How to Say “No”

Cale Montoya, Staff Writer

Before continuing my column about fun date ideas, I see it fit that I should cover a topic that can be sensitive but necessary. 

At our age, dating can be awkward or scary. To some people, dating isn’t a big deal and it’s just a fun way to get to know somebody. (Which is the way it should be.) To other people, dating feels like a big commitment. While either approach is valid and there are many great ways to date, sometimes there is a wrong way to date.

Let me elaborate: in today’s teen generation, we’ve been taught to be polite or to avoid hurting people’s feelings, which is a good thing. But in some ways that has periodically become magnified in a wrong way when it comes to dating. I’m sure as you are reading this you can think of some horror stories of friends, or even yourself, living this situation. 

I have observed that recently, many people, including both boys and girls, have felt uncomfortable about going on a date with someone that asks them, but they feel pressured to agree to the date. In some cases, on a date, uncomfortable situations come up (maybe they want to kiss you or hold your hand) and sometimes you don’t know how to tell the other person you don’t want that. Sometimes you might even give pitiful consent, just to avoid being impolite. 

This pains me. Be yourself, not somebody that another person wants you to be. It’s okay to tell somebody that you don’t want to do something. It’s okay to say “no.” But there is also a nice way to do so.

Sometimes you just don’t want to try new things or may not be interested in the person asking you to do something and saying “no” is the way to let others know that. 

If you are the one saying “no” (and considering a person you aren’t interested in is asking you on a date):

Try to be kind in by perhaps explaining that it’s thoughtful, but maybe you can just stay friends and chat later. It doesn’t have to be an excuse, just be genuine and stay kind. Treat them how you would want to be treated if you were in that situation. 

If you are saying “no” to a suggestion or act that was brought up by the other person:

Don’t be afraid to be yourself by telling them that you don’t feel comfortable with that. “No, thanks. Let’s do something else,” is a pretty safe response while still treating them kindly. If you’re ever in a situation where the other is persistent about anything, be stern with them and stand your ground. 

Every situation should be handled with care and kindness, but if things get out of hand or even scare you, it’s always best to be yourself and stand up for what you believe, regardless of what others think. You are more important! 

If you are the one being told “no” to a date offer:

Understand that people have different interests and it may not be meant to be. Hopefully the person is kind to you, but if not, shrug it off. You are more important! Find other people and search for other opportunities. Life is for you, so find other people that will make you happy. 

Also understand what the other person wants and how you can make them the most comfortable. You asked them on the date and so you should treat them with all the respect that they deserve. Always make them feel like a million bucks!

All around, don’t be afraid to say “no.” Live a life without regret or fear, and practice that on dates. 

Communications teacher at Bingham, Aubrie Johnson said, “That’s kind of the point of dating, it’s repetitively a ‘no’ until it’s finally a ‘yes.’ And don’t take away the experience of the ‘no’s’ because it’ll help you build to the ‘yes’ and find somebody that you click with. But if we are always saying ‘yes’ to everybody then we are putting ourselves in these horrible spots.”

Johnson is right, dating is meant for you to find the one that you click with the best and sometimes it takes a “no” to get to that spot. Being careful about who you go on dates with and what you do on dates is a part of life. It’s okay to back away sometimes. 

This being said, don’t just say “no” because you can. It’s also okay to say “YES!” If you don’t want to go on a date just because you don’t feel like it or you don’t want to be nervous, just go for it! Life is meant to be fun, so go on more dates. A date doesn’t mean you will marry that person or be in a relationship unless you take it that way. Just go and have fun if someone asks you on a date. Be young and experience joy. 

Don’t risk engaging in things that you feel could be harmful or make you uncomfortable. Say “no” to that kind of stuff, and try to be kind to the ones who ask. But also, if someone asks you on a date and you feel good about it, go! Have fun. Play the game wisely and safely. Live life to the fullest. 

Bingham High School is full of nice kids who respect each other, so find some friends and go on a date with them. The joy of being young is trying new things but also learning to be cautious about some situations. It’s okay to say “no,” and it’s also okay to say “yes.” 

So next time you go on a date, have fun and tell them your friend Cale will beat ‘em up if they treat you poorly. Because you are important!