A reader asks:
What if you've unintentionally started chatting with someone who's "good enough," but in whom you have no real interest? How do you get out of it without coming off as a horrible person?
Lovely, I’m so, so glad you asked this question! Because saying goodbye to “good-enough” (but ultimately NOT good enough) fits may be the most important dating skill you can learn.
Why? Because if you can’t say goodbye to the bad fits, the terrible fits, the just-okay fits, and the maybe-this-is-as-good-as-I-can-do fits, you’re gonna get STUCK. Maybe for months. Maybe…for years! And then, when it finally does end, you’re going to be starting right over from square one, just the way you are now, only you’re going to be, like, eight months older and twice as cynical.
But think about the flip side. If you CAN say goodbye, then you can take a chance on anyone! You can email that sparse-profiled hunk, or that comedian whose match percentage is a bit lower than you'd like, knowing that if it ends up going negatively, you CAN say goodbye. And you should be taking those chances!! You never know who's going to end up being a wonderful fit!
So how do you say goodbye when you're not feelin' it anymore with your good-enough person? Here are my thoughts.
No Easy Way…Many Bad Ways
There’s no easy way to do it, honestly. You’re going to have to hurt someone’s feelings a little bit. And I know, Lovely. You can’t STAND the idea of hurting someone’s feelings. You know how it would feel if someone did that to you.
First, let me suggest some ways NOT to do it.
- Don’t write a long email to them, outlining their areas for improvement and the reasons they’re not a good fit;
- Don’t pretend to be into it once you’re not into it anymore;
- Don’t offer to hang out as friends.
Those types of actions just complicate things and slow the process down. You’re going to want to keep this simple and short, just like that old cliche of ripping off the band-aid.
So okay, how DO you do it?
Ghosting is an Option
Ghosting, where you just stop responding to someone you’ve been chatting it up with, gets a bad rap in the dating world. People talk about ghosting as a reason NOT to use online dating. What if you get ghosted! How horrible.
But why? Sometimes the kindest thing you can do is just quietly disappear. If you’re up to, say, one date in, a simple non-response to their next message is probably the best way to go. It’s a clear way of saying goodbye without making a big thing out of it.
Think about it like you’re freeing them up to find the babe they’re really supposed to be with. Cause it ain't you, babe.
The Honest Goodbye
Okay, so you’re not into ghosting. Or maybe you’re, say, two dates in and ghosting is really poor form at this point. Or maybe you’ve tried to ghost, and you’ve gotten a few more messages from the person saying, “hey, you still out there? Want to get drinks this weekend?”
My sweet, caring friend, you’re going to have to give the Honest Goodbye.
I recommend something scripted so you’re not burning yourself out thinking of brand new ways to say goodbye for every bad fit you come across. Here’s my script – feel free to copy and paste this puppy and use it as often as you need:
It was so nice meeting you. I had a great time, but I’m just not feeling a romantic spark. I wish you the best of luck in this crazy dating game! You’re awesome, and it was really nice getting to know you.
It’s clear, it’s honest, and…I know, I know. You might cry, or fume, or spend three straight days ruminating on your every flaw if someone you liked sent that message to you. I did all of the above, the first few times I got the Honest Goodbye. But you know what?
You don’t want someone who doesn’t want you. And yep! They don’t want someone who doesn’t want them. We’re all looking for someone who’s crazy about us! I mean, craaaaazy in love with us! We don’t want the lukewarm folks, the "good enough" folks.
Every second you spend pretending to be excited about your so-so fit is a second that they’re NOT putting themselves out there and finding their crazy-in-love fit. You’re taking up their girlfriend space. And that’s much worse than the temporary sting of a quick, honest goodbye.
Dealing with Pushback
Okay, so you’ve ghosted, or you’ve sent your honest email, and now the person is MAD. Or they’re CRUSHED. They’re reaching out to you like, “why? Whyyyyyyyyyy? Just tell me! What did I do wrong?” You’ll definitely get that message…and hey, I probably sent one or two of those in my time, too.
So here’s what you do: you have your script ready! Here’s how it goes:
I really want to say, this has nothing to do with you. It’s just about spark. You’re a wonderful person, and I know you’ll find the girl who’s right for you. Don’t give up! You’re awesome!
And at that point, your work is done. They may try messaging again, but you can go ahead and ignore it. It’s simpler and quicker that way. Ongoing responses, or second guessing your decision to cut it off with them, will just prolong their moving-on process.
And remember you can block or report them if their language becomes abusive (which absolutely happens). Even if they think you're a horrible person, as you worry they might, you CERTAINLY are not a horrible person -- your caring email to me proves this for sure.
The hard thing is the right thing to do here, Lovely. You can’t spend the rest of your life pretending to be into a “good enough” fit – and you would NEVER want someone to do that for you. So just walk away from that convo like the wonderful (non-horrible), caring ghost you are. Or take a deep breath, copy and paste your script, hit the send button, and move on with your life.
You got this, Lovely.
Curvy (aka Krista)