Monday, 7 June 2021

No means no

 This came through on Facebook.

As someone who was hounded by a stalker dude at university and an anonymous heavy-breathing phone caller (in the days before mobile phones) who called randomly for too long, I don't like persistence.

I shared this post when it came through.

A guy in the US commented:

"A more selfish way to put this, that may stick better is “do you want to be with someone you had to convince to be with you? Of course not- you want someone enthusiastically with you!” That’s what I had wished I had heard as a young boy. It’s easy to turn “meh” into “ask again later”, and “meh” isn’t good enough."

A girlfriend agreed. She added:

"I can't say I was ever particularly excited about being "worn down". That pressure not to be mean. Either you like the person in a relationship type of way or you don't. And if you need time to get to know that person then that is easy enough to communicate. However, no does mean no and should never be negotiated. It's so degrading for both people."

Two other guys made very good points. 

The one spoke about the 'complex human ritual of courting' where he asks her out, she says no, he 'chases' and eventually they end up together happily ever after. He says that neither he nor many of his friends would be married to their partner if they'd not bounced back after those first no responses to try again and again. 

 The other similarly explained: 

"I know several cases where a friend liked a girl, asked, was turned down, and over time, through persistence (nicely of course) eventually "got the girl". One of which has now been married for two decades. Why did she say no the first time? Not in the mood TODAY for this sort of thing? Currently in a relationship, and that changes with time? You're not who she initially thought you were? There are plenty of reasons to suggest that an initial "no" should not be taken as an absolute. That said, I TOTALLY get the "no is no" argument. The hard part is finding (and teaching our children) that delicate line between being persistent in going after what you want, and in just being a creepy asshole."

The issue is two-fold. What she says and understands and what he hears and understands.

No should always mean no. It isn't a maybe or a later or a playing-hard-to-get word. It is a n. o. spells no word. Girls need to understand this. Boys need to understand this.

If a woman is not in the mood today / this week to go on a date with the person, she should have the freedom to say, "I'm really not in the mood to go on a date with you this week. In another few weeks would be better." She could even say, "Maybe, but not this week / month". Invitations can come at a challenging time in someone's life when now really is not good and their attention is not there. The invitation is open to him to try again (she could also reach out when she is ready).

But, if she never intends in a million years to spend an hour with the guy, she should just say no. He can move on, she can move on. She certainly needs to realise that if she says no, then that is it.

A man could ask a woman out but she may be in a relationship. She can and should reply, "No thanks, I'm in a relationship". 

I appreciated the many elements in this comment:

"My guy got me over time. But after the no we were friends, he never, not once, pushed the issue, until I made the move. So he basically showed, and we're talking two, three years here, that I was a person he values and wants to spend time with, regardless of my answer. That is miles apart from 'trying again' and being 'persistent' aka making it uncomfortable."

Where I was originally in agreement with the original post regarding teach.your.boys, insight from friends brought home that we also need to teach.our.girls.  

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