Ending things with someone you’ve recently started seeing is complicated. It’s not a marriage, so you can’t divorce them. You aren’t a couple, so you can’t really break up with them. And, technically, you’re not officially seeing each other either, so how the hell do you cancel this thing?
I’ve got the perfect phrase.
A few nights ago, I was performing my favorite GBF (gay best friend) duty: helping my friend craft texts. As a communications professional by day and a serial dater by night, I’m usually the go-to resource for my friends in this department.
My friend went on two dates with a guy she met on Tinder or Bumble or whatever. The first date was pretty good; he was cute and she enjoyed the conversation, so she agreed to see him again. After the second date, she said she wasn’t really feeling him, but he remained interested and sent her a thread of texts expressing a desire to see her again—and soon.
Uh, oh. Awkward.
It’s never easy to tell someone you’re not interested. That’s why so many people ghost. In an interview with The Washington Post, biological anthropologist Helen Fisher said, “The vast majority of people who are probably scared of the conversation…drama…and accusations.”
Being afraid to hurt someone’s feelings is also why people try to “let them down easy” and say things like, “let’s be friends” and “let’s keep in touch” when they don’t really mean it.
This is how my friend wanted to respond, but she really wanted to end things full stop.
She’s too nice.
I gave her a line that landed this relationship aircraft before it became doomed needed to be ditched in the Hudson River.
Date: Hey there! I had a great time with you tonight. There’s an art gallery opening this Friday near your office. Do you want to go after work?
Response: Hey, thanks for the invitation and for meeting me last night and on Monday, but I didn’t feel a connection and would like to just leave it here. Take care.
Viola! Four simple words. “Just leave it here.”
Now, you’re out. You didn’t make plans to hang again while secretly hoping neither of you would follow-up. And you didn’t agree to be friends. Think about all the plans you would have had to decline and all of the excuses you were going to have to make up.
Not this time.
But what if he pushes back? Of course he will; you’re a catch. He’s not going to let you get away that easily.
Two quick things. First, you should never give a reason for ending things if this is a casual friends-with-benefits situation or someone you only went out with a handful of times. It’s not required. If you do provide a reason, he’ll try to remedy it and make promises he can’t keep.
“I’ll wear less cologne.”
“I’ll get my crooked tooth fixed.”
“I’ll leave my wife.”
Yeah, right. Heard it all before.
Second, here’s how to use the phrase again to drive home the message.
I’m very flattered. Thank you, but I’d just like to leave it here.
Lastly, I suggest you block and delete their number so you never have to hear from them again.