It’s never easy to reject a date, no matter if it’s your flirty coworker or someone on a dating app. We know how hard it is to work up the nerve to ask someone out, so we don’t like delivering that ego blow by saying no. But we also don’t want to waste anyone’s time by agreeing to go on a date we don’t actually want to go on, so learning to turn down a date respectfully is important.
There is a right way to decline a date and according to psychiatrist Dr. Susan Edelman and matchmaker Susan Trombetti, the key is responding in a clear, compassionate, and gracious way. Dr. Edelman advises starting off by thanking them for the offer and she reminds us to treat others the way we want to be treated.
Both experts emphasize how crucial it is to be clear when saying “no” and to not leave any room for a misunderstanding. This isn’t the time to expect someone to “take a hint.” We don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, but saying “I have other plans” may seem nicer, but it leaves the door open and they may ask again. It’s bad enough to turn them down once, you don’t want to go through it again.
And if you’re really just not into this person? It’s okay to be honest, without over explaining it. Something as simple as “I just don’t feel a spark” or “I don’t think we’re a match” may seem harsh, but it’s true and it gets the point across.