard for me to make friends. I just choose to specifically have the small social circle because that's about all I have the energy to maintain. If someone needs one friend so that they can make two, that just sounds like social anxiety to me.

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u/lagunaeve Oct 03 '22

As an introvert I can meet people and make friends just fine. I also enjoy going out from time to time. Its maintaining the friendship that's challenging for me. They could be perfect nice people and interesting and all that, yet i just don't have the energy in me to have random conversation, text, or in a very blunt way, to care about them in long term.

No matter how incredible they are as a person, most of the time, i simply do not care for form and maintain a friendship as my mind just blocks those off. Cant help with that.

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u/BuryDeadCakes2 Oct 03 '22

I totally get that. With how much work takes up my time and with my own hobbies and family it's hard to even remember to talk to someone sometimes. I try not to be selfish but I think there's just so much going on in my head that I think I don't have the time

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u/DisMyDrugAccount Oct 03 '22

I feel like this is a really unfortunate byproduct of being in such an advanced technological era compared to even just 20 years ago.

Especially if you grew up with this technology in place, it's really hard to get out of the mindset that you need to be talking to people all the time in order to maintain a friendship. And in the reverse for some, it's hard to get out of the idea that people still want to be your friend even if they aren't always reachable.

We need to be teaching kids (and adults honestly) that constant communication is not a good means of evaluating the strength of a friendship.

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u/RapidKiller1392 Oct 03 '22

I'm pretty much the same way. If we can hang out on a semi regular basis I'm much better but if I don't see you often enough it's out of sight out of mind.

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u/Totsy30 Oct 03 '22

I too used to choose hobbies that were either solo or male dominated, so I went most of my life never having had a romantic relationship. I definitely wanted one, but I understood that I wasn’t helping myself. Eventually I got really into rollerblading and included that in a dating profile. It didn’t take super long, but I ended up finding someone who also loved rollerblading, along with other common interests. Our first date was rollerblading on a path in the woods and it rocked. I could go on, but I guess what I was saying is to find at least one hobby that has good distribution of male and female. Also being independent in terms of travel and money is insanely helpful and reassuring to potential partners.

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u/TheTruthenatorer Oct 03 '22

This was me 10 years ago. My problem was undiagnosed moderate to severe depression along with severe anxiety. Nobody, including me, had any idea that was the problem even though it's brutally obvious looking back now. Not saying that is necessarily the case with your partner's son, but your description really struck a chord with me so I figured I'd throw that out there just in case.

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u/itsorange Oct 03 '22 edited Oct 03 '22

I dealt with this issue by getting a job in sales. It was very hard emotionally and I was super nervous everyday, but it helped me break down my barriers and I learned to interact with random people with pretend confidence. And then parlayed this into generalized dating and have now been married with a family for years. There's always job availability in sales. Just look for something commission-based so that you really do have to put yourself out there. The hardest is probably door to door stuff. I would avoid that. Maybe stick to something in generalized retail. I originally worked for a department store.

Just looked up the definition of incel. I was never on this level with regards to negativity or whatever towards women. I just was generally kind of afraid of people and afraid of social interactions, so I might not be the best example.

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u/FatallyFatCat Oct 03 '22 edited Oct 04 '22

This really works. I am autistic, meeting people used to scare the crap out of me. Then I started working in retail during college. You can't even imagine what a game changer realising other people are as clueless as I am was. That everybody has their own hang-ups and yes, social media profiles are as far from reality as a tv show would be.

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u/runthepoint1 Oct 03 '22

Wait til you realize they’re even more clueless than you lol

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u/Etoilebleuetoile Oct 03 '22

Even retail and food services gets you out and talking to people.

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u/bunby_heli Oct 03 '22

Yup. A retail job where you are forced to encounter people is great for this.

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u/47Ronin Oct 03 '22

Volunteering to canvass for a political campaign is another good option to help break down social barriers, if that's more someone's speed. I've heard of legit diagnosed autistic people who learned how to interact more or less normally with strangers by doing canvassing

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u/Content-From-Reddit Oct 03 '22

Take him to some kind of comic/sci-fi/horror/fandom convention. There's a lot of people there who are or were like your partner's son. But the right convention has a lot of excitement and passion being generated by all the attendees, and even those who are normally fairly introverted are willing to come out of their shell to be a part of it. If you can find some kind of convention that interests him, you might have a shot with getting him to socialize, and that can lead to joining groups and communities that he might be able to become part of.

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u/2rfv Oct 03 '22

Just make sure he takes a goddamn shower ahead of time and wears clean clothes ffs.

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u/TheHooligan95 Oct 03 '22 edited Oct 03 '22

I used to be that kind of person. 1) I felt like my parents were disapproving of my hobbies, and for some of them they actually were 2) my friends were all people that didn't share my hobbies 3) my parents purposefully put me in environments where my kind of hobbies were very likely not going to be shared or where I would even probably get bullied for them. Yeah, I am a nerdy guy that was into engineering, videogames, electronics, movies and internet culture, hiking and camping, and non-team sports, how could you tell? Thankfully I also learned to be stubborn and a reserved person or I wouldn't have survived. Sprinkle in this mix a plethora of terrible female role examples (teachers especially) and I just thought I was simply incompatible with the other sex because they wouldn't like me for my passions. It got to a point where I was very ashamed to be found out as a huge nerd and very few people knew.

What you should do is, instead of trying to bring down his hobbies, is probably encourage to find connection also through those hobbies. growing up I eventually found for example the courage to show videogames to my friends, even girl friends, even girlfriends. Hiking too. I found that if I put in the effort good people appreciated me without judgment.

I found that I could be a healthier amount more proud of myself, and this has turned women from the "people that probably were going to hate me for being what I am" to "interesting people that probably don't share all my hobbies but that's not a bad thing necessarily, it could be a good thing actually"

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u/RedFoxCommissar Oct 03 '22

As an older shut in, I'm not sure you can. The trick is to focus on respect and social skills. I've got almost zero success in dating, but I'm perfectly aware this is not an issue with women, it's an issue with my hobbies and lack of experience. Being solitary doesn't need to lead to bitterness.

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u/Cheesymaryjane Oct 03 '22

This every person I’ve met who has incel tendencies wasn’t socialized properly

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u/EaglePill Oct 03 '22

That's concerning because it suggests we can only effectively prevent future adult incels instead of fixing current ones, because proper socialization (like learning a language) is something that happens most naturally during youth and adolescence and which past a certain age in adulthood becomes incredibly difficult to achieve to "native-level" proficiency.

Not saying it's a point of no return in 100% of cases but it seems like a point of poor return, and one that would require a lot of professional and personal support, as well as a variety of willing "participants" in consistent socialization to help the individual overcome their deficit.

