Why Do Men Get So Angry At Women When They Are (Nicely) Rejected?
It happens more than people realise, and certainly more than women care to admit. At a party, bar, over messaging or dating apps. You’re just having a bit of fun or socialising and a man pays you some attention, maybe even a compliment. Being polite, you accept and continue chatting. He takes that as the go ahead to continue further by seeing where this is going.
However, whether it be straight away, or after a few days, or weeks, when you say you’re not interested, things take a turn for the worse. He turns hostile. It’s poisonous and indicative of someone’s true colours.
It’s 2018, and yet women are still treated by some (not all) men, as carnival prizes to be won. It should go without saying, and yet…
I asked women on my personal Twitter and Instagram if they had ever been in a situation, in person or online, where a man (stranger or a friend) had given them attention which they turned down, and then the man turned angry or abusive.
Across two different social platforms, I received very similar overwhelming results. 81 votes on Twitter, and around 100 on Instagram, where 75% and 80% of women have previously experienced abuse, anger or name calling in response to kindly rejecting a man.
Unsurprisingly, I also received quite a few messages from friends and acquaintances, telling their stories and expressing that they’d experienced this kind of behaviour.
When a woman receives attention that she decides she isn’t interested in, she’s compelled to respond in a way she believes will create the least friction. And because these situations most often arise between strangers, the woman on the receiving end of the attention usually truly does not know how the man will react. Will he accept her rejection and move on? Will he laugh it off? Will he scream at her? Will he harass her online? Will he turn violent?
One of the women who messaged me told her story, where she was messaging a man she knew through a mutual friend. They lived a fair while away from each other, but he asked her on a date. On the days leading up to the date, the man became incredibly full on – too full on – demanding why she wasn’t replying to his messages as quickly he liked, among other things. The woman then decided it was too far to go for this date, especially as the man was coming across like this. She kindly explained that she felt it wouldn’t work but would like to remain friends.
In response, he proceeded to call her all sorts of names: a massive bitch, dickhead, manipulator, and accused her of leading him on and wasting his time and energy “on a girl like her”. Commenting on her appearance, and how she wasn’t worth it anyway.
This is not an uncommon reaction. In fact, there was a running theme of this kind of angry, spiteful response from all the women I spoke to.
Other women told of times they were scared of leaving work alone, because the man had turned so angry and knew where she would be at a certain time, how they blocked men on social media only to be faced in person by them. To be harassed and reduced to a series of nasty words.
Many suggestions crop up over and over, how women should lie about having a significant other, how they should watch their drinks, avoid talking to strangers, be kind to people in case of a bad reaction.
The burden should not be on women. Women should have the absolute right to say no. Women should have control over their own bodies. Women should not apologise for rejecting a man. She does not owe him anything.
Rejection, romantic or otherwise, is pretty shit. It is also a part of life. We’ve all been there, where we’ve sent a message and never heard a reply. Or gone up to someone at a party and been disappointed to realise that he or she simply wasn’t interested.
In these situations, you’re allowed to be disappointed, even upset. What’s not allowed is attacking the other person, and dominating their personal space (virtual or IRL) to the point where she feels forced to acknowledge you.
Women do not owe men anything. Not their time, not their attention and certainly not their affection.
We don’t owe men sex or a romantic relationship because we should be grateful that they are being nice to us. Being nice is literally the bare minimum. You don’t get a medal for showing the most basic form of human decency.
There is a fundamental, underlying problem with this entire concept. The issue here is the belief that if men put effort in, they can win a woman, like a carnival prize. That a man’s time and effort automatically entitles them to a woman’s time and reciprocated effort.
It doesn’t factor in her feelings, or attitudes, or whether you’re actually good for each other. So goes the belief: “I’ll do A, B and C for her, and (despite my thirty flaws and the fifty logical reasons it would never work) Hannah will like me.”
But the real world doesn’t work that way. There’s no guaranteed way to make a girl like you. It’s not “do A, then B, and she will like you.” Women aren’t a game, where you can key in the cheat code, win, and do whatever you want.
We’re complicated humans with complex feelings. We have the right to reject you, and not be scared of your reaction.
So, to all the women who have felt scared, or angry or confused at the reactions they’ve received from men in this situation: this isn’t your fault. You are not all the nasty things he’s called you, that was him lashing out because his fragile ego has been hurt. You don’t deserve to feel worried or like a bad person. You are allowed to have that control over your body and emotions without feeling obliged to make excuses or explain yourself.
Lovely, brilliant, strong women: you are not alone in this, but that’s not good enough. We need to strive towards a world where women aren’t scared of rejecting a man, one in which men handle it maturely. By and large, most men aren’t like this – but there is overwhelming evidence that this outdated attitude is still prevalent. It’s time to change this.