Our culture is all about pressuring women to just go along with things they don’t want to do in order not to make men have even momentary sadfeels, so I’m not surprised your ladyfriends advised you as they did. They probably have felt exactly as you do at times, and maybe even refused a hug, only to find themselves on the receiving end of a manly tantrum of “I WAS JUST TRYING TO BE NICE WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU” so they want to help you avoid such awkwardness. You risk the man-tantrum (mantrum?) pretty much anytime you decide that your time, or your smile, or your body belongs only to you.
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