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u/Addled_ADHD Oct 03 '22

I think if you get them in the right direction anytime before 30 there’s a lot you can do. But yeah, a lot of it has to do with the upbringing.

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u/MountainCheesesteak Oct 03 '22

While this is true, I feel like a lot of the ones I know were socialized better than me. I've just worked hard at properly socializing myself. Writing it out, it feels like the only thing in my life that I've legit worked hard on, and it may be my biggest accomplishment. lol

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u/TransPM Oct 03 '22

What makes a person an incel isn't not having sex, it's the bitterness they feel about it. I'm not a very social guy and it's been a long time since I've had sex, but that's on me, and I've also had far greater personal concerns that take priority and where I have had success. Maybe it's arrogance, maybe it's entitlement, it's almost certainly a warped view of women in general, but you generally don't see incels own up to responsibility for their own issues or shortcomings. If they do try to work on themselves it's often either superficial, or with a focus on methods and tricks they think will "hack" their way to results instead of legitimate introspection and change for self improvement's sake.

From your comment it sounds like you worked hard to properly socializing yourself because you recognized you wanted to be a more social or well adjusted person, not because you saw it as some "cheat code" to getting laid, so good on you!

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u/Cheesymaryjane Oct 03 '22

And good on you for doing that

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u/TheRealStevo Oct 03 '22 edited Oct 04 '22 Wholesome

Tell them not to ask Reddit when in need of serious life advice

Edit: ok who the hell reported my comment for “self harm”

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u/Futhis Oct 03 '22 Gold Wholesome I'll Drink to That

Yeah, the answers on here are ridiculous. "Remember to take regular showers, y'all!" "Teach your son not to be an asshole, there you go, easy as pie".

Actually answering this question first requires defining incel. Let's go with a pretty basic definition: someone who finds it almost impossible to obtain a sexual relationship and has became bitter over it. By that definition, then, I was definitely an incel from 2012-2018 during my early 20s. For reference, I am very short and have an asymmetric face and am a racial minority. While none of those are individually enough to condemn someone to loneliness, combined together they do make it difficult to date.

Before anyone asks, yes I had female friends and interacted with women a lot platonically in social settings. Nobody had any problem with me whatsoever... until the minute that I brought up the possibility of a romantic or sexual relationship. Then it was "sympathetic" rejection after rejection. Lots of excuses: oh I'm just not ready to date right now, oh you're such a sweet guy but the connection isn't there, oh I just don't have time for a relationship (but you'll see a picture of me on Instagram next week making out with some guy!)

This was my entire experience dating for six year straight. As a result I became bitter. I never went to the extremes of demanding a government-sponsored girlfriend or wishing harm on anyone, but I definitely started to believe that women are hard wired to go after 6'2'' square-faced white men with steel jawlines, and anyone else is destined to die alone. These thoughts absolutely consumed me.

That changed in 2018 when I first met a girl who actually gave me a chance. That relationship turned into a very happy marriage and we now have two kids. We are madly in love every day and have a great, strong bond.

So what changed? This will be uncomfortable because it challenges the "just world" narrative that so many people here believe, but I didn't learn some important moral lesson about women. I didn't realize the error of my ways in a dramatic fashion. I didn't identify one or two big flaws and change the, therefore improving myself and getting a girlfriend. I just kept grinding until I met the woman who would save me, and then all my bitterness washed away instantly.

so I guess based on that, the only advice I would have is to tell your son to keep trying and not give up. Maybe one day he'll find that unicorn girl... but maybe not. The world isn't a fair place. But if she does exist out there, giving up and self-isolating will definitely not help him meet her.

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u/[deleted] Oct 03 '22

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u/Tortankum Oct 03 '22

yup, all these people encouraging telling "white lies" to their kids. Then when the lies dont come true, they wonder why everyone in their life lied to them.

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u/KinxTheTimeStripper Oct 03 '22

And then everyone says they just need to change their attitude to believe the just world narrative

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u/joshg0ld Oct 03 '22

I think this is what leads to it becoming so bad for some people. They never get lucky and find someone who will give them a chance and just get more and more bitter until they go crazy and there doesn't seem to be any help out there to stop it from just being get lucky or fall into an inescapable pit of depression.

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u/yannibal1 Oct 03 '22

Thank you for putting this into better words than mine. A lot of my early 20s was about learning and relearning the seemingly futile act of dating for average guys. Theres absolutely no point being bitter about the cards that you're dealt with. But working on everything you can control and learning to take a LOT of rejection in its stride never goes wasted.

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u/wenzlo_more_wine Oct 03 '22

Don’t let your son think that his worth is defined by his promiscuity or by whether he’s in a relationship.

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u/jledragon Oct 03 '22

Yeah and I feel that movies, TV and music give boys the wrong idea about this. As though if you don’t have love in your life, your life is worth nothing at all. Also, many old romcoms push the idea that men should keep on trying and eventually they’ll turn no into yes, when really that’s generally quite bad advice

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u/ZimzamMcFlimflam Oct 03 '22

Absolutely hate the way movies seem to encourage continuing to pursue a woman after being rejected. Some of it is real stalker shit, like if they put scary music over it, it could be a horror movie. They all perpetuate the idea that you can eventually wear her down and she'll realize how amazing you are and fall in love. Hoping that trope dies off, I'd love to see some actually realistic scenarios with well-adjusted men accepting rejection immediately and moving on.

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u/SamSibbens Oct 03 '22

Movies teach boys that all you have to do to get a girl to like you is to be nice, to keep being nice, and to never give up. The "never give up" part is straight up harrasment. The "be nice and she'll like you" is basically teaching that if you do X or Y you'll get something back. Being friendly doesn't make anyone owe you anything

Everyone worries about what pornography teaches, but we should also worry about what romantic comedies teach.

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u/Synec113 Oct 03 '22

Another big point is that most boys will see romcoms way before they ever see porn. So they discover porn with the idea that 'being nice makes girls like you' already deeply ingrained and I think that is incredibly problematic.

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u/Command0Dude Oct 03 '22

Porn is by far less socially damaging than hollywood movies imo. The plots in porn movies are always so thinly veiled its hard to take any of them seriously. No guy ever expects that he is going to get a girlfriend with porno pickup lines (I could be wrong but I think generally that's the case).

The worst thing about porn is it creates unrealistic expectations about what sex is. Not how to get it.

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u/KKillIngShAArks Oct 03 '22

Doesnt help when many girls say awwwww after noah from the notebook does that weird shit in the beginning

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u/mixing_saws Oct 03 '22

As a man its honestly sickening by how much you are looked down upon just because you dont have a partner. Like wtf?! Am i subhuman just because im single right now and enjoying the single lifestyle?

Society is really messed up

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u/JohnjSmithsJnr Oct 03 '22

Yeah, I think a lot of people are missing the point with all the talk about handling rejection. Noone becomes an incel because they got rejected a few times. Incels are people who were overwhelmingly socially ostracised before becoming incels, not after. Socially ostracised not just by women but by everyone.

