A Toronto Transformation

How to tell them there won’t be a next date

You know, I've never actually hoped I would get food poisoning before...

You know, I’ve never actually hoped I would get food poisoning before…

Dating can be such an exhausting endeavour.

It takes time and energy and sometimes money.

Of course, with the right person it’s also thrilling and fun and oh so worth the time and energy required.

But what do you do when that’s not the case?

I was recently chatting with an acquaintance who had just come from a date with a woman he’d seen a few times. He liked her well enough but didn’t see a relationship in the cards for them and wasn’t particularly interested in seeing her again.

“I’m considering… just sort of phasing her out…?” he said.

I think I just shouted the word “Horrible!” in response, before remembering that I barely knew this guy, and that some people don’t like it when strangers make judgmental proclamations about their life choices.


Still, I get where he was coming from. No one wants to have to tell someone you don’t think they’re fantastic enough to take up any more of your time.

It’s easy to argue that unless you’ve made some sort of verbal or written commitment (and hey, I know some folks who’d argue it even then) there’s really no need to let someone know that you’re no longer interested in seeing them. It’s easy to just avoid that awkward mini-breakup all together. I’ve had that argument with myself.

Most of us who have been on the receiving end of that kind of disappearing act by someone who seemed keen enough to spend some time with us would agree: we’d rather just be told that we shouldn’t expect a call, than to wait by the phone, working our way through a field of daisies playing he/she loves me, he/she loves me not.

So, in the end, I decided that my policy for extracting myself from nice-enough-but-not-for me men’s lives would be to be as clear and honest as possible. Treat others the way you want to be treated, no?

As far as I’m concerned, if you’ve only been on a few dates, it’s perfectly acceptable to get the message across with something as pain-free as a thoughtful, well-crafted, and above all, clear, text message or email. If you’ve been dating for a few months and communicated primarily by phone, then a phone call might be in order.

In fact, allow me to craft one for you now:

“Hey there,

I just wanted to thank you for a couple of lovely dates. I thought I should let you know that I’m not really feeling a romantic connection, but I’ve really enjoyed getting to know such an interesting/funny/clever/handsome-faced/hot-bod-ed guy/gal.”

The end.

If you actually would like to hang out with them as pals, say so, but don’t throw it out there as an insincere bit of pity. It might feel kind, but it’s not really.

Of course, if that’s too much for you, you could always just tell them you have a skin irregularity in a very delicate area.

What do you guys think? Do you have a strategy in place for letting someone know there won’t be a next date?Also, if you have a better caption for the photo above, why not hop on by facebook and tell me all about it? on.fb.me/18Pc4dU 

6 Responses to How to tell them there won’t be a next date

  • Shannon says:

    I try to be as straightforward as possible because I know whenever someone has done the disappearing act on me, I felt TERRIBLE about myself. I was never like: Oh, I guess I just wasn’t what they’re looking for. Instead, it was a complete meltdown, what did I do, why don’t they like meeeeee scenario.

    I normally just sent a text or at the end of what I know will be our last date, I’ll say something. Thinking about that, it sounds kind of harsh but rather a certain rejection than days of uncertainty.

    • metamorphocity says:

      Absolutely! I have yet to tell someone in person at the end of a date. I’m still a bit too much of a chicken to do that, but I’ve done it over the phone and via text. I’m with you, I’ll take quick, clear rejection over wondering any day!

  • MARTIN says:

    I think you’ve hit the nail on the head right there with your example response. It is often too easy to just ignore them and hope they get the message that way. Having been on the receiving end of that treatment it does kinda suck, although it does work well if both parties take the same tack (which has also happened to me. Haha).

    • metamorphocity says:

      Ha. Yes, I’m not a totally shining example either. I’ve done the mutual fade-out thing. Or at least, I assume it was mutual. Maybe he’s still waiting for a call!

  • Kate Hall says:

    I completely agree with you! I have been off the dating scene for a while now but it was always awkward to phase someone out or be phased out, I definitely think just being direct and letting the person know is the best way. The last 2 guys I dated before my boyfriend – they got honest text messages sent to them that I was no longer interested.
    Of course, I didn’t get a reply but I felt better for being clear on it!

    • metamorphocity says:

      Oh yeah, I don’t really expect a reply. Although actually, I think everyone has been cool and understanding and sent one anyway!

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