When some people think about catcalling, they probably picture something like construction workers saying suggestive things to an attractive young lady who happens to be walking down the sidewalk.

Some people don’t realize that even saying something that they consider to be a compliment can be unwelcome to the ears of a complete stranger. A man named Rafi D’Angelo didn’t necessarily realize this either until he experienced it for himself.

On a Facebook page he runs called “So Let’s Talk About,” D’Angelo detailed an experience he had while walking behind a woman on the sidewalk. He witnessed her being catcalled three times by three different men. Two of them seemed to think they were being nice, but D’Angelo still found it annoying, and he mentioned that he could only imagine how annoying it must be for that young lady to be talked to by complete strangers almost constantly throughout her day.

Read D’Angelo’s full post about his experience below.

In the comments, many women have expressed their gratitude for D’Angelo recounting this story and for his advice to men to not say anything to strangers even if they’re trying to be nice. As he says at the end of his post, “The quality of your life has not decreased because you aren’t allowed to say nice things to strange women on the sidewalk, but your silence greatly increases the quality of hers. So just be quiet, and let her go where she’s going.”

One woman commented on his post, “The smile command is the most annoying. I’m not sure where they got the idea that a woman’s countenance needs to be pleasing to random men on the street. It’s all about them. You could have a toothache. Maybe you just found out your mom has cancer. Maybe your dog died. Maybe you’re deep in thought about how you’re going to cover your bills for the month. Or, maybe you’re just in your own little world. None of that matters. The job of women is to make men, even men they don’t even know, feel good.”

Another comment reads, “Thank you. I wish more men understood what this was like- and that I don’t owe you a smile.”
What can you do if you see someone catcalling someone else? D’Angelo told Bored Panda that unless he sees someone in danger, he is not going to speak up and correct a complete stranger because he doesn’t want to escalate the situation and turn it from something annoying to something dangerous.
“I’m not going to tell a grown man how to act unless a woman is in danger because then I’ve escalated a situation to a point where he might want to fight, and for no reason. The interaction between him and her would’ve been over, but I’ve interjected an opinion, and made a situation worse.”
However, D’Angelo says that if you hear your friends catcalling someone, it is a good idea to speak up.
If you’re with your friends and they’re catcalling women, call them out on it. You’re friends. You have a prior relationship. They’re more likely to listen to you.”