More for my Female Readers: Why Saying "No" Is So Important

Rori Raye put up a really powerful post today. It’s a follow-up to her “friends with benefits” post from a week or so ago. It resonated with me at such a deep level that I’m going to print an excerpt here:

This first series of posts is not about making the man wrong, or about moving on, or about anything cool or reasonable or even understanding anything or learning the lesson.

This is about saying NO.

Even when you don’t have full information.

This is not about throwing things away, or belittling someone or yourself, or talking, or communicating, or arguing, or trying to understand, or giving someone the benefit of the doubt, or even getting into your feelings and expressing them.

Those are all well and good – those are crucial, but they cannot happen until you can say NO.

You cannot say yes to ANYTHING until you can say no to something.

Until you can say NO to what you don’t want, you can’t say Yes to what you do want.

In fact, until you can say NO to what you don’t want, you can’t even KNOW what it is you DO want.

This is powerful stuff for all of the women reading here. I’ve been reading Rori’s blog for some time, and I gotta say, this may be the most powerful post she has ever written.

I have written about vulnerability and saying no before.

A woman MUST say no to what doesn’t feel good. She must REMOVE HERSELF from dating situations that feel awful. She must do it without regard for the outcome of the relationship because SHE IS NOT DOING IT FOR THE RELATIONSHIP. She is doing it for her own dignity, for her own self-respect, and for her own self-esteem. It is not about the man. It is about HER.

A man recently asked me to be “friends.” My answer was an unequivocal NO. He tried to reason with me, but I’ve done enough dating to know where that leads. It leads to hating each other. And I have no interest or energy for hating anyone. I would rather leave the situation altogether.

So here’s some raw text dialogue for you. This is as honest and raw and vulnerable as it gets, and I didn’t say these things for him. I said them for me. I didn’t say these things to blame him, but I did say them to hold him, and me, and my subconscious mind, and the Universe accountable.

There is a huge difference, my friends, between blame and accountability. Blame is destructive. But accountability is indispensable. Without accountability, where is trust? Where is integrity? Where is self-respect?

Me: I didn’t allow myself to go down this path so that we could be friends.

Him: Me neither. But it’s obvious we want pretty different things right now. It could change in the future. …

Me: Very well then. I like you a lot but no thanks.

Him: Haha, what do you want from me? You make no sense to me sometimes.

Me: I’m not about to settle for less than what our connection deserves. I’d rather remember it fondly.

Him: Is it less? Or just different? I’ve never understood the “all or nothing” mindset.

Me: It feels like a lot less to me. It feels like a cop-out. It feels like I was led down the path of sun moon and stars and then when I got there someone said here would you mind settling for these crumbs instead. If you have ideas that might feel better I’m all ears. For now the answer is a polite no thank you.

And later I said:

Me: I love you a lot and I’ll miss you but I do not want an uncommitted relationship.

I have a marriage offer on the table from another man. A wonderful, sexy, and reliable man’s man. Why on earth would I settle for crumbs?

And you, my dear female readers, shouldn’t either.

Learn to say no. It’s not about him. It’s about YOU.

It’s by saying no to what we don’t want, powerfully and unequivocally, that we make the space in our lives for what we do want.

About the Author:

Erika Awakening is a Harvard Law School graduate and former practicing attorney. She left the rat race to become a location-independent entrepreneur, holistic life coach, blogger, speaker, healer, and Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT tapping) expert. Erika Awakening is one of the world's foremost experts on eradicating limiting beliefs and lifestyle design on your own terms. Learn more about Erika Awakening

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Make sure to check out this book

    Mating in captivity by esther perel

  2. Anonymous says:

    “I like your quote, “dating is a game where each player is trying to make the other commit while keeping his options open.” It’s true, except there’s a missing part in there–the part where two people actually fall in love. To me, that’s the whole point of the game. And when the other person is in love with you, they don’t WANT to keep their options open–they want to do whatever it takes to be

  3. Dan, 8 sounds great. ;)

    Here’s a few of things that will make me or any woman feel second-class on a date, all of which have actually happened to me in the past few months:

    1) Completely zone out because the restaurant has belly dancers on a big TV screen.
    2) Use me as a listening ear for everything that’s wrong with the world, and don’t even make half an effort to get

  4. Anonymous says:

    also do you think the guy should bring up the question of commitment/exclusivity first ? after having sex the first time?

    from my personal experience, whenever I acted relationshipy too early on, I never got the girl…whenever I treated her like I only wanted casual sex for the moment I got laid.

    thanks again


  5. Anonymous says:

    that’s some reasonable answers Erika, but if commitment is not necessarily related to exclusivity, then what is true commitment to you?

    what is your clear definition of commitment (please give examples) us guys want to learn!



