Ok, I learned that at the university, where I was the only female student, and there were like 20 guys in the group. I had to be mean, I wouldn’t survive otherwise, they’d eat me live!
I understand however that most autistic women won’t have that experience. I hear so many times a woman talking that she didn’t want to be mean to a man if he did something that she didn’t like, because she didn’t want to scare him off. But that’s the point! A man who really likes you won’t get scared that easily if you’re mean to him for 2 minutes. And if he did get scared, it’s an indication that he was looking for an easy target and decided you’re not one. Congratulate to yourself then and keep looking and do the same thing to the next one.
Response to look out for would be ‘oh, I probably really shouldn’t, you’re right’ said in a casual way. That mean the guy is unlikely to have dodgy intensions and he has no problems with admitting his mistakes. Another response that I’d consider ok would be ‘Wow! Angry woman… you got me really scared!’ said in a sarcastic way. There’s so much misunderstanding about how guys communicate and that would mean for a lot of women that he doesn’t take them seriously, why I really don’t think that’s the case. He just decided to respond in a similar way to you. He may treat you more as a friend, but possibly also a romantic partner and he just likes talking this way. However, he definitely doesn’t have dodgy intensions.
A guy with dodgy intensions will start to apologise for longer than necessary, plead, manipulate, ask you to stop doing that because he’d never do that to you, ask you why you did it, tells you you’re making him sad, tells you all sort of emotional things, while still talking to you and ‘being there for you’. He will make it into a long conversation and it may even look to you like if he’s making an effort to explain things. This is the worse response that you can get. It means he’s trying to deceive you. Of course even the guy who run for the hills is better, because at least he’s not there to mess you about any more so you can move on.
So learn to be mean. We, autistics, are quite good at that, so use it. Being mean from time to time is a very good tactic. And the more you do that, the easier it becomes.