Dear Male Friends, No Definitely Means No
"I'm not interested" does not mean "keep trying until I give in."
We live in a society where boys are taught not to take no for an answer--to go after what they want. Great! They, as everyone, should reach for the stars and work hard to achieve their goals. Unfortunately, society teaches them that this includes girls. Boys are taught that if a girl says she's not interested, then she's playing hard-to-get and he must work harder "wear her down".
One of the reason online gaming soared instantly with its inception is that it allowed gamers to play with others and make friends from all walks of life. But it also provided another avenue for harassment. I recently made friends with a pretty decent Overwatch player while in a match.
Sometimes it's difficult to find random players with whom you have decent team-symmetry with. This guy and I were pretty damn lethal. Soon, I noticed a bit of clinginess on his part, so I backed up and began to play with him a little less, only grouping with him when we were playing with other friends.
Then, one day, while we were playing with friends, he sent me a private message and asked if I were single. Harmless enough. "No, I'm not single," I told him. "Is your bf okay with you being with other guys?" Whoa! What is this guy even talking about? "No, he's not," I responded. I knew where this was going, so I continued. "Even if he were, you and me, definitely not going to happen. I'm just not interested." His response, "Why? I've been with older women." I reiterated, "I'm with someone. Plus, we just wouldn't be compatible. I'm not interested. Sorry."
He tried to get me to talk in Discord. I kept focusing on the match. Then he added, for some odd reason "I usually look for fwb but idm (I don't mind) taking it slow." Once again, I told him, I expressed my disinterest. Still not getting the hint, tells me he bought something to help him "ejac". Why would I even want to know that?!
After the match was over, I logged off. The next day I went to log on and saw he was online and I decided not to log on. For two days. I came to the realization that I was going to have to block him because I want to play my damn game. The next time I logged on he sent me a group invite before my screen finished loading! I declined. Then I told him "Look, I don't feel comfortable gaming with you anymore." Then he hit me with "No one wants to play with me anymore." That actually made me feel bad for him. So, instead of blocking him, I told him that I'm just going to play alone for a while.
I confided in one of my gaming groups that I'm in and other women talked about their very similar experiences. One woman made very good sense in saying
"Men are socialized to believe that wearing women down through persistence is a legitimate and acceptable way to get what they want from them."
I thought about it and this was not the first time. And each time it had happened, I felt uncomfortable, then guilty for saying no. I've even dated guys because they "wore me down" even though I still wasn't interested; I was made to feel bad for saying no. It's called coercion and it's a common narrative among girls and women. It's one of the many reasons ladies have begun to create spaces just for them.
So here's a piece of advice to our guy friends:
When a lady tells you she that she is not interested in you, do not assume that you must wear her down and keep trying. Back off. If she changes her mind later on down the road, she will let you know. Or, if you feel the climate has changed down the road, try again. But don't be pushy. Don't try to coerce her into dating you. That's not cool at all. It's beyond creepy. And yes, this definitely goes both ways because we know that guys experience this just as well.
Have you had a similar experience? Tell us about it in the comments. Don't forget to LIKE us on Facebook.