You’ve been there – a guy emails you online who’s not appealing to you. Or the guy at the singles event who asks you out – but he’s the wrong one. Or you’re getting an enthusiastic second date invitation from someone who you’re just not interested in.
Do you ignore him by not responding at all? Do you tell him “Heck No” to his face? Or do you fib, telling him you’re going back to your ex?
Please, do none of the above.
Practice Your Verbal Communication Skills
Dating is a remarkable opportunity to practice the very communication skills that we need in order to lead a healthy, loving relationship. With our business colleagues and clients, with our friends and relatives, as well as in our dating prospects, it’s in our best interest to become proficient in telling the truth in a way that’s compassionate and encouraging to the person who’s receiving our bad news.
Attitudes are Contagious
Here’s an example of a sweet way to let someone down gently. My female client was really drawn to a man she found on Plentyoffish.com and she shared with me his “veto message.” She was actually touched by it and inspired to keep being proactive.
In responding to her email to him, he wrote, “You’re adorable…. but sadly… I’m not feeling a match. Thanks. I wish you good luck on your journey… he’s out there :)”
What Rude Women Do Online
Bart pulled down his online dating profile and became my matchmaking client to avoid the nastiness and the discourteous behavior he saw demonstrated by women who are dating online. He’s a cute, accomplished, self-made entrepreneur who commented that he was so busy building his empire in his 30’s that he forgot to get married and have kids.
So he’s 44 now, ready for life-long love. His problem is that although he’s so scrumptious and desirable, he’s very selective. Most of the women he wants to meet and date turn him down, and not very nicely, he adds. In his Match.com email box he’s seen everything from “Fat Chance” to “F*#@ off, old man.” And well, it saddens me as a dating coach and a professional matchmaker to see people being so discourteous to each other. They’re chipping away at the number one characteristic that makes both men and women attractive and desirable – Confidence.
How to Tell the Truth – Nicely
Here’s an example of how telling the truth – with compassion – really paid off for my dating coaching client, Susie. She’s an adorable, 26-year-old, physician’s assistant, looking to maximize her opportunities for finding just the right fit for marriage and family. She was at a business networking mixer when a much older man approached her. He started flirting with her and asked her out.
Rather than scoffing at him, she said in the cutest, most playful way, “I’m just 26, so maybe you have a son or your nephew I can meet?” And guess what happened — they had a good laugh, and he did introduce her to his son, whom she’s been dating now for four months.
Learn to Accept Rejection Graciously
The sad truth about dating is that you are likely to try on a lot of hats before you find one that fits just right. And each “miss” is because you did the vetoing or you were vetoed.
Get comfortable with both scenarios. Practice receiving bad news without lashing out in hostility.
Use the Sandwich Approach:
- Something complimentary,
- The tough morsel you know you need to share,
- And then another compliment.
Like: “You are such a good, solid man. I’m not feeling the romance sparks between us, but I am so happy we had this chance to meet. I know your future is bright, let’s stay in touch.”
Find your own way to say, “Thanks for your kind attention, I don’t think we’re a love match, and I wish you well.”
And definitely stay friendly with all of the great people you’re meeting through your dating adventures. A wise grandmother said to me in college, “Never turn down a date with anyone; you never know who his friends might be!”
That woman had a long line of suitors chasing her well into her eighties.