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“Sometimes, it’s easier and less painful for everyone if you drop clear hints,” rather than putting it bluntly, says Paul, 28 (who’s gay, but also my trusted guru on how men think).
Those hints might take the form of, say, “I’m super-busy, but it was great meeting you,” or, "I’m not in a good place to be dating." They shut things down without a less-personal blow.
Their instincts match those of Aziz’s audience: in abstract terms, we want a more upfront attitude.) But I got to wondering if we’ve got a Gift of the Magi issue going on, in the straight world, anyway: Women crave direct terminology (perhaps because we analyze things and need them to be put to bed), while men prefer the unbruised ego and we’re all running around treating one another the way we’d like to be treated — and pissing each other off in the process.
(Ugh.)“I don’t think there’s any data on exactly this issue, but on average, men tend to externalize and women tend to internalize,” says Joanne Davila, Ph D, a professor of psychology at Stony Brook University and the author of .
“So, guys might be more likely to get angry and lash out in response to direct rejection, whereas women might take that in and feel bad about themselves.” Witness Bye Felipe, an Instagram account documenting straight dudes responding (poorly) to female rejection. “There’s some evidence that women are more emotionally skilled than men,” says Erica Slotter, Ph D, an assistant psychology professor at Villanova University who researches relationships and self-concept.
Then, there’s our socialization: Again, #generalizations, but women are typically taught to be nice, while men are taught to be masculine. “I hate to use the term ‘skilled,’ but there’s evidence that women have a broader emotional vocabulary, so they can talk about emotions using a greater variety of words.” This starts early: One study, published in , suggested that conversations moms have with their daughters contain more emotional words and content than the conversations they’re having with their sons, which leads to girls growing up more tuned into feelings than boys.
My friend Juan may have put it best: “Say what you feel; don't feed anyone a line.They may like it, they may freak out, but you can't keep them from feeling pain.Rejection is the price of doing business.” And it’s part of that kissing-frogs period that will, eventually, get you to whatever you want. " Lyz, 30, says, “I had fun hanging out with you, but I'm not feeling long-term compatibility.”We feel good about ourselves.We pat ourselves on the back for doing the kind, mature thing. Sometimes, they’re gracious, but there’s also been the curt “K,” the insults (“You aren’t that hot, anyway.”), and worse.