  6. MH,

    I agree with you, I don’t see it as a demand at all, especially if he’s willing to let it go at that. It would only be a demand if he then tried to pressure her. If he’s willing to walk away, it’s not a demand.

    The trouble is that two days in there is unlikely to be much buy-in on her part because they haven’t had enough emotional experiences together. But I’m sure

  7. Anonymous 2:08,

    There is a difference between commitment and exclusivity. They can go together but not necessarily.

    I’ve been open to the idea of polyamory based in a solidly committed relationship, but to be honest my recent experiences have led me to be highly skeptical of that option.

    I do see the occasional polyamorous relationship that seems solid, but

  8. Anonymous says:

    “…our hypothetical guy isn’t saying what HE wants. He’s making demands on somebody else”

    what if what he wants IS a committed relationship? what if he is willing to be exclusive himself? why is it a DEMAND if a guy wants it, but if a women start hyperventilating about the guy not being committed to her then he is an asshole?

    “dating is a game where each player is

  9. Dan_Brodribb says:

    “at what time in the relationship do you want the guy so say “I want you to be exclusive with me?” or you want him to say ” I will be exclusive with you?”

    I don’t think it ever works that way, MH. There’s no timetable on these things.

    The reason this quote doesn’t work from your 740 post…

    “on the second date he told you that if you want to see him again then

  10. Anonymous says:

    “Anonymous 7:40, I’d probably think that was too fast. But experienced daters who’ve been intimately interacting for six months or more can certainly make that decision”

    “Anonymous @7:40: To me, the only right answer to that one is, “OK, it’s been nice knowing you, good luck on your search for Ms. Right. :)” Sure, I’d respect him, he’s made it clear what he wants, but I’d walk away

  11. Linmayu, I’m down. Pick you up at 8?

    Thanks for the insights into testing – I’ve believed for a while that basically a guy needs to present a consistent, authentic personality throughout the whole interaction. I think tests have the purpose of weeding out people who are putting up fronts, and providing attraction spikes as a reward for the guys who do pass them effortlessly.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Hi Again, Erika! I wanted to post a link to my blog again… I think your female and male readers would enjoy yesterday’s posts… One is my observation of my internal responses to being offered a “Friends with Benefits” deal and I also wrote one in honor of Goldilocks.

    Staying with solid NO is bringing up a lot for me and I know it is

  13. Dan, did you just ask me out? If you’re half as handsome as you are intelligent, then sure. ;D

    As far as tests and mixed signals, yes, guilty as charged. I’ve had to work at learning how to let a guy down gently when I’m not interested, yet without doing it so gently that he still thinks I’m interested.

    I don’t really test men too much consciously; it’s been my experience

  14. @ Anonymous 7:32, thanks for the article. There’s a lot in there. Yeah, part of this “saying no” thing is not being the “junkie” girl (as Rori calls it) who is chasing after a relationship that never quite materializes. It’s either here now, or I’m not interested.

    @ Anonymous 7:40, I’d probably think that was too fast. But experienced daters who’ve been intimately interacting for

  15. Anonymous says:

    “I respect a man who knows what he wants and goes after it. It’s very hard to respect a man, or anyone for that matter, who doesn’t have clarity about what they want.”

    Well, how would you feel if a man told you on the first date hat what he is looking for is an exclusive and committed relationship and then on the second date he told you that if you want to see him again then you have

  16. Anonymous says:
  17. Everyone:

    Thank you for the beautiful comments today. You all made my day in a way that I can’t even explain.

