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Home / Articles / Features / Help Me, Harlan! /  Men who don’t or won’t hear ‘no’ are no friends to women
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Sunday, March 25,2012

Men who don’t or won’t hear ‘no’ are no friends to women

By Harlan Cohen

Dear Harlan: A guy I'm friendly with has been hitting on me a lot. Lately, his attempts to win me over have been borderline creepy. How do I let him know this? I'd like to be friends with him, but I don't want to come off as sounding like a jerk. Is there a nice way to do this? — Not a Jerk

Dear Not a Jerk: Why do you want to be friends with this man? He sounds like a creep. When a man doesn't listen to "no," he's not interested in getting to know you; he's interested in controlling you. That should make you very uncomfortable. It might even scare you. If you haven't already told him, make it clear that he's making you uncomfortable. Explain that you can only be friends with people who respect your feelings – if you still want to be his friend, that is. As for sounding like a jerk, who cares? A woman who is honest and speaks from the heart doesn't need to worry about being called names. If anything, you won't look like an easy target. I know he hasn't threatened you, but it wouldn't surprise me if he eventually did. Let him know that he's making you uncomfortable. If he doesn't back off, cut him off and don't let him back in your life. You don't need this friend.

Dear Harlan: Why are some guys becoming shy, while others are overly cocky? The good guys are too quiet, and the cocky ones are too busy talking a big game. How can I find one of the good ones? — Stuck

Dear Stuck: More and more good guys think sharing their feelings makes them not good guys. So they convince themselves that doing nothing is nicer than doing something, and then let the cocky guys swoop in. After a while, a woman like you thinks all the good ones are taken, too shy or just gay. Want this to change? Make it safe for a man you like to want you. Make it clear that you're interested and available. How do you make it safe and maintain your dignity when making the first move? Show interest. Start a conversation. Do something together in a group. Ask him if he's single. Let him know you're single. Then, let nature take over.

Dear Harlan: I previously was engaged, and broke up with the one I loved. However, I'm still talking to my true love, who is in a committed relationship. How do I move on and choose a good guy again? I mean marriage-quality, because I'm done downgrading and "just giving them a chance.” — Done Downgrading

Dear Downgrading: Why are you talking to him? He's your ex for a reason, and it's for a good reason. Want to move on? Take a break from having him in your life. Give yourself a chance to be free of him. Then stop comparing everyone with him. Date to have new experiences. Date to have dinner with interesting people. Date to do interesting things with interesting people. Date to have fun and find someone you want to have fun with for the rest of your life. If you don't want to downgrade, go after the men you want. Removing the ex will help you create a void and will give you extra motivation to fill a need. (c) Harlan Cohen 2012. Distributed by King Features Syndicate Inc.

Harlan is the author of "The Happiest Kid On Campus: A Parent's Guide to the Very Best College Experience (for You and Your Child)" (Sourcebooks). Write Harlan at harlan(at) or visit online: All letters submitted become property of the author. Send paper to Help Me, Harlan!, 3501 N. Southport Ave., Suite 226, Chicago, IL 60657.


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