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Jewish Journal

Why Can’t I Just Say No?

by Tamara Shayne Kagel

November 22, 2010 | 9:00 am

I’ve reached a point in my life where I have to start saying no to fillers.  Fillers are the guys you sort of date in between.  There’s nothing wrong with them per se, but for whatever reason you know right off the bat there’s no future.  For instance, this weekend I was at a big music industry party and I immediately hit it off with this guy.  He was attractive and dressed well and immediately got my sense of humor.  So for the first twenty minutes we had some great flirtatious banter. 

But pretty soon, it became clear, I was not going to date this guy.  He’s a few years younger than me and works a cash register, but of course one day, he’d love to direct.  Gag me.  Now, there’s nothing wrong with being a struggling artist and not making a lot of money while you’re going after your dream – I’ve done it myself.  But just telling people that you’d love to direct doesn’t qualify.  So when he asked for my number, I found myself hating him for putting me in a position where I have to be the bad guy.

At one time in my life, I would have said yes.  We’d probably have fun on a few dates, go to some good restaurants, and I’d get to know a possibly interesting person until it ran its course.  But, I just don’t want to waste my time with these guys anymore.  I’ve seen too many of them and the complete lack of all ambition is not really a turn on for me.  The fact is like it or not, I don’t date beneath me.

So the real question is, why do I feel so bad about saying no?  Why would I rather give the guy my phone number and save him in my phone as do not pick up then just say to his face “no sorry I’m not interested.”  But I find it so hard to do. 

For generations this wasn’t a problem.  A girl could get out of it pretty easily by giving a fake number.  You could even give it to him one digit off and if you ever got caught just say he heard you wrong.  But nowadays, you give a guy your number and he texts you immediately saying “did you get it?”  So unless you have the guts to say to someone you’ve been talking to for an hour “sorry, I don’t give my number to losers” you’re gonna get stuck in this miserable elongated text exchange till you finally say no thanks.

I know plenty of girls just never respond to these texts but my belief in good manners means that I always respond.  Usually I end these things by being evasive till I finally say I’m too busy with work to get together or that there’s someone else or that I’m dealing with a crisis and always via text unless they trick me into getting on the phone with them.  The thing is, should I feel bad about this?  Would the guy be happier if I said to his face “no thanks, you have no job, no prospects, and your degree from ITT Tech is not that impressive?”  Is just “no, you can’t have my number” with no explanation better? 

I genuinely want to be considerate here but I’m just not sure that the upfront honesty thing is the best way to go.  I don’t want to stare someone in the face while rejecting him.  If I really thought he preferred it that way, I guess I would suck it up and do it, but it seems to me that he’d probably rather be let down with some lame excuse in private.  So in the end, the can’t-say-no policy, seems to be the best for everyone and unless or until I hear otherwise, I guess I’m sticking with it. 

Maybe the real solution is for AT&T to come up with an automatic response for me.  Like I could just save his number with a setting so that every time he called he would hear that nice lady from AT&T saying “hello.  The cellular subscriber you are trying to reach wants you to know you have not reached this recording in error.  She is simply no longer available for you to contact.  Please delete this number from your records.  To repeat this message press 1.”  Life would be so much easier.  Who knows how to make an iPhone app?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Tamara Shayne Kagel is a twenty-something fixture on the Los Angeles scene currently living in Santa Monica.  Currently, Tamara is a successful freelance writer (just ask her...

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