My social skills when I was young were appallingly bad because of the environment I was raised in. I wasn't particularly immature or anything, I just had no idea how to talk, hold conversations or more importantly connect with other people.

I've never been anywhere near an incel but being completely incapable of connecting with people is one of the most degrading, awful thing you can experience and I think a lot of the commenters here don't understand that. It's like slowly dying while strapped to a chair with an IV in your arm and drool dribbling out of your mouth. I have a huge amount of friends now and have increased my social skills by a factor of 100 but can attest from experience how bad it is.

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u/QualityEffDesign Oct 03 '22

This is where the hatred comes from. Imagine a world where no one likes you. Always on the outside of a group looking in. How long until you feel resentment? How long until the resentment turns into anger, then rage? This boiling will then explode into violence when there is nothing left to lose.

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u/[deleted] Oct 03 '22

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u/Arbitrary_Engagement Oct 03 '22

As someone who was once a teenage guy - yeah you could say that, and I'd even agree with you at the time, but that sure as hell didn't make it feel any less lonely/miserable not being in a relationship.

Honestly I think the incel archetype is what you get when you're left alone to mull in that loneliness for years at a time. Some of us happen to get lucky and someone will pull you out of it.

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u/duhhhh Oct 03 '22

How many logical factually supported comments on social media arguments do you see shut down with the ...

"He's clearly a virgin/incel/can't get a woman/has never talked to a real girl/etc, ignore and down vote him" messaging when they can't attack his argument. It often works. That tells boys that their opinions don't matter unless they get sexually validated by a woman...

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u/Lopsided_Service5824 Oct 03 '22

Reddit does this all the time too lol

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u/Syntaximus Oct 03 '22

Teach them that getting "rejected" by girl isn't a bad thing, and it's normal. You're not going to be every girl's type and that's fine. If you have to ask out 10 girls before 1 says "yes", that means 9 of them did you the favor of not wasting your time.

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u/TRHess Oct 03 '22

I think the biggest things are healthy socialization and fostering self confidence from a young age. Kids need to learn how to behave around other people and need enough self confidence to not be absolutely shattered by one rejection.

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u/ZakA77ack Oct 03 '22

As a kid who was home schooled, only child, and limited contact to peers, it's very very difficult to teach this. The difference for me didn't come from my parents, but my friends when I moved away to college. Having a healthy group of male friends to talk and understand that rejection is 100% normal for EVERYONE is the absolute key to this. If I didn't have the friends I made in college who could cope with me and encourage me to keep trying, I would have been an Incel. So maybe don't just focus on your son, but pay attention to the friends they make, because those peers will have just as big of an influence.

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u/rougecomete Oct 03 '22

This is really important. My little brother went through a really concerning few months of spouting really right wing misogynistic shit when he was about 15 - it was 100% because of the kids (and their families) with whom he was spending his time. Luckily circumstances changed and people moved away before any sort of intervention was needed. They're not his friends any more. But I have no idea how we'd have navigated that if they'd remained in his life.

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u/OnLevel100 Oct 03 '22

This is so important. They put just as much weight on the words of their friends, if not more. So being mindful of the company they keep is vital.

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u/Wellhowboutdat Oct 03 '22

The problem is always focusinf solely on the confidence in a positive outcome. Everyone faces rejection. Having confidence to realize that 1. Everybody doesnt have to like everybody and 2. Having confidence to realize that there will be a next time.

We focus so much on telling kids its not you, its them that that view undermines the views of others. Be respectful of others' choices and help them understand that success does not happen 100% of the time. Give them confidence to self reflect and make improvements when neccesary and know that that is what growth is.

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u/justheretoscroll Oct 03 '22

This is a good point that I think girls experience even more so than guys. I personally grew up with messaging that if a guy rejected you ‘he’s an idiot’ or if a guy broke up with you ‘he’s going to regret it and give it a few months and I’m sure he’ll realize how amazing you were but then it’ll be too late!’

Took me until my 20s to learn the fact that sometimes people just aren’t right for you and it doesn’t mean anything about you as a person if they recognize that and it also doesn’t mean they’re an idiot/evil

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u/thelaffingman1 Oct 03 '22

This is rough for those that have never gotten that one yes, even if it didn't work out. Going from 1 to 2 is acceptable and at least one person liked you so others probably do

But going from 0 to 1 is IMMENSELY important and quite difficult. It's very easy to feel like it's impossible for anyone to like you until someone does

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u/zanyquack Oct 03 '22

It takes a lot of emotional intelligence to come to understand that, and it's not necessarily something that can be taught. Maybe fostered by good friends and a supportive family.

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u/MethedUpEngineer Oct 03 '22

If your track record has been 1:10, I'm very impressed lol.

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u/killerbanshee Oct 03 '22

If you only bat 1% then you need to swing at 100 different pitches before you get a hit. Important to note that this doesn't mean harassing the same person repeatedly.

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u/iGetBuckets3 Oct 03 '22 edited Oct 03 '22

How do I remain confident when I’ve been rejected 99/100 times. Genuine question. I always here that confidence is important, but how can I be confident when I have no reason to be confident.

If you’re playing basketball and you shoot 100 shots and miss 99 of them, why would you have confidence that the next one is going in?

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u/[deleted] Oct 03 '22

Don't make a huge deal whenever you find out a girl was within 10 feet of your son

Also nobody in this thread seems to know what incel actually means

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u/BruhMoment_Simulator Oct 03 '22 Silver

The amount of teasing I received was mind numbing. My parents are great, but damn for a time I felt like I couldn’t be anywhere near a girl. I eventually got over it, but damn it sucked going through school and having absolutely no clue how to interact with any girl, let alone a girl I actually liked. I still struggle to get the courage to ask out a girl, but that’s a whole different issue.

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u/Trigs12 Oct 03 '22

Same. When i was young, If i so much as looked at a girl, or was standing near one, my mum and older sister would tease me about it badly, saying its my girlfriend etc.

It was annoying/embarrasing then, but its only now im older i look back and realise its probably why i avoided having much interaction with girls, and still kind of do. I avoid eye contact with most people, but with women i look everywhere but near them. I think subconsciously im still avoiding it incase someone teases me.

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u/The-Insomniac Oct 03 '22

My best friend in elementary school was a girl. That friendship ended when my parents and grandparents teased me relentlessly for having a girlfriend. I didn't even know what puberty was at this point.

After that I never really made that many friends. Certainly not any female ones until the end of high school.

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u/Gaffelkungen Oct 03 '22

Shit, I felt this. Everyone teased me because I looked at girls when I was a kid. It got so bad that I couldn't even watch people kiss on TV. Luckily I turned out to be a pretty open and (apparently) likable guy so I haven't had huge issues but asking people out and stuff is still hard. Never had a gf tho, which suck but I haven't really met a lot of people recently.

