The Art of Rejecting People Gracefully : LUSENET : like sands : One Thread

When some guy you hardly know asks you out to coffee and you know it will be a torturous experience, how do you get out of it gracefully? Or can you?

-- Anonymous, February 04, 2001


I don't know that that's ever happened.. well, once this creepy guy I worked with asked me out. That was bad. I said that I wasn't really dating anybody right now. He asked me about 20 minutes later if I was really honest or just not interested. I said, "uh.. not interested."

Felt like an asshole, tho.

So how does one (being me) ask a guy (who lives in my dorm and is supercute) out without.. awkwardness? I suppose if I answer that, I will have solved the problems of the world...

-- Anonymous, February 04, 2001 could always get into a long talk about how much you like Ani Difranco and the Indigo Girls, if ya know what I'm sayin'. Wink, wink.

Yay stereotypes!

And then there's the frequent droppings-by of Alvin. You could play off that little phenomenom without too much trouble. You're not uninterested, just involved!

Oh, dammit, you didn't mean without lying, did you?


-- Anonymous, February 05, 2001

Hey Emily why don't you just ask him out. If you're remotely cute He'll say yes. Men are incredibly simple. Women are either goodlooking and tolerable or they're not.

-- Anonymous, February 05, 2001

I'd just tell him that I wasn't interested or maybe (most likely) I'd chicken out and throw out the lie that I'm "currently involved with someone."

-- Anonymous, February 05, 2001

I've learned that when the not so prettiest girl in the room asks you to dance -- you dance. You'll forget all about yourself when she presses her pelvic bone into your thigh and her thigh into your pelvic bone. It seems that the conversation flows much more easily after you reach that point. Then you tell her how nice her hair smells, get her phone number and never ever call.

I wonder where a guy gets the idea to come to an almost stranger's door with a pizza and two cokes. TV maybe. That just seems lame and dangerous. You coulda rejected him and helped him at the same time with something like, "I just heard on the news that a recent rash of sexual assaults has been linked to a guy that sweet talks his way into his victims' homes enticing them with pepperoni pizza."

I'm terrible at asking women out and rarely do it. Usually only on a sure thing - where more than a slight interest has been shown. But, if I were to do it and get rejected, I think I'd prefer that she just say that she's not interested. Of course, who am I to give advice? I've been roped into my fair share of meaningless, "My god this sucks." relationships because I was too nice to say get lost.

-- Anonymous, February 05, 2001

Get a peephole!!!

-- Anonymous, February 05, 2001

The truth is overrated, and an elusive concept anyway. I say just tell him you're seeing someone else, and that lets him out with his ego intact.

-- Anonymous, February 05, 2001

In high school, I had this guy I worked with stop by my parents' house with a single red rose. I really didn't have any interest in going out with him, but I also didn't want to be mean, either, so I lied and said that I had a boyfriend. I felt really bad about lying, until I realized that he had showed up an hour before at a friends house with another rose and the same line! We ended up confronting him about it, which looking back on it, seems a little harsh. The poor guy looked like a Mon Chi-chi ...

My advise would be to tell him the truth, even if you have to sugarcoat it a little bit. If you lie and say that you're really busy, he could get the wrong idea that you're interested, but busy, and ask you out again.

-- Anonymous, February 05, 2001

Just be honest. Don't try to avoid hurting his feelings. Simply say, I don't know you, and I'm not interested. It may hurt, but lying and people finding out later that you lied, hurts more.

-- Anonymous, February 05, 2001

See, this wouldn't be a problem if he asked me out to, say, dinner on a Saturday night, because then it would obviously be a date. The problem with this situation is that if I say no, not only am I rejecting him as a romantic prospect (which I could do easily), but I'm also indicating that I don't want to be friends with him, which I feel kind of bad about (even though I don't particularly want to befriend him, either).

-- Anonymous, February 05, 2001

I am the "weird" type of guy that all you ladies are talking about. I know -exactly- how this guy feels because I've been there many many times. Jen, this guy has the hots for you -big time-. I agree with the others that if you are not interested, just say so right away. Saying something like "I'm not dating anyone right now", when you are really NOT interested, is so damn frustrating, because a female said that to me in class in November 1999. I waited a full year, almost to the day, November 2000, to ask her out again. What did she tell me? "I'm not dating anyone right now". I seriously doubt that "right now" means a full year. Still, she flirted with me by making heavy eye contact several times throughout that year. I can only gather that she was playing "head games".

Anyway... I suggest you look him directly in the eye and state "I'm sorry, but I'm not interested." Anything else would be leading him on.

-- Anonymous, February 05, 2001

on the other hand, there's the matter of asking people out that you really aren't sure about.

there's this teacher at my japanese class that has been moaning about how she never gets out at all. i ran into her and some other students in japantown tonight and she gave me a lift home. next thing you know, we're going out later this week.

she's nice enough, and actually interesting (some many women aren't) but I think that I'm just a sucker for women who are emotionally needy.

sigh. Well, whatever.

