Don't Say No -- Ask Why.
I studied psychology. When people learn this, they often ask, "Oh! Are you analyzing me right now?"
The answer is yes. Absolutely. And here's my analysis of you:
I'm sensing a heart problem with a father figure in your life.
I sense that you are sometimes insecure, especially with people you don't know very well.
You had an accident when you were a child involving water.
You have a great deal of unused capacity which you have not turned to your advantage.
And... your sexual adjustment has caused some problems for you.
How'd I do? Chances are, pretty well. See, each of these "insights" is really just a Barnum statement -- a statement that's more or less true for everyone -- and relies on the Forer effect, or the eagerness of people to fill in details and make connections to their lives.
This technique is used by mentalists, psychics, fortune-tellers, mediums and illusionists to rip off innocent (and often vulnerable) people. It's a crime, and these people should be prosecuted. But I digress.
I've got another prediction for you!
You're bad at saying no.
Not because I have anything against you -- but because you're a person, and most people (especially women) are bad at saying no. As I wrote in Why Most People Suck At Saying No -- And How You Can Start Improving Today:
Hardly anyone ever “just says no.” We say, “I would, but…” "If it had been any day but today…” In other words, when people ask for something, you’re probably giving them an explanation/excuse as to why you must say no.
Try that! Cut off their chance to come with a workaround to your clearly-stated boundaries and preferences. After all, as I wrote in The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Gif ALL Women Need to See ASAP:
If you've said, "No," and the guy answered with, "Oh, come on!" -- or by simply ignoring you, or by pretending to comply for a moment before trying again, or in any way other disrespecting your wishes -- which of you is actually being rude?
It's not "rude" to say no -- but it can definitely feel that way.
That's why I regularly remind myself that I am not the one who is being rude by saying no.
But it's still not easy -- especially since saying no is a low-level form of aggression. It's not cooperative, and it causes tension in a system.
If saying no is uncomfortable or hard for you, here's another suggestion:
Don't say no -- ask, "WHY?"
Then look the person in the eye and say nothing. Wait for them to answer -- however long it takes.
This response is great, because it's less "aggressive" and "confrontational" -- and it shifts the burden of providing an explanation from you to the asker.
It's great, because people (American people, anyway) are very uncomfortable with silence. If you can commit to enduring the silence, chances are the person will end up stammering something stupid and apologetic, without you ever having to say no.
So, for example, anyone who reads The Happy Talent regularly knows that I love playing basketball. Anyone I've played with knows I'm really good. (And, no, it's not "arrogant" for me to say that -- it's just true. By any number of objective standards, like rebounds, steals, and points. Hopefully a woman with confidence doesn't ruffle your feathers too much. #ChooseBeautiful).
But because I'm almost always the only girl:
I sometimes have to deal with dumb, sexist shit.
Like, when we're matching up on defense, I'll pick whom I want to guard — someone tall and powerful and fast and strong, like me. I love defense, and I want to guard the biggest, best guy possible. Plus, I know from experience that whoever I'm guarding isn't going to score much -- if at all.
But then some guy on my team walks up and tells me to go guard some puny little guy I don’t want to guard, so he can take my man.
Instead of saying, "No! Stop being sexist!"...
I look him in the eye and ask, “Why?”
And I wait.
Eventually, he stammers something dumb and walks away, feeling lame and guilty. Honestly, I usually don't even know what they're saying -- nor do I care.
He just tried to make a game I love less fun for me.
He just tried to force me to do something that would basically make driving to the gym and playing this sport a waste of my time.
He just tried to do something that would hurt our team's chances of winning.
He should feel stupid.
Here's another example:
You're at a party, alumni gathering, or even professional event... and some dude you don't even know starts touching you. Maybe he's got his stranger arm around your shoulders, or he's got his stranger hand on your leg.
And you're like, "Why? Why are you touching me?"
And then you stare, and wait.
What's he going to say that? What reasonable explanation can he possibly give for touching you without your permission, when he doesn't even know you, or when the situation is clearly not appropriate?
Though, of course, "Don't touch me" or "Stop touching me" also works.
Maybe some dude asked you to go to a movie with him tonight. You said no. He's all, "Oh, come on! Live a little! It'll be fun!"
And you're like, "WHY?"
It's a little disarming, right? Like, why what? Why would it be fun? Why should I go with you? Why are you asking me? Why do you like me?
But, of course, "Why do you keep pushing? I said I didn't want to go," also works.
You get the idea. I've found that, "WHY?" is a pretty effective way of combatting pushy jerks who are trying to walk on you or put you in uncomfortable positions. So if you find you have a hard time saying no or frequently feel like you're being taken advantage of, give it a try.
One last piece of advice, though. As I wrote in Women, Make Your Whole Life Better By Learning This ONE Phrase:
Obviously, it's hard to overcome years of social learning. Which is why it's so, so important for you to mentally rehearse. Learn the phrase -- or modify it to your satisfaction. Decide exactly what you want to say. Then visualize yourself saying it to the next gross-ass pickup artist who comes and puts his arm around you at a party or event.
Commit to being the kind of person who stands up for him- or herself. Like, actually think, "I'm the kind of person who stands up for herself."
And then imagine how you'd respond in specific troubling scenarios. Mental rehearsal works. It will help.
Want to know more? Check out:
10/18/2017 05:48:38 am
I really liked this article, and recently had the opportunity to try it out!
10/23/2017 10:11:03 am
Haha, omg I love this! Thanks for sharing! :P
11/2/2017 11:34:27 pm
Hi, I got a degree in psychology and your "analysis" sounds like you studied psychology on Tumblr and/or didn't pay attention in college...please stop calling your male-favored analysis of coercion "psychology"...and keep criticizing EF. You really think your the first "Why weren't you clear?" or "Why didn't you walk away" person to make scapegoats for male violence, abuse and manipulation of females?
11/3/2017 10:59:54 am
> "Hi, I got a degree in psychology and your "analysis" sounds like you studied psychology on Tumblr"
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Eva is a content specialist with a passion for play, travel... and a little bit of girl power. Read more >
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