real life

'It's my job to teach young men about respect. Here are 8 things I tell them.'

Few men are ever frustrated when their rejection is ignored by a suiter, and most find repeated romantic advances amusing, even when consistently rebuffed. 

Even fewer men fear a violent reaction from jilted love interests. 

Most men are also unlikely to hesitate accepting gifts or favours, concerned it might fuel a women’s sense of sexual entitlement. 

But these are the realities women live with. Realities many men never fully comprehend.

Watch: If a man lived like a woman for a day. Post continues below.

Video via Mamamia

Society has limitless advice for women about being out late, drinking and what to wear, but mainstream advice to young men doesn’t go much past vague platitudes like “respect women” and “don’t rape”.

In my work as a young men’s respectful relationships speaker, I’ve learned that real-world advice beats a catchphrase every time.   

1, Rejection isn’t always expressed with a “no”.

“No means no”, long reigned as the king of clichés and formed the extent of consent education. But reality is more nuanced.

Women usually decline a date with some variation of “I don’t know”, “I’m really busy” and “I have a boyfriend”. 

This isn’t because she’s being vague or wants him to try harder, but because girls are often raised to keep the peace. 


It’s also pre-emptive mitigation, in case he responds dangerously to rejection. 

“No” can also take the form of “ghosting”. 

Disappearing without explanation isn’t nice, but if he bombards women with messages to get “closure”, it will only validate her disappearance.

When it comes to sexual boundaries, a verbalised “no” won’t be the most common way they’re expressed. 

When things get hot and heavy, a “no” might be communicated by hands being moved away, a shift in body language or saying something like “I think we’re going too fast”. 

Paying attention to non-verbal communication is critical. 

2. Rejection is better than wondering “what if?”.

It’s not rejection that haunts most young men, it’s the regret of not asking a woman out when he had his chance. 

Rejection brings closure. It sets him free from a lifetime of uncertainty.

People who tease others about a rejection, are those who have never tried.

Rejection shows you’re playing to win. Never trying means you’re playing not to lose.

3. Unsolicited penis pictures won’t be received how you think.

A young man might love to receive unrequested pictures of a women’s breasts, vulva, bum or legs.

But she is unlikely to feel the same about his penis.

His dreams of receiving a nude picture of her in return will also most likely go unfulfilled.

Using words to ask for sex is more effective than an explicit picture and the idea that she’s seen it, won’t give the “pre-acceptance” he may hope for.


That unwanted picture could also result in harassment or child pornography charges.

It could mean losing a job and being expelled from school or uni.

It will most probably be shared in a group chat with her friends, who’ll only have unflattering things to say about it. 

4. Presents and favours aren’t needed to make her want you. 

I’ve known men to waste money on everything from flowers to chocolates and zoo tickets, in failed attempts to woo women.

I’ve also seen men buy ex-partners Bluetooth speakers, shoes and pet medication during unsuccessful forays in rekindling a relationship.

It’s not about what he buys, the places she’s taken or favours he does. It’s about how she feels about him as a person. 

Not only do gifts, fancy dinners and favours not entitle a man to sex, they’re unnecessary. 

So long as she’s into him and legally consenting, that’s all he needs. 

5. No one finished a screaming argument satisfied their problems were solved.

Engaging in ferocious screaming matches only feeds a relentless cycle of drama.

Just because you’re yelling, doesn’t make a point valid or the other person listen.

If he thinks they’re “pushing his buttons”, being abusive or deliberately winding him up, the most powerful response is to walk away.

If someone won’t talk through an issue without yelling or abuse, they aren’t worth his time. Let alone his love.

6. If your happiness depends on controlling others, you’ll have a lifetime of misery.

People – women in this case – ultimately won’t be controlled.

If his happiness comes from controlling a partner, he’s going to end up frustrated and enraged.


If he needs to control family members to be happy, the anger can last a lifetime.

When happiness comes from things within his control, a man gains a powerful sense of accountability and direction.

7. Have goals and a mission – all unrelated to women.

The more a man shifts his energy and focus from chasing women into other ambitions, the more attractive women find him.

The man who spends the day down-hill mountain biking, playing music or football is much more interesting than the man who swipes dating apps and stalks exes on social media.

A man who obsesses over women will have few. While a man who pursues goals, won’t be short of women’s attention.

8. Respect yourself, and it flows to the world.

The man who respects himself doesn’t send unsolicited pictures of his penis.

Respect for himself means not making a partner the sole source of his happiness.

A self-respecting man doesn’t blow up a woman’s phone with calls and messages when she doesn’t respond.

A man who respects himself sets polite, but clear boundaries to protect his mental health.

The respect a man has for himself flows to the world around him.

Max Radcliffe is a young men’s respectful relationships speaker. He works with young men to help them navigate intimate relationships, consent and self-respect, thereby improving the experiences of women they interact with. Max also shares his advice to young men on  Instagram.

Feature Image: Supplied.

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