As a woman, one of the most uncomfortable conversations to have with a man is turning him down once he’s confessed his feelings for you.
“We can still be friends though, right?”
A comment that she probably meant in all sincerity hits him in the gut like a Louisville Slugger.
The ‘friendzone’: seemingly every potential suitor’s worst nightmare.
But her worst nightmare? Having him turn aggressive or even obsessive. From what I’ve experienced, this isn’t uncommon.
Whether you’re uninterested, unavailable or you already have a monogamous partner, rejecting someone can be nerve wracking. Having the person respond negatively can make this even worse.
Guilt, anxiety and confusion often pop up after you’ve told someone ‘no’.
“I thought you were cool.”
“I guess you’re not different after all.”
“Oh, the friendzone. Ouch, thanks.”
Sound familiar? Most gals have heard this from a man at one point or another. And it sucks. The intention behind these comments is to make women feel guilty, wrong and ashamed that they don’t share these mutual feelings, but name-calling and guilt tripping isn’t going to make her like you more.
Heads up: just because women are taught at a young age that men picking on them is ‘cute’ and ‘affectionate’ doesn’t mean we actually like it.
Just because someone doesn’t want a romantic relationship with you doesn’t mean they deserve harassment.
Once more, for the people in the back: Just because someone doesn’t want a romantic relationship with you doesn’t mean they deserve harassment.
Sometimes the rejected person reacts violently and is abusive. Perhaps the person isn’t in a healthy mental state or they begin to think, “if I can’t have you, no one will!” This is terrifying. This does happen.
Half of all Canadian women will experience some form of abuse after the age of 16. Women aged 18-24 are most likely to experience severe online harassment (threats, stalking, sexual harassment, etc.).
This is the reality women live in. A world where a best male friend can turn violent because a girl doesn’t want to be his partner. A world where men may call a woman derogatory names because she won’t accept his dance invitation. A world where women have to be cautious at all times so they don’t become a statistic.
I have gathered a list of things to keep in mind if you find yourself in a similar position:
- It isn’t your fault. You are allowed to say no and you don’t have to explain yourself.
- This is your life and you can choose whatever decision makes you happiest. Feeling guilty is not a requirement of turning someone away.
- You do not have to remain friends with this person, even if you said you would.
- If you feel unsafe or harassed, going to the police is always an option.
- Let friends know, especially if you aren’t feeling safe. If there is a threat of violence I would recommend arranging to stay with a friend or family member.
And hey, if you’re on the other end of the situation I have a reminder for you also:
- Respect the individual’s choices and move on.