Fuck Yes or No

Fuck Yes or No

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Question: 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.

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.

As you can see, The Law of “Fuck Yes or No” implies that both parties must be enthusiastic about the prospect of one another’s company. Why? Because attractive, non-needy, high self-worth people don’t have time for people who they are not excited to be with and who are not excited to be with them.

This may sound a bit idealistic to some. But The Law of “Fuck Yes or No” has many tangible benefits on your dating life:

  1. No longer be strung along by people who aren’t that into you. End all of the headaches. End the wishing and hoping. End the disappoint and anger that inevitably follows. Start practicing self-respect. Become the rejector, not the rejected.
     
  2. No longer pursue people you are so-so on for ego purposes. We’ve all been there. We were so-so about somebody, but we went along with it because nothing better was around. And we all have a few we’d like to take back. No more.
     
  3. Consent issues are instantly resolved. If someone is playing games with you, playing hard to get, or pressuring you into doing something you’re unsure about, your answer is now easy. Or as I often like to say in regards to dating, “If you have to ask, then that’s your answer.”
     
  4. Establish strong personal boundaries and enforcing them. Maintaining strong boundaries not only makes one more confident and attractive, but also helps to preserve one’s sanity in the long-run.
     
  5. Always know where you stand with the other person. Since you’re now freeing up so much time and energy from people you’re not that into, and people who are not that into you, you now find yourself perpetually in interactions where people’s intentions are clear and enthusiastic. Sweet!

The Law of “Fuck Yes or No” is applicable to dating, sex, relationships, even friendships. You may have absolutely nothing in common with that bartender. But they’re hot and are interested in getting down. Is it a “Fuck Yes!” for sex? It is? Then game on.

Wrapped up in that sweet guy who treats you so well, except goes weeks without calling you and suddenly disappears after a couple drinks and a round of the horizontal polka? Been wondering if he really likes you? Do his excuses of being so busy all the time seem legit? It doesn’t sound like the answer is a “Fuck yes.” Then it’s time to move on.

Making out with a girl at your house and every time you go to take her shirt off she swats your hands away? That is not a “Fuck Yes,” my friend, therefore, it’s a no and not worth pressuring her. Besides, sex with someone who is not “Fuck Yes” about you is usually lousy sex anyway.

(Hint Fellas: This is a great time to ask the girl why she’s not comfortable, and what she’s looking for from you. That, by itself, often solves this “problem.”)

Want to date that woman you met last weekend but she keeps ignoring your texts and calls? Not sure what to say or do, especially since she seemed so happy to go out with you when you initially met her? Well, my friend, this is obviously not a “Fuck Yes.” Therefore, it is a “No.” Delete her number and move on.

Fuck Yes or No applies to relationships as well. My girlfriend works with a guy who got married because “it seemed like the right thing to do.” Four years later, he was cheating on his wife every chance he got. The marriage was not a Fuck Yes for him, therefore it should have been a No.

Sometimes The Law of Fuck Yes or No will apply differently on different levels. You may be a “Fuck Yes” for friendship with someone, but mildly excited to have sex with them. Therefore, it’s a no. You may be a “Fuck Yes” on banging someone’s brains out, but a definite “No” on actually spending any time with them. Apply the law to your decision-making as it suits your current needs.

A typical Fuck Yes response I receive from women.

A common Fuck Yes response from a woman. Flowers and all.

But the real beauty of The Law of “Fuck Yes or No” is that it simplifies the problems you can have in your dating life. When applying the Law of “Fuck Yes or No,” there are really only two problems one can have.

The first problem is people who never feel a “Fuck Yes” for anybody they meet. If you are lukewarm on absolutely everyone you meet, then either your demographics are way off, or you suffer from a lack of vulnerability and are protecting yourself by remaining indifferent and unenthused by all of those around you.

Remember, it’s your job to look for something cool in everyone you meet; it’s not their job to show you. This is life, not a fucking sales convention. Learning to appreciate people you meet is a skill you cultivate. So get on it. This doesn’t mean you have to fall in love with everyone who breathes in your direction. It just means you need to take responsibility for your ability to connect with the people you are meeting.