    As for commitment, I have this to say: “Anything less than everything is nothing.”


  18. Makes sense. For us the challenge is to want unapologetically and for you guys the challenge is to be wanted unapologetically.

    It’s struck me as funny sometimes in the past where if a girl sees that a guy doesn’t make a move, she figures he doesn’t want her enough, whereas the guy simply didn’t have the nerves to do it. And maybe he doesn’t want her enough if the nerves are more

  19. Dan, I love how you’ve said “It’s SOOOO important to attraction that we know what we want and go for it unapologetically. SOO important. SOOO important. You can tell how important by how many times I’m relating this.”

    Because, it is very true. I realized today, and made a vision board to remind myself, that what I ultimately want in a man is that he KNOWS what he wants, and he wants

  20. Erika, I especially like your point about it being about “you,” or “me.” Er, you know what I mean.

    And especially as it relates to the subconscious. I’ve realized something as of late, which is that I feel very little hostility toward people if I forgive *myself* for allowing them to get to me. It’s also a frame that allows for a greater sense of personal responsibility for creating

  21. I enjoy when you write the ones that challenge me.

  22. Dan,

    That was beautifully said. Thank you.

    Yes, saying no isn’t just better for the person saying it. It is in fact often the ONLY way that a relationship can return to a good place.

  23. Dan_Brodribb says:

    I really enjoyed this post and the Rori post that inspired it. It made some things a lot more clear for me.

    Speaking as someone who has been in the shoes of the male in the Regina example, I can say when you say “yes” to something you don’t really feel, you aren’t really doing me OR the relationship any favors either. Although I may not admit it at the time, there are times I need to

  24. Anonymous says:

    Dearest Erika!

    I will repeat my comments to you via FB here… I texted you last night with this message… “if women only knew…” you wrote back and asked, “knew what?” And as I began to give you some cheeky response, everything in me went in a million different directions and there was no way to text you back…

    I had to come home, and go to bed early because I was

  25. I feel fascinated by what you've just said, so I just googled Marshall Rosenberg. Turns out I have a friend who's been trying to get me to attend NVC workshops for months, and I've put her off because I'm not in a relationship and couldn't see the value of it.

    Having freedom from all that logical, critical, judgmental "stuff" that floats around me,

  26. Hi Linmayu,

    Thank you for chiming in. Your words mean a lot to me because I feel very heard and seen.

    As for the detractors, I am fortunate to have been well-trained by Marshall Rosenberg never to hear what anyone else *thinks* of me.

    That whole stream of logical “in the head” thinking and judging goes right over my head now, and thank goodness for that.

  27. @ Tquid,

    I agree. Men also need to be clear about what they want and not allow things to be wishy-washy.

    I respect a man who knows what he wants and goes after it. It’s very hard to respect a man, or anyone for that matter, who doesn’t have clarity about what they want.

  28. Wow Erika!

    I've been reading through your recent entries and I feel so inspired by your commitment to your own dreams, even in the face of a hundred anonymous commenters trying to tear you down, discredit you, or convince you to serve THEIR interests alone.

    I feel inspired by the way you make your own decisions about sex and celibacy and marriage, regardless of what'

  29. Hi Daria,

    Thank you so much for commenting. I appreciate your support.

    Yes, what I like best about all this is that I didn’t say what I said to get a reaction from him. I said it for the pure joy of expressing myself and speaking my truth.

    The words came to me with such clarity and force and resolve that I knew they were coming from “somewhere else.” The

  30. A good message for men, too, actually–many of us, I think, need to learn to say “no” to our own propensity for offering to settle for less–I’ve known too many guys (and been this guy too many times) who drag their own hearts through the shit, limping after a woman whose “no” goes unexpressed or unheard. It destroys the man’s dignity, and all too often leads to the woman’s contempt, to

  31. Anonymous says:

    Erika i loved how you said this:

    “Me: It feels like a lot less to me. It feels like a cop-out. It feels like I was led down the path of sun moon and stars and then when I got there someone said here would you mind settling for these crumbs instead. If you have ideas that might feel better I’m all ears. For now the answer is a polite no thank you.”

    I really feel

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