Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Thanks, but no thanks

This week, I received two requests for advice. One request was dealt with privately, but since "Vespertine" asked her question in the comments, I thought it was time for another installment of "Dear Jamy."

I haven't done much to get this off the ground, and I'm not exactly inundated by your requests for advice, but I'd like to make it a regular feature (at least during the dating lulls).

From now on (at least until I say otherwise or if you don't ask questions), every Tuesday, I will answer a question or two sent in from readers. I'll even provide follow-up advice upon request. We can keep things as public or as private as you like.

Here is today's question:

You seem to have a good perspective on these things, so I'd like to ask for a bit of advice.

Last week, I went on a an internet date. Very nice guy, but something is just not clicking for me. He has called once, and emailed once since then asking to go out again. Normally, I am not the tongue tied sort, but for some reason, I am struggling to find a way to say I like you, but I don't feel like pursuing this thing.

I considered just letting it dwindle, but I hate it when people do that to me, so I feel I should respond in some way. Suggestions?


First, thanks for the kind words.

Second, some unsolicited advice. You say he's a nice guy. Are you willing to go on a second date with him? Unscientific opinion says that you should go on a second date as long as the guy is not an absolute boor. Perhaps he could grow on you? I'm not suggesting that you force things. If you're not feeling it, you're not feeling it and there's not much to be done. However, if you genuinely enjoy his company, I'd say give him one more date before making a decision.

Third, an answer to the question you asked. You are considering not calling him back at all because you are not interested. I think you know the answer when you say, "I hate it when people do that to me." You hate it, he hates it, we all hate it. So don't do it. You may not want to go out on a second date with him, but you can let him know it's not because he did something wrong or that you dislike him. Given that you've only had one date and you met via the internet, it is acceptable to give him the brush off via email. Calling is more personal, but infinitely more awkward, so use your best judgment as to which route to take.

As to what you should say, be as honest as possible while still being kind. You might say something like, "It was great meeting you and I had fun on our date. Unfortunately, I don't think it's going to work out. You are a great guy and I wish you the best." It is not easy to send this message, and he may have follow up questions (sigh), but it is infinitely more polite than ignoring him.

(The most palatable internet dating rejection I ever received was from a guy who said, "I don't think we're romantically suited, but I would love to be friends." He didn't follow up on the friends thing, but it sure softened the blow. Besides, I felt the same way and I admired him for managing to find a kind way to say it.)

Ignoring him is the coward's way out, but sometimes it's the only thing to be done. If you give a firm "no" and he keeps calling, it will do no good to communicate with him further. If he won't take no for answer, he's a jerk and you have my permission to ignore him.

Good luck and let us know what happens.


P.S. If you have ever received a rejection, what made it palatable? What made it harsh? Readers, how would you want to receive this message?

Grateful for: the chance to worry about someone else's problems.

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