After a couple of conversations I had with some men, three of them expressed frustration where women didn’t say no to a date in a very graceful way. Do women know how to say no to date? In the mind of the men, they were okay with the women saying no – they totally respected the women’s right to do so, but they were frustrated with HOW the ladies said no.
So, I thought about it and have written some guidelines on how to say No to a date. Maybe it’s helpful.
1. Be clear
I think I’ve talked about this one before, but if a man asks you to go to the new Simpsons movie on Friday, be clear in your response.
- If interested, say “Yes, I’d love to.”
- If interested, but busy on Friday, say “I’d love to, but Friday won’t work, how about Saturday?”
- If interested in him, but you refuse to see the Simpsons movie, say “I’d love to, but could we do something other than the Simpsons movie? It’s not something I care to see.” (Note: Don’t be picky on the activity just to suit your preferences. He’s offering to take you somewhere, so only object if you really need to. By the way, I totally support you objecting to the Simpsons movie. I would. Sorry.)
- If not interested in him, tell him. Say: “I’m sorry, but I don’t see us dating.” Don’t leave the door open if it shouldn’t be open. Otherwise, he’ll just have to keep asking you out until you’re clear. And that’s miserable for everyone! I don’t even like the “You’re a great guy, but…” line unless you have a really good conclusion (like ‘I’m leaving for Africa tomorrow for 6 months’ or ‘I’m already seeing someone’ or ‘I’m called to singleness for the rest of my life, I promise.’). It just leads him to think: “Well, if I’m so great, why don’t you want to go on a date? Either you’re lying and I’m not great or you’re really, really picky.”
2. Be kind
Don’t ridicule him. That’s not nice. That’s not classy. That’s not kind. Don’t say: “Who me? Go out with you? Are you kidding!?” Talk about deflating his ego. He’s a person too with feelings. He took a risk in asking you out and for what? So you could make fun of him? NOT COOL.
3. Keep it to yourself
This is particularly important if you both have the same group of friends – church, school, work or anything. My reasoning?
- If you said no, you could be ruining his chances with someone else. And likely, you’re making fun of him. Again, NOT COOL.
- If you said no, you might be hurting her feelings. Her = the girl who is interested in him. You’re telling Alice all about how Bob asked you out and isn’t that just so funny and Alice might have a crush on him. Now she’s hurting too.
- If you said yes, do you really want an audience for the very beginning of the relationship? Telling 1-2 friends is normal and understandable, but telling the world via facebook is probably more pressure than either of you need. Besides, it might not be a boyfriend at this stage; it’s just a date. And how many people do you want asking you Sunday morning: “So, how was your date last night?” or “What ever happened to that Bob guy that you went on a date with? Oh…he never called back. Bummer.” Plus, chances are that it’ll get back to him: “So, Suzy told Sarah who told Joan that you guys are going out on Friday.” Lots of pressure there.
4. Don’t over-spiritualize the decision
If you don’t want to say yes to a date or a relationship, then just say so. But don’t say “I don’t think God is calling me to date you” unless you are uber, super, duper sure. I mean really, really, really sure. Because then you just get into a God-calling war. “Well, God called me to ask you out.” “Well, God didn’t call me to say yes.” “Well, then, I guess God was just setting me up to get rejected.” Ouch. Now the guy has a girl who doesn’t want to date him and a suspicion that God might be against him too. Bummer.
5. Say Yes if you can
Again, if you don’t know the man’s last name, then you can feel free to say no. But think about it: What’s the harm in saying Yes to just one date with the guy who is asking you? You don’t have to say Yes to a second date. You don’t have to say Yes to marrying him. Just saying Yes to coffee or dinner. Just saying Yes to consider him in a romantic relationship where maybe you haven’t before.
I heard a guy say before that when asked out, a woman should give a guy 2 dates. The first date just because he asked. The second date because he was likely to be too nervous on the first date to be himself. I don’t know about that….but I’d certainly say to give him a first date. If you can. If he’s Mr. Crazy-Guy-Who-You’ve-Been-Considering-Getting-A-Restraining-Order-Against, then say No. If he’s Mr. I’ve-Been-Sober-For-6-Days-Now-And-My-Mom-Has-Never-Been-So-Proud guy, then say No. But if he’s Mr. I’m-Kind-Of-On-The-Quiet-Side-But-I-Sit-Next-To-You-In-Bible-Class guy, then say Yes. If he’s Mr. We’ve-Been-In-The-Same-Bible-Study-For-A-Few-Months guy, maybe a Yes is in order there too.
If he’s a guy you’ve never considered before, don’t forget you can take the relationship slow. By asking you out on a date, he’s saying “I’d like to get to know you better. Can I do that?” You can agree without having to hold his hand or be his girlfriend.
Those are my tips.