After a week of swapping morning selfies and TikToks about dogs, you finally met up with your new crush for drinks. Though you were
flirty over text, the chemistry in-person was just...not there. So when you see their name in your inbox the next morning, you start to mildly panic, wondering the best way to them you're not interested after a first date.
Even though you might feel like slowly backing away into the bushes like that
Homer Simpson meme, if you don’t want to ghost them or agree to another date when you know you have no intention on ever seeing them again, then being upfront may be your best bet.
As dating and relationships coach
Clara Artschwager says, not every date is going to be amazing. And while telling someone you’re not interested can feel uncomfortable, it may help you out in the long run. “Even if a date is a one-off, it’s part of a larger practice,” Artschwager tells Bustle. “You’re practicing direct, honest, transparent communication, being vulnerable with another individual, and allowing yourself to be seen.”
Here are 23
texts to send when the first date was a first dud. “I had a lot of fun playing pool, but after sleeping on, I don’t think I felt a connection. Best of luck!”
While you may want to drop a, “You seem so nice” Artschwager shares that over-explaining or adding too many niceties is a people-pleasing response. “It comes a place of wanting to explain or take the pain away from the other person, and that’s not our job or our responsibility,” Artschwager says. “It’s your responsibility, to be honest. It’s not your responsibility to manage their feelings.”
“I had fun the other night, but I don’t think we’re looking for the same things. All the best.”
If you got the sense your date only wants to hook up — or if you just want something casual and they’re looking to settle down — let them know you’re looking for different things.
“It was really fun sharing music recs, but after thinking on it, I'm just not feeling a romantic vibe. I think it’s best if we don’t meet up again. Take care.”
If you get the sense your date is super into you, you may feel pressure to explain your feelings or come up with a million reasons it wouldn’t work out. Yet,
Lori Salkin, senior matchmaker and dating coach, suggests keeping it short and simple. “Nothing good can come of a long text explaining what about them did not work for you,” Salkin tells Bustle. “That can actually do more harm than good. Simply say that you enjoyed meeting but don't see this as a match.” “Hi, it was fun going out, but I’m looking for a serious partner right now, and I don’t think we’re a long-term match. All the best.” “Thanks so much for dinner the other night, I think we both felt more of a friend vibe, but I didn’t want to ghost or leave you in the lurch.”
Sometimes a date flops and all parties know it. Still, sending a texting can help ensure you’re on the same page.
“Hi Sara, thanks so much for drinks the other night. After thinking about it a little more, I’m not ready to be dating right now and don’t want to lead you on.”
Maybe you thought you were ready to get back out there, then realized after the day that you totally weren’t. It’s OK to change your mind, but let your date know where you’re at.
“I had fun getting Thai food the other night. But ultimately, I didn’t feel a spark. Wish you the best.”
Sometimes the spark just isn’t there. As Artschwager says, “Be direct in a simple, kind, and straightforward way.”
“Hey Jonah, your comments about your ex made me super uncomfortable, and I don’t think we’re a match. Please don’t reach out again.”
There’s meh first dates, then there are straight-up bad first dates. If they yelled at the waiter or said something alarming, let them know the connection is over.
“I had so much fun biking with you, but I don’t think we’re a romantic match. I’d love to do something as friends, but totally get if that’s not what you’re looking for.”
As Artschwager says, “let’s be friends” should only be dropped when you really mean it. If you really think you’d want to hangout platonically, see if your date is down. Otherwise, you don’t need to pretend you want to hang out again.
“Hey, I know we mentioned meeting up for dinner later this week, but after reflecting a bit, I don’t think we’re a match. I wish you all the best.”
Sometimes in the heat of the moment (think: trying to get out of a bad first date) you agree to drinks or a walk in the future. If you already made plans for date two, let them know that after some time you’re not feeling a connection.
“Hi, it was nice meeting you last night, I enjoyed our conversation. I just wanted to let you know I don't think I see this going forward but I wish you all the best.”
Rather than complimenting their appearance or personality, Salkin suggests saying something nice about the date.
“Hi Sam, thanks again for dinner. I appreciate you reaching out, but I want to be direct and say I’m just not feeling something here, and I think it's best if we part ways. Take care.”
If you're worried your date is going to keep texting you or try to change your mind, make sure you clearly express that this is the end of your time together.
“Hi, I enjoyed meeting up, but I’m moving soon and just don't see this as a long-term fit. Wish you all the best.”
As Salkin shares, if there’s a straightforward reason it’s not going to work out, you can let the date know. Otherwise, you don’t need to feel pressure to over-explain.
“Thanks for meeting up today. But ultimately, I don't think we have enough in common to be a match. I wish you the best.”
Stating that you didn’t have enough in common is a kind and concise way to part ways, Spira says.
“Hey, thanks again for drinks. I don’t see a future between us, and I’d like to end our communication here.”
You don’t have to lie about having an amazing time if you didn’t. Let them know it’s not a match and set a boundary about communication moving forward.
“Hi, I had nice time the other night, but after thinking about it, I don’t think we’re a fit. All the best.”
Artschwager says that sometimes you need a night to sleep on it. If you’ve taken some time and realized you’re not into them, be honest about where you’re at.
“This is always a little awkward, but I want to be honest — I had fun the other night, but I didn’t feel a romantic connection. Wish you the best.”
If you’re feeling awkward or uncomfortable, it’s OK to say so. Your date will likely appreciate your humility and honesty.
“Hi there. I really enjoyed chatting about Selling Sunset and seeing pics of your amazing dog, but ultimately I think I’m looking for something different than you are. Good luck out there!”
Spira says you can also let them know you don’t think you have enough in common to move forward and wish them the best of luck.
“Thank you for taking the time to meet up in-person. Dating can be challenging, especially in a pandemic! Ultimately, I don't think we really were a fit. I hope you find someone terrific. Wishing you the best.”
If you feel your date was a good person, but just not for you, Spira suggests offering them kindness and luck.
“Hey, thanks for getting together with me. After our date, I thought about it, and I realize I'm looking for a more serious relationship than you are. I hope we both find someone to click with.”
If you and your date were clearly on different pages, Spira suggests explaining where you’re at while wishing them well in the future.
“Hey, thanks for drinks the other night, but I think we should end things here. Good luck out there.”
Artschwager says you don’t even have to explain why you’re not into it. “All you have it say is, I had a great time, but, I'm not feeling a deeper connection here.
“Hi, thanks again for ice cream the other night. Honestly, I don’t think we’re looking for the same things. Take care.”
Sending a rejection text is like ripping a band-aid off, Artschwager says. There’s no perfect phrase or formula — just state your piece and wish them well.
“Hey Chris, thanks for cooking with me the other night. I really enjoyed hanging out, but I think we should part ways here. Wish you the best.”
Though it may feel intimating to call things off, Salkin says letting someone down is more respectful than not saying anything.
Experts: Clara Artschwager, dating and relationships coach Lori Salkin, senior matchmaker and dating coach urges Julie Spira, online dating expert and CEO at Cyber-Dating Expert