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Most people do not like saying no. In fact, many report it is one of the most uncomfortable words to say.
Several factors that make it difficult to say no include the need to please others or to be liked and accepted, the unpleasantness we commonly feel when we hurt someone, the negative connotation society has placed on saying no and the idea it is selfish to let someone else down or put your own needs first.
Saying no is also tricky because it’s a word most people do not like hearing either.
We may think we are protecting ourselves and others by being agreeable or saying yes all the time, but in reality we may be trapping ourselves in an inner conflict or actually neglecting our own needs, values and preferences.
Too often I hear women report that they give out their numbers, say yes to dates or continue to engage with men they have no interest in all because of the difficulties of saying no.
Women also report that they feel put on the spot when a man who they are not interested in asks for their number, which leads them to feeling even more awkward or uneasy letting a man down.
In this situation, many single women will give out their number anyway, even though they know deep down this is not the man they are ultimately looking for.
One of the problems these women face, though, is they are leading a man on and once in communication (after the man uses their number to contact them, ask them out, etc.), the pattern of being unable to cut ties with him continues.
Next thing they know, they are spending significant time texting or on the phone with this man or saying yes to dates that end up wasting their time as well as his.
Some of the reasons why this pattern might continue include they do not know how to let the man know how they really feel, they pity him, they feel guilty about turning him down or they like to keep him on the backburner in case they are feeling lonely or crave attention.
Most women can relate to one of these reasons.
I am a firm believer in being open to possibilities in life and love, but I also know it is crucial to your health to be authentic in what you feel, follow your gut, go after what you deserve and take care of yourself.
All of the above may result in the word no being the right answer for you, so it is important to gain comfort in saying it.
“Commit to staying open but
not going against what you want.”
If you find yourself saying yes when you really want to say no, or find yourself uncomfortable with expressing how you really feel, here are a five helpful tips.
When a man asks for something from you (a date, your number, your time, information about yourself, etc.), instead of saying yes as if you are on autopilot or in a habitual pattern, check in with yourself to determine what you really want to say.
If you feel a connection, want more time with him and your intuition says go for it, continue to invest energy in him. If the answer is no, proceed to tip two.
Once determining that you want to say no, make an effort to be assertive and genuine in communicating with him.
In a direct and kind way, you can thank him for asking and say you are not interested or another truth (examples: you are seeing someone else, you are not looking for a relationship, etc.)
Resist giving a long apology or making the situation complicated.
Word of caution: If you feel you are in an unsafe situation, exit quickly and remember no is a complete sentence.
Remember that you will most likely feel at least a little bit uncomfortable saying no, turning a man down or hurting his feelings.
This might be tough for you both, but it is important to honor your truth. A gentleman will respect your answer.
If he continues to bother you, pressure you or be persistent, these are major red flags.
Understand that you will eventually hurt him more if you keep him around when you really feel nothing toward him.
Your time and his time are precious, so commit to not wasting either of yours if you are not connecting with him.
Commit to staying open to a variety of potential partners but not to the degree that you are going against what you ultimately want and deserve in the love department. Be empowered!