One of the most awkward experiences in online dating is rejecting someone who’s expressed interest in you. No one likes rejection, and simultaneously, no one likes to be the bearer of bad news. However, saying “thanks, but no thanks” is not only good online dating etiquette; it’s also an important part of your search for the person who you’re truly interested in.
So how do you tell people you’re not into them without being a total jerk about it? We asked several dating experts for their advice on what to say when you’re just not feeling it.
What to Say after You’ve Been Messaged Online
“Don’t feel pressured to write back or decline every time someone reaches out to you,” says April Beyer, Personal Matchmaker and Relationship Consultant. “You’ll never have enough time! Only write a kind note to someone who took his/her time to write you a real and authentic note. Winks, pokes, and likes about your photos don’t count. It’s a lazy approach so it doesn’t deserve your time.”
If you must respond be brief, direct, and kind. Try something like, “Thank you for your interest but I don’t see us as a match. Wishing you all the best in your search.”
However, if the person isn’t quite getting the message, Beyer says, “Just delete and keep moving. This person obviously doesn’t respect your needs or wants. Above all, play nice and, whether you’re asked out online or in person, be considerate and honest.”
Giving polite excuses is another option. “When turning someone down while online dating, I think most people just vanish from the conversation. This is fine if chats have been limited, but if you want to end the messaging in a mature way, you can simply say that you’ve met someone and you’re focusing on that person at the moment,” Shannon Tebb, Boutique Matchmaker and Dating Consultant at Shanny in the City, says.
Another suggestion? “You can say you’ve enjoyed chatting with them but you don’t have the availability at the moment due to work, etc.”
Compliments also go a long way, so don’t forget to use good online dating etiquette and mention how you appreciate the positive attention. “You never know if you’ll cross paths with this individual again, so it’s best to handle it in a positive way that will leave you both feeling good rather than jaded.”
What to Say After the First Date
“Always come from a place of integrity. You want to sandwich the more negative response between two positive comments,” Deanna Cobden, Dating and Relationship Coach, recommends. “Try to mention something positive about your experience on the date. Even if it was boring or didn’t go the way you wanted, you can still find something to appreciate about it.”
Another thing to keep in mind? Compassion. “This person is putting him or herself out there and being vulnerable, and that‘s a very brave thing to do.”
Try saying, “I really appreciated you taking the time to meet with me last Friday night. And while I enjoyed your company, I just didn’t feel a romantic connection. It was great meeting you and I wish you all the best.”
Honesty is always the best policy, and Dr. Jess O’Reilly, Sexologist, has a few ways to say you’re not interested that are succinct yet sweet:
“I don’t see this becoming a serious relationship and that’s what I’m looking for right now.”
“You’re wonderful, but I’m just not feeling the chemistry between us.”
“I like and respect you and want to be straightforward to be fair…I just don’t think I’m the right fit.”
“I feel like the connection between us is more platonic.”
When it comes to online dating etiquette, it’s good to remember the golden rule—treat others the way you’d like to be treated. It’s not good to leave people hanging because you’re afraid to say you’re not interested. Be honest. Be kind. You may be surprised how much people appreciate it, and how better you feel.