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nikipedia's avatar

Dating question: What's the best way to politely say no?

Asked by nikipedia (27327 points ) February 7th, 2012

A guy recently asked for my number, and I didn’t really think about it and just gave it to him. If I were single I’d definitely go out with the guy, but my current dating situation is messy and terrible and I cannot include anyone else in my mess. Even though technically I could go out with him if I chose to.

He sent me a friendly text asking how things are going. The easy way out would be to just not respond, but that seems immature. Do I keep up the text correspondence and politely decline when the inevitable “let’s have dinner” text comes? Can I tell him, it’s not you, it’s me? Do I try to explain why, or just say no thanks?

Anecdotes welcome.

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20 Answers

wundayatta's avatar

I don’t think it’s that immature to not respond. It sends the desired message and things are still at a very low-impact state. You never asked him to text you. You never invited him. You gave out your number reflexively, and he knew it. That’s why he sent the text. By responding, you were saying you were open to a next move. Now, if you want to say no, it will take a little more effort, although you can still get away with just ignoring future texts.

deni's avatar

If and when he asks you to go out with him, just tell him your relationship is messy right now and you aren’t mentally in a spot to date new people.

bongo's avatar

If you like the guy though there is no reason that this couldn’t be a friendship surely? If he asks you out for a drink or something bring a mate or two and make it a group affair. It does not have to be sexual surely?
Either that or just tell him the truth with the situation. Surely he deserves that? If you just ignore his texts that is pretty rude after you gave him your number and if you see him in the street or in a bar or ended up next to each other on the bus what would you say? It would be less awkward in the long run to say you are in quite a complicated relationship at the moment and don’t want to get close because of this and to either just stay mates or “see you around”.
A while ago a guy gave me his number and then replied to a couple of texts (the texts were pretty light and chatty about the night out we met on and what people got up to) then just stopped texting me. It turned out that he had stopped because he was in a relationship and didn’t want to lead me on, this was so stupid because I had never wanted a relationship in the first place anyway and wanted to see him and talk to him because I thought we got on. I saw him at a few festivals over the summer as we have some mates who overlap and told him this. We now talk all the time as mates both in separate relationships but I was pretty peeved that he would just stop talking to me because he didnt want a sexual relationship with me.

marinelife's avatar

I would keep it simple so as not to invite further explanation. What @deni said seem like a good way to say it.

zenvelo's avatar

Why not respond “Things are okay, although my relationship life right now is so messy.”

That way he knows it’s not a good time to ask you out, but you haven’t completely shut the door on him.

wundayatta's avatar

@ragingloli Don’t you think the tone is a little too light for this situation? I mean, I can see using an H-Bomb, but that? You’re just kidding around!

auntydeb's avatar

I think the word ‘friendly’ that you use in your question @nikipedia says it all really. No need to go jumping to any conclusions, it’s in no way ‘inevitable’ that he would ask you out to dinner. @deni , @marinelife and @zenvelo have all said pretty much the best of things here. Keep it light, friendly and honest. Can’t go wrong then.

tedd's avatar

Don’t just ignore him.. That is immature and stupid. Just tell him flat out your situation, and that you don’t want to complicate it at the moment. If you’re for sure not at all interested in dating him (like ever, not “not now, but later on if things improve for me..”) then tell him that.

Honesty is a much better policy. He’ll probably appreciate it a lot more… And trust me, any guy who can dress himself knows you’re ignoring him.

john65pennington's avatar

If he is a decent guy, you should give him a decent explanation. You never know what the future holds for you and he could be a great choice to date.

Be informative with him and explain your situation. Guys appreciate the truth and who knows…..........all of this could be for a very good reason for you.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I like @zenvelo‘s answer. Be honest with them. You did give them your number, so you should treat them with respect.

wundayatta's avatar

Be honest? “Oh, I just gave you my number because it was the easiest way to get you to go away. I didn’t really expect you to call.”

Well, I may have heard a woman say this, but all in all, silence is preferable, equally eloquent, and not nearly as douchey. You’re an adult now. People can read between the lines.

There’s always that old Jack Nicholson line, “Truth? You can’t handle the truth.”

YoKoolAid's avatar

When he asks for your number you say: “I don’t think that’s a good idea”

wundayatta's avatar

No, @YoKoolAid, it’s a great idea. If you give me your number, I can call you, and you won’t want to miss that!~

Male's avatar

Just tell him straight up. If you’re already in a mess, lying about it or making excuses only puts him as a “safety net” and puts you in a deeper mess.

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

FUCK NO! Thank you for the invitation, but I’m not really interested in dating right now.

tinyfaery's avatar

I say go for it. If he’s not a total dick about your situation then maybe you and he can be friends. Maybe he’ll be the love or your life.

I was 3 months out of a 4.5 year relationship when I met C. I should not have been dating. Now it’s been over 10 years. Just sayin’.

nikipedia's avatar

Well, it only took 1 friendly reply before the poor guy officially asked me out, so I guess an awkward explanatory text is in order now.

punkrockworld's avatar

I think that maybe just because your dating situation is “messy”, you should see what else is out there and give this guy a chance. Don’t even call it a chance, because maybe you might really just see him as a friend, which is fine. I do not think you should explain your dating situation.
You’re already planning a “lets have dinner” text, what if he just only sees you as a friend as well. Friends have dinner. I think you’re too afraid to find something better than what you have now. Honest opinion. And I would know! Trust me.

auntydeb's avatar

@nikipedia – the situation need only be awkward if you make it so. Straight up, just tell the truth. This is an opportunity for you to gain some clarity – what actually made you give out your number? Ok, we all do things ‘without thinking’, but all that means is that something unconscious was at work. For a deeper reason, you made it possible for him to contact you. It’s your call, keep it clean, be honest, you might find a better way to handle the apparent ‘mess’ you mention. A chance to grow girl, don’t flunk it!

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