Folks, Alicia still is sort of out of intelligent writing commission today. So, enjoy a piece she wrote for another site about how to kindly let someone down.
One of my personal flaws is not knowing when I want to stop dating someone. Sign one should probably be that I don’t return their phone calls in a timely fashion (followed by sign two which is that I didn’t make it a priority to be near the phone when they called). But me being me, I’m rarely completely sure I don’t want to date a guy. If we got out a few times and there are no red flags waving about, why would I cut it off?
Alas, I digress. The real issue for today isn’t knowing when to stop dating someone (another day, promise!). What I’m more concerned with is how to tell that not-yet unspecial someone you’re just not that into them.
Yes. Tell them.
Say you’ve been on a few dates*, exchanged a few texts**, and talked on the phone once. Status quo behavior dictates never being in contact with this person once you decide they won’t be joining your for dim sum or a movie ever again. Um…not cool. Yes, you owe a first date kindness. But yo owe someone you’ve had more than meager correspondence with a little more.
You know what doesn’t work? Emailing the guy after a month or two to apologize and mention you don’t want to date. He’ll probably write back, I kinda figured that out. True story.
Anyway, I’m here to advocate for something wildly different than what we’re all used to. Why? Because not being in the know is awkward. And it makes you feel foolish. And like your existence didn’t matter (which it did). And most of all, it’s confusing and disorienting, and over all leads to taking longer to move on from someone than it would had you just spoken up.
So. If a few dates in you’re not having it, and the person you’ve been out with is not a total schmuck who does not deserve kind words (and these people are few and far between) then I’m suggesting we simply tell them – over the phone is fine. Or email. Preferably not text, and probably not in person unless you’re in a relationship with them.
How do you do this? Well…you kinda just say it. Try this: “You are really great, but I’m just not feeling any chemistry between us. I’d be down to hang out sometime as friends, but I’m not interested in dating anymore.” (Yes, go ahead and copy and paste that into an email now.)
No one likes hearing this. People will be defensive. They’ll question you. They might get a little hurt and thus angry. But hopefully, they won’t (and the people that do react in such a way are varying degrees of chumps). And hopefully, they’ll appreciate your honesty and openness, and be more inclined to return the favor in their next failed datingship.
Consider this an exercise in communication.
*between 1 – 3
**no number assigned