I Can Get A Man But I Can’t Say No

We women often have hard time saying what we feel and what we want, but even worse, we struggle with saying what we don’t want.

My clients often ask me, “Why is it I can get a man’s attention, but when I realize there’s no chemistry or connection, I just can’t say no thanks?” These women find it uncomfortable to tell a man that he’s not her type and she doesn’t want to go out with him again. So, often she’ll avoid phone calls and ignore emails or make excuses about being busy or having gotten back together with her old boyfriend.

Women are naturally empathetic, and we tend not to want to say something that we wouldn’t want said to us.

Men will usually just not call and will come up with things like: I’ve been really busy at work, or I’ve got a lot on my mind and will leave it at that. Wouldn’t it make more sense just to say the truth politely?

If you’re from the Baby Boom generation like me (40s to 60s in age), many of us were taught that a man’s ego is very delicate, and it’s taboo to embarrass him about his advances. When I was younger, and being a Southern girl, I would lower my eyes in shyness and either thank him for the flattery or pretend I didn’t know he was serious. Often, I’d end up going out with him because I just didn’t want to hurt his feelings, while delaying the inevitable made-up excuse.

That behavior seems so silly to me today, but it still goes on among men and women. I had to practice learning how to say it’s not working—simply and directly, just the facts without whiny apologies. A polite “I’m sorry” will do.

Here are some polite examples:

• You’re a great guy, so I’m sorry it doesn’t feel like we’re a fit.
• It’s been nice meeting you, but I don’t feel we’re a match.
• This has been an enjoyable meeting, but it’s just not right for me.
• I’ve had a lot of fun with you, but I’m sorry that we don’t have enough things (beliefs, values, lifestyle habits) in common.
• I really wish this could have worked out, but I’m sorry it just doesn’t feel right for me.
• I care about you a lot, but I see us more as friends than as a couple. I would love to do things with you, but I don’t see this moving in the direction of a romantic relationship.
• While there are many things that we have in common, after deep consideration I feel that there is not a further match between us.

If the man persists and wants to know the reason in greater depth, you’re not obliged to discuss it further nor do you owe him explanations. Simply tell him that it’s clear to you that it doesn’t work for you and it’s not a match. End of story. It’s not your duty to preserve a man’s ego by tiptoeing around the truth.

The more you practice, the easier it gets and the more empowered you feel by acknowledging your own feelings and saying what you don’t want. That’s the only way to get a man who you’ll want to keep.

Do love and life differently: Notice what your feelings are when you have to say no—to anyone. Focus on those internal feelings and give yourself permission to say the truth of what you feel. Way to be authentic!

Has this been an issue for you, too? I’d love to hear about it.

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