How Do We Say “No”?

Arthur Kaye had a busy day again in his office, as the manager of a company who sold building materials. It was five o’clock and he was signing some letters his secretary had given to him before she left. But someone pressed the bell, and the gateman came in and told him that there were three girls who wanted to speak with him. With a sigh Arthur said “All right.”

He had been for several years president of a youth organization of the church and still now and then a boy or girl came to ask him something. His wife called them his “extended family.”

He was surprised to see Jessica, Rebecca and Patricia coming in, each belonging to another age group. He asked them to sit down and tell him what the matter was.

Jessica stroked her short hair and said, “We will not ask much of your time, sir, but we have one question, and we have the same problem that nobody gives us a clear practical answer. We want to know how do we say ‘No’ to a boy who is obtrusive, you know, who wants more than being a friend or just good company. My parents laugh at me. Rebecca’s mother has two jobs, her father is traveling and seldom home, Patricia has some nasty boys at school, but her teacher says only that boys are boys and she becomes more and more afraid. So, what do you think about this?”

“Well,” said Arthur. “Suppose a young man invites you to go with him to a concert, and somewhere during the evening he asks you bluntly to have intimate contact with him, you have in fact no choice. You’ll say no, because you are not a married couple. Does he not change his attitude, ask him to bring you home, and if you do not feel comfortable with him at all, call a taxi. You must have money with you, of course. If he is aggressive, you better call for help. Often in these cases there have been warning signs in advance, because of his behavior. Then it is wise to ask him straight away what he is up to, and if you discover that his intentions are wrong, tell him that the whole outing is off. If he is someone you can reason with, remind him of the facts about love and a Christian marriage. You can avoid all that usually if you suggest beforehand already that you take a girlfriend with you, or even if you go with four, so that means two couples. Building up a fine friendship is the normal way to go, trusting each other, respecting, getting to know each others’ interests. Never force anything in one direction or another, and let him not do that either. Perhaps an uncle, cousin or aunt can be involved, to pick you up. I know that will not always be possible. Anyhow, ask yourself always ‘Would this be the person I would like to marry in the future?’ Tell him, that you need time to think about everything. I do not need to spell it out. I know that you know that we always have to ask the Lord for guidance and wisdom. Never play with fire. Your question shows you have talked about this subject already with each other, I think. It is not bound to a particular age.

Send me an invitation and I’ll come to kiss the bride.” ♦