The second problem is people who never meet others who feel a “Fuck Yes” for them. If all of the people you pursue give you a mild responses, or outright rejections, then it’s time to focus on improving yourself. Ask yourself, what is it about yourself that would inspire others to say “Fuck Yes” about you? If the answer is not obvious, then you get to work. Build yourself into a person others would say “Fuck Yes” to.

And this is the ultimate dating advice lesson — man, woman, gay, straight, trans, furry, whatever — the only real dating advice is self improvement. Everything else is a distraction, a futile battle in the grey area, a prolonged ego trip. Because, yes, with the right tools and performance, you may be able to con somebody into sleeping with you, dating you, even marrying you. But you will have won the battle by sacrificing the war, the war of long-term happiness.

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245 Comments

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  • Reply

    kathy

    12 weeks ago

    The clarity you offer seems to apply to pretty much all interpersonal situations. How do you do that?

  • Reply

    Ben

    11 weeks ago

    I agree with a lot of things that this article says except for one thing…the name of what this is called. I don’t believe calling it the “Law of Fuck Yes or No” is, for lack of a better word, accurate. Calling it a law means that it is a definite thing and that this is correct, which is exactly what he was saying was wrong with dating advice. Calling this a “law” insinuates that this is the correct method of dealing with every situation. While it may be a good way to approach somethings I do not feel that it works in every situation. Not only that, but by calling it a law it has potential to mess with someone’s mind (this is the first thing I thought of when I read the name). Had I been someone to take this literally ,and not as just another attempt at making sense out of a confusing subject, I might have been lead to believe that this actually is “law” and will sway my opinions and decision making process drastically. Just because someone isn’t completely about you doesn’t mean you should just move on to the next one. Just because I look at someone and I don’t think to myself “fuck yes!” does not mean that it can’t work. No body starts off as a “fuck yes” because nobody knows everything about the other person. You need to understand who that person is and what their beliefs are before you can make a decision like that.

    • Reply

      Jeff

      5 weeks ago

      While I completely see where you are coming from, in Mark’s defence, I do believe you are taking this article and the name of the “law” a little too concretely/literally. In my opinion, Manson is merely trying to inject a different perspective/angle to these interpersonal/dating/friendship situations. There are a few moments/situations in everyone’s lives in which they want someone really bad. Sometimes, the desire causes one to lose themselves. Wants also lead to expectations, and expectations can very well lead to disappointment. From my understanding, Manson is merely saying that a good rule-of-thumb would be to see if the counterparty/person is feeling the same way about you. If not, maybe it’s not a bad idea to move on. After all, forcing things with another living being usually leads to some sort of disaster. Yes, I agree–that just because you don’t think to yourself “fuck yes!” does not mean that it can’t work. There are an infinite ways to look at relationships. None is absolute; none is perfect.

  • Reply

    Tmurphy

    11 weeks ago

    I LOVE this article! Do does everyone in my office and fb, So… Blunt and direct like me! Just didn’t Hv the words like u did, well done! keep’em coming!

  • Reply

    Sterling Silver Lining

    9 weeks ago

    Mark, thanks man. Over the past week, I enjoyed the opportunity of being able to spend an evening with three beautiful honeys. One of them in particular and I gravitated to one another as the evening progressed. By the time we hopped to the last venue of the night, she and I were all over each other in “Fuck Yes” fashion. Unfortunately the night ended before she and I could swap additional bodily fluids, then now a couple of days later the “Fuck Yes” on her end doesn’t seem so “fucking yes” anymore. The experience kind of fucked with my mind a little, but after reading a couple of your articles over the past 24 hours, it has spared me some grief and has given me MUCH relief. “Chemistry and Compatibility”, plus “The Law Of Fuck Yes!!! Or No!!!” pulled me out of my funk. Last night, it was as if you were my own brother being here for me when I needed some constructive guidance and a swift kick in the ass! Thank you! I am going to be fine. I have no more anxiety over the situation.

  • Reply

    Laura Stewart

    9 weeks ago

    Fuck yes! Very succinct :)

  • Reply

    Sam

    8 weeks ago

    This is so fucking on point. Bravo Mark.

