I used to be a NO person (oh dear, this is starting to sound like something from Yes Man already). During my early teens I was always saying no and shying away from opportunities, feeling safer in my own personal bubble surrounded by all that was familiar.
Then, Project Trust did a school talk in my high school in 2009 and it was the first time I’d actually said YES to something amazing in my life. Since then, some of the other things (besides taking a year out in South America) I have said yes to have been:
- Buying the cheapest train ticket to Lancaster, which included a 6 hour overnight wait at Sheffield train station
- Going to Aarti with Nottingham Trent Hindu Society
- Going to Oceana three days before an important exam
- Playing cricket for UNLCC (University of Nottingham Ladies Cricket Club) when they were short of players
- Going to Italy for a mini break because the flights were cheap.
These are just a few things that I have said yes to, each has helped to give me amazing memories as well as build and develop friendships. The buzz of saying yes to things (as in the Jim Carrey film) really can be a fulfilling experience but despite this thrill of experiencing new moments by saying the Y word, there comes a time when you have to say no.
I work(ed) this year as team member and leader of Viva la Fiesta, an events company that strives to create fun and exciting nightclub events for international students. Part of my job involves promotion of the events that we create, most of which is via Facebook. On the night of the event, I am always approached by people (guys) that I do not know, telling me that they know me and have seen me on Facebook promoting Viva events. I don’t mind being some type of Viva celebrity on the night and I love being involved in the positive atmosphere that Viva creates, so I wear my Viva t-shirt with pride. This is not something I say no to (unless there is an opportunity to wear fancy dress).
So… where is the saying no part of this post, you are wondering? Well, during this year I have received many friend requests from guys that I don’t know and many more private messages from guys… some of which have been upsetting and downright creepy (you know who you are!). The one thing all these guys have in common? They have all seen me at Viva la Fiesta. Most recently, a guy John*, who I have seen at Viva (yet never had a proper conversation with) started to talk to me via private messaging on Facebook, asking me when I would be back in Nottingham and what my plans were. From the word “hello” I could tell that he wanted me to involve him in my plans somehow, despite him not knowing me or meeting me before.
When I was still in lectures and exams I would just ignore the messages from guys, assuming that they only wanted a free ticket for the next party (which none of them ever got); but now that I have some more free time, I replied to John’s messages. I explained to him that this Thursday would be my last in Nottingham before leaving for my Erasmus placement, yet he still invited me to a Middle Eastern restaurant to eat with him. When I said no, that I already had plans, he still had the audacity to say that if I had any free time, we could “meet up”. Now I’m sure that John is a lovely guy, but since when did this become an acceptable way to meet girls and ask them out? Not only is his timing extremely bad, but the fact that we are not even friends on Facebook surely is a hint that I am not interested in him. How more subtle do I have to be?
So I said NO, as much as I would enjoy some free food, I would probably not enjoy his company and would be wishing that I was spending my time with real friends that I want to say goodbye to before I leave for my year abroad. Also, if I were to say yes to going on a dinner date with John, what message is it sending to him and other guys? That it is acceptable to private message a beautiful girl and after a little small talk she will accept you as a friend and go out to eat with you?
I am not that type of girl and I don’t think that any of us should feel pressured into saying yes to going on a date when we don’t want to and have other and better things to do. The clichéd excuses for turning a guy down are endless:
- I have a belly ache
- I’m visiting my family
- I’m out of town
- My phone broke, I didn’t see your message
- I’m washing my hair
But actually girls, sometimes as well as saying no, we also need to be honest to men and to ourselves. If you are truly uninterested in the guy who is pining after you, be it John, Lucas or Pierre, tell him now rather than making up more excuses to avoid an awkward date.
Saying yes can be great fun, but sometimes you have to say NO.
Then again… never say no to this guy…
*Name has been changed to protect identities of people involved.