“Would you like to dance?”, he asks.
“No thank you”, she replies.
“Why not?”

Guys pose this question when they don’t get the answer they want when trying to get the attentions of a woman. As a general guide, women don’t want to have to explain why they don’t want to acknowledge, talk to, dance with, etc., someone who’s approached them. Now, let me break something to any guy doing the whole ‘Why not?’ thing.

If you’re guilty of this, it’s time to recognise that you have no idea who this woman is. I’m also loathe to believe that someone who politely said no to your request will have you sobbing in the toilets. If a no from a stranger affects you beyond the short term, you need to spend time understanding why your ego and self-esteem are so reliant on what a woman does or doesn’t do.

When a woman says no, take that as exactly what she means. Many women struggle with feeling guilty about saying no. We’re trained from childhood to feel bad about declining even the most unreasonable and even illegal requests. We lose our no and become women who say yes too much aka People Pleasers. This is how we end up dating, sleeping with and even engaged to people who we don’t truly love or even like. We feel obliged to say yes because we’ve been asked.

I’m not suggesting that women should be rude. And let’s be real, even the idea of what’s “rude” is subjective. No is no though.

When a woman is polite when saying no and you come back with, “Why not?”, it’s understandable if you spark an irritable response. You’re not entitled to an explanation or her attention.

I wish more women would say no. I also wish women would stop overexplaining themselves as if they have to qualify their no. What I also wish is that men (and women) would stop expecting women to justify their reasons for saying no.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out why a person doesn’t want to talk to or dance with you. They don’t want to. Their reasons for not wanting to may be superficial. They may be based on a snap judgement or precluding factors. Whatever their reasons, they’re theirs.

If women had to explain to every Tom, Dick and Harry why they don’t want to dance, talk, or whatever you’re asking, they’d never be able to just be and enjoy their social outings.

“Why not?”, comes across as facetious. If you say this, your cards will be marked as pushy and a pain in the arse.

I understand that rejection isn’t nice for anybody. Asking why someone said no is an example of where we, as humans, take rejection sensitivity too far.

A stranger saying no is not rejecting you; they’re saying no.

They don’t even know you. There could be umpteen reasons for the no without it crossing into being something wrong with you.

I’ve listened to guys moan about how this woman and that woman wouldn’t give them the time of day. There is no God-given rule that because a guy has done a bit of ‘Ip, dip, sky, blue’ and zeroed in on a woman, that she has to give him the time of day. They think the fact that they’ve bestowed their attentions on a woman should mean automatic acceptance regardless of whatever she wants.

These guys that ask why behave like door-to-door sales men that won’t take their foot out of the doorway. When asking a woman a question and it gets a no, it might be a wise idea for men to let go of their ‘sales training’. They need to stop trying to ‘handle her objection’. All she’s objecting to is the fact that the guy is still there, wanting more information from her.

So guys, accept the answer and move on. There is undoubtedly a woman out there that will say yes. When she does, it’s (hopefully) exactly what she means. You don’t have to ask silly questions about her answer and look like a dick, which can only mean good things.

The Joy of Saying No: A Simple Plan to Stop People Pleasing, Reclaim Boundaries, and Say Yes to the Life You Want (Harper Horizon/HarperCollins) is out now and available in bookshops on and offline. Listen to the first chapter.
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