The “Hell Yes” Axiom
Do you remember that camping trip when you awoke and there was a blanket of fog so thick that you couldn’t see the next tent? It can be like that at times in relationships. There’s this foggy zone people encounter in which they can get stuck; it’s an area where feelings are unclear or, god forbid, one person has deeper feelings than the other. This fog causes real, substantial concerns. As a man, a huge question is often whether to persist in courting a woman even when she seems lukewarm or ambiguous about your gentlemanly (we all are gentlemen, right?) advances. For women, a recurring question is what to do with men who fail to make their feelings clear, like it’s a game.
“Until you learn how to confidently say NO to so many things, you shall always say YES to so many things.
The real summary of a regretful life is a life that failed to balance YES and NO.
A life that failed to recognize when to courageously say NO and when to confidently say YES!”
―Ernest Agyemang Yeboah
· “She says she’s not attracted, but she still calls me, so what do I need to do to get her to like me?”
· “Well, I know she adores me, but she didn’t call me back after last weekend, what should I do?”
· “He treats me fabulously when he’s around, but he’s hardly around. What does that mean?”
Playing the Dating Game
Most dating advice was created to “illuminate” this foggy zone for people. You get advice like, “just say this,” or “text that,” “don’t call him or her more than (fill in your number) times.” On occasion you hear the ubiquitous, wear that…or don’t. Much of it gets achingly systematic, to the point where some folks really do spend more time playing Freud than actually, you know, being who they really are.
Exasperation with this foggy part of the path also drives many people to unnecessary maneuvering, drama, and spectacle. You wind up with rules making the man pay for (fill in your number, ladies) many dates before you become intimate. Or, how men need to transition from one phase to another before they’re recognized as a serious contender for your affections? Much of this crap seems crafty and thrilling people who are stuck or frustrated, but too often their partners find them too clever by half. What is lost is the common sense part; it’s the kind of dating guidance that misses the point. If you’re stuck in that foggy area to begin with, you’ve already in trouble.
Did your mom ever ask you: “Honey, why would you ever want to be with someone who is not thrilled to be with you?” Face it folks, if they’re not delighted with you now, with hormones coursing through their veins, how do you figure they’ll be happy to be with you a year from now…two? Why would you ever make an effort to convince someone to date you when they make no (or very little) effort for you you? What does that that tell them about you? What does it tell you, about you? Convincing is like bribing; you do it once and you are going to have to do it over and over again.
Have you heard the phrase, “a dog that bites is always a dog that bites”? You wouldn’t buy a dog that bites you, right? Would you really want to be friends with someone who regularly dumps you for something or someone else? Business people, you wouldn’t work at a job that misses paydays. Then what are you thinking trying to make a relationship with a person who doesn’t want to date you? Where’s your self-respect?
I once read a blog about the entrepreneur Derek Sivers who said, “if I’m not saying ‘hell yeah!’ to something, then I say no.” It worked for him in the business world and now I’d like for you to apply it to your world. And because I’m cranky, I’ll christen mine “hell yes or nope” axiom. It should be axiomatic: “Hell yes or nope.” In order for you to proceed with whomever or whatever you are planning, when you ask yourself how you feel about it the answer should be self-evident. Hell yes… or nope.
The “hell yes or nope” axiom also requires that when you want to get involved with someone new, they simply must respond with a “hell yes” in order for anything to move forward. It’s easy to see that the “hell yes or nope” axiom requires that both individuals simply must be enthusiastic about the each other. Why? Because attractive, high self-worth people don’t have time for people that they aren’t thrilled to be around and who aren’t equally thrilled to be with them.
Find and Maintain Your Self-Respect
While this may sound a bit idealistic to some, the “hell yes or nope” axiom has many definite paybacks on your personal life:
1. Think of the headaches and heartbreak you won’t have chasing around after people not that into you. Imagine your self-respect growing as you follow the axiom. Take back the power in your life by making a choice.
2. Stop going after people for the sake of your ego. Yes, we have all done it, we went out with someone because others might notice, or maybe there was nothing better to do. Value yourself!
3. No longer allow someone to play games without your approval. I don’t care, hard to get, constant pressure, they’re all variations of the same game. They are trying to provoke some action from you other than what you feel. Use the axiom and your answer will be crystal clear.
4. Imagine the boundary issues you won’t have. Using the axiom, you will develop and maintain good and strong boundaries. And good boundaries help you keep you out of the therapist’s office.