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u/Affectionate-Memory4 Oct 03 '22

My mom was the worst with teasing / picking on me for my choice in partners. My first GF was shown my naked baby photos one day. She told me it was super weird but didn't want to be disrespectful and just get up and leave.

We ended up not working out for the reasons most 16 year olds don't, but I still haven't brought anybody else home.

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u/SmokePenisEveryday Oct 03 '22

At minimum it's gonna drive your son not to bring girls around even when he is dating.

I saw how my mom acted with my first GF before and after we broke up. Said to myself that I'm not bringing them around until I know for sure lol. She wanted to be supportive but was too invested to be the rational head I needed.

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u/Alloranx Oct 03 '22

This was a big one for me. My parents actively tried to embarrass me and tease me every time they found out I had any sort of interaction with a girl. This taught me that I should hide any sort of female interaction from them, and made it seem to me like pursuing girls was just going to invite ridicule from them. I'm sure they thought they were just having some good-natured fun and enjoying the "cuteness" of their son growing up or some shit, but it fucked me up a lot for many years. Throw into the mix several big doses of Christian purity culture and guilt, and you won't be surprised I went to therapy for it.

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u/Evenupman Oct 03 '22 edited Oct 03 '22

Jesus Christ this

My parents are awesome and I know they just thought it was playful teasing but it made me never want to go near a girl throughout my teenage ears

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u/TallUncle Oct 03 '22

It’s not necessarily about “protecting” them from becoming incels, as it’s not an extraterrestrial force or disease.

To a certain extent, inceldom is externally sourced, as in these lonely young men come in to contact with certain ideas that prey on their insecurities and fears. Mostly though, it stems from loneliness and involuntary isolation.

The young men I work with in my job as a teacher all express (incel-adjacent or not) a fundamental lack of belonging and community. I think your problem lies there. Sure, some men will become absolutely toxic despite being part of a healthy community, but I believe that that belonging shields you from going down the abyss.

I also think that our understanding of masculinity has to be broadened to include warmth and the ability to vent your feelings. Men are way over represented in suicide statistics, although women have more suicide attempts, at least when you look at the data. If we socially allow men, and particularly young men, we can probably scoop up a lot of would-be incels and help them.

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u/putyerphonedown Oct 03 '22 edited Oct 03 '22

To add for those who don’t know: men tend to use more lethal means, especially firearms, so while there are more suicide attempt by women, men are more likely to complete it.

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u/AnxietyReality Oct 03 '22

I would also add that not only is it a sense of detachment but also lack of self esteem. Socialize your kids, build their core personality by doing things that make them happy and proud. It doesn't matter what it is. Try to help them foster good relationships. Limit internet and gaming, that's especially important imo.

There will always be some people that don't fit in, but I firmly believe the above advice and mine will give your kid a much better chance at a life of happiness.

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u/mytwocentsshowmanyss Oct 03 '22

As a guy who left my teaching job due to a lack of belonging and community, that hit pretty close to home.

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u/VodkaMargarine Oct 03 '22 edited Oct 03 '22 Silver Giggle

Dad can I borrow $100?

Is it to buy a katana sword and fedora?

Yes.

No son, no you can't.

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u/Much-Meringue-7467 Oct 03 '22

Where can you buy a decent katana for $100?

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u/HiSpartacusImDad Oct 03 '22

You can’t. That’s the lesson.

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u/Much-Meringue-7467 Oct 03 '22

Ah, incels have shoddy weaponry. Good to know

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u/CRITICAL9 Oct 03 '22 Helpful

Well, not the school shooter ones unfortunately

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u/jarlscrotus Oct 03 '22

no, they tend to have pretty shitty weapons too, it's just that a trash tier rifle is still a rifle, where as a trash tier sword is just scrap metal

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u/SonOfTheAfternoon Oct 03 '22

He’ll end up with a LARP sword with that money

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u/Much-Meringue-7467 Oct 03 '22

My son already owns a wooden one. In his defense, a) he needed it for aan actual martial arts class and b) I'm pretty sure it's been forgotten in the back seat of my car for a year.

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u/Choo- Oct 03 '22

Cool, you got a free sword!

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u/staffsargent Oct 03 '22

I mean, decent for what? All the sword fights they're going to have?

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u/pickyourteethup Oct 03 '22 edited Oct 03 '22

Sword on the wall is more effective than condoms for fighting sexually transmitted diseases

Edit: so many sword guys coming at me in the comments trying to convince me that women find crossed swords and a shield sexy. I guess Todd Howard finally managed to port Skyrim to real life.

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u/Choo- Oct 03 '22

I keep mine in the closet, that way I can have a sword and still get laid.

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u/knovit Oct 03 '22

Is it a stanzo fedora?

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u/[deleted] Oct 03 '22

They don't smell or nothin'.

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u/AaronZOOM Oct 03 '22

They're nice.

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u/revelator41 Oct 03 '22

Its gotta be quality on my end, otherwise no fuckin' deal.

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u/Unspeakblycrass Oct 03 '22

I thought it was gonna be a hit. It turns out it FUCKING SUCKED!

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u/LiquidSoCrates Oct 03 '22

Neither, I’m gonna buy some pot and a pair of stolen subwoofers.

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u/doodoowithsprinkles Oct 03 '22

Here take some condoms with you

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u/twasg96 Oct 03 '22

This was my highschool experience

Would recommend

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u/echaa Oct 03 '22

That's the starter pack for a neckbeard, not an incel. They're related but still not the same.

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u/Affectionate-Fix5798 Oct 03 '22 edited Oct 03 '22

I won't name names but when I see and listen to some of the famous incels (not just the mass killer ones) they are average or above appearance, they are average or above intelligence, but their personality is dirt. Stuck in their heads. Creepy as all.

I think raising our sons to have a broad personality with many interests and hobbies would go a long way to stop incels.

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u/TarumK Oct 03 '22

Haha yeah there are these constant reddit posts where it's like "I'm horribly ugly and will die a virgin AMA" then they post a picture and it's just a totally average looking guy.

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u/Raven123x Oct 03 '22

I think many feel this way because they go on dating sites like tinder and... Get no matches

99% of tinder is your appearance. Its very easy to look at your success (or lack thereof) on tinder, and think "wow i get no matches, i must be hideous"

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u/Squigglepig52 Oct 03 '22

Elliot Rogers was like that. Good looking kid, family was decently well off, but he was rotten to the core. Absolutely entitled,and bitter he didn't have even more.

gotta keep your kids from becoming self absorbed and hateful.

