Savvy women know they get what they want with men when they can say “yes” to what they want and “no” to what they don’t want. Saying “no” is usually the more difficult action to take. You may not be able to do that yet, and that’s OK. Even if you can say “no,” here are some tips to improve your communication.
If the thought of saying “no” makes you feel uncomfortable, you may want to avoid thinking about it. However, if you want relationships with anyone, standing up for yourself is an important ingredient to make them more successful. Although these tips are geared toward dating, they also apply to friends, family, and work relationships.
- Identify your feelings. It’s harder to say “yes” or “no” when you aren’t clear about how you feel. You may not be sure which approach to take, and you probably won’t sound very convincing if you haven’t convinced yourself where you stand. Recognize that you may have several options from which to choose, and take some time to explore how you feel about each of those options.
- Put your feelings first. Women are still raised to be people-pleasers, so we are often tempted to think first about what’s better for other people rather than focusing on what we need. But how can you determine if the guy you’re dating is really into you unless you make it clear to him when you aren’t comfortable? Is he concerned? Or does he just want what he wants? Putting yourself first can help you figure out whether or not he’s a keeper.
- Use “I” language. One reason experts recommend communicating with “I feel” is because the other party is less likely to hear it as you criticizing them. For example, you might say, “I’m not comfortable driving halfway to meet you.” “I’m not into casual sex.” It can work even better to say “yes” to what you want and “no” to what you don’t want this way. For example, “I’m enjoying getting to know you better, but I’m not ready to have sex.”
- Don’t argue or get defensive. If you’re telling someone you aren’t comfortable and they question that or argue with you, that’s their problem. Of course it’s OK if a man wonders what’s going on if you won’t have sex with him, so you may want to tell him you’re attracted to him and you’re just not ready yet. But when a man wants you to explain why you won’t drive to meet him, it’s OK to simply repeat, “I’m just not comfortable.” Can he accept that? Or does he have to put you on the defensive?
- Sometimes you don’t need words. When a man calls late at night and it’s past your bedtime, it’s OK not to answer the phone. Same for texts. If he’s texting you late at night to see what you’re doing and it feels like a booty call request, you don’t have to text him back.
Don’t underestimate your ability to learn this valuable skill. Get your power back so you can have the relationships you want and deserve. You can do this!
If you liked these tips, you’ll love my multi-award winning book Be Your Own Brand of Sexy: A New Sexual Revolution for Women. Learn to feel confident in handling any dating situation.
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