Learning to take no for an answer

Brian Fosdick
Brian Fosdick

If you’ve ever been in a serious relationship for a long period of time, you probably ran into the situation where someone else hit on your significant other. Normally, this situation isn’t a big deal. Your significant other tells them they’re with someone, they get a little disappointed, but they ultimately let it go. It wasn’t until my college years that I ran in to so many people who can’t seem to take “no” for an answer.

On the surface level, it’s easy to understand why some people find it hard to just let it go when it comes to people already dating someone else. College relationships are often anything but stable and permanent. It could very well be that their relationship is on the rocks and you could be that special person who is just going to take them away from their misery. Except there’s a very high chance you aren’t and what you’re doing is irritating and disrespectful.

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Right out the gate, I can tell you any person you pursue past the point of that first “no” is not interested you and not playing hard to get. Every time this situation has come up in my life, the person being harassed has been stressed out about these kinds of people. When you refuse to take “no” for an answer, you immediately show someone that you don’t respect their opinion and don’t particularly care if they don’t appreciate your advances. It’s not a flattering trait, and more often than not it indicates that you’re willing to do whatever it takes to get what you want. It is one of the best ways to push people away from you.

The next thing not to do after you get a “no” is to pretend that you only wanted to be friends afterwards then invite them over late at night. People aren’t stupid; you can’t pretend to be interested then play dumb like it never happened. If you want to just be friends with a person, that’s fine, but don’t assume that being friends means being friends with benefits.

Over the past four years I’ve heard some of the most interesting excuses to invite people over during late night hours over simply inviting them to lunch, and I can honestly say that while they’re often funny, they’re never true. Treat people like they aren’t children and you’ll find they respect you a lot more.

The other major problem I see come up over and over is that people who persist even after the “no” tend to think that the people they’re talking to aren’t going to just tell their significant other. In the last five years at CSU I can say with complete certainty I have never seen someone’s significant other react positively to hearing that someone is harassing their partner.

I’ve seen varying reactions, some more calm and reasonable, and some involving people ending up outside other people’s houses threatening them. Yet all these reactions were brought on by the same problem, and all of them could’ve been avoided just as easily. No matter how the situation plays out, eventually their partner will find out and when they do the result will be bad.

Fortunately, for all of the rudeness I’ve seen over the years at CSU with issues like this, I’ve also seen the better side of CSU. I’ve seen students help each other with problematic situations, and I’ve seen teachers and officers help a lot of people being harassed in this way. If you see someone being approached in a way that clearly makes them uncomfortable or if you see someone ignoring requests to stop and leave them alone, I urge you to take action and help them out.

The best defense against this kind of mentality is strong community support and an active majority that helps stop this kind of behavior.

The golden rule is always the same though. If you wouldn’t want people treating your partner in the same way, don’t treat their partner like that. It’s stressful, it’s irritating, and it can cause serious problems for both sides of a third party has to get involved. Part of life is just learning to take “no” for an answer.

Brian Fosdick is a senior journalism major with a minor in political science and enjoys when you send all of his hate mail/love confessions to letters@collegian.com