I think we should just be friends. Actually, I don't even think that...
September 9, 2012 9:49 PM   Subscribe

I met an online suitor who's more into me than I'm into him, and I don't even really want to be friends with him. How can I tell him this?

I have just recently ventured into online dating, and during my first date with a suitor I unintentionally said yes to a second date because I misunderstood what my date was asking (thought he was referring to our plans for the latter half of the date, when actually he was referring to going to a restaurant we had talked about when e-mailing at some point in the future). During our time together I really wasn't feeling a spark of any kind--romantic or platonic. There was nothing wrong with him, per se. He just doesn't seem like the type of person I could see myself hanging out with, even as a friend. I feel obligated to at least meet up with him a second time (especially after reading this), since I've already said yes; but I don't really see anything happening between us. Yes, I do realize something could happen that would change my mind. But assuming it doesn't, what's the most tactful and respectful way to let him know that I don't want to date, and I don't want to be friends, either?
posted by dean_deen to Human Relations (19 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: it might be easier on the guy if you just called and made a really simple apology, sorry, misunderstood was i was agreeing to, feel it's just not clicking between us, but you're a really sweet guy and i wish you the best etc. as soon as you start using this kind of language it is going to be completely obvious what's going on and he'll get it unless he's totally thick. totally not a big deal - you're not under any obligations...
posted by facetious at 9:58 PM on September 9, 2012 [6 favorites]

"You're marvelous, but I'm not feeling any chemistry."
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:58 PM on September 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

The most respectful way to handle it is to not waste his time by leading him on by going on a second date you've already decided isn't going anywhere.

Have you considered being honest? I'm not sure why you think the issue of being friends is going to come up. It certainly doesn't have to from you!

"It was nice getting to know you. I didn't feel a spark. Good luck!"
posted by J. Wilson at 10:01 PM on September 9, 2012 [3 favorites]

Don't go on another date with him. You could call him, but after just one date I would probably just email - I'd say something like, "Hey, I had a nice time with you, but I'm just not feeling the spark. Be well, dean_deen."

Don't mention anything about staying in touch or being friends. He'll be fine; it was just one online date.
posted by insectosaurus at 10:02 PM on September 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Don't feel an obligation to go out with him again. I would be tempted to say it'd be kinder not to go out again out of obligation.

In the question you linked to, the person had reservations and had had a change of heart. It sounds like *you* had a misunderstanding and never even thought you might have chemistry. Different situation.
posted by needs more cowbell at 10:03 PM on September 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Ask yourself how you would like to be told if the situation were reversed? SAY THAT :)
posted by 2oh1 at 10:06 PM on September 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

You are not obligated. If I were him, I'd rather have my date tell me than slog through date 2. Say exactly what J. Wilson suggested.
posted by Sal and Richard at 10:15 PM on September 9, 2012

"I've met someone else and I want to see where that goes. Best of luck!"

Block number, remove from social media, etc. Done and done.
posted by Diskeater at 10:32 PM on September 9, 2012 [1 favorite]

If you guys already made concrete plans: call him and say something came up, and you can't make it. Stay non-committal about plans for a future date.

If there are no concrete plans, just "we should go to this restaurant on some unspecified future occasion": stop talking to him. Ignore ignore ignore. "Never called back after that one date" is online dating language for "not interested".

If you're already way in over your head, and you can't just disengage, then yeah, you're going to have to tell him that you didn't feel a spark and aren't interested in future dates.
posted by Sara C. at 11:18 PM on September 9, 2012

I must say I'd prefer someone told me they didn't want to see me rather than merely ignored me.

Being ignored does eventually convey the message, but to me it also tends to suggest either 'you're so contemptible I can't even be arsed to respond' or 'you're so scary and weird I don't dare communicate in case in some strange way it encourages you'.
posted by Segundus at 1:32 AM on September 10, 2012 [12 favorites]

Sara C.'s suggestion is far crueler than just telling the poor sap you didn't feel a spark. If you can't handle canceling your date and ending it more cleanly, it's still a better option than continuing to date this guy -- but the most respectful way is surely just to say you weren't feeling it and wish him well.
posted by J. Wilson at 6:01 AM on September 10, 2012 [9 favorites]

If a guy emails or texts me to Sk or a second date and I'm not interested, I just say "I really enjoyed meeting you, but I don't think we are a match." They get it and it's over. Anyone who has Internet-dated for a while has been on both sides of this conversation, he's not fragile and you won't break him.

