Friday, October 28, 2016
Just a quick one, because I was impressed by something I heard on a podcast I recently listened to. "Dear Hank and John" is a podcast put together by Hank and John Green (creators of Crash Course, SciShow, and other popular channels on YouTube as well as the books Fault in our Stars, Paper Towns, etc.) in which they take questions from their listeners and offer dubious advice in humorous fashion. Occasionally they'll answer a question that's a bit more serious, and in their recent episode they answered a question they've gotten from a lot of their listeners, and I felt it's very important for everyone to listen to it. You can listen below. The segment I'm referring to starts at 12:55 and ends around 17:00.
(You can click this link to jump directly to the segment: https://soundcloud.com/dearhankandjohn/067-feeling-home#t=12:55
Or listen to the embedded player below.)
To summarize Hank and John's remarks, when you ask someone if they would be interested in pursuing a romantic relationship and they say no, you absolutely must accept that as their final answer and respect that answer. Failing to do so by continuing to ask them is a form of harassment. As Hank said, I think many of us (myself included) have been guilty of this, perhaps innocently thinking "I should ask again. Maybe things have changed." We don't think we're having that creepy stalker vibe portrayed in my little cartoon above. But we may not realize how uncomfortable and even unsafe continuing to push the issue may make the other person feel. On the other hand, honoring their wishes shows respect for that person's agency.
So please, if you seek a relationship with somebody and discover that they aren't interested, however innocent you may feel your intentions are, leave them alone. You will likely save both of you a lot of stress in the process.