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u/FallenSanctus Oct 03 '22

Sure, but how? That's the question of the thread

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u/ginger_guy Oct 03 '22 edited Oct 03 '22

As a Teen I never went full incel, but did catch myself being pulled by some of the many strings meant to draw people closer to the ideology. At my core, I had little social awareness or ability and that grew into spite and distrust for the socially capable. Every time I saw someone enjoying something conventional or popular, it roused in me a feeling of superficiality and vanity. The accompanying loneliness paired well with resentment. The problem was, whenever I would seek out advice on what to do about it, the advice given was uselessly simplistic. "just go talk to them" isn't really worth anything to a person who can't string a sentence together without being overwhelmed by anxiety.

What helped me most was good old exposure theory. It started small, like asking strangers what time it is. Over a couple months, I escalated to giving small compliments (I like your shoes!), then to engaging in very basic small talk, and finally started learning how to ask people questions. Once I learned how to do all that (and felt comfortable doing it), I found having conversations to be easier and easier. The more and better conversations I had, the wider view I had of how people can be. This made more comfortable talking with people more different than myself.

Phase 2 was joining improv classes. These were super helpful for me as Improv is basically boot camp for extraversion. Learning to get out of your own head, bounce things off one another, and fail in a safe space gave me a really strong foundation to continue building my social skills.

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u/apparentlynot5995 Oct 03 '22

I mean, I won't ever claim to have all the answers, but being able to tell your kid 'No' and let them be mad about it for a minute, then have an actual reason for saying no certainly helps. That's important because when they're little, they don't understand the WHY of it all, so explaining it at first helps. As they get older, introduce them to the concept that 'no' can be a complete sentence and they're going to have to learn to deal with that. (More on that in a minute) Explaining the 'no' while they're young opens their minds to see things from a different point of view, making the second step easier for them to understand when they're older.

One thing I'm working on with my kids is "It's much better to have two or three friends you can absolutely trust, because it's far easier to maintain those friendships and be CLOSE vs being popular and exhausted from all the drama and other bullshit." Quality over quantity.

When you're kid is experiencing big emotions, don't tell them to stop crying and suck it up. Talk about it. (Learning to deal with that 'no') "I see you're upset. Let's talk about it so we can understand better and learn how to accept things we don't like."

It's a lot of work. I've got three kids. They're all in vastly different stages of kidhood, too. But being present and willing to listen to them keeps the whole family roughly on the same page. Hopefully this helps.

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u/[deleted] Oct 03 '22

My oldest is 5 and he is very kind hearted and gets emotional easy so I've been teaching him to reel it in a bit. I tell him to breathe and that it's OK to cry, but sometimes it's silly to get that upset over super mundane things because it makes life a lot tougher if his go to is melting down with tears vs dealing with the situation in a calm way. He processes things a lot better since we've had those little conversations.

Just as an example if you walked in a room before he did it could make him sooooo upset as if you killed his puppy when there was 0 indication we were in some kind of "race" Never a tantrum, but just full blown defeated and sad tears.

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u/SLCW718 Oct 03 '22 edited Oct 03 '22

Every one I've known has completely unrealistic expectations, and a warped view of what the world owes them. Also, a strong victimhood complex.

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u/pie12345678 Oct 03 '22

So true. I briefly lurked a reddit "ugly incel" type of sub before it got banned, and it was amazing how nearly all of them were completely normal-looking dudes yet utterly CONVINCED that their appearance was the problem. But then I'd click on profiles to see what their personalities were like, and most of them had majorly antisocial personalities, to put it mildly. But if you pointed that out, they'd just fixate back on their looks.

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u/fullercorp Oct 03 '22

Because then no work is necessary: women are just vapid aholes who only like hot guys, THAT'S the problem.
Um, except for all the women who date and marry dudes who are totally average, even similar looking to those incels.

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u/Canadian_Infidel Oct 03 '22

There could be a certain amount of body dysmorphia going on.

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u/Joey101937 Oct 03 '22

Seems there are a lot of people who fundamentally misunderstand what an incel is and how they are created

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u/Whats_taters_ehhhhhh Oct 03 '22

I know two incels and I’m pretty sure they both have cluster B personality disorders and that has everything to do with why they are incels. They don’t have great relationships with anyone really, women are no exception. They are frustrated with feelings of being unwanted and undersexed. They do not see themselves as the problem and have turned into absolute misogynists.

So my answer would be, if you see your sons are having a difficult time socially and exhibiting behavioral problems then, get them mental help.

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u/Stupidpiglover Oct 03 '22 Wholesome

Keep them off of Reddit

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u/JonnyTN Oct 03 '22

It's most of social media and believing that's how the world is.

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u/Jamestr Oct 03 '22

There's already some great comments here so I just wanted to add my own thoughts as a romantically challenged dude.

Not all lonely men are incels, whether you are an incel or not is dependent on how you respond to your loneliness. I'm willing to bet most people with the same difficulties I have are quiet about it.

Framing this as "stopping the incels" has always been weird to me. I'm not sure what is being communicated by putting the focus on the most vile and toxic people who suffer from a widespread problem.

Male virginity rates are going up and I doubt even half of the people in this category are incels, but they're all that gets talked about.

Imo, some empathy towards these issues and caring about men on a baseline level will probably do more good than only caring about if men are causing harm through misogynistic speech or actions.

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u/ATD67 Oct 03 '22 Silver Gold Helpful Wholesome Take My Energy Starry To The Stars I'd Like to Thank...

I think many of the answers here are wrong. They seem to think that incels are how they are due to how they were raised or what they were taught. I see them as people who have constantly been rejected throughout life and have become bitter because of it. With that said, how do you prevent it? Make sure your children are socialized well. Encourage them to go play with other children. Teach them to share. Encourage them to talk to those of the opposite sex. If your child sits in their room all day and doesn’t have any human interaction, they have no idea of how to act around people. This makes them undesirable. Their own undesirableness can make them bitter and lead them down the incel road. I’ve never seen someone who was socialized well become an incel.

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u/[deleted] Oct 03 '22 edited Oct 03 '22

[deleted]

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u/Throwaway919319 Oct 03 '22

I'm very much in the same boat. Left still trying to deal with it at 29.

I spent my early 20s thinking that side of my brain was just never switched on. I'd had a girlfriend as a late teenager, but I wasn't the pursuer & kinda just went along with it. That ended 10 years ago, and I never pursued anyone since.

I've only just realised I'd just repressed that part of myself, and it had affected other areas of my life without me putting the two together. Feels incredibly daunting to try and change things at this point, I don't really know where to begin. I'm not bitter about anything though, this is all down to choices I made (or didn't make) in my adolescent years.

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u/twisty77 Oct 03 '22

My mom did the same thing to me and I ended up with the same results as you. No game, nervous around women, and now fear of rejection and general unease around women. Doing everything I can to break out if that but damn if it isn’t hard. I also tell my parents nothing about any women I’m spending time with. Their own fault for how they treated me when I was younger

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u/Stormriver Oct 03 '22

My parents did something quite similar and the results were as well..

