A woman sits with her friend at a bar—just having a couple of drinks and catching up.
But when her friend goes to the restroom, a man approaches her. He offers to buy her a drink. “No, thank you,” she says, gesturing to the half-consumed cosmo on the table. “I already have one.”
Not so easily dissuaded, he offers a logical response: “Well, I’ll buy you another one when you’re finished.”
She rolls her eyes, discouraged that her attempt to rebuff the man has failed thus far.
Another woman is at the bar, rocking back and forth in her chair, tapping her toe to the music. A man asks her to dance. She also offers a polite rejection. “No, thank you. I’m just waiting for my friend to get back.”
“Well, we can dance until she returns,” he says confidently.
Another discouraged woman.
A man approaches a third woman at the bar, asking if he can have her number. “No,” she says. “I have a boyfriend.” Again, the man presses on. “Well, he doesn’t have to know about it.”
Confounded women have often asked me why men persist even after they have been rejected.
They have reported every way they have tried to gently—and sometimes not-so-gently—tell men they are not interested in their attention. Some of the reasons are:
>> I have a boyfriend.
>> I’m just out with my girlfriends tonight.
>> I already have a drink.
>> I can buy my own plane ticket to Paris.
>> I hate men and I think Lorena Bobbitt is an inspiration.
“Why,” they ask, “do all of these things fail?!”
Well, part of it is that if we men always accepted “no” for an answer, we wouldn’t likely get much done. Sales people would rarely close, we’d rarely be allowed to help anyone, and yes, we’d rarely get a date.
How we do anything is how we do everything, and we’ve learned that persistence pays off.
However, there is another dynamic at play. All of the things listed above, and others like them, have one thing in common:
They. Are. Reasons.
We can blame men for selfishly pursuing their own agenda or ignoring what women say, and perhaps those are valid concerns. But it’s not entirely their doing. Men tend to be rather linear, logical, and critical thinkers. Humans in general typically want to know “why.”
But the “why” isn’t just a man’s academic curiosity.
When a man floats an idea with a desired result—such as buying a woman a drink or getting her to dance with him—that result becomes his goal.
And masculine energy likes goal attainment.
If an obstacle is presented—a reason the goal isn’t immediately attainable, or the “why not”—the man sees it as something to overcome. If the obstacle can be defeated, circumvented, or otherwise eliminated, he expects the desired result to come to fruition.
And sometimes, overcoming that barrier makes attaining the goal that much more rewarding.
So what is a woman to do? Keep providing reasons until the man gets the hint? No. More reasons are just more things to overcome. And while that might eventually be effective, it isn’t too efficient. A woman is likely to spend far more time doing this than desired.
But there is another option: Never give a man a reason.
Never justify, defend, or explain your “why.”
When a man hears the reason, his logical mind subconsciously thinks that removing the reason will change the outcome.
If a woman tells a man the reason she doesn’t want a drink is because she already has one, he will hear that if she didn’t already have one, she would want the drink. The same is true if she tells him she is seeing someone. He figures if she wasn’t seeing someone, subsequently she would give him her number.
So if giving a man a reason is the thing not to do, what is the thing to do?
Three simple words should do the trick:
No. Thank. You.
If a woman isn’t interested in accepting a drink from a man, she only needs to tell him, “No, thank you,” and leave it at that. Upon hearing those three words, it is very likely the man will ask for the reason. “Why not?” he’ll ask.
And the efficient, effective response to this question is—you guessed it—”No, thank you.”
This works because men can’t do anything with it. No twisting, untangling, or rebutting. There is no circumventing “no, thank you.”
Now I’m not saying this will end the conversation immediately. The man will likely ask why a couple or even a few times. But any other answer she gives becomes another reason, another obstacle. Even saying, “Because I don’t want to,” opens the door to further engagement.
Just smile and repeat yourself with a genuine appreciation for the offer, “No, thank you.” You can even add on an “I appreciate you asking.” It may take three or four “no, thank you’s,” but if that is the only thing he’s getting from a woman, he is likely to push on.
If women can make a commitment to practicing this, it honors everyone involved. It provides the woman an opportunity to establish and hold boundaries for herself, and it provides the man a chance to learn to recognize and honor those boundaries.
If you don’t honor your boundaries, no one else will. Setting and honoring firm boundaries is a sign of strength, resolve, and confidence. Men quickly discover the woman can’t be manipulated, coerced, or cajoled into doing or giving something she doesn’t want to do or give.
This is likely to be uncomfortable.
However, you’ll likely find saying “no, thank you” feels far more comfortable than accepting an offer from someone you don’t want anything from.
And you’ll become even stronger and more empowered each time you say it.
Author: Chris M. King
Image: Scott Rubin/Flickr
Editor: Callie Rushton