I'm a rather socially active guy in my early thirties. I meet many interesting women at meetups, speaking clubs, speed dating events and such. When I want to get to know them better, I will usually suggest doing some activity together, e.g. going to a museum, playing boardgames, or simply dining at a cafe. However, I've found out that their "sure, sounds fun, we can do that sometime" doesn't necessarily mean anything. Sometimes I suggest a specific date and she preliminarily agrees, sometimes we decide to discuss it later over messages after we check our schedules. The success rate is definitely higher when we decide on a time right away. It seems like in many cases they simply can't say "no" right away, either out of politeness or shyness or some other reason, and instead prefer to come up with some excuse later or stop responding to messages altogether.

Now, I appreciate them trying not to hurt my feelings, but honestly I would much rather prefer a straightforward "no". Sure, it would sting a little bit, but that way I could immediately move on to other plans instead of hoping for something and leaving holes in my schedule. I also fully realize that due to traditional gender roles and upbringing (I'm living in Russia, where the society is still deeply patriarchal) women might find it incredibly difficult to say "no" to men. In fact, many of them probably had a traumatic experience where a guy acted creepy and stalkerish after being rejected openly.

So basically, I believe I understand the roots of this problem and I'm at peace with the fact that it will always be a part of my life to some extent. With that said, is there anything I can do to minimize the chance of women saying things they don't mean in situations like that?

  • 4
    You understand the roots have nothing to do with you individually, so why are you trying to fix the problem individually ? It's not a problem you can solve by yourself only. You seem to be pretty good at catching the hint, so just keep doing what you're doing. If you're frustrated with keeping holes in your schedule, just stop keeping holes in your schedule for an event that might never happen. If a woman is interested in hanging out with you, I'm sure she can reschedule to a time that fits both of you.
    – Astariul
    Mar 28 at 9:02

2 Answers 2


You cannot achieve this goal. This is partly because you can't, in general, get people as a whole to do anything. But for this particular case, it is because society has very strongly trained women to be super gentle and careful and not direct at all when rejecting men. Women who reject men directly get killed. Not every time, but it happens. The headlines make it clear:

I could find you dozens more, but you get the point. We all see these headlines. We all know this is a possibility. You cannot reassure a person that you're not going to murder them if they say no. (Imagine: "it's cool if you don't want to, I won't find you and kill you for saying no." Ew!) You cannot undo a lifetime of socialization and upraising.

I am sure it seems to you that dating is super hard because you can't be sure if she's interested or not, and it feels unfair, and you wish they would be more open. For the women, they can't be sure if you're safe or not. They really really don't want to upset you. As Margaret Atwood says:

Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.

I can give you some unsolicited advice, though. Like the line about consent that says "hold out for enthusiasm" I can tell you that if someone really wants to spend time with you, you'll know. Make suggestions, suggest times, but if the enthusiasm isn't there, understand that is the "no" you are looking for. Don't be leaving gaps in your schedule because someone from coffee three weeks ago said "that sounds like it might be fun sometime" in response to a suggestion you made. Live a full and happy life, invite people to join you in it, and when they want to, they will let you know.

  • It's sad that society is like this but deep down I know I have to accept your answer heh.
    – kuchitsu
    Apr 1 at 10:08
  • Or another way to look at it: don't leave the holes in your schedule, but be prepared to be pleasantly surprised occasionally when someone does connect up later.
    – jrw32982
    Apr 2 at 19:21
  • Do you have any information about chances of getting hurt by someone who got the flimsiest of excuses, vs. getting hurt by a total stranger?
    – gnasher729
    Apr 6 at 20:04
  • @gnasher729 no, but if I did they wouldn't be relevant. The choice to clearly say no to someone who is interested in you affects the chance of that person reacting badly to the rejecting and hurting or killing you. It doesn't affect the chance of a total stranger also deciding to hurt you, or the chance of you being in a car accident or getting cancer. You may believe people are wrong to consider "hm, I don't want him reacting badly to that and killing me" if that happens less often than other bad things, but your belief is unlikely to change those people. Apr 6 at 21:01
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    @KateGregory This is a claim that you need to back up with data, i.e. a study showing that women's main fear when rejecting a suitor is bodily harm. Otherwise this answer is completely meaningless.
    – Peter
    Apr 15 at 13:58

You seem to realise it, but let me reiterate it again - your expectations are unrealistic because you can't control how other people behave and can only exercise control over your own thoughts and actions.

While you can tactfully try to be blunt (see my answer here to the question - How to approach a friend who is vague when trying to plan a meet up?), in my experience it isn't often helpful when socialising and trying to build new relationships. People like to be with those who can make them feel comfortable. Demanding or controlling people (my way or the highway) make everyone uncomfortable. And remember, irrespective of cultural factors, women like to be courted. Someone who is blunt in their approach will often be perceived by women as lacking the patience to know them, make them feel comfortable and valued.

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