  • Reply

    Rebecca Flin

    7 weeks ago

    Yes! To me, it seems like the “Law of Fuck Yes or No” is essentially equivalent to “Enthusiastic Consent”. I love your article, but one little thing disturbed me:

    “Making out with a girl at your house and every time you go to take her shirt off she swats your hands away? That is not a “Fuck Yes,” my friend, therefore, it’s a no and not worth pressuring her. Besides, sex with someone who is not “Fuck Yes” about you is usually lousy sex anyway.” <—yes! I agree. Don't go further. However,

    "(Hint Fellas: This is a great time to ask the girl why she’s not comfortable, and what she’s looking for from you. That, by itself, often solves this “problem.”)" <—- NO!!! Chances are that the girl doesn't know WHY she's not comfortable. Asking this question may make her feel like she is being unreasonable, confused, and pressured to go past her boundaries. I actually wrote a whole post about this issue here:
    http://disruptingdinnerparties.com/2014/03/04/noboundaries-part-iii-push-past-the-patronizing-argument/
    Sometimes it just takes a while for people to warm up, and especially when it comes to physical sexual boundaries, there is often no reason WHY they are comfortable with one thing, and not with another. The girl is giving you a Fuck Yes for making out, but a Fuck No for taking off her shirt. So stay at making out. The Law of Fuck Yes or No can apply in little bits and pieces.

    • Reply

      Mark Manson

      7 weeks ago

      Kind of weird that you support enthusiastic consent and then disagree with a man verbally communicating his concern about her inhibitions. So what if it’s uncomfortable? Talk about it. If she just needs time to warm up, then she can say that. It’s time to stop playing guessing games with each other and let people know where you’re at. If you feel pressured, say so. If you need time, say so. If you don’t know why, say so.

      Otherwise it just makes both people feel more insecure.

      • Reply

        V

        4 weeks ago

        I will say that communication is good, but perhaps the goal is to cool off a bit, not ask right in the heat of the moment, or it may come across as pressure, or just be very up front that you ask only out of a desire to communicate, no pressure. Either way, I do think Fuck No, can be Fuck No, Not right now, maybe a bit later. As Rebecca points out, somethings take time and many guys are of the mentality that if it’s not a Fuck Yes to whatever I want right now than it’s not worth waiting for, which I think is bullshit. I’ll communicate my timetable as I become aware of it (as Rebecca points out people aren’t always sure when it will be right), but I’ll work on my timetable, not others and if they don’t like it, as you say, take it as a Fuck No and move on.

    • Reply

      Stella

      4 weeks ago

      I agree with Rebecca here. Especially if you, the guy, just met the girl….if you both feel the ‘fuck yes’ thing…sometimes women hesitate to actually sleep with the guy straight away. And if you think that she doesn’t like you simply because she doesn’t want to sleep with you straight away…then I am really sorry for you.

  • Reply

    Alexander Stanislaw

    6 weeks ago

    I don’t know how I feel about this. Would you generalize this advice to marriage? Because the passion and excitement of a young relationship almost always fades, and applying the “Fuck yes or no” principle seems like a good way to lead to divorce. Which isn’t to say that couples who successfully remain together for decades don’t love each other, but their love one defined by emotions but by understanding and compassion. As testament to this, arranged marriages very often last longer than Western love marriages. Moreover people in arranged marriages report being more satisfied with their marriage.

  • Reply

    jason

    6 weeks ago

    What happens if it is not a clear “fuck yes” coming from the other party? Do you still proceed? I met someone, finally got her number texted a lot over a few days then I called her up and asked her out. I made it clear I wanted to date her. She was flattered, said she recently got back with her ex, (didn’t say she had a boyfriend) and asked me when I started feeling something for her. I told her truth and was vunerable and honest and she loved and appreciated it. She said I could still text her and being in positive mindset and knowing some good could come out of it I asked if she single friends she can set me up with and she does. I asked her to hang out sometime to screen me for her friend and she asked when, but she hasn’t talked to her friend yet. There might be a possibility she might be looking for something new. I don’t want to violate my principles and go after someone who may be unavailable, but hanging out with her so that she can learn more about me for her friend is not really my true intention after I think about it. I want to learn more about her too and she knows this as I’ve told her. I don’t want to be relationship destroyer, because I believe in karma, but on the other hand it might broken already. Do I proceed with a “fuck yes” anyway and do us both a favor?

