When I was 14, I decided to become a volleyball player – I was never very good, but it was fun and exhilarating. My parents let me go to a special training camp over the summer, to work with some great coaches and play alongside some of the best in the city – they were really good… really athletic… one girl even dyed her hair blue and made it a point to drink a whole gallon of water a day – ok maybe that wasn’t volleyball-related, but it was interesting for our age.
After the camp, our parents would pick us up, mine always worked till 5pm so I’d wait outside the immense Gymnasium watching for my mom’s car. They had other sports camps there, and one day a basketball player that had been eyeing me came over and flirted. I’m naturally kind so I was polite, but I had no intention of making him a boyfriend, or even a friend (I wasn’t nice to strangers). He flirted harder, I tried to stay neutral to not lead him on, then my mom’s car pulled up, I was relieved. He asked for my number and I gave him one, the number my mother always called for time and temperature! I was bad, I didn’t care much about guy’s feelings then, or honesty in general, so of course I told my mom about it and laughed at him in the car thinking myself a real man-eater.
Fast forward 13 years, whenever I have a man flirt with me or outright come on to me now, I’m kinder & upfront. It takes a lot of courage and guts for a man (or even boy) to come up to someone they think is beautiful, and actually ask her out. To be rude to them, or worse, ridicule them for daring to go near you is cruel! I’m reminded of why my mother always told me that young boys prefer real women… because they’re kinder than young girls. But even men deserve honesty – and they appreciate you so much more because of it.
We had passes to a water amusement park this past summer, so I would take my son fairly frequently, I suppose I look like a single-mother, a young handsome guy came up to us and started flirting with me. At first I was so annoyed thinking, really? Can’t you see I’m a mother? But I could tell he was a genuinely good man, so I was kind to him and thanked him for his compliments and promptly told him I was married (showed him my ring) and put an end to it. He was so sweet, he brushed aside his embarrassment and still complimented me, saying I was a very beautiful woman and an obviously good mother to my son, and that my husband must be a very lucky man. I blushed and told him that I was lucky, that my husband is incredible. I also went outside myself and became very forward in order to compliment him – and tell him that he seemed like a very good man, a lot like my husband, and assured him that he would find someone amazing to love him – and that he deserved it!
He thanked me, and actually blessed me (well… said God bless you with heart-felt meaning behind the words), and we went different ways. No time & temperature numbers, no leading each other on, just honesty… it’s amazing how much difference it truly makes! His dignity was preserved, I wasn’t guilty of being cruel, and we both truly blessed each other with very genuine compliments to each other’s souls. Here are some tips for turning someone down if you’re single & not looking, or married or in a relationship:
- Be honest but also kind – don’t say something that’s true but cruel, preserve their dignity, they are a human being
- Don’t lead them on, tell them you aren’t looking for a relationship of any kind right now
- Don’t feel like you have to explain why, a kind answer of honesty that you’re not interested is enough
- Try to imagine that they are a friend or relative, and give them the same treatment
- Acknowledge their courage & encourage them or compliment them on their gentility
- If you feel like you might’ve led them on (if they were already a friend) apologize, even if you didn’t mean to
Above all, be genuine and real. Men (& women) appreciate that the most in life, in every circumstance.