You've gone on a date, and within the first five minutes you know it's a no-go. He or she might be nice enough, but the feeling just isn't there for you. You stick it out, finishing the coffee or drink, making polite conversation until you can part ways.
Days later, you've completely forgotten this other person. You believe the feeling is mutual. Then you receive a text, email, or phone message:
Hey, it's Steven. Had a great time the other night. I felt we had something good there. Let's go for Chinese tomorrow night. Give me a call.
Uh...what? Didn't you both feel the same way? It seemed so...apparent to you. Why not to them, too?
So, now you're stuck. How do you tell this person you're not interested without being a complete jerk about it? Let's explore three options:
From the standpoint of politeness, not the kindest way to let a person down, but not the worst either. The Gurus do not favor the "ignore them" method because it leaves everything open and unsettled.
The other person might not know if you even got the message. So they might send another. It leaves you wondering when the other shoe will drop. Are you free of this person or not? For your own sake, avoid this method.
Tell Them a Friendly Lie?
This is a little better. Depending on your ethics regarding lies—albeit lies for the good of everyone involved—this is an option to consider.
"I've decided to take myself off the market" is one common friendly lie. They'll get the point.
The male Dating Guru says:
I had someone I was interested in going out with a second time. I called, got voicemail. Texted with some specific plans. Response was that she had to wash her hair that evening or something ridiculous. I must not have gotten the "message" first time around, because I tried again. Same thing. I figured it out by then. But it would have been so much better if she had just come out with it the first time.
Tell Them the Partial Truth?
Want to tell them the whole truth? You hate the way they smell and don't think you would be able to stand their ugly children? Go ahead.
But most people find it more palatable to tell the partial truth, such as:
I don't think we're compatible.
I'm looking for someone who has children around the age of my own.
Don't fear telling someone after the pre-date or first date that you're not interested. You're still early in the game, and this type of thing is to be expected. Just don't let it go on too long before you tell them.