We Need To Stop Saying “I Have A Boyfriend” To Reject Guys We’re Not Interested In

You shouldn’t need a “valid” excuse to fend off guys you’re not interested in, but “I have a boyfriend” has seemingly become the official mantra of single women who just aren’t that into persistent pains in the ass and don’t want to come out and say so. We’ve all been there, and that’s fine, but here are 10 reasons why we need to stop using other men—especially fictional ones—to deter the ones we have no interest in:

  1. No means no, no matter what. If you’re not interested in being pursued, don’t be afraid to say so. Whether it’s because you’re not looking for some extra fun on a girls’ night out or you’re just not into your wannabe suitor, “no” should be good enough for anyone. Don’t hold back — be firm and be final.
  2. If you’re not being truthful, it’s gonna come back and bite you. Or it’s gonna bite somebody else. Giving anyone the run-around is surely going to come back around, and who’s got time for that? Also, if you’re giving someone the brush-off and claiming it’s because you’ve already got a boyfriend, your pursuer still thinks he’s got a chance. If not with you, then with some other unassuming woman.
  3. The effective way to deter a man is to hit him where it hurts. Politely, of course. I’m not saying to laugh in the guy’s face and act like you’re above and beyond — it doesn’t need to go that deep. But if you don’t want someone constantly pursuing them, don’t give them the impression that there might be a future down the road when there’s not.
  4. Really, how is it any different from breadcrumbing? Like I said—leaving the door open for someone down the road — assuming this dude is someone you may see again via work, common friends or family events — you’re not being fair. If you want someone to be fair to you down the road, do unto others and all that business.
  5. Three words: “I’m not interested.” They’re going to go far when you put them into practice, whether it’s with unwanted advances, jobs that you feel pressured to take or being firm with your kids, if you have them. Setting your own boundaries is an important step of being a grown woman, and when people see that you’re confident in your decisions, they’ll be confident in them too. Which, in the end, will make life a hell of a lot easier for you.
  6. Male privilege doesn’t leave much room for anything but others’ male privilege. When you tell a man “I have a boyfriend,” he backs off because he—if he’s not a total letch—doesn’t want to encroach on another man’s “property.” And I use that term loosely. Put male privilege in its place and reveal your real reasons for not being interested.
  7. Using the excuse that you have a boyfriend isn’t too dissimilar from apologizing for being “taken.” Why apologize? If you’re taken, you’re taken—and hopefully happily so. But if you’re not taken, don’t apologize for something that you feel for any reason.
  8. Expect blowback if you say you’re not interested—and hold your ground. You’re likely to come under fire with a lot of questions as to why you wouldn’t possibly be interested in a man’s advances. He’s put himself out there and he’s likely gonna want to know just why you’re turning him down. Be polite but be firm. If he insists on being a douche, don’t be afraid to give it back to him.
  9. Saying “no” will inspire other women in similar circumstances to be assertive and do it too. Taylor Swift’s girl squad doesn’t need to be one of the only elite group of kickass women who take no prisoners. Be the change you want to see in the in the lives of women.
  10. Find your comfort zone. Bottom line: if you’re not comfortable simply saying, “I’m not interested,” there are a ton of other excuses that are much more viable than passing off the responsibility pretending that you’re someone else’s “property.” Maybe like “I have a raging case of PMS and today’s not looking good for you, friend.” Or hey. You just might have a work thing, and that’s enough, too. Find a happy medium and find your own happiness and self-respect.