Guys, Stop Making Me Feel Guilty For Rejecting You

by Sheena Sharma
Hillary Fox

A few months back, this guy asked me out by cornering me in a crowd. He and I knew each other through friends, and I could tell from day one that he was thirsty for your gal Sheens.

We were talking about fun things to do in the city before he popped the inevitable question.

"There's this art thing I want to go to ... do you want to go out sometime?"

"Out where?" I asked. "Right now?"

"No," he laughed nervously, voice shaking and all. "Like, out. On a date."

"Oh," I said. "I'm just ... eh ... not really dating right now, to be completely honest." My voice was shaking, too; as I spoke, I was wondering if he could tell just how blatantly bad I am at fudging the truth.

While it's somewhat true that I don't date because it's a major time-and-dignity drainer, it's also true that I wasn't exactly feelin' this guy.

"Ohhhh, OK," he said. He move closer to me now and leaned on his hand. "Tell me more about that."

If he were the right person, I wouldn't think twice about saying yes. But I'm not going to sit there and tell you why I'm not interested in dating you. Sometimes in life, we don't get answers to the questions we wish we could have the answers to, and there isn't anything we can do about it.

And while wasn't the most egregious example of the extreme persistence I've experienced, it made me uncomfortable. It felt like he wasn't accepting my "no" as face value.

And it turned out I was right, because a few days later, he approached me again with newfound energy.

"You know, Sheena, I know you write about love and everything, but I just have to say something. I don't think you want love. I think you're afraid of love."

I stood there flabbergasted. OK. Thanks, dude. I wasn't aware your side-job was therapist/life coach/judgey d-bag. It's not like pinpointing the reason I rejected you will impress me so much that I'll miraculously fall in love with you. You remind me of myself  back in the day when I thought I was enough to change someone's mind about life, love and the pursuit of relationship.

I empathize. I've been rejected, too. We all have. But by making me feel like I have some sort of affliction -- a fear of love and relationships -- he got me going on a self-induced guilt-trip. That kind of packed analysis tends to stick with you. If he hadn't said that, I wouldn't have spiraled.

"Maybe he's telling all his friends how much of a bitch or tease I am," I found myself saying to my best friend after it happened. "Maybe I am a bitch or a tease."

Except I'm not! I'm the furthest thing from either of those things.

Most of the time, whenever someone asks me out, I'm flattered. To know that you're making some dude's boxers wet is a pretty solid ego boost. But if I say no, and you continue to push yourself on me while hoping your unwillingness to quit will get me to say yes, I start to feel less flattered and more irritated.

Women are constantly made to feel guilty just for saying "no," as if appeasing a man is our duty or something. But if I'm just not into you, then I'm just not into you, and you can either accept that, or you can keep nagging me until I hate you enough to completely alienate you. This includes unfriending you on Facebook, not answering your texts and running while looking down when I pass you in a desperate attempt to avert the kind of awkward eye contact that ensues between two people who aren't on the same page.

Even from the rejector's perspective, it still sucks when something doesn't work out. Like, don't you think I wanted you to be the right guy for me? Don't you think I'm looking for my soulmate, too? I'm also disappointed. Maybe not as disappointed as you are, but I'm still disappointed. As much as I do want a relationship, it just wasn't possible with this guy who wanted one with me.

So now, rejected dude, I'm going to give you the same advice my girlfriend gives me when a f*ckboy tells me no: "Sweetie, you deserve more than that. Now go out and get it."