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05 April 2013 @ 12:39 pm
The Art of No  
With thanks to my friend Mari Adkins for passing this on:

“Women are socialized to make men feel good. We’re socialized to “let you down easy.” We’re not socialized to say a clear and direct “no.” We’re socialized to speak in hints and boost egos and let people save face. People who don’t respect the social contract (rapists, predators, assholes, pickup artists) are good at taking advantage of this. “No” is something we have to learn. “No” is something we have to earn. In fact, I’d argue that the ability to just say “no” to something, without further comment, apology, explanation, guilt, or thinking about it is one of the great rites of passage in growing up, and when you start saying it and saying it regularly the world often pushes back. And calls you names.” — The art of “no.” « CaptainAwkward.com
carmy_wcarmy_w on April 5th, 2013 08:23 pm (UTC)
Well said.

Not that your post is entirely about breaking up (because saying no to dates and dances seems much harder than saying no to commitment), but I came to the conclusion after my first engagement (at age 17, that I broke at age 18, after 6 months of stress and strain) that breaking things off quickly and sharply was less painful than dragging them out over a long period of time.
The Captain is right, though; there is an art to saying no. Because sometimes men just do NOT take a hint worth a tinker's dam!
Tapatitapati on April 6th, 2013 08:45 pm (UTC)
I think even when they aren't predators, men are used to more direct "nos" from other men so they don't get it when women try to be tactful and diplomatic. Even in daily life, not just sexual situations, I think they often just need to be told very bluntly. But they can learn to be more careful when dating if they choose to--which is what Zerlina Maxwell got criticized so much for pointing out. Acquaintance rape can be reduced if men are educated instead to wait for a YES than a NO, to check in rather than just assume.