How to React to Hit-Ons on the Streets of Indonesia

If you’re a female backpacker in Indonesia, you’re probably sick of having guys yell at you from across the street asking if you want an Indonesian boyfriend. Especially if you’re in Bali or the Gili islands, this is part of how locals attract attention and try to sell you things. It must work on some travellers or salesmen wouldn’t do it. Others however, especially those who spend a little bit longer in Indonesia will get really sick of the constant attention and harassment. Even if it’s light hearted and harmless it can still be exhausting. Each person will figure out how to deflect hit-ons in the streets of Indonesia over time, but by then you’ll be near the end of your 30-day visa. Instead of feeling obliged to interact with every guy who tries to tell you he’s in love with you, check out these tips on how best to react to hit-ons on the street.


Make a Joke:

Usually when guys hit on you in Indonesia, they do it in a joking manner. But nonetheless they expect you to be flattered, or at least to draw your attention into their shop. If you respond to a hit-on with a joke, it shows that you’re in on their sales trick and that you’re too smart for their flattery to make you buy something. If a guy on the street says “will you marry me?” respond with something equally ridiculous like: “Sorry, I already have three husbands at home!”. Indonesian guys will often find this kind of childish humour absolutely hilarious. If you have the will and the energy, make a joke out of your hit-ons because everybody wins!

Ignore it:

Indonesian guys tend to use the same hit-ons over and over again, and they all seem to know the same ones. For example you’ll often here a guy say “Hey, I’ve seen you before!” and if it’s the first time you’ve heard this you’ll answer “Where?” or “No you haven’t”. Then they’ll say “In my dreams last night”. At first this is kind of funny but once you’ve heard the same thing over and over, it can be exhausting. This is the point in your trip when you become a master at ignoring. Just look straight ahead or look at your phone and act like you didn’t hear them. This might sound a little rude but you can’t be expected to offer your attention to every guy who wants it. After a while you’ll get so good a tuning out the hit-ons that you simply won’t hear them, and then they won’t bother you.

Tell Them How it is:

Most of the time guys will say things that are so ridiculous that they won’t offend you, like “I’m in love with you” or “will you marry me?” but sometimes they make really disrespectful or vulgar comments without realizing how offensive they might sound. For example, you might get “I love your bathing suit” or “hey Sexy”. For some people this won’t come off as offensive but for others it will. It’s very rare that a guy on the street will have the intention of making you feel uncomfortable and if you tell them that you’re offended, maybe they won’t use these kinds of comments on women in the future. If you just say “I don’t like being talked to like that” not angrily, but with a straight face, they’ll likely catch your drift.

Make a Scene:

On the rare occasion that you get a hit-on that was intentionally meant to make you feel uncomfortable, you have every right to make a scene. If a guy says “hey, do you want to kiss my friend?” and points to his dick, you can say “go fuck yourself” loud enough to make some heads turn. It feels good to stand up for yourself, and it establishes that you’re not an easy target. Even when a comment is intended to make you uncomfortable, it’s very rare that you’re in real physical danger. Even though you’re probably safe, it doesn’t hurt to show that you’d put up a good fight if someone tried to mess with you.


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