How To Let Someone Down Easy (Without Leaving Room For Confusion)

It's best to be upfront, but you don't have to be a jerk about it.

How To Let Someone Down Easy Nikodash / Shutterstock

Let's be real: the whole dating process comes with a ton of tough situations to navigate. Case in point: trying to figure out how to let someone down easy when you're just not into them.

Should you feed them some line about not being interested, despite the "great time" you had? Or just skip the communication altogether and hope that your silence sends the message?

Is there any good way of doing this without looking like a jerk?


RELATED: 15 Real Men Reveal Their #1 Struggle When It Comes To Relationships

We asked 20 men and women to weigh in on what they'd prefer when it comes to being let down after a date, and we received a pretty wide range of answers.

Read on to see what men and women had to say about how to let someone down easy without leaving room for confusion.


How to Let Someone Down Easy

1. Be upfront.

"Women, myself included, constantly try to rationalize and dissect men's behavior. That process of analyzing and scrutinizing every moment, signal, and text is exhausting and tormenting. Sometimes, our thoughts take over and linger until we are 110 percent sure that they are not interested. It would be so much easier if the guy was straight up and said he was not interested so we could move on and quit with the 'what if's.'"

2. Tell it straight up.

"I once went on two dates with a guy, and then didn't hear from him much after the second date, so I sent him a text asking if he was 'tired of me already.' Within a couple of minutes, he responded, 'To be honest, I wasn't really feeling you after the second time we went out.' To which I responded, 'Thank you!' This was hands down the best way for us to go our separate ways. I prefer people to be direct, as I'm quite direct myself. This way, there is no wondering, lingering thoughts, or beating yourself up."

3. Don't use fake lines.

"I would prefer that the man be man enough to say it to my face, and not clog up the works with any 'Let's be friends' nonsense. Just get on with your life and I'll get on with mine."

4. Give closure.

"Getting closure from a bad date is important. Us guys are needy. Someone needs to create an app like Yelp so we can anonymously leave and read reviews for dates to hear things like, 'Probably shouldn’t have started talking about your mom after the second beer. 3 stars.' Online dating has saturated the market. Help us compete, ladies."


5. Don't think they can't handle it.

"Dear men: We are not the precious breakable flowers that you think we are. If you don't want to tell us that you don't 'like like' us because you don't want to hurt our feelings, get over it! Sometimes you hurt people's feelings. It's life. It's unavoidable. You're a grown-up now and these things happen. I won't lie and say it doesn't hurt to find out someone doesn't want to hit this on the regular, but what's worse are the questions that linger when you say nothing at all. Radio silence is for cowards."

6. Don't ghost.

"When we like a person who leaves us hanging without communication, we come up with so many excuses for them (the text didn't go through, lost phone, etc.) and end up hanging on longer. So, without question, I would much rather have a woman tell me that she isn't interested. Then, it's easier to redirect my energy towards finding someone who is interested."

7. Be honest, but not mean.

"When a guy doesn't tell you he's not interested and just says nothing, he is leaving the door open for that girl to imagine why and she will likely keep calling and texting until she gets an answer. The best thing is to be honest and forthright, without being mean."

8. Be clear.

"I had a blind date with a girl I had met on OKCupid several months ago. Nice conversation, but no sparks. This morning I received the following email from her: 'It was great to meet you, Phil. You have a nice outlook on life and I like your energy. I'm not sure if there's romantic potential here, though, but at the same time it would be fun to do some things together sometime...' I love clarity. I crave clarity."


9. Be direct.

"Men much prefer to be told that the girl is not interested and why. Women sometimes think the man will 'get it,' but it's often frustrating and confusing to a guy to not hear anything back. Men need to be told directly and women like to be indirect and hint at things. Girls, just tell men and give them a reason, and then there is some form of closure."

10. Give feedback at the end of the date.

"I would rather them be honest immediately at the end of the first date if they already know they don't want to go on a second one. There's always a nice, diplomatic way to go about it. Just come out and say it. Don't waste my time."

RELATED: The 10 Biggest Mistakes Women Make In Relationships

11. Be open.

"Life is short. Be polite. Just say it was nice to meet you, but I don't feel a connection."


12. Don't waste anyone's time.

"I would much rather hear the truth than be left to question. Don't waste my time."

13. Be truthful.

"Everyone will say they would rather know, but it doesn't take the sting out of it. But if a girl isn't interested, I'd still rather her say so. I'm the type of guy who won't get angry if my texts go unanswered, I'll get worried that something happened, and won't be able to sleep until I know she's at least okay. Not knowing sucks."

14. Be respectful.

"Never stop being a respectable human. Ignoring someone's texts is not the way to do that. I'd rather someone be straight up about it. It was a first date, not all of them will go well for both parties and that is understandable — just be honest about it. A simple response would be, 'Hey I appreciate you coming out last night, but I don't think we had the connection that I was looking for.' Anything along those lines is fine, and then it at least lets you know to move on and make other plans instead of holding on and hoping for something that will never happen."

15. Have the conversation in person.

"Tell me and in person. If I respect you enough to use my money to pay for the date, you should respect me enough to tell me in person how you really feel."


16. Don't ignore them.

"Hands down would rather be told, because being ignored absolutely makes my blood boil. Ignoring someone is cowardly, mean, and disrespectful. It diminishes the other person's self-worth, all because you're the weak one who doesn't want to tell it like it is."

17. Don't sugarcoat.

"Is it weird that I'm okay with radio silence? I totally get it. Personally, I don't need someone being like, 'Hey I think you're wonderful but I didn't feel the connection...' Maybe I'm making this weird dating culture worse, but for me, if I don't hear from you, I've already moved on."

18. Avoid cliché lines.

"I don't need to hear the BS 'Hey I had a good time but I'm not interested' line, but I also don't want the silence, because then you might wonder if they are away, if their job is demanding, and so on. I think if I were to follow up after a date to ask the person out again, once I tried to make plans twice and they were busy both times and didn't suggest a time that DOES work, then I'd move on."


19. Take the hint.

"There are infinite ways of getting in touch with someone who you went on a date with and are interested in seeing again, all of which take about 30 seconds. That guy isn't not texting you back because he lost his phone. He's not texting you back because he's not interested in seeing you again. Do you really need for him to spell that out? I sure don't."

20. Don't go overboard with an explanation.

"I work an insane amount of hours per week (probably why I'm still single), but if I go on a date with a girl I'm interested in seeing again, I still make sure to find the time to text her, to respond to her text, and to make future plans. If a girl I went out with doesn't respond to a text from me after a date, it makes it clear to me she's not interested — without the cheesy and unnecessary, 'I had a great time, you're a great guy, BUT' message."

RELATED: 15 Brutally Honest Things Guys Won't Tell You About Online Dating

Danielle Page is a writer work has been featured on Woman’s Day, Mandatory, The New York Times, Thought Catalog, and the Huffington Post.