So…HOW exactly do you break things off with someone when you’ve decided you’re not a good fit, you ask?
(No, literally, several people have asked me this recently).
I say, you can’t go wrong with honesty.
No, not the nasty “brutal honesty” where you crush a person’s spirit…I’m not suggesting we go all Bill O Reilly on a less-than-perfect match, but just being authentic. Most people truly appreciate that.
Here are a few tips I’ve found in my foray:
1. If you’ve gone on 2/3 dates or fewer, texting someone to end things is perfectly acceptable.
“What? (audibly gasps) Isn’t texting so TACKY!?!”
Alright…let’s do this. Let’s have the talk about texting. It’s been comin’ for a while now…
Back in the day when texting was new to the social communication scene, yeah… it was tacky. Because then, texting was only used for quick details, directions… more pragmatic purposes. Texts were adjuncts to phone calls, not the culturally acceptable vehicle of communication that they are now. Texting is ok!
If you don’t believe me that we can use texts to convey matters of the heart, think back to your dating/love life and tell me honestly that you’ve never gotten a text that made your heart flutter with excitement? Or (especially if you’re a girl), made you get that visceral version of “awwww….” inside you?
If we can convey the good parts of dating via text (falling in love, flirting, proclamations of devotion and affection), why can we not do the negative equivalent?
Using texting or FB messaging to let someone off your dating hook is also an act of mercy. Think about it – would you rather get a disappointing text while you’re in your own safe territory or would you prefer to have someone sit you down to dinner, break things off and force you to decide what sort of awkward conversation to have for the duration of your time together? The phone isn’t AS bad as in person, but it still requires a poised response, whereas being on the receiving end of a text, you don’t have to do ANYthing!? You can make funny faces, yell, flip the other party the bird…whatever works in your time of grief.
2. Do NOT use the “fall off the map” method to get your point across. This is just childish.
I know some of you out there (men AND women) think you’re sparing someone by just fading away… that way you don’t have to say those hurtful words about not wanting to date them anymore. And you think that somehow, magically, this will make them be JUST FINE with you being gone.
You are wrong.
People want answers. They want explanations.
If you don’t feel like the two of you have what it takes to be happy as a romantic couple, then have the decency to say so.
Even if it’s hard to be the bearer of bad news, you’re sparing the other person having to guess at WHY you went away. And I hypothesize that usually the REAL reason why someone walks away from a relationship is FAR LESS hurtful than the possibilities we’re left to come up with in our heads.
In my own personal experience over the last 9 months, if a guy says he’d rather just be friends or he’s not interested and he tells me the reason, it’s SO much better than what my own fear and insecurity will plot against me in my mind. If a guy just disappears, I’m left thinking he thought I was hideous or worse-he doesn’t think my jokes are funny! *cringes…
We are grown-ups. If you don’t want something/someone, be kind enough to tell that person.
You don’t have to offer up a long explanation.
You can simply say, “I’ve thought about the two of us and I just don’t think we’ll make a good match.” TaDa! Done.
Now, if the person comes back and asks why, it’s up to you whether you want to
a. give a politician’s answer (double speak, using ambiguity and confusion to sound like you’re saying something when you’re really not). This smoke ‘n mirrors option is recommended if the reason you’re taking the last train to splitsville is something out of his control. Better to use dizzying circular logic to say nothing, than to say, “you’re so short that when we’re out together, even without wearing heels, I feel like I’m walking my child across the street.”
b. tell him/her the truth. I usually opt for this one because I know how much I want this when I’m on the other side of the ‘no match’ message. You’ll be surprised how well people will react to this.
By way of example, I’ve told men: We don’t line up on the issue of faith/spirituality, your ADD makes me feel like you’re not interested in knowing me, we having different smooching styles, and a myriad other answers. Surprisingly, all have been graciously received.
3. Don’t waste time out of guilt, talking with or going out on dates with someone when you know you’re not into it.
Women are especially notorious for this unnecessary sense of obligation. Why? Once you know in your mind that the duo isn’t meant for romantic greatness – break it off right away. You’ll save yourself time and energy and you won’t lead the other person on, thinking things are good when they’re oh-so-not.
Half the time I begin communicating with someone, all it takes is a series of texts or a phone call to know we’re not meant to be. And there’s NO way I’m going on a date (read: getting dolled up and using up precious kid-free schedule real estate) if I know we won’t click… that’s just not good biz.
In my NEXT post, I’ll tell you about Raul…Rahul?…hmm… anyway – a guy who I went on 7 dates with before I finally had to break it off, HOW I did it and how HE reacted.
‘Til then – no falling off maps. Keep it real.