Fifty First (J)Dates: How To Say No, Part II

11/12/2010 12:25 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

So my original post from June, "Do We Know How to Say No? (No.)" has come up again in a recent conversation with several girlfriends. So I figured I would address it again.

The bottom line is, girls have trouble turning down boys. We feel bad. We feel mean. We feel like there's something inherently wrong in saying no and that we don't want to burn bridges even if this person is a total freakazoid who we will never encounter ever again in our lives. Statistically, you're dating a lot of people if you're on a dating site. So obviously you're not going to be crazy about every one.

As I've said before, you need to kiss a lot of frogs (nice frogs, but just not passionate frogs) before one strikes a chord. Or, before one feels like your other half and you go running across Dupont Circle together. Slowly, because you're wearing the new Guiseppi Zanottis.

The key question is, should you just ignore said NJB (Nice Jewish Boy) or address the fact you don't really want to go out with him head on?

While we as women often try to sugarcoat things (in confrontation in general, I believe), guys are far more direct and basically want to hear the truth, for the most part. Although it can be hard to dismiss someone directly, because you feel really guilty for a reason I can't totally put my manicured finger on. Even if this kid has the sexual panache of the ex-Countess' creepy date at Apotheke, (shudders), you still don't really want to be a jerk.

If you're not feeling it, you're not feeling it.

But this can be hard to verbalize, and you need to be careful of small-world situations. I turned down someone I went out with earlier in the summer, and not only did I feel bad, but I recognized that we had many mutual friends in common (including family friends, which can be worse and more painfully awkward because your mom constantly will bring this up just to annoy you).

My best friend and I postulated on how to handle these such dilemmas:

I suppose I could give that answer in three consecutive text messages, but that's sorta dick. Especially because chances are if you're on a date in the first place, your social circles and geographic locations are close enough that you could see each other again. Not to mention multiple texts lead to opening the last one first. Fail.

I've tried a variety of other techniques.

1. One time I lied and told the guy that in the four days between our first date and when he contacted me to meet again, things got serious with someone else (like, right. They got serious with my bag of Pop Chips.)

2. Ignoring all communication. I've also tried the modified lie -- making up excuses as to why I can't meet up until the offers eventually cease. So far this has yielded mild success at best, at the cost of my guilty conscience (and general annoyance.)

Many people have suggested I say something of the following: "You're a great guy/girl, but I didn't feel the connection I was looking for." (You're not actually going to have the balls to say that. Why is it so hard to say no? My theory is that we don't care about hurting someone's feelings, but rather want to keep our rap intact.)

Boys, do you feel the same pressure to let someone down easily? I feel like no, although I could be wrong. There have been instances where guys I like have dropped off the face of the earth and don't feel that they owe me any explanation.

I think it's a gendered issue (comment below on your thoughts) but I also think that we girls in general having issues with the word "no," whether it be a social dinner, happy hour, or group activity. We'd rather push it off with a "maybe," or "i'll try to make it," instead. Why?

How do you handle turning down a date?


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