Telling someone you are not into them can get tricky. Here’s how you can be elegant about it in four tricky situations
You’ve been asked out by someone you are not interested in, and now you have to tell him or her you don’t want to go out with them. Remember that it takes great courage to ask someone out, so you need to deal with it in a sensitive manner, especially if your lives overlap. Now, things get trickier if you are close to the person.
We give you tips on how to deal with four types of situations.
The wonderful thing about dating online is that you can just ignore what you don’t like. Just don’t write back, or pretend to be offline. Any other correspondence could be construed as condescension if you are not really going to date. You might also come off looking like you think you are better than him or her.
It’s a small world with fewer than six degrees of separation. If karma has its way, and you end up dating someone he or she knows, they will be able to tell them what an uptight prince/princess you were to them, totaling your chances with the friend. Cold silence leaves them nothing to talk about.
This one is relatively easy. Sharing a workspace is usually a good excuse to get out of a date scene.
So while you guys are going out to get coffee or a smoke, tell them you think it’s not a very good idea to date a co-worker.
Let them feel that you’ve thought about dating him/her but don’t want to act on it for professional reasons.
This will please them without leading him/her on. Time the outing in such a way that you need to head back to work soon after the conversation. This will ensure that the agony is not prolonged.
Your best friend from the other sex is the most difficult to turn down. Ostensibly because (s)he knows all your excuses, crushes and the fact that you are not dating anyone right now; or dating a homicidal stalker you are trying to shrug off.
The best way to do this would be by email or Text Messaging, so that you both can pretend it never happened. If you do it face-to-face, you risk saying too much, saying too little, and giving away too much via body language.
So just write a mail or text, giving a quick excuse — “Not in the dating space”; “Don’t want to spoil what we have”, “I haven’t told you, but I have a terminal illness…”. A good way to start would be saying how bad you feel that you can’t return the affection.
Lean on things you’ve discussed in the past, like your fear of monogamy or your obsession with your ex. Sign off by saying you’ll understand if (s)he wants to carry on like this never happened, or needs some space. Don’t be too eager to put this behind you. And never, ever make it out as if the problem is with him or her.
The advantage and the disadvantage in this situation is the same: the middleperson.
The good part is that you can tell this person that their friend isn’t your type. They are very likely to phrase it kindly. But you can’t lie to the person, when you speak with him or her directly because there’s a risk of getting caught in case (s)he cross-checks with your friends. So keep it vague. ‘I’ve been interested in someone else” should work. Then ask if you will see them at the next group outing. If (s)he has reached out for a second date, call up and let them down personally. It will also save you trouble with the person who set you up.