Sunday, December 8, 2013

Always Speak Your Truth. Unless You're on a Date. In Which Case, STFU.

I have been doing the dating thing way longer than I care to admit. In all of my experience, I have yet to figure out a way to graciously get out of seeing someone else again.

I'm not talking about "we've been dating for x-number of weeks/months/years/decades and it isn't working out." Because that is its own level of suckiness and there's no getting around the heart-ache that goes with it. You just gotta suck it up and do it and deal with the fallout.

I'm talking about that date that we've all been on: you hang out for an hour or two and you talk and maybe there are a few okay bits but overall you're just not feeling it even though they've done absolutely nothing wrong and they're perfectly fine as a person but there's just nothing there and it's pretty obvious (to you, at least) that there's really no point in a second date.

Except as you say good-bye they ask "so... do you wanna do this again?"

And this is where I falter. Because I have an inability to say "no, not really" directly to this poor guy's face. It's mean. And you can't say "it's not you it's me" because it has become so cliche that it now means it has everything to do with them. So, I end up saying sure and then do this passive-aggressive dance of never being available until they get the hint.

Which is also mean. And unfair.

And yes, I've had it done to me. In fact, I have been on the receiving end of every crappy dating avoidance method to which I've resorted. After all, turn about is fair play.

It's best to ponder escape methods and avoidance protocols with a good martini. 

If I could say "You're nice and all, but I just don't think there's a connection between us" without it sounding like "I've judged you and reject you", I could probably finally date without feeling guilty about not wanting to see this person again.

And yes, I do realize that there is a certain amount of projection happening on my behalf. I am assuming they'll feel rejected, which may not be the case at all. It may be they feel as ambivalent as I, yet they feel they have to ask for a second date so as not to hurt my feelings. Or, you know, not. Maybe they felt something I didn't and then my reply would feel like a rejection. Because, again, I've been on the experiencing end of that too.

Sigh. Now I know why arranged marriage was so popular for so long.

UPDATE: I ended up sending an email apologizing for the mixed messages and generally acting like a high school junior. I've owned up to my actions and spoke my truth as gently as possible. It's really all I can do. Hopefully what I learn from all this is to say what I mean and not what I think they want to hear.

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