It’s Okay to Say No

This week I had the experience of being around a young woman who rejected a young man who asked her out. The male foolishly thought it was a good plan to have ten of his friends help with the “asking,” complete with a cheesy pick-up line written across butcher paper, flowers, and a balloon. The young woman was mortified.

I reassured the young, humiliate female that it was definitely okay to say no. You are not obligated to give sympathy attention to every soul who takes interest in you.

I couldn’t stand that the young male chose a wimpy way to try and get a date. Bringing an army of friends and asking the female in a public place where she was put on the spot seemed like a tactic meant to peer pressure her into saying yes. People were whispering “just say yes!” to her when they noticed the awkward tension and silence as she didn’t respond to the casanova-wannabe.

Why should she “just say yes”? Because all of you are uncomfortable? Because you all feel sorry for him?

The truth was I felt sorry for him too. I know he went home that day feeling crushed. I get it. But I’m also mad at him. You don’t pressure a woman into a date. You give her a reason to say yes. You develop a connection. You really be the kind of person she’d want to date. He did none of that.

The young female was brave to resist feeling sorry for him and to stick to her guns with the answer of no. I commended her strength. Not all women have that strength, but they should. I know she’ll go home with conflicting feelings about the matter. We have to learn to tune that noise out.

My husband and I frequently debate the dynamics of male-female experiences and who has it worse. He claims it’s so hard for young men because they constantly get rejected. I don’t deny that, and as a mother of two sons, I worry about it. Rejection hurts. It hurts men and women. But just because it hurts your feelings, that doesn’t mean a woman is obligated to date you. What can be worse than a pity date?

My husband bitterly says that women have all the power in their youth. They attract the males and don’t have to deal with rejection. I pointed out that “not being picked” (AKA not having males of your liking asking you out) is another form of rejection. I also told him that judging us from ages 18-25 is stupid. We don’t know what we are doing. We make dumb mistakes, just like men. We’re never picky enough with who we spend our time with. We put up with a lot of bullshit. We pick a lot of idiots to date. We’re easily flattered (to our downfall). We make a lot of mistakes. We don’t know what we want in life. But we want to be wanted at that age. We’re insecure. We’re never pretty enough, smart enough, sexy enough.

I’ve known too many females who said yes to men just because interest was shown. It wasn’t because they liked them. The male just showed interest. What a terrible, horrible, disastrous criteria for accepting a date.

“He liked me, so I said yes.”

It’s like showing up at a prospective job and announcing “I want this job!” and they say okay, sure, if you want it, we’ll give it to you.

That would NEVER happen.

It should never happen in your dating life, either.

Women, young and old, it’s okay to say NO. Older women usually have embraced this fact already. That’s why men tend to turn the cheek to older women. Older women are on to their ways. But it’s the young women I worry about. They get caught up feeling good that somebody is interested in them, or they don’t want to hurt somebody’s feelings. Young women have a scarcity mentality–they think another man won’t come around. They worry about being boyfriend-less. They worry about not being attractive enough.

They should worry about their internal barometer of measuring new guys. If your first instinct is to say no and nothing about the guy attracts you, listen to those instincts. You have them for a reason. It’s okay to say no!

Practice with me: no, no, no, no!

Young women should be picky about who they date. You may have a hundred no’s before a yes. That may be an exaggeration, but I’m serious. There’s no number. You say no until yes feels like the absolute right decision. You don’t give out “yeses” just for the heck of it. You act like a major company hiring for a position and combing through a pile of resumes, interviewing hundreds and hundreds of people until you find that one you want to hire. This is your life, after all. Pick the competitive candidates. Say no to the duds.


How to say no, and how to say no confidently and unapologetically–those are on my list to teach my daughter.

And for my sons: why you shouldn’t fall in the love with the first female that seems acceptable to you. There is so much more. So very much more. But that’s for another day.

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