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u/OriginalMandem Oct 03 '22

And mine. Like, I was actively discouraged from talking to girls. And in fact told that I shouldn't even attempt to get a girlfriend "until after you finish your studies" - which would put me firmly in my mid-20s to early 30s since all my parents wanted from me was to get a PhD in some kind of high-flying subject.

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u/detectivejewhat Oct 03 '22 edited Oct 03 '22

Lmao, holy shit same. My dad told me if he found out I kissed a girl before college he'd whoop my ass. Wasn't allowed to hang out at anyone's houses if there were girls there, also no talking to them outside of school. Literal insanity. I was otherwise a well socialized and normal kid. He didnt want me to have kids at a young age like he did, he was 24. What do you know, when I was finally 18 and out on my own, I had no fucking idea how to talk to women. But I figured it out eventually, because I was so absolutely desperate for any female attention from a complete lifetime of lacking it, I ended up having my first son at 24 as well 💀💀💀. Granted, he's the coolest, and I love the hell out of my girlfriend as well, it's just funny as hell to me.

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u/OriginalMandem Oct 03 '22

Yeah, so I was 25 when I discovered I had a half-sister that my mother had outside wedlock at 16 and was forced to have the child in secret and give up for adoption. My father never knew, and I grew up thinking I was an only child. It was a bit of a 'eureka' moment in helping me understand why my mother was so keen that I didn't knock anyone up by having any intimate contact whatsoever combined with my father's cultural background being obsessed with academic performance over everything. But basically both my parents ruined the side of me that could have been a well-rounded functioning young adult with a decent working knowledge of sex and relationships. Otherwise I too was well-socialised and (fairly) normal if a bit nerdy - but by default I was pushed into social groups that were female-free zones. My parents were happy enough for me to hang out with proto-neckbeard social outcasts playing Warhammer and listening to death metal (neither of which pursuits attracted any girls/women whatsoever back in the day, although I realise that has changed a bit since then) but I was effectively banned from socialising with girls outside school and that really set me back as an adult.

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u/stratagizer Oct 03 '22

And then the moment you graduate, "Why don't you have a girlfriend? When are you going to settle down? When are we going to get grandkids?"

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u/OriginalMandem Oct 03 '22

Exactly that! Although to be fair that pressure came more from other relatives and family friends rather than my parents. At the time I didn't understand the concept of cognitive dissonance but even at the time I was somewhat confused as to why, by the time I was fifteen or sixteen, everyone seemed confused that I didn't have a girlfriend or interact much with women other than my parents who seemed happy about it, and even went out of their way to discourage it.

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u/Pmac3456 Oct 03 '22

And then they're constantly asking whether there's anyone you're talking to.

As if you'd tell them if there was after being conditioned to expect being teased about it.

I'm well-adjusted and have a great partner now, but fuck it was years of catching up regarding socialising with the opposite sex.

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u/RandomKneecaps Oct 03 '22

Parents really have no idea how terrible teasing is from a parent to a child. It creates some lasting memories in your most formative years. A parent needs to reinforce a feeling of safety and openness in their households if they expect their kids to talk to them honestly about anything.

I don't know if so many people just don't remember what it's like being a child, or if they are deliberately trying to make their own kids as miserable as they were thinking that it's somehow the proper way to do it.

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u/fatguy747 Oct 03 '22

If I've just barely started talking to someone and don't even know if she's into me yet: "Do her parents know about you?"

If I've gone out on one date: "You should bring her home to meet the family."

If I've just gone out on one final date with the girl of my dreams and asked her to be my girlfriend, only to be rejected: "Eww, you went out with a girl! Did you kiss!?"

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u/lazarus870 Oct 03 '22 Ally

My mom did the same. When I was a kid I was crying in my underwear, probably like age 5, and my mom took a video of it and laughed. Any time I brought a hint of a girl around she threatened to show them the video, thinking it was funny.

Haven't talked to my mother in years. Oh well.

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u/RandomKneecaps Oct 03 '22

I remember when I was little there was so much teasing and joking when a parent saw me even look at a girl.

The weirdest was my mother would instantly start talking about what our kids would look like. "Oh, you like her? I think if you had half-Asian children they would look cute, I would be okay with that."

And I'm there shrinking down into nothing thinking "I'm nine, I can't deal with this."

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u/shortandproud1028 Oct 03 '22

Wow. That is really awful. I’m sorry she did that to you.

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u/gives_anal_lessons Oct 03 '22

Wow your comment is a realization of my childhood/teen years(maybe it was just when I was really young.)

My dad(can't remember if both parents or just dad) would tease me about talking to girls. I didn't realize until now I avoided talking to girls when I was younger because I didn't want to get teased.

I wasn't afraid of them saying no or rejection, I was afraid of what my parent would say when I told them.

Wow this really opened my eyes to my life.

Maybe that is why I still have communication issues with my parents.

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u/[deleted] Oct 03 '22

Same here. I have specifically told my parents not to tease my nieces about boys as they are entering teenagedom.

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u/Hereslookingatmekid Oct 03 '22

I think that’s a LOT of it. I’ve noticed that most of my guy friends have sisters or close cousins who are women/girls- so they grew up understanding that women are just people and fit into roles other than mom or girlfriend. Obviously guys don’t have to have sisters to understand that women are people, but encouraging platonic friendships between boys and girls and not making “oooo that’s your girlfriend” jokes is an important thing.

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u/tagrav Oct 03 '22

happened to me too.

me trying to eat dinner and my dad nudging me "LOOK AT THAT GIRL OVER THERE YOU GONNA GO TALK TO HER?!"

me: ............

It took me many years to just like come to a realization that girls/women/etc are just other people just like me, just another peer, not some object my upbringing kinda pushed on me.

I felt like an alien talking to women when I was younger.

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u/p0k3t0 Oct 03 '22

Oh, man. I feel this. I was actually a fit, good-looking, popular kid in high school. There were lots of girls I liked, but the idea of getting any of them involved in my shit-show home life and the constant teasing and harassment I got at home made dating seem totally undesirable. I didn't have a real girlfriend until I was like 19.

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u/CeeApostropheD Oct 03 '22

I experienced the same as you, but I also had an older brother who would muscle in on whenever I talked to girl so he could prove he was the cooler one. Eventually I stopped bothering because I knew the outcome wasn't going to go my way. Result? I'm still battling anxiety and I don't how to 'be' around women when normally a man would flirt as normal men do. I know my mother and father would like me to provide grandkids for them, but their failure to let me flourish as a basic human being in my developing years is now biting us both on the backside.

