In addition to being a world-renowned comedian, talk show host, philanthropist, husband and father, Steve Harvey is the Chief Love Officer of online dating site Delightful. He draws on his personal experiences and the stories that millions of people have shared with him over the years to help more people find and keep the love they deserve.
It is one thing to get out of a bad first date, it's entirely another to let someone know you're just not feeling it three or five or seven dates in. No matter how awkward or difficult it might seem, however, you need to own your feelings and move on as gracefully as possible. What's the alternative? Getting married to Mr. Wrong because you found it too tough to tell the truth? Of course not!
If you've decided it's time to let your date down easy, here are a few quick tips for doing so as painlessly as possible.
Be straight with him. The slow fade just leaves people wondering what's going on. If you've ever been on the receiving end of that unsettled feeling, you know it's not cool. You may believe that your short or delayed responses to Mr. Wrong have sent a clear message, but people are creatures of hope. We've all been there, hanging on longer than we should, waiting for our phones to buzz with some sign that love is blossoming when it clearly isn't.
So what should you do? It's pretty simple. Treat others as you'd like to be treated. Say, "I've enjoyed getting to know you a little bit, but I don't think it's going to work out between us." This is more merciful than simply disappearing into text message purgatory or making up some strange line about how you've come down with the mumps and need to spend the entire month in bed.
Be as honest as possible -- in person -- while maintaining a gentle tone and calm demeanor. Standard lines like "I'm not interested in a relationship right now" can ring hollow and give false hope, so try to deliver your let-down with a bit more detail without being cruel. You can say, "I'm not feeling as much chemistry between us as I'd like," or "I think we'd be better as friends."
Make a quick exit. Once you've let your date down, it's important to leave him alone and not linger around with lame lines about how you're sure he'll meet someone much better than yourself.
There's no reason to have an argument about whether or not you should continue to date--you've given your final answer, and that's that.
Give him space. If you're truly interested in being friends with the person you've elected not to date, that's absolutely fine. But give a little space first and then invite him to a group event or something equally casual and non-romantic. Be clear about your completely platonic intentions. It's just not fair if you play with his heart by being flirtatious or unclear about your feelings.
Don't rely on a text. There is a reason texting has taken over everyone's life. It's just so easy and painless. But is that really true? How would you feel if someone you'd started having feelings for let you know they're no longer interested in a text? You'd feel badly, especially if you happened to get the message in a work meeting. Be kind and express your feelings the old fashioned way--in person.
I hear what you're saying--am I really supposed to make a date with Mr. Wrong just so I can tell him in person that he's not the one for me? It doesn't have to be a date. Schedule something simple, like an outdoor lunch. Meet up at a street festival. Let your body language do some of the talking for you and then have a heart-to-heart with kindness in your tone. Offer a quick hug--something that's definitely not possible with a text brush off. I don't care what emoji you think counts!
Of course, this is only my advice if the person you're letting down is a good and decent human being. If your date gives you some reason to feel nervous about how he'd react to an in person rejection, keep your distance and let technology do its job.
I understand that letting someone down easy can be difficult. But now that you know what to do, you're opening yourself up to something better. And that's the whole point!
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