Since it was just one Internet date I don't think you owe it to him to call him.
posted by bunderful at 6:15 AM on September 10, 2012

I completely disagree with Sara C.'s suggestion. There's no reason to treat a person that you just don't want to go on a second date with like an annoying pest. All you need to do is send a short email with some of the one liners suggested, 'don't think we're a match'/'didn't feel the chemistry/spark' etc. It’s ok, this exact scenario, including the nervous agreement about meeting again, happens all the time with internet dating and you don't have to feel bad about it. Simple, kind, and direct is the way pleasant grown-ups do it.
posted by shimmer at 7:11 AM on September 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

Don't ignore. (Would you want to be ignored after what you thought was a nice date?) That's unnecessarily rude. Don't go out on another date if you're sure you don't want to, either. Just a polite note - email is fine - to say it's not clicking but you wish him the best.
posted by fingersandtoes at 7:48 AM on September 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

"It was nice getting to know you. I didn't feel a spark. Good luck!"
Gets my vote. It kind of closes the door on potential friendship down the line (not that there's any reason to assume that he'd pursue that) and it's honest. After you say that, if he continues to contact you, especially if he is asking why (unless you want to tell him), wants to convince you otherwise (unless you want to let him), is being annoying (unless that's what drives you wild), then by all means ignore.

I generally don't think that people you meet online are any less worthy of polite, respectful communication that someone you met offline, but I get where Sara C. is going -- sort of. I think that if he contacts you again, it would be nice if you just let him know "thanks, but not interested." But if he fades? If he doesn't ever email or call or text you again, I don't think you need to take it upon yourself to reach out with this info.
posted by sm1tten at 10:16 AM on September 10, 2012

I'm going under the assumption that this is an internet date.

A first date with someone you met online is not a relationship. If it were three or even two dates, sure, you sit down and you explain that it's just not working for you.

But first date? I've been doing the online dating on and off for a while, and I don't think I've ever had someone call me up after a first date and tell me they weren't into me. In fact, I think it's pretty harsh to do that, and I think that if this were standard procedure for internet dates nobody would be able to handle the rejection of dating online. Best Practices for online dating is that never calling again is the polite way to indicate that you're not interested.

This situation is a little bit different, because the possibility of a second date was discussed. This complicates things because it means she might have to call him up to cancel, which is sort of awkward. But really that's the only extenuating circumstance. And I promise, this guy is going to get over the awkwardness of someone canceling a date.
posted by Sara C. at 10:28 AM on September 10, 2012

Hi Sara C.,

Here is an anecdote. My sister was doing the on-line dating thing and got asked out for a second date. She drove to the restaurant and sat down. The guy took her hands in his and said, "I don't think this is going to work out." Sissy got up and said, "Okay." He said, "Where are you going?" She said, "Home to pet my dog. You could have saved me some time and gas money by telling me outright you weren't interested. Bye."

I don't think a quick email is so terrible. You don't have to go into detail, just a, "Thanks, but I don't feel it" is plenty.

I think the only reason it's necessary in this case is because the other person expects there to be a second date.

If the idea was that someone would call to follow up for a second date, then it might be okay just to ignore that person. Although if they do call, I think it's polite to say, "No thanks." That way the person knows and will move on.

I don't think this will lead to drama either way.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 10:39 AM on September 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

She drove to the restaurant and sat down. The guy took her hands in his and said, "I don't think this is going to work out." Sissy got up and said, "Okay." He said, "Where are you going?" She said, "Home to pet my dog. You could have saved me some time and gas money by telling me outright you weren't interested. Bye."

That doesn't make sense, because he did tell her he wasn't interested. Being told wasn't the issue in this story.

The true time saving tactic is just to drop it and move on. Nobody wants to deal with a mini-breakup every other weekend.
posted by Sara C. at 10:53 AM on September 10, 2012

Don't even bring up the issue of friends -- you've been on one (later two) internet dates with him. That's not a 'but we'll always be friends' situation or even a 'I'd like to be friends' situation. Tell him, now or after the second date that you're not feeling the connection, and that you wish him well and leave it at that.
posted by jacquilynne at 12:49 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

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