“Dear Efe, My No Did Not Mean No…”

Dear Efe, last year I started dating this guy. We are kind of opposites in our likes and dislikes but we sort of clicked anyway. I was the happiest I had been in a very long time. We had a great time together and hardly fought. To be honest, I am 24 years old, dated…


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Dear Efe,

last year I started dating this guy. We are kind of opposites in our likes and dislikes but we sort of clicked anyway. I was the happiest I had been in a very long time. We had a great time together and hardly fought. To be honest, I am 24 years old, dated 3 guys but I had never experienced a connection the way I felt it with this guy.

A few bout three weeks ago, he told me he couldn’t continue to be in a relationship because he had “a lot of personal things to figure out and I am afraid it is affecting my feelings for you.” He said he didn’t want to end our relationship, but felt it wasn’t fair to have me wait for him to figure things out.

It was hard on me because it came out of nowhere. One day this ‘almost’ perfect’ boyfriend of mine tells me he needs space, like WTF, right? However, we decided to remain friends and we kept in touch almost every day.

He is usually the one that reaches out to me. At first our conversations were mostly small talk but eventually we started talking about serious things in our lives almost as if we were back in our old relationship.

 Last night, we hung out with some friends and it felt like there was still something between us. I don’t know because he is not the type of guy to play games but things just feel odd right now. It didn’t seem like things were any different than when we were dating but maybe I am misreading things. I have never stayed friends with an ex before, therefore I don’t know how it works. Is he just being friendly or toasting me?



Hello Bamz,

When a guy shows up at your door step with flowers and woos you like prince charming, you will think and feel respected with a positive disposition towards him, right? But if a guy honks at you from his car and asks for your number out of the blue, you will feel disrespected and kind of negative towards him, yes?

Now think about a guy who does both – he breaks up with you today but picks you up tomorrow to go look at a new apartment he wants to rent, how would that make you feel? Confused? His actions are blurring the lines, and you will definitely read meanings into his actions that aren’t there.

This guy is blowing hot and cold, bouncing you up and down like a tennis ball. He was willing to sit down with you and have the painful breaking up conversation. If he realized breaking up was a big mistake, then he should have another conversation and let you he has resolved his issues and wants to date you again. This play/pretend he is doing is manipulative and selfish.

This is how emotionally abusive relationships can start, one person holds more power in the relationship, knows it and uses it to manipulate their partner. One person has the other person in a dog collar, the person in the dog collar is always on edge as s/he has no idea when their partner will jerk the chain for their sadistic pleasure.

Your ex is not ‘staying friends with you’, instead he is manipulating you. Before he can be called a friend, he needs to demonstrate he is only there for friendship and nothing intimate or emotional. Before he can be called a boyfriend again, he needs to demonstrate and communicate it verbally that he has sorted himself out and ready to continue from where you guys stopped.



Hi Efe, I just moved to a new office and one of the cute guys at work asked if I would like go see a movie with him and I said no not because I didn’t want to go but because I wanted him to try harder, I didn’t want to appear too easy, I like him but at least let him toast first, lol.

Now he hardly looks at me and I am upset, if he really likes me why is he giving up so easily?



Hi Fadeke,

Do you realize that your behaviour is dangerous? Do you realize that you are putting other women in a dangerous position by teaching guys that your verbal “no” means you want him to try harder?

How much ‘try harder’ do you want him to try? When does ‘try harder’ become ‘tried enough’? Do you want him to keep on going until he is physically violating you? Or…? As an adult with the capacity to communicate with words and action, what would be your action to let him know he making progress by trying and/or that he has tried enough?

On another hand, assuming he did try harder and you guys start dating, at what point would you want him to recognize that your “no” now really means no? Or that you do not want him to try harder anymore? Because by then he would have already learnt that your “no” means “try harder”, so how will you signal to him that you are truly serious this time? If you guys are dating and sexually active, when will your no mean no when he wants to have sex and you don’t? Under what conditions will it be called ‘rape’ if you have let think that a “no” from you means “try harder”?


You are not just playing with a man’s sentiments, you are putting other women’s lives at risk. While this does not excuse the rape culture and sense of entitlement guys tend to have, it is important that as a woman you also reinforce the message that NO mean no. Simple and short.

We are human beings, (by the Grace of God) grown ups, educated and matured enough to handle interests from the opposite sex. Let us mean our words when we use them so that our wishes can be respected. When our words do not reflect actions, intentions and expectations, we fail to define our boundaries with those around us so they end up making up their own definition of what our ‘boundaries’ are.