-- Anonymous, February 06, 2001

I have a friend that Chris reminds me of. I don't think Chris has the same distorted view of how to build relationships with women as my buddy did though.

This guy, let's call him Stone Cold Steve Austin, had some really peculiar mating rituals - or attempts at them anyway. Stone Cold Steve Austin would look at a gal from across the room and stare at her until she looked up at him or she left the building with her eyes focused on the floor. The whole time I'm saying, "Yo, Stone Cold man, the evil eye thing don't work bro'." If there's one thing I learned from Seinfeld, the proper technique is glance and look away. Glance and look away.

He never took my advice. In fact, Stone Cold Steve Austin gave me the brush off like I had it all wrong and continued his staredown. I'm thinking, damb, people can tell when you're staring at them even if the aren't looking directly at you. He reminded me of a leopard stalking his prey in direct sunlight, out in the open desert without the cover of any type of brush whatsoever. It's no wonder he was damn near starving to death.

Anyway, Stone Cold ended up 'accidentally' rubbing up to a woman in the laundry room at his apartment complex four times. Turns out she was recently divorced (for the thrid time), had four kids, (one in jail) and was looking for romance. He lucked out and they got married on Jan 01, 2001 - the real millinieum as Stone Cold was fond of always telling (yes, he was one of those). Anyway, I worried that she wanted him for money and double dated with them a few times just to see how she treated him. They basically made me sick to my stomach with all the lovey dovey sexual talk and touchy feely stuff. I knew they were in love.

They've since moved to Minnesota. Stone Cold and his bride seem happy as can be. (I still say she got the better end of the deal - he may have been weird as all heck when it came to women, but he was still a good friend.)

The point of this story, fear not, there is somebody out there for everyone, even you weirdos :)

-- Anonymous, February 06, 2001

I'd have to vote for the "already involved" answer. Unless he/she is a stalker (or you post it in your online diary) they'll never find out the truth. It lets them off the hook because you're not rejecting them in a personal way, you're just already taken. Easy on the ego.

-- Anonymous, February 06, 2001

You could just say "I'm not interested" and explain that you are deeply involved with your graduate studies which leaves you very little social time and you already fill your available hours that you've scheduled for social activities and simply have no time (and no interest) in expanding your social network. Sure, that may make you sound like super-geek or uber-nerd, but it lets his ego safely off the hook (and one never knows, right) and covers refusal of everything from a casual getting together for coffee sometime through an invitation spend a weekend together in Los Vegas.

-- Anonymous, February 06, 2001

If the main reservation about the rejecting someone is the loss of a possible friendship I think an appropriately simple line, with the same jist as most of the others suggested here could be - "I'm just looking for friends right now." or some other such romance deflating one liner.

-- Anonymous, February 07, 2001

Oh yeah - bat your big ol' purty eyes while parting your pouty lips into a big smile as you say it.

-- Anonymous, February 07, 2001

I don't want to be friends with this guy, though. It's just that while turning someone down for an official date is considered socially acceptable, turning someone down for coffee makes you seem like a snobby bitch. Or maybe I really am one, and I should just accept it...

-- Anonymous, February 07, 2001

I never wanted to bring this up out of respect but, it is a well documented fact that I am involuntarily and inescapably attracted to the high maintenance, harder to deal with type of woman.

-- Anonymous, February 08, 2001

Hey, I may be a snob, but I am not high-maintenance or hard to deal with! But you do have a knack for bringing these qualities out in people, Rudeboy...

-- Anonymous, February 08, 2001

Well, obviously this is a you-have-to-see-this-guy-to-know-what-I'm-talking-about situation, but what's the harm in going out for coffee with him? You could keep it to a half-hour, max. I agree that coming to your door with a pizza is about as lame as it gets, but can you imagine the guts it took to do that? Besides, you don't want him to get stalkerly. If all else fails, you could start in on your ear wax collection or something appetizing like that...

-- Anonymous, February 10, 2001

Shit! I have to rethink my plan of showing up with a vegetarian pizza special and two Styrofoam cups of steaming black coffee wearing my "Honk, if you love Jesus" T-Shirt.

I suppose I could wear the shirt with nail in the hand image, captioned, "He put a nail in his hand for you!" That's a real woman getter, when you think about it.

-- Anonymous, February 11, 2001

Cory, if you wore a "Honk if you love Jesus!" shirt to my door, I'd let you in, share your pizza and I may even slip you a little tongue for the kiss goodnight.

When I was seventeen I used to have this one shirt with a cartoon and a christian theme (something about "being left behind") - dude, up until that time I'd never gotten so many phone numbers. Of course I was at a Carmen/Petra concert. Now I meet all my womeneses at bowling alleys or the bar room equivalent. How I long for the christian t-shirt days again.

