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How to Say No to a Date, Sex, or Just Something You Don’t Want to Do

By HERWriter
 
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Being a teenage girl was one of the most uncomfortable times in my life. I was going through puberty, testing boundaries, starting to date, and overall an emotional train wreck. I suffered from extremely low self-esteem. To this day I have no idea why because my parents always told me I could do or be anything I wanted to in life. I also had a lot of supportive friends.

Being shy and having low self-esteem is a dangerous combo for a woman especially a young one. I could never say “no” because I was so scared of offending someone or being humiliated.

One time a boy asked for my phone number and I finally had enough courage to say no and he said, “I wasn’t trying to hit on you. Relax, I can’t believe you think you’re that important.” Jerk. I was so embarrassed. From that day on, saying no was not an option.

Over the years I became addicted to drugs and alcohol and my life spiraled out of control. I did things I didn’t want to do, said yes when I should have said no, and hung out with questionable people. I had lost my identity and was crippled with low self-esteem.

After a few months in rehab, the fog left my brain. I was back into society, had my cell phone, and started creating a life. Men would ask for my phone number and I would give it to them. It then started weeks of me making up excuses and ignoring texts. I hated it. Why didn’t I just say no? Why was it so hard?

I started seeing an amazing therapist who saved my life. She coached me through dating and love in my early twenties. I had recognized my problem and told her about it in one of our sessions. She told me to just say “no!” and that I didn’t need an explanation. I promised myself that the next time someone asked for my phone number I would simply say no. No explanation.

I also decided that I would say no to things I didn’t want to do. It sounds harsh but if an unstable woman asked me to hang out, I would say no. I had to realize that keeping myself mentally healthy was going to save my life.

Saying no has made me feel empowered as a woman. I feel like I am in control of my own life and have been setting healthy boundaries.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.