I’ve spent the last 8 months or so in the world of online dating. I’m in a transient stage of my life and meeting new people has become somewhat of an entertaining pastime. I’ve found that one of the most awkward situations to navigate is how to stop talking to someone. Maybe you’ve been talking on Tinder, or texting for several hours, days or weeks, maybe you’ve been on a date or two or maybe you’ve been hooking up, but in any of these situations…what is the best way to indicate you’re no longer really into this anymore? I’m not talking about breaking up with someone (there are some pretty clear social rules on that one), I’m talking about ending something that barely even seems to have had a beginning.
Here are three ways people go about doing this:
1. You play the “busy” card.
You say you just happen to be incessantly busy over the next few days or weeks and hope they get the hint.
2. The silent treatment.
Just let silence do the talking.
3. You be honest.
You flat out tell them you’re just no longer interested in having them in your life. Maybe you give the specific reason why, maybe not. But you are defining the end.
The Busy Card
Personally, I only play this card if I don’t feel like seeing them now, but may want to in the future. Because honestly, sometimes I am incredibly busy! I’m one of those people who is only happy if their week is pushing the boundaries of over-booked. The more people I can see and things I can get done in one week can become somewhat of a game. So when I tell a guy I’m busy, I’m genuinely busy. So the fact that this card is played so often makes guys I’m talking to take a “hint” I’m not generally trying to send. But honestly, if I don’t care that much to make time for them, they probably aren’t that great anyway… In the end, the busy card leaves mixed signals: is someone really that busy? Did that guy really get called into work on a Sunday night? Is his family really in town this weekend? The world will never know.
The Silent Treatment
I have to admit… this has become my strategy of choice. Come on people…be honest, I know we have all done this. As terrible as it may be to ignore someone who at the very least has invested a few texts back and forth, or perhaps a date or two, this is the easiest option. I have the firm belief that if someone wants to see you, they will make it happen (ahem…lessons learned from He’s Just Not That Into You). So, if I haven’t heard from a guy in a week or two, I pretty much write him off. Now, this has back-fired on me, particularly when the guy has the exact same philosophy. But that’s an exception to the rule…. (get it?). This is the cruelest strategy because it always leaves the other person with the smallest glimmer of hope that there is a possibility you truly are just busy and can’t get to your phone or take the time. Leaving that small feeling of hope may be cruel, but I like it… if a guy starts ignoring me it allows me to come up with any silly excuse that definitely does NOT involve the thought that they just didn’t like me. I mean, of course I know everyone won’t like me, but it’s nice to pretend that’s not the case, am I right?
Obviously, this is the toughest strategy. I tend to save this one only for guys I’ve invested serious time in. If I’ve been seeing you consistently for at least a month, you can expect that you’ll get an honest end. I think this is generally because I’ve had time to gain respect for this person. If I respect you enough to give you a straight-up dose of honesty, that means I genuinely care(d) for you. Sometimes I sugarcoat the truth, or blame things on myself, to lessen a blow if I know it will hurt them, but the most successful ending to a “something that never really had a beginning relationship” I’ve ever had ended in pure and complete honesty. It was hard to spit out, but once I did, my worries vanished. Maybe honesty is the best policy? But I would personally hate to hear “well, I thought you were cool but upon getting to know you better, I no longer want you to be a chapter in my story, so bye.” Ouch. I’ve never been on the receiving end on a spoonful of honesty, so the jury is still out on this one for me.
How do you handle cutting it off?