It’s been quite awhile, hasn’t it?
Since you last heard from me, I’ve been on many dates – many entirely bland, perfectly fine, ultimately blah dates.
You know how reviewers often say you want a piece of art to either be great or awful? That it’s the in-between that are difficult to talk about?
Well, I’ve had just about nothing but in-betweens. Many nice-enough girls, who either didn’t hit me right – or I didn’t hit her right – or we both agreed, this isn’t right.
While that kinda sucks for storytelling – you don’t really wanna hear me talk about what anecdotes I told to which ladies, and which interesting career offshoot they’re trying this minute, do you? – it does bring up a very important point for online dating: What do you do when there was nothing great about the first date – and you don’t want a second?
First, before we get too deep into this, the answer is going to be different for men and women, most of the time.
Really, the key is who’s contacting who? The onus usually falls on the man, but occasionally the guy won’t really be feeling it, while the woman will – and she’ll reach out.
Rarer – but it does happen. It’s happened a few times to me in this little interim.
Well, let’s just talk about this from the reactive viewpoint. Let’s assume you’ve impressed your date more than vice versa, and now they want to meet next Saturday, and you really would rather do, well, anything. Nothing wrong with them – but you’d be wasting both your time.
Here’s what you don’t do.
- Don’t just ignore them. That’ll work – eventually – but you’re probably going to get a series of follow-ups, which will sound more and more desperate, ending with an insult or a stalking. If they prove themselves stalkers, then you ignore – but not if this is just a regular person swimming in the same ol’ dating pool, doing his or her best. Ignoring is just rude.
- Don’t mislead. “Oh hey! Yeah, I had a great time too – let’s do it again, absolutely!” followed by a bunch of dodges? Hey, coward – don’t be a shithead. You may think you’re being nice, but false hope is one of the crueler moves available in the online dating world. Don’t do that to someone.
- The cousin to the mislead – don’t stand someone up at the last moment with some lame excuse. “Oh – I’ve got an, uh, eye infection.” (Yes, that’s a real-life example from earlier this year.) Not only are you encouraging the false hope – you’ve also screwed someone out of a night, and, if they like you enough, they may take you at your word – and try again. So you have to do the dance again. Does your ego really need that much of a massage?
- Don’t use someone. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with wanton sex – as long as both parties are looking for that. If there’s someone who you know you don’t dig – but they’re better than nothing, for the moment, for a jolly now and again when they are expecting more – once again, don’t be a shithead. Your bedpost notch isn’t worth the self-hate that’ll be coming down the pike in later years.
- Don’t be rude. There is this awful breed of person that loves to be mean behind a façade of ‘honesty.’ “You have X flaw – I don’t know how anyone could want to be with that.” Sorry – honesty doesn’t have to be brutal, hurtful, or without tact. If you’re the type of person who gets off on that kind of thing – go find willing participants on Fetlife.
Really, it’s not that hard.
Rule 92: Be Straightforward But Kind
“Listen, I had a good time with you. But I didn’t really feel that spark, that excitement that I look for in my nascent relationships. While I have little doubt that we could entertain each other again, I don’t think this will go anywhere. But good luck out there!”
That’s not so hard, is it? Feel free to just cut-and-paste that baby. The truth is – we’re all going to be in all these positions. And the harsher you are, the harsher the dating world you live in.
Not to mention – depending where you are, the pool might be small enough, you’ll run into these people again. Or try to go out with someone they know.
Civilization may be judged by how it treats its elderly. Daters are judged by how they treat their rejectees. Reap the good karma. Don’t be a shithead. Don’t let the relative anonymity of the internet age, and the disposability of so many multiple first dates, turn you into a sour jerk. Just be true, and kind. It takes less energy, yields better results going forward, and is less likely to get you a bad reaction that, who knows, could turn ugly.
Be decent. It’s good practice.