ghost in the machine
March 15, 2017 12:59 PM   Subscribe

How do you say "no", politely, to a second date?

I am a millennial woman in a big city. Sometimes I go on dates with men. Sometimes dudes ask me on a second date and I'm not interested for a variety of reasons. What is the most polite way to say no? Is it okay to ghost?

Assume all communications are over text. Assume we've spent a few hours together max. Assume everyone involved is under 35.
posted by quadrilaterals to Human Relations (30 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
What is the most polite way to say no?

"Thanks for the offer, but I'll have to pass."

Is it okay to ghost?

You're never obligated to respond to people, but I think it's a good life skill to be able to say no to requests, be they dating or something else.
posted by saeculorum at 1:01 PM on March 15, 2017 [31 favorites]

Best answer: "I had a nice time out with you, but we're not a match. Good luck out there."

Note that I didn't type "I don't think we're a match." That gives men an entrée into attempting to convince you otherwise. You need to shut the door on it and move on quickly. You can always send the no-thanks message and then block, which prevents you from having to receive the fallout if any.

I don't think ghosting is okay from a philosophical point of view, if you completed the date and he didn't do anything to earn your disrespect. If the date was canceled, or he did something shitty on the date, ghost away, but be sure to block his number.
posted by juniperesque at 1:08 PM on March 15, 2017 [60 favorites]

Ghosting is shitty. Don't be that person.

I'll usually say something like, "Hey, nothing personal, but I'm not interested in getting together again. Good luck with everything!" I also like the scripts above.

But seriously. Don't ghost. It's no way to treat other people, except in extreme cases, like being afraid of the other person and/or their reaction.
posted by schroedingersgirl at 1:10 PM on March 15, 2017 [9 favorites]

Best answer: Assuming that they were inoffensive and that you felt safe with them, don't ghost. I'd reply something like "It was great to meet you/I had fun tonight but didn't quite feel a spark. Thanks!"

If they get snippy or press you for reasons though, definitely ghost from that point. You never need to give an explanation.
posted by veery at 1:14 PM on March 15, 2017 [23 favorites]

I always opted for something like, "[Last date] was fun, but I'm not really feeling a connection. Good luck out there!" - this one is better for people who you have gone on multiple dates with, because I feel like more explanation is polite. However, for one date, definitely highly recommend the scripts by saeculorum or juniperesque: if you don't give a feelings-y explanation, you won't get drawn into a situation where you're defending your choice.

The only time I found ghosting to be appropriate was when conversations just kinda petered out on their own, or if the person did something completely inappropriate.
posted by Paper rabies at 1:14 PM on March 15, 2017 [3 favorites]

It's better to respond than to ghost, barring unusual circumstances. "Thanks, but I'm going to pass. Good luck with everything!"

If you get a crappy response to a simple decline, take it as extra confirmation of your decision and move on.
posted by spindrifter at 1:14 PM on March 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Um,

"Thanks for the offer, but I'll have to pass."

is a little rude to me. Especially if this is a friend or mutual friend. How about "Hey, really enjoyed our time together but we're not a match. Good luck!"

or if you want to be friends, say so.

-speaking as a female
posted by treetop89 at 1:30 PM on March 15, 2017 [31 favorites]

"Going to pass" would make me feel shitty: what am i, an option at a buffet? (I'm a lady) "Don't quite feel the spark/connection" is fine and one I've used myself. That has my vote.
posted by pretentious illiterate at 1:30 PM on March 15, 2017 [21 favorites]

Ghosting should be reserved for people who've wronged you and people who won't take no for an answer. I don't think its acceptable to just ghost someone who you've had polite interactions with that you just don't want to continue. That's not good human relations. We should be assertive (not passive, not aggressive) about our needs and wants in relation to other people.