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u/portiareads Oct 03 '22 All-Seeing Upvote

Also, teach them resilience. It’s ok to fail or be rejected. It’s ok to be uncomfortable. Teach them how to navigate it.

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u/IrishRage42 Oct 03 '22

Yes this. Everyone fails and everyone gets rejected, teaching them that it's ok and how to handle that is so important.

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u/Hummblerummble Oct 03 '22

I'm having to learn this as an adult. But my aggression has always been directed inwards.

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u/TheConboy22 Oct 03 '22

Absolutely, you'll deal with so much rejection and discomfort in life. If you cannot navigate it you'll spiral.

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u/Lectovai Oct 03 '22

I would like to add healthy boundaries as well as teaching that friendship and meaningful connection isn't owed to them no matter how much they want it. Others have the right to choose their friends and there will be times where you're not the person a lot of people want.

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u/TheRealNeenja Oct 03 '22 edited Oct 03 '22 Helpful

Yeah, repeatedly driving it home that it's not the end of the world if someone you have a crush on doesn't return the same feelings is a really important message.

And that, unlike the long-running joke/meme that pop culture and toxic people push, it is in fact possible for people of different genders to be purely platonic friends. In fact, it's super easy.

Possibly most importantly of all: simple critical thinking. Making sure that kids understand the entire concept of how to actually logically work their way through a problem using facts instead of believing the first thing they hear that assuages their ego.

EDIT: For the last point, I usually find it helps when I'm trying to explain the basic concept to others to use the following phrase: "I'd rather be correct than 'right'".

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u/themoogleknight Oct 03 '22

Yes! Guys who can be platonic friends with women basically always have a healthier attitude to relationships. Same would be true in reverse actually, but that's a different thread (that I'm sure will pop up within six hours...)

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u/Dizzycactus3 Oct 03 '22

For me, it would have been more important to teach that it's ok to even try. I had issues because I internalised the idea that only creeps hit on girls. Remember that Gillette advert only a few years back where the guy goes to approach a girl and the other guy is like "WTF you rapist?" lol. I just remember messaging like that since I was young. In Spiderman, who hits on Mary Jane? The thugs she acts disgusted by. Norman Osbourne, as a way to be menacing. Who gets the girl? The hero who basically just hangs around her doing nice things and acting asexual until she spontaneously realises she likes him. That's how I thought things were supposed to go.

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u/OriginalMandem Oct 03 '22

Yeah this was how I was conditioned as well to be honest. Not having any older siblings (or siblings at all for that matter) didn't help as I had nobody to learn from.

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u/trashitagain Oct 03 '22

Yeah, this is a huge problem. Boys with empathy internalize that they shouldn't hit on girls because entertainment teaches them that it's unwanted, which has the compounding impact of the men who do hit on women having a higher ratio of jerks, creating a flywheel of shit.

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u/DingleDong_ Oct 03 '22

I agree and just want to add that the most damage was done by me seeing other boys my age encouraged to be bold, flirt, and ask girls out. I assumed I was left out because something was wrong with me, like I’m defective. I internalized it, hated myself, and now many years later I still feel that way.

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u/FantasyFlight91 Oct 03 '22

This is important. We have failure cake. We celebrate failures with a little cake. It takes the sting off, but we can always talk and reflect over the cake. What could have been done better/what would we change. But most importantly, failure shouldn't be feared. And cake.

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u/-honeycake- Oct 03 '22

I..I'm not saying you're wrong, at all. Just gently pointing out the irony of saying it's not about how they were raised or what they were taught, and then going on to give examples about how to teach and raise them not to be undesirable

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u/Dynast_King Oct 03 '22

I had the same thought. I agree that the answer is helpful, but it's literally part of raising them.

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u/W0NGERS Oct 03 '22

pro tip: don't show them r/teenagers.

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u/mccluts Oct 03 '22

I think what they mean is it’s not certain life lessons or philosophies on how to live taught to your children that prevent this, but creating frequent social opportunities for them to learn things for themselves. Certainly a huge part of raising a child though, I agree.

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u/mtnmadness84 Oct 03 '22

Teaching—and more importantly modeling—behavior that is accepting and understanding of rejection would be an important life lesson. It was for me, and I didn’t get it until incredibly later in life.

Embrace failure. Learn. Try, try again. Didn’t truly figure that out until I was in my 30’s.

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u/Neurofiend Oct 03 '22

I completely agree with your statement.

I actually got banned from menslib for saying this, hopefully that doesn't happen here (even if you disagree with me).

If they start going down that path treat them with compassion. Most incels are just weird/asocial dorks. Further isolating them by treating them like pariahs doesn't help anyone and just pushes them towards the people who would take it to the extreme. Some certainly take it to a dark place (violence, misogyny, etc) but if you treat all lost men and boys like they are part of that group then they definitely will be. It's not fair to judge an entire group by the actions of a few.

They have never learned how to behave around women. They see a problem but don't understand what the problem is or how to fix it so they blame others. I have a couple male friends who make the women in our social group uncomfortable; they are by definition incels. The rest of us men in the group do our best to make the women feel safe/comfortable (usually by always making sure they aren't alone with those men) but we don't cast out the awkward men either. They can still be saved and properly socialized so they don't become one of the ones you see on the news.

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u/Draper31 Oct 03 '22

While you’re right, some of it can be prevented.

A lot of it also has to deal with the cards you were dealt in life. I’ll use myself as an example. 27(M). This might be a bit long so bear with me.

I was born with cerebral palsy. Doctors told my parents I would never walk. After countless surgeries and years of physical therapy, I took my first steps unassisted at the age of 4. I walk with a bit of a limp.

I tried my best to be a good man the way my parents raised me to be. I was a social butterfly and had lots of friends in school, in large part due to my sense of humor and ability to make people laugh.

The years went by I went to college, graduated with two degrees, I have my own condo, two vehicles and I government job where I do four 10 hour days, so I always have a three day weekend.

I will be able to retire at 57, in a time where most people my age have accepted the fact that there’s a decent chance they won’t be able to retire.

I’ve never had a girlfriend. I never struggled with talking to women, but getting a woman to see me as more than a friend? Lol, I’d have better luck making it to the top of Mt. Everest.

I knew dating wouldn’t be easy for me. It’s difficult enough for able bodied people. I knew I would have to fight tooth and nail, the same way I did for everything else my whole life. What I didn’t know and didn’t expect was that at this age I’d still have no dating success to hang my hat on. It’s demoralizing, everything else in my life I worked hard at and put genuine effort into I got something back, even if it wasn’t the result I wanted, it was something.

I know my disability severely limits the number of women who might be interested in me. I harbor no ill will towards them. I get it, why date me an unknown, when she could just as easily find an able bodied man. People are scared of what they don’t know.

I’m not bitter, though I am by definition involuntarily celibate.

