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What to say when you're not feeling your date?

Updated: May 16

Q: I’ve been on a few dates with a really great guy. The dates were fun and he was really kind and the conversation flowed. However, I realized despite the good times I had with him, I don’t have any romantic chemistry or feelings for him, and I know this won’t change over time. He texted me after our third date to say he had a great time and wanted to do it again soon. I don’t want to ghost him because I know how terrible that feels, but I’m not sure how to navigate telling him how I feel without hurting his feelings.

A: That happens in dating: one person only feels platonic feelings, whereas the other person still may have the romantic feelings. But that’s the gamble we take in love and in dating. Good for you for recognizing how you feel and for being up front and honest with him about it. Sometimes it’s harder to be the bearer of bad news than it is to be the one receiving it; however, his feelings are not your responsibility. Having said that, that also gives the person a free pass to be callous with the delivery of the information.

Rather than ghost or do the eventual fade-out, you could text him back to say you also had a great time (it’s a fact that you did!) but you don’t have the same feelings for him. It could be as simple as:

"Hey! I had a great time with you the other night as well, and it’s been great getting to know you, but I don’t feel a romantic connection."

This way, it’s simple and direct, so it doesn’t gloss over your messaging while remaining honest and up front in a compassionate way. A common approach people have with delivering difficult news is to lead off with “I don’t want you to take it this way…” or “I don’t want you to think that I’m a bad person….”, which either of these not only have the opposite effect as they intend, but they also come across as having more to do with you than the other person.

If you feel so obliged, but not obligated, you can always add to your text example above:

“If you’re open to it, I would love to remain friends. I wish you the best. Take care”.

This way, if you’re still keen on hanging out with him in a friendly way, it leaves the door open and the ball in his court for that to happen. And by wishing him the best, you’re leaving the message there with good intent, regardless of how he reacts, responds or replies (that has more to do with him as a person and where he’s at with his growth).

So much of life and relationships (romantic, business, friendship or otherwise) have to do with mastering the skillset of knowing when to exit and then politely doing so. If you’re not feeling a romantic vibe with this person, that’s more than okay. You just need to deliver a simple, clear and direct message communicating that. Even if they gave you the ick or were a plain jerk, try to avoid bringing the emotion or story into your messaging by staying objective and direct.

Best of luck!

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