Samantha Burns knows you can do better than “ghosting” or “fading.” Here’s how you can let them down easy.
In the first few casual dates, prior to any discussion of exclusivity or commitment, both men and women are guilty of blowing off a romantic interest. Do you really owe someone a let down response if you’re only in the “getting to know you” stage? If one person expresses interest in another date, the answer is yes! If the chemistry was lacking and there was no follow-up on either part, then it’s ok to go your separate ways in silence.
Whether you’ve been Houdini, and pulled a disappearing act, gone radio silent, or played the slow fade where you wait longer and longer to respond to someone until you’re blatantly ignoring him or her, the bottom line is, it’s rude and you may be causing more harm in the end.
Sometimes there can be an innocent misunderstanding when one person feels a connection and the other has no interest in pursuing it any further. In this situation, sometimes we assume our date felt the same disconnect. However, if one person expresses interest in getting together again, I think proper dating etiquette is to clearly communicate that you are no longer interested.
If you’re not feeling it, it’s important to just be clear with the other person. Being straightforward saves this person mental anguish and wasted energy spent obsessing and overanalyzing your non-communicative behavior. This person is, after all, someone who wants to find love. Be assertive and tell it like it is—in a kind way, of course!
You might think you’re sending a message by just ignoring or subtly decreasing communication, but it’s confusing and hurtful. Dating is hard enough, and the fear of rejection is real. Let’s make the process easier on everyone by showing some courtesy and respect.
Of course it’s not fun disappointing someone who’s into you, but that’s part of dating. The reality is that not every date or relationship is going to work out.
When you don’t respond, you’re leaving the other person clueless, and this can be damaging to his or her self-esteem. Many people don’t call or send a text, and even fewer say it straight to someone’s face because they dread hurting someone’s feelings. However, it feels worse to be ignored.
Stop wasting people’s time and emotional energy that could be invested back into the dating market. The longer you keep someone wondering, the more you tie up his or her emotional resources, and that’s not fair.
10 straightforward and kind ways to say you’re not interested in moving forward or continuing a relationship:
- It was great meeting you, but I didn’t feel any chemistry.
- I had a blast but I got more of a friend vibe.
- We had a fun date, but I just did not feel a romantic connection.
- You seem wonderful, but I didn’t feel a spark between us.
- I don’t see this going in the direction of a serious relationship and that’s what I’m looking for.
- I really appreciate the opportunity to get to know you, but I should be honest that I don’t see a future together.
- I respect you so I want to be straightforward that despite having a nice time, I don’t see this going anywhere.
- You’re a catch, unfortunately just not my catch.
- You’re awesome and deserve someone great, I just don’t think I’m that guy/girl.
- Thanks for making the time to get together. I wish there was something more between us, but I only had platonic feelings.
At the end of any of these statements you can throw in a “Good luck out there,” “Best of luck dating,” or “I know you’ll find someone great!”
Just don’t feel guilty and throw out a pity “We can be friends” comment if you have no intention of actually keeping in touch.
If you are in a defined and committed relationship with someone, than that warrants an entirely different breakup conversation, which needs to happen in person, and not via text—which is pretty much as disrespectful as leaving a post-it!
Keep in mind that you can date 100 people and number two could be “the one,” or you may have to date all 100 to meet that special someone. Accept that not hitting it off is not only part of the process, but it’s actually more likely to happen than not.
If you’re looking for a lifelong partner, ideally only one of these relationships will work out, so you just have to keep dating—and dating respectfully makes the whole process easier on everyone.
So the next time you want to end it, set a good example for the other daters out there and be assertive by taking 30 seconds to send a text, knowing that it is much more appreciated than being ignored.