Home Featured There’s No Middle Ground In Relationships, Either Yes or No

There’s No Middle Ground In Relationships, Either Yes or No



Think about this for a moment: Why would you ever choose to be with someone who is not excited to be with you?

There’s a grey area in dating many people get hung up on — a grey area where feelings are ambiguous or one person has stronger feelings than the other. This grey area causes real, tangible issues. As a man, a huge question is often whether to be persistent and continue pursuing a woman even when she seems lukewarm or hot/cold on your advances. For women, a common question is what to do with men who make their feelings ambiguous.

“She said she’s not interested, but she still flirts with me, so what do I need to do to get her?”
“Well, I know she likes me, but she didn’t call me back last weekend, what should I do?”
“He treats me well when he’s around, but he’s hardly around. What does that mean?”

Most dating advice exists to “solve” this grey area for people. Say this line. Text her this. Call him this many times. Wear that.

Much of it gets exceedingly analytical, to the point where some men and women actually spend more time analyzing behaviors than actually, you know, behaving.

Frustration with this grey area also drives many people to unnecessary manipulation, drama and game-playing. This is where you get rules about making men pay for this many dates before you can become intimate. Or how men need to transition from attraction phase to comfort phase by qualifying three times before they’re allowed to commence an escalation ladder.

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These things may seem clever and exciting to some people who are stuck or frustrated. But this dating advice misses the point. If you’re in the grey area to begin with, you’ve already lost.

Let me ask again: Why would you ever be excited to be with someone who is not excited to be with you? If they’re not happy with you now, what makes you think they’ll be happy to be with you later? Why do you make an effort to convince someone to date you when they make no effort to convince you?

What does that say about you? That you believe you need to convince people to be with you?

You wouldn’t buy a dog that bites you all the time. And you wouldn’t be friends with someone who regularly ditches you. You wouldn’t work a job that doesn’t pay you. Then why the hell are you trying to make a girlfriend out of a woman who doesn’t want to date you? Where’s your self-respect?

The entrepreneur Derek Sivers once wrote a blog post where he said that “If I’m not saying ‘Hell Yeah!’ to something, then I say no.” It served him well in the business world and now I’d like to apply it to the dating world. And because I’m more of a vulgar asshole than Derek is, I’ll christen mine The Law of “Fuck Yes or No.”

The Law of “Fuck Yes or No” states that when you want to get involved with someone new, in whatever capacity, they must inspire you to say “Fuck Yes” in order for you to proceed with them.

The Law of “Fuck Yes or No” also states that when you want to get involved with someone new, in whatever capacity, THEY must respond with a “Fuck Yes” in order for you to proceed with them.

Read the remainder of this post at Mark Manson.


  1. I don’t fully agree. I think yes at some point both people need to be all in and if both aren’t then you need to go your separate ways. But I don’t think that “all in” point has to happen at the beginning. In fact I don’t think that all in point has to happen until engagement. Once you decide to be with them and only them, THEN you both should be all in. Some people are more cautious (most likely due to past hurts or experiences, but it could also just be their personality) and it may take them a while to reach that point. If the pace of the relationship isn’t working for you then you need to have a discussion and then decide to either stay or move on.

    1. Based on what you just wrote, it seems that you are in fact, agreeing
      with what he just said. I do not believe he mentioned anything about
      being all in in the beginning; he just stated that you needed to want to
      be with that person in the first place (as opposed to not wanting to be
      with them and continuing to date them).

  2. Based on personal experience I have to disagree. Out of most of the married couples I know, very few of the women were “f**k yes” when they first interacted with the male. Either the man “grew” on her or situations changed to the point where the man became a better option. Let’s face facts, attractive women are in position where they don’t have to pursue or even show much interest in a dude up front. My mother didn’t show much interest in my dad when they first met and they’ve been married for 40 years.

  3. Or… you just learn to love the ‘grey.’ I think people would be happier with life if they made peace with uncertainty. It’s kind of the best part.

  4. The uncertainty being spoken upon is more from the perspective of an individual who has a lot of growing/maturing to do. If one isn’t mature enough to self reflect, and express themselves diplomatically including seeking clarity without being accusatory/reading between the invisible nonexistent lines then one isn’t mature enough to even be within a relationship. He!|, I guess you have to start somewhere, but make no doubt about it, this will be (one of) the relationship that doesn’t work. Which is ok, because there not all supposed to.

  5. I think both parties should be interested in each other. I get what this article is trying to convey. There may not be butterflies in the stomach but there has to be some level of attraction I think. You’re not going to waste your time if there isn’t some type of vibe. For some, the initial attraction may be low but sometimes it’s enough to keep that person in the back of their minds. While I agree to an extent on what Joe said, I think those women who weren’t a ‘F*ck Yes’ still had something they were ok with in order to allow him to grow on them. If there was absolutely no connection or desire or like, I don’t think the guy would be an option. Would you honestly hang around someone you didn’t like at all? Probably not.


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