By Kristen Dold; Photography by Unsplash
Because you don’t have to be mean about it.
The kindest, most effective way to call things off with someone you’re not in to…
If you’re dabbling in the dating circuit, odds are you’ve met a few promising dudes who turned out to be duds (okay, maybe more than a few). And since you’re a kind, normal human, you’ve probably also discovered that it can be tricky to slam the brakes on things honestly and effectively. “Hi, it was great meeting you, but your jokes are freaking miserable and you do this annoying twitchy thing with your nose. Thanks for the dinners, bye!”
So what do we do? We ghost. We put things off by ‘traveling out of town’ or having plans with friends indefinitely. Or we just stop texting. But not only does this just create more work and awkwardness on our end, it’s pretty mean. “Whether it’s been one date or eight, if someone is pursuing spending time with you, they deserve to know it isn’t right from you,” says relationship counselor Kat Van Kirk.
Your first move is to calm down. If you’ve only been talking or seeing each other for a little while, odds are you’re not drilling any permanent holes in his heart. And as for that dreaded discomfort that comes with breaking things off? “t’s not always a bad thing,” says Van Kirk. “Discomfort means you’re learning to grow as a person and reinforcing your own boundaries.”
Just follow these cues for severing ties without spilling (too much) blood.
While It’s Still Online
Sometimes there’s a lot of flirty messaging before a date is even scheduled, but if you decide his text game doesn’t warrant an in-person meet-up, keep your phone from blowing up by saying something like, “I had fun chatting, but I’m talking with someone else who seems to be a better fit.” If he asks you out before you can say ciao, reply with, “It was nice talking, but I don’t think we’re a great match so I don’t want to waste your time by going out.” Boom!
Read More: How Many People Have Seen Your Sexts?
After One or Two Dates
If it ain’t there, don’t feel guilty about not giving him another shot. “I see too many women who agree to date people just because they’ve been ‘chosen.’ It’s your turn to choose and decide who you want to spend time with,” says Van Kirk. Women tend to sugarcoat ‘break-offs,’ but you don’t want to leave him with any false hope. (Telling him “you’re hilarious and cute, and it’s so cool we love the same music but, oh yeah, I’ve got some busy weeks coming up” probably won’t nip this in the bud.) What will? Saying, “You’re great, but I’m looking for something else right now.”
Read More: 4 Science-Backed Ways To Up Your Tinder Game
After a Couple of Months
After five to 10 dates, most women feel like they need to give a really specific reason for ending things, says Van Kirk. But not so: “Chemistry is an irrational thing. Don’t get into details here unless you really feel like you need to. Sometimes if you focus on the specifics of what isn’t working(we don’t want the same things) you’re asking for a debate or argument. If it’s not right, it’s not right. Details can make it confusing.” When you’re ready to rip the Band-Aid off, focus on ‘I messages’ so it doesn’t feel like an attack on him. Mentioning his positive attributes can soften the blow, but make sure to get the words “we’re not a good fit” or something similar in there.
Deep breathe. You’re free, baby.
Looking for more on break-ups? Follow our break-up ‘recovery’ plan to help get you back on track emotionally.