If you're just not interested in a second date, then a polite, low-pressure request for a second date should be met with an honest "I had a nice time and you seem like a fine person, but I just don't see this going forward. Thanks for the date!" Leave it at that. If they get insulting or aggressive, THEN ghost them.
posted by erst at 1:36 PM on March 15, 2017 [6 favorites]

"going to pass" is only appropriate if you want to convey that the person has done something wrong and that's why you're not going to see them again. It'd be a good choice if you're turning down the date because they were rude or mean to you. It's not something to say to someone who's done nothing wrong. Ditto ghosting. But ghosting is fine if someone is argumentative or insistent or annoying.

"we're not a great match" or "not quite feeling the right connection" would be my vote.
posted by fingersandtoes at 1:37 PM on March 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

I go with the "Thanks, but I just didn't feel the chemistry, so I'll have to pass; good luck" and then block. Because far too often they press and I don't want to, nor do I have to, deal with it.
posted by sockermom at 1:39 PM on March 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

Yep - make your own set of words to express [thanks] [i don't feel it] and [good luck and be well]. There's no downside to being direct, but kind - as spindrifter notes if they flip out then you just dodged a relationship bullet Trinity-style so it's a win/win.
posted by Sebmojo at 1:41 PM on March 15, 2017 [3 favorites]

Seconding that the word 'pass' feels a little rude, people aren't canapes.
posted by Sebmojo at 1:43 PM on March 15, 2017 [10 favorites]

As the other party in these situations, I always appreciate a gracious "no."

"Thanks, but I'm not interested" is about as good as it gets if you ask me. People can disagree on chemistry or feeling a connection, but if you're not interested, you're not interested.

But some women are just better at this than others, in ways I don't understand. If it's like anything else, I imagine experience helps.
posted by billjings at 2:28 PM on March 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

I got rejected for a second date once by someone who just said "I had fun the other night, but I don't see us together going forward". It sucked, but I couldn't criticize her approach. Straightforward, sympathetic, but firm. If a guy's really interested in you, there's not really a non-hurtful to turn him down. Rejection sucks. But as long as you're not a dick about it, they'll get over it. In my case, I ended up meeting the woman who would become my wife two weeks after the aforementioned girl rejected me.
posted by kevinbelt at 2:48 PM on March 15, 2017 [14 favorites]

I would not ghost someone I'd met in person unless they had done something inappropriate or otherwise made me feel unsafe. If you got some sort of red flag that they're likely to argue with you or be a dick about rejection, okay, but otherwise I think it's best to respond briefly. I like something along the lines of "I enjoyed meeting you but didn't feel a romantic connection. Thank you for the offer, though!"
posted by rainbowbrite at 2:54 PM on March 15, 2017 [4 favorites]

Best answer: I am in your demographic and I actually think it's totally OK to ghost after only one or two dates if you haven't slept together. "Thanks, but I didn't feel a connection" is more proper but I don't know anyone who does that, and I would not be upset to get ghosted by someone I only spent a couple hours with.
posted by noxperpetua at 3:40 PM on March 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

Since it's a small world, the following may help. If you could care less, ghost. If you are slightly concerned, then best to follow this.

'Do to others as you would have them do to you'
posted by Tanzanite at 4:07 PM on March 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

"Hi Person,
I really enjoyed our date, especially our convo about bees.
I don't feel we're compatible for more dating, but I'm sure we'll cross paths again, and I hope we can high five when we do.
Back into the jungle we go, and may the squirrels be kind.
Thank you again for a fun time,

I've sent exactly this, and the feedback was "thanks for the cute and gracious rejection." I have a particular kind of weirdo tomboy vibe that makes this kind of phrasing work for me, but the basics are universal: be friendly, specific, clear, and sincere.

If the person gives any attitude after a message like this, I'd feel totally fine cutting them off and blocking immediately. If they reply in a friendly way, I'd be fine to be friendly back as the situation seemed to merit (occasionally it makes sense to become FB friends, for instance, if you have mutual friends or really got along conversationally).
posted by pseudostrabismus at 5:28 PM on March 15, 2017 [27 favorites]

I personally don't just flat out ignore people, even when I actively dislike them. Without good cause, that seems super rude and unnecessary.
posted by cnc at 5:32 PM on March 15, 2017

I'd err on the side not equivocating. Some people see 'I had a nice time' and 'you're a nice person' as lifelines or toes in the door, and they ignore the '...but' bits.