-- Anonymous, February 12, 2001

I understand what you're saying, Jennifer. The coffee thing is even worse than a dinner invite, because coffee has that casual feel to it and it's the easy, cowardly way to asking someone out. It looks casual, it sounds casual, but it's not meant casual. He'd get the wrong idea and you'd still have to avoid him in the hallway.

-- Anonymous, February 12, 2001

Hey, I don't kiss or lap-dance on first dates Rudeboy.

And that coffee thing -- I swear I've seen so-called "dating experts" advise to ask someone out for coffee. Reason being, you can find out a lot about them without being stuck with them for more than a half hour.

The problem is, in this case, Jen made up her mind already. So there you go -- this guy didn't make it pass the first 5 seconds of examination.

-- Anonymous, February 12, 2001

So let me get this straight. The problem here is that Jen doesn't want to be friends with this guy but she doesn't want him to know.

Heh. Good one.

I guess lying is the only option then. Maybe tell him you have AIDS.

-- Anonymous, February 12, 2001

Jen has AIDS! Poor thing.

-- Anonymous, February 12, 2001

Uh, no, Dave. I want very much for him to know that I have no interest in being friends with him, but I would like to convey this knowledge to him in a way that

1. Is minimally uncomfortable for me


2. Is minimally painful for him

1 is more important to me than 2, although they're obviously interrelated.

-- Anonymous, February 12, 2001

Okay, okay. Try this:

(Sympathetic voice) "I'm sorry, I don't have time for any new people in my life right now. My friends are already always mad at me for not spending enough time with them. I'm just too busy." You can then tell him how busy you are.

It's important you give him no hope. It's hard not to throw in the gratuitous "you seem like a nice guy but..." or "maybe later." Don't do it.

What's great about the above line is it gives him no hope. You're too busy, and even if you did manage to find some time you already have people ahead of him. The situation will see hopeless.

That's the problem with the old standbys of "I'm seeing someone" or "I just don't want to get involved right now." They leave the door open. If he's smitten, and it sounds like he might be, those excuses will just give him false hope. In his mind you'll still be a 'maybe.' You have a boyfriend? Well, maybe you'll break up. You're not ready for a relationship right now? Well, maybe next month. Meanwhile, he'll want to be your friend so that when the time comes he'll be ready to step in.

Just tell him you're too busy.

-- Anonymous, February 13, 2001

Yes, busy. Busy, busy, busy! That's what I say when anyone tedious, male or female, asks me to spend time with them and I don't want to. It's important not to mitigate it with apologies or hints at "maybe sometime," because then they come back and ask again.

-- Anonymous, February 13, 2001

You could simply say, "No, thank you." Period. End.

No further explanations are necessary or required,although the rejecting party -- assuming they're kind enough to feel at all bad -- will offer an excuse in the belief this "eases" any sting of rejection. Nothing eases the sting of rejection, and offering any explication (other than the brutal truth) opens the window for a persistent (or obsessive) suitor to assume that in time, under other circumstances, you may say "Yes." A "No, thank you" suffices for offers of dinner, movies, concerts, roller-blading, or even just coffee. This simple answer, offered as many times as the suitor may ask, should eventually make clear to even the densest person that your answer is, and will always be, NO.

(If the person so rejected ASKS for an explanation, then you may say simply, "I'm not interested," which others have suggested, or, "I'd just rather not." Beyond this, the brutal truth is called for and will be necessary.)

-- Anonymous, March 01, 2001

...or a short burst of pepper spray

-- Anonymous, March 01, 2001

My gosh! Women should get a backbone. When we date a guy he takes the risk of asking us out, he plans and pays for the date, if he is sweet he will even buy flowers and open doors. And all we women have to do is just say "yes" or "no". And most of us don't even have the backbone to do that.

So Jennifer, if you don't want to see that guy again just be honest and tell him that so he can move on to someone else. By the response you gave him you wasted a week or two of his time.

-- Anonymous, March 19, 2001

Ok, there are alot of different things you could do. actually right now i'm in the exact same situation! I mean I am probably alot younger then you but I know exactly how you feel. I'm 12 and a guy asked me out and i don't like him in that way but I like him as a friend. What I'm probably going to do is just say either "Can we please just be friends, I just don't think it would work in that way." but since he isn't your friend you could just like say "I hardly know you, and I just don't feel comfertable going out with someone I hardly know." Or, as dav said say something like "I'm really busy lately. I don't even have enough time with my family. I'm sorry but I'm just too busy." as you see there are many other options as well but it really depends if your willing to give him a chance or not. One remider.. DO NOT WRITE AN E-MAIL SAYING NO, OR LETTER, OR DO NOT SEND SOMEONE TO TELL HIM FOR YOU, that is as low as you can get and that makes them feel really bad.


-- Anonymous, July 13, 2002

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