> Dating advice > From a date to a relationship > Thanks, but no thanks

From a date to a relationship

Thanks, but no thanks

You want to meet someone special - and now we’re telling you how best to turn someone down! Where’s the sense in that? As it happens, knowing how to say ‘Thanks, but no thanks’ could help you to get to know more potential partners.

Thanks, but no thanks

If you are at a party or in a bar and someone makes an unwanted approach, it is relatively easy to make your feelings clear. Depending on your mood and the circumstances, you can simply give someone the cold shoulder or find a few well-chosen words to get out of the situation, from “There’s my friend” to “Please leave me alone” - you’ve grown up having to do that kind of thing. But if each of you knows that the other is in search of a relationship, then the situation is more complicated: it isn’t just a chance encounter, you’ve been matched up online. Expectations - and sensitivities - are running higher. If you turn someone down, you are saying: “I don’t want you. I don’t like you,” or maybe rather: “I don’t like you enough.”

Be brave
The danger of hurting someone’s feelings with a refusal grows as you move further down the line from messages and emails to phone calls and dates. This makes it even more important to let the other person know if you are not interested. It really is a case of do as you would be done by. Simply to break off contact is not appropriate - the other person could go on trying to reach you for weeks, or waste time hoping there might be something from you in his or her mailbox. It takes some courage and tact to behave in a way that’s fair for both of you. After all, if you ever run into each other again, you’d like not to have to pretend you’ve never met.

The key is not to be afraid of saying no. If you carry on in a half-hearted fashion, thinking “It’s better than nothing”, that’s not a good basis for a future relationship. And if, before you’ve even met, you get a feeling that it’s just not going to work, then it’s probably better not even to arrange a first date.

Saying no online
Nowhere is it easier to make an honourable exit than online - providing you have preserved your anonymity. On Parship you can even turn down a contact request by means of a standard reply text, so you really will keep your distance. If you’ve already taken things to the stage of sending emails to each other, then you need to handle the situation a little more carefully. A good rule of thumb is to send a short refusal message to someone who, though they don’t interest you, has made the effort of writing to you. Keep it brief, otherwise the other person might start trying to interpret what you have written. You can try something like: “Having read your email, I don’t think that we would make an especially good match. Wishing you all the best, and I hope you won’t mind that I’ve been honest with you.” If you have received a photo, you can add that you thought it was a nice photo, but that you tend to prefer a different type.

Face to face
You’ve exchanged some exciting emails and you’ve spoken on the phone, but on the first date you encounter someone you just hope isn’t the face that goes with the words or the voice. Or you find yourself meeting someone who is completely your type physically, but who, though it’s tough to admit it, just isn’t on the same wavelength as you. What do you do? Everyone should be able to sit and chat for an hour and it could be worth giving the other person a bit of a chance. If you find that your impressions remain the same, you should just politely say that you want to leave things there. If you want to take a less direct route, Parship gives you an option: say that you are also due for a first date with another of your matches, and that you need to see how things go. If you feel the need to reinforce this gentle refusal, send a message subsequently to explain that you don’t want to take things further.

The reason why
If you are turning someone down, never ascribe your decision to something about the other person - it is better for both of you if you don’t. If there was something you found physically unattractive about the other person, don’t mention it. To tell the truth, if a date leads nowhere, the real reasons are likely to go a little deeper: maybe you just didn’t click on the right level. When it comes to talking about it, you should couch it as “It’s about me and not you”, but that doesn’t mean you should say something like: “You remind me too much of my ex.” You could also draw on something factual that just wouldn’t work for you - for instance, you might not be ready to go and live in the country, or to cohabit with a smoker or someone who engages in dangerous sports.

If you find yourself saying no to all your prospective partners, maybe it’s time to think about some flexibility in your expectations. There’s no need to rush things, but be ready to be open to possibilities.

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