The worst thing a woman can be in a relationship? Silent.

But the art of expressing ourselves in living words, not typed ones, proves increasingly challenging. Here are 16 things I, like many of you, wish I learned to say to a man right as I came of age instead of a decade too late. For the parents out there, I think it’s a good idea to talk through these with your daughters before they start dating.

16 Things Every Woman Should Know How to Say to a Man

  1. 1. Stop. Most of you have been in a sexual situation where you wanted a man to stop. The ability to say ‘stop’ when you feel uncomfortable starts with an acknowledgement that you don’t owe him anything. You get to decide what you do and don’t want on the physical side of a relationship.
  2. 2. Commit to me. If a lousy, half-commitment or friends-with-benefits scenario isn’t what you want, then ask him to commit. You are your own worst enemy by allowing him to string you along without any declaration of intention.
  3. 3. I’m going home now. He hasn’t earned the right to touch you or have sex with you when you don’t want to. Tell him you are going home and don’t listen if he begs you to stay. Know how to spot compromising situations and get out.
  4. 4. You hurt my feelings. Don’t wait until you have completely lost it to express how you feel. If your guy does something that hurts you, tell him. Little confrontations along the way make for a much healthier relationship based on good communication. We all hurt each other, but we must learn to express our emotions before we get hit the boiling point.
  5. 5. This is how I feel. We all have junk and it’s important to be vulnerable with your man and tell him how you feel about the pain in your life. Let him in slowly and trust him with your emotions.
  6. 6. No. He wants you to go home with him. He touches your butt. He makes an inappropriate joke about you in public. As women, we must learn to say ‘no’ and stand up for ourselves. Don’t apologize and don’t be silent.
  7. 7. This is what I want. He isn’t a mind reader. Use your words and express your desires.
  8. 8. I want to be with you. Learn to say this (sober, please) because you’ll want to say it to a man one day. You can’t expect him to read your mind, so step up to the plate and tell him how you feel.
  9. 9. You have what it takes. Chances are the man you love will struggle at one point or another with his identity. Maybe that’s through a career failure or maybe it’s because of some negative messages he’s grown accustomed to hearing and believing. Look him in his hurting eyes and tell him he has what it takes. Tell him you believe in him.
  10. 10. My __________ is really important to me (career, faith, children, etc). Don’t be a chameleon morphing your desires into the man of the moment. Learn to stand up for who you are and what you believe in. Don’t  apologize for being you. A relationship is never worth compromising the core of who you are.
  11. 11. Please stop contacting me. You shouldn’t have to live in fear of the next angry text you’ll receive. Tell him upfront not to contact you anymore because you need to give yourself time to breath and heal.
  12. 12. That behavior is unacceptable to me. Set standards for your romantic life and know how to express them in a kind, yet straightforward way. As Steve Harvey says, “Men respect standards. Get some!”
  13. 13. No, I won’t send you a picture. If he threatens to break up with you because you won’t send him a picture, then he needs a good punch in the face. The right man won’t put you in a compromising situation and won’t make demands of which you aren’t comfortable. Delete him from your phone and move on.
  14. 14. Your love doesn’t define me. You are not defined by how many men are lined up outside your door. Define yourself as one radically loved by God and don’t let his volatile desires steal your confidence.
  15. 15. My life doesn’t revolve around you. A 10pm “where are you?” text doesn’t cut it for you. Meeting up with him at the last minute will only reinforce his behavior and the anxiety pumping through your body awaiting his text is toxic. Tell him to make a plan and that the last minute text just won’t work. Anymore, at least.
  16. 16. I am worth your words. In a world where arguments, breakups, and threats are common over text message and social media, know how to cut off an on-screen conversation and ask to have it face-to-face. A real man won’t hide behind a screen. You are worth his words.

Anything else you would add?

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