Turning Down the Direct Hit

Someone just asked you out. You know why? Because you’re sexy, dammit. Aren’t you flattered? Of course you are. And yet, unfortunately, your feelings for the other person are not mutual. You don’t want to go out with him/her. So, what next?

You tell him or her the truth.

Ouch, right? Painful for the other person, awkward for you. It’s so awkward, I can totally see how you’d want to avoid the whole conversation altogether. I know, because I’ve been there, and I’ve given all the wrong answers. And now I know why they’re wrong:

Don’t lie.
Do not lie. Don’t say, “Uh, not this weekend, but maybe some other time.” You might think that doing that is a nice way to let the other person down, or to hint that you’re not interested. But it isn’t. It only gives him or her a reason to try again later. Yes, you can reason that, after you’ve turned the person down three times in a row, he or she will get the hint. But then, you’ve wasted that person’s time, and gotten his or her hopes up for nothing. Why? This person doesn’t deserve to be misled just because he or she thought you were sexy. So don’t do it.

Don’t give him or her the wrong phone number.
I know it’s easy to reason that this is a nice method, since it delays the asker’s embarrassment until he or she is alone. But it’s not nice. It’s mean, because it gives the other person even more hope before letting them down. Not only that, but it inconveniences the person whose number you actually gave. (You know–your number with the last two digits transposed. Yeah. The old woman who has that number is tired of getting calls from people who wanted to take you to the movies. She’s trying to watch House. Quit bothering her.)

Don’t be an asshole.
Don’t say, “As if!” Don’t say, “Oh, hell no!” Don’t say anything rude. Why would you do that? What kind of evil jerk are you? I don’t care if the person who asked you out is ugly, smelly, stupid, and has alien genitalia that’s incompatible with yours. It still took that person a lot of guts to ask you out, and you need to respect the polite show of interest.

Obviously, if you are that kind of evil jerk, you aren’t reading a blog post about how to be polite. So I won’t go on and on about how being rude exposes you as someone with low self esteem. I’ll just end this paragraph by reminding everyone to treat others as you’d like to be treated.

Here are suggestions for things you can say.
Memorize them if you need to, because I know that you’re very sexy and therefore someone is bound to ask you out any moment now.

“No, thank you. I’m flattered, but I never really thought of you in that way.”

“Oh, that’s so sweet… but no, thanks. I couldn’t.”

“I’m gonna have to say no. But I would like to stay friends, if that’s okay.”

“Thank you for asking, but I’m seeing someone else right now.”
(If the asker is in your social circle, you shouldn’t say this unless it’s true. Otherwise, it jacks up future opportunities for you to hook up with mutual friends.)

Here’s one my friend Letty told me, for when the asker is being a little ambiguous, as if he/she might actually want your number for networking or to sell you Pampered Chef products or something:
“Why don’t you give me your number instead, and I’ll call you when I have time.”
Then, you don’t call. Or, hey–call when you want a Pampered Chef baking stone, and pretend you never realized the interest was romantic. Who could turn down the opportunity to make a sale, platonic or not?

“Dude, I would totally have sex with you right now, on this table, but my husband/wife/cult leader would kill me.”

“Thank you, but I’m not looking to date anyone right now. Hey, have you met my friend Samantha?”

The Corollary:
How to Respond When Someone Turns Down Your Direct Hit

You just hit on a sexy person, and he or she turned you down. They did it politely, but ouch, that shit hurt. So embarrassing. So disappointing. No one likes to get rejected. It sucks.

I know, because the last time I told someone that I liked him and he told me the feelings weren’t mutual, it burned like the heat of a thousand sucks. But at least he told me politely, and for that I’ll always be glad.

So. What do you do? You stand there, go “Gulp!” real loud in your throat, and accept the rejection as graciously as you can. Here is what you can say:

“Okay. Well, just thought I’d check and see. Let me know if you change your mind,” or
“Okay. Well, you can’t blame a guy for trying, can you? [wink]” or
“All right. Well, if you change your mind, you know where to find me,” or
“Okay, well, I hope we can still be friends,” or
“Aw, man. That was embarrrassing. I appreciate your honesty, though. Later.”

Do NOT say:
“What? Why not??” or
“But… but… I thought…” or
“I think you’re making a big mistake, because…” or
“Well, then you’ve been leading me on all this time,” or
anything with bad words in it.

Do not argue with the person. He or she knows better than you whether or not he/she wants to date you.
Do not ask for explanations. You can’t expect someone to answer that truthfully, anyway. “Because you’re creepy. Because you’re whiny. Because I’m too materialistic to date someone who makes as little money as you do. Because I’m holding out for someone I’m too scared to ask out.”
See how horrible that sounds? You don’t want to hear that, do you?”

Do not get angry.
It’s okay to feel angry (or hurt, or disappointed), deep inside your mind, alone in your room at night, but you can’t act on that feeling, because it’s inappropriate. Because–face it–no one owes you a freaking date.

See, the reason so many people don’t turn down dates honestly and politely is because either a) they never learned how, or b) the last time they did, someone freaked out and responded with anger, accusations, or incessant demands for a satisfactory reason. Or stalking. Or crying. You know–general awkwardness.

Be as gracious as you can. That way, you leave a good impression. And that leads to the possibility of your target changing his or her mind, or at least hooking you up with his/her friends.

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Posted in Letty, my sex life, psychobabble on 03/02/2007 10:43 pm

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