“We must learn and then teach our children that niceness does not equal goodness. Niceness is a decision, a strategy of social interaction; it is not a character trait. People seeking to control others almost always present the image of a nice person in the beginning. Like rapport-building, charm and the deceptive smile, unsolicited niceness often has a discoverable motive.”
“‘No’ is a word that must never be negotiated, because the person who chooses not to hear it is trying to control you.”
“Most men fear getting laughed at or humiliated by a romantic prospect while most women fear rape or death.” – Gavin de Becker, The Gift of Fear
How often do we say “yes” for the sake of politeness when our intuition screams “no”? How often do we tailor our behavior to put someone else’s comfort above our own? “But I don’t want to hurt ___’s feelings or offend anyone.” Seems to be a reoccurring inner monologue before I decide to act in uncomfortable social situations.
Do say “no” and say it often. It does not make you any less polite, any less kind, any less good. Guard your personal space, and if your gut tells you someone is too close, manipulative or sending predatory vibes, remove yourself and don’t give two shits if you hurt someone’s feelings by doing so.
As a woman who has been mugged and car jacked, sexually assaulted in a dimly lit side street, masturbated to on public transit, the only common denominator in every single episode was: my body and brain sensed danger before anything was visible to my eyes. Among the most basic instincts human beings and animals alike have is fear, yet human beings are foolish enough to silence that feeling. I wish I had read this book before all of these things happened, or some adult figure in my life at start of my young adulthood assured me that if I felt fear, fuck politeness and bail. But, better late than never. I no longer feel bad for crossing the street at night if there is someone walking behind me that makes the hairs on my neck stand up, never feel bad for cutting short a date that feels off for one reason or another, and definitely don’t feel bad ignoring someone who acts hurt when I say no.
Read this book even if you are a strong independent woman, read this book if you live in the city alone, read this book if you’ve ever been attacked or abused, read this even if you just started dating a super dreamy gentleman who would probably never hurt a fly, get this book for your super friendly pals who just recently started living away from home–very informative and important read.