5. You make the definitions for yourself, so you always know where you stand. You will find yourself with people you understand, who understand you, and if either party is not sufficiently into the other, your path is clear… the fog lifts and you know where to go.
Pay Attention: Hell Yes or Nope
The axiom of “hell yes or nope” works with socializing, sex, relationships, even friendships. Crazy wild about that dewy eyed guy who treats you so well, except he goes weeks without calling, or magically vanishes after a couple drinks and a round of the tube steak boogie? You find yourself wondering if he gives a damn. Do his explanations of being so damn busy all the time seem weak? If the answer isn’t a “hell yes,” then it’s time to ‘set yourself free’. Follow your new axiom.
You realize that you have nothing in common with that sexy bartender. But she’s hot and interested in meeting later. Is it a “hell yes!” It is? Then game on.
Passionately kissing a woman at your condo and every time you touch a button she swats your hand away? That is not a “hell yes.” Listen closely to the “no.” And it is a no and you shouldn’t pressure her, ever. The best sex is “hell yes” sex, when both people are shouting “hell yes” as they hop between the sheets together—if she’s not hopping, then assume no. Hint for the slow guys: This is a great time to gently ask the girl why she’s not comfortable, and what she’s looking for from you. That, by itself—you know, treating her like a human and empathizing with her—often solves this “problem.”
Want a relationship with a woman you met a couple of days ago, but she’s ignoring your texts and calls? Are you confused because she seemed so thrilled to go out with you when you first met? Well, my buddy, look to your new axiom. This is clearly not a “hell yes.” Therefore, it is a “no.” Lose her number and make room for someone who will answer your call.
“Hell yes or nope” applies to relationships, too. My friend works with this fellow who got married because “it seemed like the right thing to do at the time.” Four years later, he cheats on his wife at the drop of a hat. The marriage was not a “hell yes” for him; therefore, it should have been a no. In some ways, it’s just common sense.
Sometimes the axiom of “hell yes or nope” will apply differently on various levels. You may be a “hell yes” for a friendship with someone, and only lukewarm where sex with them is concerned. Face it, that’s a no. You may be a “hell yes” on banging someone’s brains out, but a definite no on actually spending any time with them. Apply the axiom to your decision making and see where you end up.
“Hell yes or nope” doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be falling in knee-wobbling love at first sight. It doesn’t even mean you’re totally wholeheartedly convinced that someone is right for you. You can be “hell yes” about just having coffee. You can be “hell yes” about doing it again because they made your heart sing. You can be “hell yes” about giving things a few months to pan out and see if you both continue to enjoy the relationship.
What I am leading up to is that both you and the other person need to be “hell yes” about what you are doing, otherwise you’re just wasting your time and theirs.
Simplify Your Life
“Hell yes or nope” reduces the number of, and simplifies, the problems you can have in your dating life. When “hell yes or nope” becomes part of your life, there are really only a couple of problems you can have. The first is people who never feel a “hell yes” for anybody they meet. If you are indifferent on absolutely everyone you meet, then you’re either fishing in the wrong pond, or you’re afraid of being vulnerable, and by remaining indifferent and unenthused, you are trying to protect yourself. Always remember; it’s your job to look for something great in everyone you meet; it’s not their job to show you.
This is what life is about. Learning to appreciate people you meet is a skill you cultivate. Like all skills, it takes practice, practice, and more practice. I’m not saying you have to go crazy about everyone who notices you. It does mean that you need to start being responsible for your ability to connect with the people you run into.
Is it You?
The other problem is if you are one of the people who never meet anyone who feels a “hell yes” for him or her. If all the people that interest you seem disinterested, or flatly reject you, then it’s time to start improving yourself. Ask what is it about yourself that would stir someone to say “hell yes” about you? If the answer is not obvious, then get to work. Get a life coach, and decide who you are and build yourself into the person others say “hell yes” to.
And here is the ultimate dating life coaching advice—man, woman, gay, straight, trans, furry, whatever—self-improvement and personal growth are the only real methods for dating improvement. Everything else is crap, a pointless encounter in the fog, a prolonged ego trip. Because with the right words, the right stuff, and the right performance, you just might trick somebody into sleeping with you, dating you, and maybe even marrying you. But you will have won the battle by surrendering in the war of long-term happiness.
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Frank Hopkins is a certified Professional Coach (CPC) by the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC). He is a certified Master Practitioner (ELI-MP) of the iPEC proprietary assessment tool, the Energy Leadership Index and offers seminars on Energy Leadership. He maintains memberships in the International Coaching Federation (ICF) and the Institute of Coaching (ICPA).