Monday, March 8, 2010

When You're Just Not That Into Him

Most of the time, when you start seeing someone, it doesn’t work out.

It’s the depressing fact of dating that keeps Ben & Jerry’s in business. But what if you’re the one who’s making the decision to terminate, and it’s only been a few dates?

We usually advocate giving someone more than one chance to get it right. But sometimes you can see the writing on the wall on the second date, like when he asks for your SAT scores over dinner.

If you’re never going to see this guy again, you might be tempted to just drop off the face of the earth. You figure you could stop responding to his texts and never return his phone calls, and you won’t have to worry about running into him at your best friend’s birthday dinner.

We’ll get back to that in a second, but what if there’s a good chance that you will run into this guy in social settings?

You could still go the ignore route and hope that he gets the hint. And the next time you see him in a bar, you can spend the whole night talking about how awkward it is, and you’ll have good gchat material for a solid week (“Ohmygod, I ran into Brian at Whitlows on Thursday and it was soooooooooo awk!”).

Or you could just level with him. Think about all the guys who’ve blown you off in the past. It’s a really shitty feeling, and it always leaves you wanting an explanation of what went wrong.

We’re not saying you should tell this guy why you don’t want to be with him. But it is nice to give him a heads up that you’re not interested.

You don’t need to tell him to his face. You don’t need to call him and pour your heart out. And you also don’t need to jump the gun—if he drops you off at your place after the third date and you never hear from him again, there’s no need to tell him that you weren’t feeling it either.

But if he does seem like he wants to pursue the relationship (i.e., he asks you out again), you could send him a text that says something like, “I’ve had a lot of fun hanging out with you, but I’m not sure I can get into something right now.” If it feels right, throw in something about friendship. If it doesn’t, don’t.

He might get the message. Or he might ask to meet you in person to talk about it. Or he might get pissed and send you a scathing text message (“w/e i’m 2 hot 4 u neway”).

At this point, you don’t need to respond. Remember, you don’t owe this guy anything, and you’ve been courteous enough to tell him the truth.

If you run into him after that, you don’t have to feel guilty. You’ll probably still feel awkward, but at least you won’t have to have that, “I haven’t heard from you…” conversation.

Sending a text is not a big deal. It takes less than a minute and requires very little actual thought/effort. And so the question is, why not do it in the case of guy number one, who you’re pretty sure you’re not going to see again?

Part of being an adult is learning how to navigate awkward situations. You’re not so much doing this for the guys as you’re doing it for yourself.

If you learn how to firmly, but politely, reject someone, you’re the one who benefits. You’re more confident in your social abilities, and you don’t have to worry about not giving someone a chance because you’re worried about hurting his feelings if things don’t work out.

Bruised egos are par for the course in dating. But you feel like even more of a jackass when you realize that the person you’re pursing has been blowing you off for the past few weeks.

You can spend your 20s running from potentially awkward situations. But if you’re upfront and direct with a guy you’re not interested in, most of your tension and anxiety disappears.

If you don’t tell him, you’ll agonize over each invitation you need to invent an excuse to avoid. You’ll worry about what to say if you run into him. And you’ll waste time worrying about a situation that isn’t worth the anguish.

1 comment:

  1. I agree. If girls can't grow up and honestly tell guys that things are not working out then, well, they should grow up. Same for guys too.