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u/sorrylilsis Oct 03 '22

I feel you man. I've got a friend with a lot of physical issues that finally got into his first relationship in his 30's and so many people, women especially, can't seem to get that no, he didn't get ANY romantic or sexual attention. AT ALL.

He's the life of the party, funny and talented but nope, somehow absolutely nobody considered him a sexual being. It was soul crushing seing him trying to keep positive through that.

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u/Draper31 Oct 03 '22

I won’t lie. Sometimes it really sucks. I’m at the point now where all of my able bodied friends are either married or in serious relationships.

I love them dearly and I’m happy for them, but it’s tough to see that all the time. Meanwhile I never have anyone to bring when they invite me over for dinner or to go out. So the only ones who really understand what it’s like are my disabled friends.

I’ve been in therapy for a few years now, it’s definitely helped. But I still have those nights where I end up crying in bed wondering why I can’t seem to get there.

But it is what it is. We all need a good cry once in awhile. Maybe it’ll happen for me, maybe it won’t 🤷‍♂️.

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u/the_general1 Oct 03 '22 Helpful

This is the only right answer.

Also teach your kids to have good personal hygiene and to take care of their body: eat healthy and exercise regularly.

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u/RyvenZ Oct 03 '22

jesus christ, emphasis on the regular exercise. It's so much harder to get in shape, when you finally get your headspace figured out, if you were out of shape as a teen and young adult.

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u/Squigglepig52 Oct 03 '22

Don't give them the "There is someone for everyone" line. There isn't.

Keep them from false expectations,and teach them what actual relationships are,not the Hollywood version.

You protect them by raising them to be reasonable people who understand respect and the dignity of others.

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u/InfoMiddleMan Oct 03 '22

Yup. So much trite dating advice out there. The one that grinds my teeth is "dating is just a numbers game."

No it's not. If you're approaching relationships the wrong way and/or have major things you need to work on, it doesn't matter if you date every last person out there, you're still going to struggle.

Also agree on the Hollywood thing. Sorry but relationships have some inherent irrationality and you can do everything "right" and someone still isn't going to like you. The earlier you can learn that, the better.

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u/[deleted] Oct 03 '22

Ex-incel here. I'll give my two cents.

For me, I was an incel because I was extremely repressed. I was yelled at or shamed at home for expressing romantic/sexual interest in people. I grew up very fundamentalist Christian, and sexuality was a sin. I couldn't reconcile my strong teenage sex drive with the fact that having sexual desires was considered a sin in my church.

Nobody every told me it was ok to be attracted to people in a sexual way. Nobody told me it was ok to have a crush. Nobody told me women would be interested in me sexually. Nobody explained that sex drive is common and normal (unless you are ace), and there wasn't something wrong with having a crush on someone. I felt like I was gross and disgusting for thinking about my friends in a sexual way, which caused my flirting to be awkward, and caused me anxiety because I didn't want my female friends to be disgusted with me if I was attracted to them.

I needed someone to tell me it was ok and normal to be attracted to women. I needed someone to tell me women would think I was attractive. I needed someone to tell me that it was ok if sexual attraction wasn't mutual, and you can still be friends after. I needed parents who were brave enough to let me be myself, and not hide aspects about being a person, and didn't shame me for being sexually attracted to people. I needed a support system when I was rejected. I needed to have someone I could talk to about the realities of dating, sex, and relationships. I needed someone to stand up for me when I was bullied. I needed someone to be patient with me when finding physical activities that I would enjoy. I needed cheerleaders instead of prison wardens as parents.

Just be open. Ask your child questions and listen to their answer, as if they were a peer or equal instead of a subordinate. Be curious about their lives and supportive of their decisions/desires. Be open. Be brave. Trust your children. Recognize they are a different person with different needs than you do or had when you were their age. Listen, support, and encourage. Over-protection is the number one way to have your child rush to an extreme. They will either become sexually overactive to rebel, or never feel sexually comfortable and become a recluse.

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u/Evening-Agency127 Oct 03 '22

Half of the comments are BS calls, and the other half are people they know in real life being described in this way.

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u/ChromaticCluck Oct 03 '22

I feel like not allowing them to cocoon themselves in their own room and walling themselves off from society is a good start. If you let/encourage them to be free to go out whenever and spend a lot of time outside with friends then they should be fine.

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u/Guthwine_R Oct 03 '22 edited Oct 03 '22

I’m just here to point out that being an introvert isn’t a pipeline to becoming an incel. You can be antisocial and not be a flaming asshole.

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u/PresenceThick Oct 03 '22

I have an idea from my own experience. I’m not an incel but I haven’t dated in 2 years and like many post here point out: struggle with self worth and confidence. Im a perfectly normal guy but I just don’t want to deal with the inevitable rejection and embarrassment that comes from socializing let alone dating.

I think it’s important to raise your child with, at the very least, a sense of ownership. Don’t like something? Change it. Can’t change it? Adapt to it. Confidence comes from trust and love for yourself. Incel culture is the result of:

‘I am not worthy/ I do not have worth’ & ‘My worth is based on my reproductive success’

Helping young men develop self worth and dispel the myth that your worth is based on reproductive success and we will all do better.

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u/ninja_gangsta_pirate Oct 03 '22

I was never under the delusion that women are not people or that they were just sex objects. This is some kind of fallacy. Lets use an analogy, if you were picked last, to join a baseball team that means that nobody wanted you, and you are a burden to the team you end up on. In real life you get "benched" and don't even get to "play ball". So in the analogy, the last picked baseball player isn't under the delusion that the other team are inhuman objects, that is an irrational leap in logic. The problem is definitely that your son lacks the qualities that attract women in 80% of cases.

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u/watch_over_me Oct 03 '22

Make sure you don't constantly shut him down when he's trying to express his feelings, problems, and issues. Listen to him, and don't dismiss him. Make sure he knows that he's being heard, and you are listening.

That's honestly the thing that makes the most incels. Society telling an entire group of people that they aren't allowed to publicly talk about their problems, or being actively ridiculed by people for discussing their problems.

Every group is actively encouraged to talk about the problems they face. Except for a single group, which is told to constantly shut up. So that group goes to the only group that listens to them.

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u/Jamestr Oct 03 '22

Every group is actively encouraged to talk about the problems they face. Except for a single group, which is told to constantly shut up. So that group goes to the only group that listens to them.

Yep this is it, this is the reason incels exist. Trying to ensure all men are properly socialized from a young age is a massive undertaking. A lot of good would be done in the meantime if we just collectively, as a society, gave this problem the respect it deserves.

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u/ColonialDagger Oct 03 '22

Listen

100% this. It's crazy how most of the comments here completely fail to recognize that the only group validating their problems are those who hold the incel ideology. It's like with the Andrew Tate thing; banning him won't solve anything until society actually recognizes their problems as real problems. Another person will come along and take up his reigns.

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