How to tell him that you're just not that into him without looking like a jerk.
You know the scenario: you've inadvertently attracted an admirer, but you just don't share his feelings. What to do? In this week's episode of How I Met Your Mother, the gang explained the "bait-and-hook" theory to Ted, which says that everybody has at least one admirer they keep around but don't actually like. Out of reluctance to hurt someone's feelings, we end up sending the message that we can't date that person "right now," even though by "right now," we actually mean "ever."
Eventually, though, the person's going to either confront you about his intentions, or, if he's already done so repeatedly, you'll get so annoyed at his efforts that you'll end up being a jerk. Either way, you can't string that person along forever, and oftentimes, avoiding his phone calls or fielding his attempts to hang out just isn't enough to get the point across. Awkward as it sounds, you need to have a little chat. Here are five ways to turn someone down without looking like the bad guy:
If you’d like to figure out what’s wrong with you relationship-wise, don’t read a self-help book. Get an online bank account.
Every time I log into my checking account, I’m asked a “security question,” the answer to which only I’m supposed to know, so the bank can confirm my identity. Thus far, the only question the bank has asked me upon logging in is the name of my first boyfriend. And what a joy it is to be forced to recall that relationship on a regular basis.
A guy sitting next to me on the bus the other day kept looking over
my shoulder to check out the book on my lap. When I stuffed it in my
bag, he asked, “what are you reading?”
Slightly embarrassed, I told him, “it’s called, Love, an Inner Connection.”
“What’s it about?”
Self-help books and pseudo-spiritual tomes I’ve always considered
hokey. Human beings are fantastically complicated, a lifetime isn’t
long enough to discover all the nooks and crannies in one person’s
psyche. Merge two of these creatures in a relationship and they’d need
at least a couple centuries to figure one another out. For every
self-help “rule” about relating, you’ll find a thousand situations that
So, when a friend suggested Love, an Inner Connection, my
first reaction was to gag. But since the book’s based in Jungian
psychology and ancient Chinese philosophy, I gave it a whirl.
Here’s the gist: there’s the “essential” self and the ego. The
Recently, I met up with a couple old friends, a married woman and a
single gal enjoying the fruits of a new romance. I told them about all
my turbulent relationships, joking about the slackers and bad boys, the
commitment-phobes and jerky alpha-males who’d come into my life since
we’d last seen each other.
“Oh, I’ve been there loads of times,” my married friend said after I
described my most recent run-in with a sexy, relationship-shy stoner.
She’d been there loads of times? Shocking.
Married women, especially once they’re moms, seem to me so organized
and fulfilled, it’s hard to imagine any of these poised individuals
knocking around with losers. But once I thought about it, I remembered
all the other married women I know who’ve admitted to the same sordid
My friend Sonya’s husband is a successful TV producer with a taste
for fine wine, classical music, and most interestingly, fidelity. But
The first time I went out with Joshua, I thought he might be a bit too
young and boyishly thrilled by the possibilities of his own future to
focus seriously on a relationship with a woman. But I decided not to
care. Joshua was a marvelous painter who had great passion for all
things groovy and wild, and he harbored gorgeous fantasies about saving
humanity through art. We debated politics and art, and stayed up until
dawn to explore the contours of our magnificent souls. I was dizzy
with inspiration and head over heels in love.
When Joshua finally gave me the “not-looking-for-anything-serious”
speech, I was too heartbroken to recognize one enormously significant
fact about our relationship.
I made the whole thing up.
I’d known about Joshua for months before he asked me out. In his
art, I’d seen brilliance. In his character, I’d sensed an intensity I