There are infinite amount of ways to ask someone out, because there are infinite amount of situations that it can come up in. “You like bread. I like bread. Want to go get bread?” “You wanna hang out tonight?” “Want to study for our organic chemistry final?” “How do you feel about jell-o shots and tequila chasers?” From the vague to the specific to the borderline soliciting, guys have all kinds of ways to ask the same question. And for as many ways that there are to ask, there are as many ways to reject. You could probably write it as an equation: X number of attempts = X number of rejections which can be rewritten as X attempts to procreate = X number of ways to get kicked in the nut sack. But there’s the gentle tapping to the balls and then there’s aiming the wide steel toe to a 45 degree angle that’ll catch the General AND the two Colonels. Depending on how you say, “No,” you’ll open any one of a lot of doors to a response.
You can be gentle or you can be bitchy, vague and nonspecific or cruel, there are extremes either way. So what’s the best way? Depends on how well you know him. If he’s a friend or just a guy in a bar who seems decent enough, you don’t have to go from 1 to 10, where 10 is the equivalent of making him a eunuch and 1 is giving a mixed signal. Just remember: he’s putting himself out there.
Talk all about an equal rights amendment, but for all the strides we’ve made in gender equality, men are STILL expected to ask first. It’s just the way it is. Which means we’re still expected to offer ourselves up for either reward or punishment. No matter how casual a guy comes off, the situation is a built in power imbalance: You’ve got it, and you can wield it. With great power comes great responsibility.
Believe it or not, for most guys, you can just say, “No, thanks.” Or take it to a slightly higher decibel with “Not interested, sorry.” Polite and courteous of the fact he’s an actual person with actual feelings. Shaking your head and walking away could work if you’re in a group, but it borders on ignoring the whole thing happened, which might be construed as minimizing the fact he’s making an effort. Which is pretty rude. But still, reasonable.
Don’t pretend you didn’t hear him. Sure, he could chicken out asking a second time, but if he DOES, the rejection has 4x the impact.
Don’t just walk away like he doesn’t exist. Would you like it if a guy did that to you?
And really, that’s what it all comes down to: The Golden Rule. Almost ALL freaking social interactions come down to it. Put yourself in his shoes and go from there.
Ways to NOT turn someone down:
Throwing a drink in his face…unless he deserves it
Laughing at him…unless he deserves it
LITERALLY kicking him in the balls…unless he deserves it
There are times that warrant a brutal rejection. They usual involve a guy who’s acting like a douche and won’t take the first hint. He cops a feel. He literally thinks “no” just means “maybe.” He feels entitled to a “yes.” And those are guys that you also have to be a little weary around, because they don’t generally respond to, like, subtlety. Such a concept doesn’t compute in their pea brains.
Ways to turn someone down:
Do acknowledge he asked
Do be honest without embellishment
Do be direct
Do be courteous (it only takes a second to be polite)
Do consider when you’ve been in his situation
And that’s as easy as it gets. A fake number isn’t necessary. Belittling his manhood could be going too far. A verbal castration could be construed as a bit extreme. Physical injury isn’t generally necessary. But then again, there are times and places…
[Lead image via Rehan Qureshi / Shutterstock]