    • Reply

      Me2

      4 weeks ago

      Jason, that is the biggest No I’ve seen in a while. There is nothing Fuck Yes about that situation, get out of there.

    • Reply

      Chelsea

      3 weeks ago

      This is a big fuck no. If she wanted you, she wouldn’t have gone back to her ex in the first place. It’s either that or she’s playing mind games with you, which is a huge red flag. Either way, this girl is not worth your time in any context (friend, girlfriend, matchmaker or otherwise). I would delete her number and move on. The point is that if it was a “fuck yes” she would be clear about it, not wishy-washy and subtle. Do yourself a favour and walk away, you deserve better :)

  • Reply

    Vickie Fowler

    5 weeks ago

    It isn’t so easy for me, somehow. I, unfortunately, am a fixer, problem solver, etc. But, then, I fell for a passive aggressive commitment-phobe and came within a week of our wedding only to watch him lose control. I realized all that careful “molding” didn’t get our relationship very far. I should’ve just spent all that confusing time focusing on myself, like he did. Now, with aching heart, I am wiser! http://www.hushhushheart.com

  • Reply

    Sarah

    5 weeks ago

    Looks similar to this hmm
    http://sivers.org/hellyeah

    • Reply

      Mark Manson

      5 weeks ago

      Yes, Sivers is referenced and linked within the article if you read it.

  • Reply

    Adriana

    4 weeks ago

    Hmmm, at first this sounds about right but then it kind of contradicts what we are trying to learn is that relationships arent Disney movies or 80s movies where John Cusack is outside your window with a boom box. THE Fuck yes moment of the 80s.
    Although I agree, there has to be enthusiasm, I have seen and experienced going from Fuck Yes to Hell no very quickly. And seen, men especially, may start off all go with the flow, and BAM end up head over heels in Fuck Yes.

    And lets face it, relationships flow, high and lows, yeses and nos, maybes, and possiblies (made up word) but like you said that’s dating.

  • Reply

    Julie

    4 weeks ago

    Wow. Just wow. So simple, yet so awesome. And you made me realize that I am in the first problem group. Mind-blowing.

  • Reply

    Dan

    1 week ago

    So I no a waitress She is a definit fuck yes she’s so fucking beautiful I’m a little older then her but she flirts with me pretty hard touching me hitting me messing with me all the time but I’m not sure if she’s interested she is so fucking hot I get a little nervous around her but if I ask her out and she says no it will b weird going in there after that what should I do wait for her to come to me I wanna fuck her brains out now and I’m not getting any younger iv played this same game b4 and not a good out come any suggestions on what to do I don’t want to scare her away I want her to b my girl

  • Reply

    Mark

    6 days ago

    This is such terrific advice, and I’m passing it on. At 40, I finally figured this out for myself–very recently–and it would have saved me so many headaches in dating, relationships, and friendships if I had gotten it earlier.

    Last weekend I had dates with two different women I met online. I really liked the first one, but she ended the date fairly quickly, and when I told her that I’d had a good time and wanted to see her again, she said, “I’ll have to think about it.” “I think that means no,” I responded. “That’s OK, I can take it–you can just say no thanks!” She said, “No, I have to think about it. Sometimes I need to sleep on things.” Well, I did not contact this woman again, and don’t plan to. As far as I’m concerned, if a woman isn’t sure that she likes me enough to see me again, then the interaction isn’t worth the effort. I have better things to do than bang my head against a brick wall.

    The second date was totally different: I really liked her, too–but she liked me back, and she made that clear. We laughed, had a great time, made out, and have been overtly flirting by text since then while planning our next date. Not giving a second thought to the “maybe” from the first woman allowed me to be more open and emotionally available for the “fuck yes” from the second, and no matter how things turn out, I have 0 regrets about how I’ve handled this situation.

  • Reply

    m

    1 day ago

    AGE OLD PROBLEM:
    the people i want don’t want me
    the people who want me i don’t want

    soooo your law doesn’t solve a thing…
    in the end I will probably settle for someone who wants me, isn’t that the only option?

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