When did No, stop meaning No?


A number of similar meanings.

No indeed.

Absolutely not.

Most certainly not.

Of course not.

A word that stems from old english. A word that has been used for hundreds of years.

Why, then, is it so hard for people to understand the meaning of those two simple letters?

People have every right to exercise that word, whenever they feel the need. Some people nowadays, however, choose to ignore the right of the other person.

Within my dating past, I have discovered that the meaning of the word no has diminished somewhat in recent years. I can only speak in relation to my own experiences, before the ‘not all men’ brigade arrive, and because I am heterosexual, my descriptions and opinions here will be focused on men.

In my 20’s, when you said no to someone, it was commonplace for them to (mostly) accept your answer and move on. They may have been unhappy, but for the most part, there was never any repercussion.

In my 30’s, it has been a completely different experience. And I find it difficult to comprehend because the men that I deal with are usually older than me now.

One experience in particular, had a profound effect on me.

After a few dates with someone, things progressed naturally to the next stage.

However, as things heated up, I asked him to stop because I realised that I wasn’t ready.

He ignored my request and carried on. Hands going everywhere.

I again said that I wasn’t ready and I wanted him to stop. He was quite a bit bigger than me – a real stocky guy with strength and I felt trapped.

He ignored my second request for him to stop too.

I had no choice but to use all my strength push him off of me. I was scared, I felt vulnerable and I knew I had to get out of there as soon as possible. I scrambled off of the bed.

I asked him never to contact me again as I grabbed my things and headed out of the door.

He called after me but my feet were carrying me so fast, I had no idea what he was saying, nor did I care.

Once I was out, I broke down in tears. It took me a good while to compose myself before I headed toward home.

He text me a fair bit that evening, but I ignored him. One message I will never forget was “I even bought you a gift and thats all the thanks I get. No wonder you are single”.

There are 3 things that were very, very wrong with this message. 1 – buying someone a gift does NOT entitle you to disregard someones right to the word NO. 2 – criticising someone because they haven’t given you what you wanted is absolute fuck boy behaviour, and not that of a gentleman, and 3 – IF SOMEONE HAS SAID NO, HAS FLED YOUR HOUSE, AND ASKED YOU NOT TO CONTACT THEM – YOU LISTEN.

Luckily, I didnt hear from him for a while, until one day my phone went. It was him. He apologised and said he had been thinking and knew what he did was wrong. He wanted to take me out to ‘make up for it’.

I ignored him and over the coming weeks, more messages came, about my appearance and the things he had liked about me.

I asked him to stop messaging me as I had made my feelings very clear. Again – this would fall under the BIG FAT BANNER OF NO.

He didn’t stop. Again.

I had to change my number in the end.

Nobody should have to go to that kind of length to get away from someone. People need to accept when someone says no, it is final. You pressing them, messaging, calling, harrassing rarely impacts on the original response that someone makes. You cannot force people to like you, to want to sleep with you, to fall in love with you. Accept the answer, and move on.

The fear of sleeping with someone new after something like that is very real. You shouldn’t tar everyone with the same brush, but its very hard not to be apprehensive and scared of it happening again.

A more recent experience unsettled me more than I would care to admit. Monday 30th December, I was out for my friends birthday in a local bar.

There were 2 guys who were circling like vultures around our group and one had asked my best friend about me, as well as trying to start the conversation with me personally etc. She told him that he had no hope and he did the right thing – he did nothing. His friend however thought he would chance his arm. A little later when I was standing on my own waiting for one of the girls to return from the bar, the 2nd guy approached me. I was standing against a wall and he put his arm above my head – I swear to god I could smell what he had for dinner he was that close. He started to chat me up and I quite politely said I wasn’t interested.

He didnt’ move.

I asked him to give me some space as he was making me incredibly uncomfortable.

His response? “Take it easy”.

I again asked him to move and that I had said no.

His next response “But do you have a boyfriend though?” – he then stood in front of me so I couldn’t move past him. I told him to fuck off.

I was seeing red. I told him that he needed to understand the word no. I was shaking a little by this point as none of the girls were back and he was drunk. He had put his hand on my lower back and I shoved him out of the way. I barged past him and at that moment, my friend returned from the bar and could see that I was really not ok. She immediately put herself between him and me.

The guy was shouting at this point, slating me and I went absolutely mental. I told him if he didnt understand the word no, he would end up in a prison cell. He stood there, laughing at me. I was so incensed, the other two girls arrived back by this point and tried to calm me down. I was hvaing a full on row with a man in a bar – I can’t imagine what I must have looked like.

I was out with friends, he chanced his arm, I said no – he should have accepted it and moved on. And I’m sorry, but no amount of alcohol is an excuse for that kind of behaviour.

Behaviour that women go through every single day.

I am aware that men do experience things like this too by the way. It’s just either not as common, or not as commonly spoken about – in my honest opinion.

The worst scenario that I have ever encountered was something that happened to my best friend, and to this day, it still affects her.

There had been some interaction with a guy we all knew. But it had come to an end and she had made it very clear that she did not want to be with him, or accept his advances.

It had, however, not come to an end for him.

It turns out that he was sabotaging her future dating plans by hacking into her personal accounts. He studied someone she was speaking to and drove to his place of work to tell the guy that she had a boyfriend – him – which obviously wasn’t true. He stole her house keys from her handbag and broke into her house, stole her underwear and installed devices on her electronics to spy on her, as well as stealing her diary. He was keeping an eye on her for months.

It all came to a head when he used the keys to access her house whilst she was at work, but luckily, her mum was visiting. Her mum chased him out of the door, and called the police and it all resulted in a prison sentence and restraining orders. Turns out he had done something similar in the past and was also on the sex offenders register.


Gone are the days where someone can report an assault without the fear of “well, you were wearing a low cut dress, you were clearly asking for it”. When did that become the norm? How many incidents have gone unreported for the fear of the perp trying to make out like it was the victim’s fault? I dread to think.

I will always stand up for myself. I am old enough now to not be scared into submission. But how many people will be too scared to stand up for themselves? How many people will be taken advantage of through fear of repercussions?

We have a responsibility to educate people on the word no. To ensure that self entitlement is not something that is instilled into the next generation.

No matter what you’ve done for someone, it doesn’t ‘entitle’ you to anything. Be it money, sex, power. Nothing. Nada.

An employee of Highways England was recently awarded just under £70k in compensation and damages because of a man in a position of power refusing to believe she was interested, and using his own position to manipulate her employment for his own gain.

When people feel that much entitlement, there is a serious problem with the world.

And frankly, in recent times, I’ve wanted to stop the world, and get off.

If you take anything from this post, LISTEN. Be respectful. When someone says no, don’t act butthurt, accept the response and just simply move on.

No means no. There is no alternative meaning. It’s clear as day. ALWAYS remember that.



3 thoughts on “When did No, stop meaning No?

  1. Munky says:

    I see posts like this from time to time. More frequently now than before. I don’t know if it’s that things are worse, or that more people are speaking up and it has always been this way. Most likely the former. I had heard stories from women I know and others I don’t and it angers me. I suppose it should.
    I want to say sorry.
    I am sorry that this has been your experience and more than once.
    No one deserves this.
    I am hopeful that things will get better as this behaviour is called out more and is less accepted, but I am aware that we have so far yet to go.
    This was powerful stuff and I am glad it was there


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