DEAR ABBY: I would like to encourage all parents of daughters to teach their girls how to say "no" clearly and with grace.
My teenage son asked a girl to the homecoming dance recently. She said, "Oh, I'll have to think about it. I don't know whether I want to go or not." She may have thought she was sparing my son's feelings, but it left him in limbo. He figures she doesn't want to go, which is OK, but he can't ask anyone else because she hasn't said yes or no.
My son's question should have been answered with, "Yes," or "No, thank you," or "I'll have to check. I'll let you know by Monday."
Abby, learning to say no is an important skill all women should have throughout their lives. It's imperative to know that if we mean "no" we shouldn't say "maybe." Likewise, hearing a "no" is something young men need to learn how to deal with as well.
Being able to say no to a boy who asks for a date may seem small, but it may make saying no later to something major that much easier. -- NICELY NEGATIVE IN BURLINGTON, N.J.
DEAR NICELY NEGATIVE: Amen! Learning to say no clearly and concisely is, indeed, an important skill for young women to have. It is the inability to be direct that sometimes gets them into serious trouble, and it is in school that young people develop their social skills.
If a girl is so eager to please that she doesn't know how to say, "Don't call me" or, "Thank you, but I'm not interested," then how is she going to learn to say, "Do not touch me in that way"?