How To Say No To A Date
It’s interesting that while most women’s publications have a huge arsenal of articles about how to snare a guy, few of them give any tips on how to lose one. I think this is a good trick to know—who wants to be the girl who doesn’t return calls or e-mails? We know that type: dating douchebag is not a title to strive for.
Being asked out is flattering and most of us were taught to be polite and avoid hurting feelings, but it’s important to be honest with yourself about whether or not you think the person asking is someone you are really interested in dating. Do you really want to? If you don’t, it’s better to decline now than later. Or, worse—accept the date to spare his feelings.
Just Say No
Being polite doesn’t mean having to do something you do not wish to do. It simply means you must be aware of the other person’s feelings and try to be as gentle with them as possible when declining an invitation. So, how about happy hour on Friday? “I’m incredibly flattered, but no, thank you.”
“Maybe some other time?”
My mother always said Jackie O would smile when men asked her out and, if she didn’t want to see them, purr in their ears, “oh, you’re so thoughtful, but I fear that won’t be possible.” The problem that I encountered with this approach is that men tend to take it to mean that the time or place they have suggested is not up to standard, and they’ll quickly suggest something else, leaving us to turn them down yet again. Do it right the first time or do it twice!
Watch those hidden promises
Things like “I’m really busy this week,” and “I’m not in a place emotionally right now for dating,” suggest you may become available at some other time. While giving a suitor a sugar coat of distant hope with your rejection will make you feel like less of a jerk, it does not spare their feelings in the long-run. You will have to say no at some point.
Avoid giving reasons
Some say that concretes help people deal with rejection, but I don’t find this is necessary with a relationship that has not yet formed. A girlfriend of mine told a man she wasn’t into that she didn’t date non-Catholics as a way of making her rejection more “logical” and was left in a very sticky situation when he replied that he was willing to convert. Awkward! In this case, the less you say, the less chance of a rebuttal a potential suitor has.
If the person asking you out begins to harass you with questions about why you’re not interested, my usual response is to look at them straight and say, “I don’t feel it,” before excusing myself. If the person in question persists, let them know that you feel uncomfortable. Your not accepting does not give them the right to cross-examine you.
If someone asks you out via e-mail, direct message, instant message, text message or voice mail, be prompt in responding. Saying no is not rude—not responding, on the other hand, is offensive. Don’t be that person. You wouldn’t want to be treated that way, would you?
Let’s just be friends
Don’t do it. I know it seems like a good idea, but it isn’t. First, it gives the impression there may still be a chance to date. Secondly, friendship is a great privilege, not a consolation prize. It’s a whole different set of commitments than a relationship—are you willing to take calls from this person in the dead of night because they’re having a post-adolescent existential crisis? Help them completely move out of their apartment in a single afternoon? Let them crash at your place because they’re too drunk to get home? I didn’t think so—come on! You couldn’t even say yes to dinner!
Some people will not take kindly to rejection, no matter how polite you are. A friend of mine received several voice mails from a former suitor listing all the reasons he was glad that she didn’t accept his date—in the foulest language imaginable! My advice when it comes to this sort of response: don’t listen or read the messages. If you do, by accident or curiosity, don’t pay attention to them. And whatever you do, don’t respond in kind! You’ve done your due diligence to the situation—God, aren’t you glad you’re not dating that creep?
Being upfront will generally save your suitor time and energy and spare you the headache of having to avoid him if you should ever spot him at a social event. You have much better things on which you could be focusing instead—and so does he.