So 'No, thank you.'
posted by obiwanwasabi at 5:39 PM on March 15, 2017

"I enjoyed meeting you but I just didn't feel a connection. Take care."
posted by banishedimmortal at 5:54 PM on March 15, 2017

Best answer: I, too, think ghosting someone you've met once or twice is fine. Is it "nice"? Probably not, but you don't have to be nice. You have my permission to save your emotional energy for more important shit.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:37 PM on March 15, 2017 [5 favorites]

I always say "I had a great time last night, but I don't think we're quite the right match. I'd like to keep you in mind for my single friends, if that's okay with you."

And about half the time I actually DO go on to set them up with someone else....

I omit the second line if my opinion of the guy is so low that I don't anticipate setting him up with anyone.
posted by Guinevere at 7:48 PM on March 15, 2017 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Ghost with your gut.

Did we talk for hours while tension built and we made out at the end of the night? And I asked you out again because I was genuinely excited to see you? I'd feel slightly frustrated if you ghosted instead of being direct.

Or: Did we have a polite, glorified job interview over two drinks with forced laughs and "do you have any siblings" fodder? And I asked you out again because, eh what the hell, nothing went horribly wrong and she seems nice and lets keep an open mind and give it a second shot? I'd be relieved if you ghosted, I don't want someone to feel like they need to give me some sorry spiel about "apologies but not sure if we're a match" when we only spent a few hours together.

Ghost often, but with discretion and when appropriate. It's a spectrum. And don't buy into any stupid "ghosting is always rude and awful and mean and these millenials need to learn DIRECT COMMUNICATION SKILLS" bullshit. Those people don't get it. Ghosting is just one of many tools in the breaking-it-off toolbox and is applied to specific dating situations. Ghost wisely.
posted by windbox at 7:50 PM on March 15, 2017 [14 favorites]

I'm not sure everyone answering about ghosting is operating on the same premise pf what 'ghosting' means. First of all, we don't know if you are meeting these dayes online or if you knew them already (i think most of us are assuming online) Anyone who does online dating knows that often first blind dates don't work out. I do think that if someone directly sends you a message aski ng you out again (which it sounds like what you are asking about), you should respond and the above scripts are good. It seems qe5ird to me to just totally not respond at all to a request for a second date unless you feel unsafe. A first date with no chemistryand no follow-up from either party does not need to be discussed.
posted by bearette at 8:14 PM on March 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

Ghost others the way you would like to be ghosted.

I hate uncertainty and silence makes my brain spin off into a million directions even if I'm not actually that into the other person. So a brief, "thank you, but I'm not interested in hanging out again" is usually how I turn down others, even it was just an Internet first date.
posted by book 'em dano at 8:53 PM on March 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I'd much rather have someone ghost on me than say "Thanks but I'll pass." I'm a woman and have been on a zillion Internet dates with other women, if that matters. Sometimes it sucks but it lets you think maybe life got crazy or something rather than it being personal.
posted by bile and syntax at 9:24 PM on March 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

As a 34 year old man who has been on many, many internet dates...

"I had a nice time out with you, but we're not a match. Good luck out there." really fine, just completely normal and fine. Pleasant, even. It's a good sign of mutual respect, I appreciate the candor, and it stops me dead in my tracks from attempting further communication, except for a simple "thanks, you too."

Ghosting generally means I'll text 2 or 3 times before stopping.
posted by juice boo at 10:06 PM on March 15, 2017 [8 favorites]

I think it's fine to ghost after a first date, but only if they haven't specifically asked you out again.

If they do ask you out, I'd just say one of the above nice "thanks but no" things (but please NOT "I'll pass"--I even get insulted if I ask a close friend to do something and they say that! It's so rude and dismissive.).

If they try to argue or persist after that, just don't respond.
posted by exceptinsects at 1:01 PM on March 16, 2017

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