There are four major reasons why Connie of "Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been" does not recognize the threat of Arnold Friend and is, instead, seduced by him:
1. Lack of parental involvement in her life While Connie's father merely comes home after work, eats supper, reads the newspaper, and goes to bed, her ineffective mother stands over the passive father and attempts to discipline Connie. However, all that occurs is that
...they kept up a pretense of exasperation...struggling over something of little value to either of them...[until] their faces went hard with contempt.
When Connie goes to the shopping plaza with her friends, when her friend's father picks them up at 11:00 p.m., he does not bother to ask what they have done.
2. Lack of recognition of danger Because Connie is mesmerized by her beauty--"she knew she was pretty and that was everything--and deluded by music "that made everything so good...and something to depend upon"--she does not recognize Arnold Friend at a drive-in where she is worth a boy. He wags a finger and laughs, "Gonna get you, baby," and Connie simply turns away. Because her mind is filled with "trashy daydreams," she ignores threats.
3. Arnold Friend is disguised When Friend and Ellie Oscar appear at her house, Connie sees only "a tiny metallic world in his [sun]glasses." His appears to be wearing a mask and his appearance is fake and he seems to be "a familiar face" that disarms her. All the time that Friend tries to seduce Connie by the car, Ellie plays music on the radio, even turning up the volume to drown out Connie's possible thoughts.
Additionally, Friend employs teen-talk in his efforts to seduce Connie. Sometimes, too, "He sounded like a hero in a movie, declaring something important."
4. Connie is alone Without any morals instilled in her by her parents, Connie is without any moral to draw from to withstand Arnold Friend. Thus, she is susceptible to the terrors of Friend who virtually overpowers her with the threat of physical domination as well as the psychological threat of harm to her family.