I have a female friend in her early 30s who is 5-feet 2-inches tall and weighs 110 pounds, tops. She is a law school graduate, and formerly worked for one of the largest, most well-heeled law firms in the world before taking a job as a public prosecutor. In short, she is a formidable person intellectually, and of good character to boot.
Recently, she told/confided in me that all her life people have treated her like a “cute little girl” because of her stature. Its hard for me to empathize, since at 6’4" and 300+ pounds, nobody messes with me like this. But I have been pretty mortified for her sake at some of the stories she tells. Once another elderly local lawyer grabbed her and kissed her, in the middle of her office, in full view of everyone. (He is almost 100 years old, so she is letting it slide). A friend of the family once picked her up off the ground and moved her aside, thinking it was funny. And so on and so forth.
She affects an air of resignation about this, but obviously it bothers her, simply because she brought it up. She asked me if I had any ideas for how to deal with it, and all I could really think of was that she needed to create a distinction between “respect” and “respectful/psychological distance.”
My one idea for this was for her to be slightly bitchy, since that would create psychological distance right away. She said this was impractical for her, as she feels she is a quiet, respectful person who behaves with dignity, and being deliberately bitchy is not in her nature. And I agree with her.
So, since I have exhausted my meager intellectual resources, I turn this question over to the Teeming Millions: How can my petite female friend get people to treat her with respect off the bat?