To set your boundaries, your actions must match your words. When your boundaries have been set, it does not end there, you must continue to affirm those boundaries by continuously matching your words with actions and your actions with your words.

If everybody did this in addition to other positive actions, communication between the sexes would be better, men will learn to respect boundaries instead of feeling entitled. We would all generally all feel safer and pass on to the next generation by teaching and showing it to our children.

This guy respected you when you said no, he is a gentleman and you lost that opportunity because you played mind games. Your loss, his gain. He deserves ‘better’ and you need to learn to be ‘better’.



Hi Efe, my problem is that too many guys are attracted to me. I hate the attention, I swear. It is as if I am honey attracting bees and it is irritating. I want genuine friendship and relationship with guys not something based on lust. This is also very odd for me because I’m very shy. I don’t have a lot of self-confidence and I am not ‘pretty’. I am not a freak or anything like that. I don’t date or sleep around but guys always want to sleep with me.

Why? Is it something I am doing?



Hello Tola

I have not met you but I am a guy and I will answer like a guy, if you are shy, have low self-esteem, do not think you are pretty but guys are all on your case? It is because you have a ‘hot’ body.

Men are lusting after you, because all they see when they look at you is sex. The lack of confidence matched with an ‘ordinary’ face means that you should be easy to have sex with (as in grateful for their attention). The low self-esteem means that they can ‘have’ sex with you easily, it also means you won’t be dramatic when they dump you or don’t pay any attention to you after sleeping with you. Also, your low self-esteem means that whenever they want sex, they know exactly how to make you ‘feel special’ and get you to sleep with them again.

These guys are looking for sex and pleasure. You are a girl and not sexually hungry. They stare and mentally undress you, they make you feel uncomfortable and unsafe around them. You are looking for that mental thing called love and they are looking for the physical thing called sex.

Do not let them make you feel uncomfortable. Rather, you should feel fury and disgust. Do not be the insecure girl they are used to. Assert yourself and demand that you be respected, show that you are not just a body, you are a person, a lady with intelligence and emotions. Show them that you are strong and notice how these guys start disappearing because they are not after a strong woman. For ego trip, they prey on emotionally vulnerable women because they can.




Let’s have a safe and private conversation.

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  1. Plantain Child
    You’re a guy? You’re rather reasonable. Thank you for your advice. It was wonderfully concrete. But I don’t think the guy from the first complaint deserves that much criticism. He may not be the emotional manipulator you’ve made him out to be. I could be that guy. What’s wrong with still wanting to remain friends with her even if you no longer want to date her?
  2. McDonald
    In addition to your admonition to the lady who didn’t mean her “no”, she doesn’t know the effort this guy put in just to walk up to her. And maybe he is someone who takes rejection badly, thereby his latest attitude. Maybe she should ask him out now and experience the difficulties associated with walking up to someone. Peace out!
  3. Morris
    Honestly, the title ‘My No didn’t mean No’ attracted me (even though i would have read it anyways), but it also made me roll my eyes.

    First off, I am so glad She wasn’t talking about sex.

    Secondly, the guy is either not a the type of guy that tries harder; which to me kinda says he wasn’t that serious to start with; Or you didn’t communicate well, you can use the word No in a sentence, and still communicate ‘try harder’. So, my advise, will be late it go… Efe reacted appropriately tho… This my NO means…. is not a joking stuff

    1. Derrick
      Pls read Efe’s response again.
      NO means NO
      It doesn’t insinuate ‘Try harder’ nor is it a test for ‘knowing who is serious’.
      Stop putting other women at risk.
      Say only what you mean. Finish.

      I’m praying someone makes a post about women who say ‘nothing’ when there is something. #sigh

      1. Morris
        Really, so, if your boss is disappointed about a job you did, and tells you to forget it, you should always forget it? So many other scenarios… You can forget to get a friend a gift, and the friend says, don’t worry, i don’t want one, does it mean, if you buy it, he/she won’t collect?

        This statement was a general statement…you can use the word No in a sentence, and still communicate ‘try harder’… Communication is not just words, there’s non-verbal too, and that is the reality.

        You said… Stop putting other women at risk, what risk are we talking about in this scenario? Btw, i said Efe’s comment was appropriate, you have another opinion?

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