How to Politely Tell Someone You’re Just Not That Into Them

It’s the age-old question: how do I politely tell someone that I’m just not interested? Sure, you could just stop answering their texts, but I’m pretty sure we all know what it feels like to be ghosted, and it sucks being left in the confusion-laced dust with no answers. It’s also easy to say that you’ll just “be honest” when the time comes, but we also all know how that goes. In reality, it’s difficult to tell someone that you aren’t picking up what they’re putting down, especially when there’s no glaring reason in particular. Sometimes people just don’t click, or one person thinks you click and the other one is on a completely different wavelength already swiping on Tinder for their next free meal. There’s nothing wrong with that either. I know plenty of eligible singles who are purely on dating apps for free food and fun, but where is the line drawn and how much of an explanation do you really owe someone after a few dates and some occasional texting?

Courtesy of Mashable

One detail that is really important to take into consideration is that you are probably not that person’s only potential love interest at the moment—especially if you met on a dating app that allows people to have hundreds of other matches and conversations brewing at once. Situating yourself realistically in this person’s life makes it all the more apparent that maybe ghosting each other isn’t all that bad, that is if it’s mutual. If you both have other options riding the bench, subbing someone else in isn’t that hard to do right? I’ve been ghosted before after a first date, and I didn’t hold it against anyone, but a friend of mine recently brought to my attention that maybe we shouldn’t be complacent when it comes to norms like ghosting. Common courtesy for each other isn’t out of style, and there’s just something unsettling about completely ignoring a person or slowly phasing them out; I’ve done it before, and the cowardice still makes me feel a little guilty.

Recently, I’ve found myself going on a series of “OK” first dates. They weren’t terrible by any means, but I just didn’t feel that spark. This actually made walking away from these dates more difficult than any nightmarish ones I’d been on before. OK dates with nice people led me to these crossroads where I had to decide to let the conversation fizzle out or ghost the person, neither of which feel good for either party. I’ll set the scene: Tinder boy #1 and I decided to get Chipotle together one night, and after two hours of flat conversation that closely resembled an interview and some sub-par queso (Moe’s queso has my heart), I determined that Tinder boy #1 wasn’t my cup of tea. I texted him afterward, thanking him for dinner and then I painstakingly began the process of responding less often. Once I had reached the point of no response, he texted me “so I guess the queso wasn’t that impressive?” I was shocked, and quite honestly impressed by his nerve, and I had no idea how to respond. So, I didn’t.

Should I have responded with constructive criticism? I certainly could have said: “You seem like a great guy, but I didn’t like when you cut me off while talking” or “It was really awkward when you said you’d hold me captive in the Chipotle till closing during a conversation lull.” Is honesty the best policy or is no answer enough of an explanation? I think it can go both ways depending on who you ask. I, knowing myself, might feel offended by unbridled honesty regarding my personality, but I also know the familiar sting of being left on read. With that said, people have been upfront about their interest in me before. Back in high school a guy once told me that I “was a nice girl” but he wasn’t “interested in a relationship” at that time and maybe our “paths would cross in the future.” It was nice enough, and I respected his honesty. It was direct, and I immediately knew there was no reason to waste more of my time trying to attract his attention.

Courtesy of Mashable

I think it takes a lot of courage to be straight-up with someone because, quite frankly, people react to honesty in very different manners. What it boils down to is leading someone on because you don’t want to hurt their feelings. Trust me when I say that this will only hurt them more. If your mind is made up about your disinterest, either let the conversation fizzle out mutually (because mutual ghosting is a thing) or be upfront. In all honesty, you don’t owe a one-time Tinder date some long, drawn-out reason declaring why you don’t want a second date unless they acted inappropriately or they really offended you in some way. On the other hand, if you have verbally or physically expressed your interest in someone or invested more than a few coffee dates and suddenly decide you’re just not that into them, you may need to give them something more than “I’m just really busy right now.” We’re all busy and we all know that excuse is a load of you-know-what.