So, you’ve just had been texted by someone you’ve been on a first date with and aren’t interested in, and you’re not quite sure what to reply with. And, if they didn’t pay for anything for you, do you even need to reply? And what would you even say if you do?
So that we can clear up these questions and more, we decided to ask a pro. Ahead, relationship expert and coach Alina Berdichevsky shares her top tips for letting someone down easy after a first date.
Do Consider a Second Date
Before we get into how to handle letting someone down easy, first make sure you definitely aren’t open to going on a second date, says Berdichevsky.
“If you’re unsure or ambiguous, definitely try another date,” she says. “They can be more warmed up, dress differently, be in a different mood.”
“If it’s a ‘heck no!’, don’t worry about it. You won’t change your mind, especially if it’s a pheromone thing. They call it chemistry because some elements just may not work. Just make sure your ‘heck no!’ isn’t over superficial things, which can change with time — and you can get over.”
“If, by your standards, they have terrible shoes, but you feel warm and relaxed in their company, go again. You may just be surprised where it leads.”
Don’t Ghost Them
Firstly, if you’re wondering if you do even need to reply, according to Berdichevsky, you do — unless of course, they were rude to the waiter. “You owe them an explanation of where you’re at so they don’t spiral if you don’t call — and don’t expect you to call either,” she says.
“Sure, your feedback may initially sting, but an absence of communication is so much worse. We jump around to worst-case scenarios. We over-analyse every minute of conversation, looking for the exact moment you dumped us. We annoy our friends with our endless theories why you didn’t call. And we’re glued to the phone — although we’d never admit it.”
So, with that in mind, Berdichevsky says to do your date a favour and explain yourself. Once you do, you’ll let them go on their way so they can find someone who does adore them.
Don’t Spell Out Why You Aren’t Interested
So, now that you’ve worked out that you are going to reply (you are!), what should you say?
“Be honest that you don’t feel a connection, but you don’t have to give exact feedback why unless they ask,” Berdichevsky says. “You don’t need to tell them they chew with their mouth open, or that you found their political views repugnant, or that they had zero chat.”
“Also, don’t make lame excuses like ‘work is looking really busy for the next few months,” she adds. “It’s cowardly and transparent. Just say, ‘I don’t feel a connection, but love to be friends’, and that’s it.”
Remember to Be Kind and Positive
When replying to your date, the most important thing to keep in mind is kindness and respect, says Berdichevsky. “Explain your truth in a way that still leaves the other person’s self-esteem intact,” she says.
“Find something nice to say about the date and about them,” she says. “Did you enjoy the movie? Did the bar have nice cocktails? Were they wearing a nice fragrance? Did you learn something about stamp collecting (their hobby)?.”
Try Giving Them a Compliment Sandwich
Ever heard of the ol’ ‘feedback sandwich’, which sees you sandwiching a negative comment in between two positive ones? Berdichevsky suggests using it when letting down your date.
“You want to make the rejection actually feel like a compliment,” she says. “Begin by saying something lovely, then slot in your truth, and then round up with something positive.”
An example text Berdichevsky suggests:
“I had so much fun tonight… I’ve never laughed so hard about someone’s tackle footy stories! You’re super lovely and attractive, but at this stage energetically it’s just not there for me. I’d love to stay friends and maybe even set you up if I have someone cute for you? What do you think? :)”
Or, even more brief:
“Thank you so much for tonight, I had a lovely time. At this stage, the energy is just not there for me. However you’re so lovely and attractive, I have no doubt you’ll meet someone great in no time. Take care :).”
Be Prepared for All Types of Reactions
So, you’ve sent the rejection. Now, there are a couple of ways it can go, explains Berdichevsky.
“They could get mad at you for rejecting them and get defensive,” she says. “They can turn it on you in order to avoid the hurt and say that you’re the one with the problem. Or they can be gracious, but ask you for some feedback.”
If they turn mean and name call, do not reply and block their number, she suggests. If they’re gaslighting your decision, also don’t feel the need to reply — you’ve said your piece. “At best, you can say, ‘I appreciate what you’re saying, but this is how I feel and I respect you enough to tell you. Take care.’”
And, finally, if they ask for feedback, Berdichevsky says to be kind, but share it as it might just help them on their path to love.