February 8, 2013

Dear Shmitten Kitten: How Do I Let This Guy Down Gently?

I received a letter from my reader, Arielle, who doesn't know how to let this guy down gently. Naturally, she asked me what to do even though I'm a total spazz in roughly 99% of my interactions with other people.
Eh, let's not do this "dating" thing. Cool?
Hey Anna!
I love, love, love your blog and book. I'm a huge fan! I need some advice though since I'm relatively new to dating. 
I went out on three dates with this nice guy, but we're just not compatible. We have mutual friends so I can't just ignore him and let it fizzle out. He's asked me out again, but I'm not sure how to let him know that I'm not interested. It's important that I don't come off as a bitch, but I need to make it clear that this isn't happening. 
What's a girl to do?
Arielle
As a woman who'd rather dye her hair blonde and move to another state than tell a guy that I'd prefer not to share a plate of pad thai while he tells me about his day, I'm going to give you some advice. But it all depends how he asked you out.

If he asked you out by text, I'm going to need you to take a deep breath and type out the following: "I've had a lot of fun getting to know you, but I think we should keep things on a friend level. Cool?" My hope is that by prompting him with a question on the end like that, he'll quickly respond, "That's totally cool. No problem." And then you continue to enjoy your life guilt-free. If he tries to suss out why you aren't interested in moving things forward, don't take the bait! Just keep re-iterating that you two are better off as friends.

If he asked you out over email, you're going to need a little bit more of a composed response. I'd go with something like, "It's been a lot of fun getting to know you, but I think we're better off as friends." Really, keep it as short as possible. Don't go into reasons, don't tell him that the thought of seeing his naked body makes you want to puke. Just be concise, upbeat, and firm.

If he called you to ask you out and you feel like you have to call him back, I say just send him a text instead. Is it bad form? Maybe. Do you really care? Eh, you've only been out a few times so he'll just have to get over it.

Some people will tell you to break up in person, but that's bullshit. Who's got time to arrange a meeting all just to tell him to buzz off? No one's got time for that!

However, and this is important, you can't be weird when you see him next. You are now a robot and it's your mission to be cool as shit. If you're weird, it'll make him feel 100x weirder, trust me. The ball is in your court since you did the dumping. Never bring up the text or email you sent him. You have to act like he's your best friend's cousin; just be super cordial. You're going to need to summon all of your acting skills to pretend that the Failed Dating Disaster of 2013 never happened.

Good luck! Let me know how it goes. If anyone has any other suggestions, leave 'em in the comments!

12 comments:

Julia said...

Hey its been great getting to know you, however, I just don't think we are the right match. Good luck!

Its really that easy.

Anna said...

That's a good line too!

Kubis said...

I use a standard line that goes something like this: "I think you are a great person and I'm glad that I met you, but I just don't feel the chemistry that suggests this could lead anywhere other than friendship." It's very hard to argue with chemistry. Good luck!

Mallory P. said...

I love the text line-- it's perfectly concise and polite, without going into too much detail. The only thing I would suggest otherwise is to say it via phone call IF talking on the phone is something that she and the dude have engaged in over the 3-date span. If they've gone on 3 dates, plus some phone conversing-- give him the heave-ho over a phone call. It would kind of be copping out to text dump after they've already talked beyond texting. If it's just been dates and texting, I would say a text dump is on the table.

Personally, I find the phone call to be straightforward and formal enough to kind of freak them out of arguing about it or dragging it out, whereas text is informal enough that sometimes they feel like they can keep the lines of communication open and sometimes that turns into a weird fight.

Anonymous said...

I just did an email breakup after 5 dates (sent it today). But maybe it doesn't count as 5 b/c one of the dates was just hanging out at my house for 2 hours?

I'm mainly writing this comment because I feel bad for email breaking up with him... and I want someone to tell me I didn't do anything wrong! Is it that egregious?

Anna said...

I think you're good. An email breakup is fine. I mean, what are you going to do? Take him or her out to an above average restaurant and have a sit-down conversation about it? Fuck that! Say what you gotta say then avoid checking your email for the rest of the week. That's what I'd do!

Anonymous said...

Thanks Anna. And I gave him nice compliments and explained why in a concise, non-critical fashion. So hopefully it's alright.

Anonymous said...

My favorite (and similar) is "It's been great getting to know you, but I don't think the chemistry is there for me." I'm a fan of blaming it on the amorphous chemistry, which is always a bit true.

Jeremy said...

As a guy, I fully support this method.

Solo4114 said...

Under the circumstances, I'd say get in touch with the guy by whatever mode of communication has been established as the main method (text, phone, email, whatever).

Then tell the guy, "Listen, it's been great getting to know you, and I've had a lot of fun, but I'm just not feeling like this is going to develop any further." If he presses for details or an answer, the stock response is "No spark/chemistry/just not feeling it." Likely, though, he won't push for an answer why.

Why does this approach work? First, it's not about something external that he could change. "I don't like your hair." Really? I'll get a haircut. "Your breath stinks." I'll use breath mints. And so on. No chemistry, though, or not enough for things to develop further, though, is pretty unassailable.

Now, if you've been all gushy and romantic with him and spoken of future plans and whatnot, and if this comes totally out o left field, then "no chemistry" will just seem like a cop-out, but the bottom line is that it's probably true. "Your breath stinks, which means I don't like kissing you, which means I'm turned off by you, which means we have no chemistry." So, you just cut to the chase with "no chemistry."

When I break things off with a girl, I call her on the phone, but that's also because I'm usually calling her on the phone to schedule dates and such in the first place. 9 out of 10 times, an honest "no chemistry" response is appreciated, particularly if you do it over the phone. Being able to hear your tone of voice helps (A) make it clear that this is DONE, and (B) remove ambiguity about what the issue is. They can hear it in your voice -- there's no chemistry.


It's uncomfortable, but it's the decent thing to do.

Anonymous said...

How about, "an alligator bit off my face"?

Collin said...

This is good advice. I feel depressed reading the intro because she would have ignored him if it weren't for the mutual friends. Folks have used this method with me before and I've never felt lower than in those times.

I know that we are only men and therefore fungible but please. Never simply ignore a man until he goes away. You just make things worse for the next person.

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