If you’ve never breathed the same air, many experts agree you don’t owe him anything and can let the chain die. But Waxman recommends sending a short good-bye text: “It was good chatting with you, but I have too much going on to meet up in person. Good luck!” Lee, 29, says he has “mad respect” for girls who end it this way: “At least that way you get some closure and aren’t left guessing.”
A text is still an acceptable exit strategy, “unless you realize it on the night of the date and have the eggs to say it to their face,” Waxman says. Make it brief. Kathleen’s go-to: “I think you’re awesome, but I didn’t feel a spark.” It’s the perfect rejection, according to Edwards. “Nobody can argue that, and I love using the word ‘spark,'” Edwards adds. “It’s more lighthearted than ‘chemistry.'”
Some people might still consider pulling a Houdini after a meh first date, but it’s not the best call in our ever-connected world. Even if the person might seem like a perfect stranger, “he could be the free Dating sites dating site brother of the CEO who determines whether you get that job,” says Fields.
When You’ve Gone Out a Few Times, but It’s Not Working
Yes, the phone is terrifying – isn’t that what Seamless and Snapchat are for? But after three or more dates, you know each other enough to warrant a phone convo in which he can ask questions, talk it out, and get the closure he might need for a clean break. Whether you call or default to email, use the strategy Edwards calls the, ahem, “shit sandwich,” starting and ending with a positive: “It’s been great spending time with you, but unfortunately, I’m not seeing a future for us. I really wish you all the best. You’re such a [cool/smart/thoughtful] guy.”
If you’re bouncing to focus on someone else, be honest: “I had such a fun time with you, but it’s getting more serious with someone else and I feel like I need to give that a real shot.” Edwards says men tend to respect her female clients for this strategy because it shows they’re girlfriend material. Many get a response back saying, “No worries. If it doesn’t work out, let me know.” Leaving the door open is never the worst…
When You Might Still Want to Be FWBs
Don’t be shy about it: “You’re really hot and I love hanging out, but I’m not looking for anything more serious right now. Netflix and chill?” There’s no shame in the FWB game – as long you’re both on board and the boundaries are clear. “If we met on Tinder, I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s all she wanted,” says Gregory, 21. It’s best to suggest an FWB scenario sooner in the relationship rather than later. “The longer you continue to date, the more emotionally invested you both could become,” Edwards says.
When You Want to Be Actual Friends
So you don’t want to see him (or his dog-in-leisure-suit tat) in your bed, but you’re down to nerd out with him at trivia night? “I respect you, and I want to be honest with you. The romantic feelings aren’t there for me, but I’d love for us to stay friends.” Warning: Only throw out the friend request when you mean it, not just to soften the blow. “You don’t ever want to give anyone false hope,” Fields says. Accept the fact that he might not agree. As Morris says, “Some people can handle staying friends. For others, it’s torture.”