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When it comes to telling people “no,” it appears easier for men because 1) women don’t take kindly to rejection so they’re more hesitant to do the same to their friends, 2) women can be a bit irrational when thinking about the consequences of saying “no,” and 3) men and women tend to have different standards when it comes to friendships.

The “slight” difference between men and women.

Men and women have different ways of dealing with requests made by friends. When asked for a favor both will determine whether they will say yes depending on 1) how reasonable the request is and 2) whether they’re actually capable of carrying out the asked favor. Women, by nature, tend to be more giving and take the feelings of the person into consideration. Also, women generally tend to be more willing to go the extra mile, even if it means sacrificing themselves in the process.

Women don’t like being told no. By anybody.

As I talked about in my earlier piece regarding women and rejection, women don’t like being told “no.” This is a key point as to why it’s easier for men to say no. If a friend asks me for a favor that I either cannot do or have a reason not to do, telling him no isn’t seen as a rejection of the person. If a favor cannot be granted, it simply means that favor cannot be granted. For men, it’s possible that because we experience rejection more often (like when approaching women) we simply don’t have an emotional reaction to it. Furthermore, unless it’s a “life or death” situation, we’ll simply resolve to either asking someone else to do it or handling it ourselves.

The gates of hell will not open up because you turned down a friend’s request.

While discussing women’s internal conflicts with telling someone no, I’ve found that women tend to be a bit more extreme with respect to the emotional ramifications. Not to be sexist, but women seem to be far more likely to think of worst case scenarios when saying no. I’ve witnessed stress and belief that the gates of hell will open up and swallow women whole for rejecting a favor. Or, in a more realistic case, they believe it makes them a bad person for not being able to help. Life, and these types of situations, are hardly, if ever, that serious.

If you can’t help, you can’t help. If you don’t wish to sacrifice yourself every time someone asks to help, that’s perfectly fine too. There are a myriad of reasons to refuse to help someone, even if it wouldn’t take the effort to text a response. Whatever the case, men tend to take a far more pragmatic view on these decisions than women, which is why it might appear men have less of a problem saying no than women do.

Men tend to do it like “this” and women tend to do it like…”that.”

Lastly, it might also be worthy of consideration to take into account the nature of friendships for men and women. From an observational standpoint, women tend to deal with the slights of their peers differently than men do. Whereas men are generally of the mind, “that’s the homie and if he can’t do it then he can’t do it,” I find women don’t take that same approach. Again, observationally speaking, women tend to be more likely to bring up those past favors when handing them out or feeling as if they’ve gained a chip they will be able to “cash in” at a later date. A woman does her friend a favor and she later feels as if the next time she needs a favor to be done, she shouldn’t be refused. It almost turns into a “look at what I did for you and you can’t even help me out when you need me” type of situation. No, that’s not every woman and every situation, but I do think in some cases that’s the logic being used.

The bottom line is it’s easier for men to say no because we tend to believe the person will likely be able to fix their situation at some point. Women tend to believe if they can’t help, something terrible will happen and it’ll make them a bad person. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that some situations are much harder for men to say no to (especially when a woman of his interest is asking) and it’s far easier for women to say no (especially when it comes to men they don’t care for) in certain situations. Like most like situations, its all depends on the context and who’s asking.


For more on RealGoesRight’s opinions on men and women, be sure to check him out with the all-star collective of black men writers over on SingleBlackMale.Org. If you prefer something a bit more direct, feel free to follow him on Twitter at @RealGoesRight and subscribe to his blog at RealGoesRight.Com.

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