Hello — goodbye: How to say no thanks after meeting

One of the hardest parts of dating is telling your date that it isn’t a match so you don’t encourage him to pursue you.

It is easiest to do in an email, but I only recommend this method if you’ve only met once. Start with thanking him for coffee, lunch, whatever. Comment on some of his positive characteristics. Then tell him it’s not a match:

“Thank you for treating for coffee and our interesting discussion. You certainly know a lot about politics.

“You are an intelligent, warm, fun gentleman. However, I don’t feel we are a match. The right woman will snap you up soon!”

Harder is on the phone. I’ve had to do this when a guy calls to set up a second date. It is uncomfortable, but you need to be gentle yet honest — up to a point. Recently, after the guy asked when he could see me again, I said “I appreciate your interest in me, but we’re not a match. You are a nice, fun guy, but I don’t feel we have enough in common to continue seeing each other. And it wouldn’t be fair to you to accept another date knowing that I don’t feel the spark I know needs to be there to develop a relationship.”

He said he was disappointed, but he understood. He said “So I’ve gained a new friend.” “Exactly,” I replied.

The hardest way to communicate your lack of interest is in person. I’ve not done this often, but it is definitely uncomfortable. The other day at the end of lunch, my date said, “So what happens next?” He wouldn’t have said this unless he was interested in a second date. “We need to decide if we both want to spend more time together,” I replied. “It’s up to the woman,” he said, “so what do you want to have happen next?” I squirmed. “Since you are new to online dating, I suggest you date some more women,” was the best I could muster. I just couldn’t be blunt and say “I don’t really want to go out again.” While many men appreciate honesty, they also have fragile egos.

I followed up with a thank you email wishing him well in his dating adventures. That made it clear.

You don’t need to go into a review of all the things he said or did that were a turn off: How he used his finger for a pusher on his plate rather than a knife, interrupted you a lot, rarely asked anything about you, picked up his lamb chops with his fingers to eat them, or showed up at the nice restaurant in sweats. No, most men don’t want to know that kind of detail. And what may have been annoying to you may not be to the next woman.

Strive to be kind, gentle, and to allow him to keep his dignity. I always appreciate it when a guy does that to me.