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How to Have the “I’m Not Interested” Talk

The hands of two people having a "I'm not interested" talk while they hold their coffee cups at a cafe.

In this technological age, filled with sexting and booty calls, one of the worst things to come out of it all is the concept of ghosting. While you might not be familiar with the word, almost all of us are familiar with the concept. You’re really into someone. You go out a couple of times. You’re thinking maybe things are going well. You send a text and suddenly there’s no response. You try again a few days later, not wanting to seem too clingy. Still, nothing. You give it one last shot a few days after that. Still, no response. Maybe they even have read receipts on and you can see they saw it. They just aren’t responding. You’re feeling ignored.

You’re left with no closure and a nagging feeling of “what if?” What if he thought I was boring? What if she thought I looked too different from my profile picture?

No one likes to be ghosted so don’t be that person.

But maybe in this digital world, we’ve all gotten used to the convenience of read receipts doing our talking for us. Maybe it’s made us colder. Remember that there’s a person on the other end of that phone and then remember the golden rule: treat others the way you want to be treated. You don’t want to be ghosted. So don’t be a ghoster.

Let’s kick the habit and get back to having those hard (and let’s face it, probably a bit awkward) conversations when we’re just not feeling it.

What To Say
So your date is asking for a follow up date. That would be great, if you were feeling the same way. Maybe he was rude to the waiter. Maybe she wouldn’t let you get a word in edgewise the entire date. Or maybe you can’t really put your finger on it, but, for some reason, you’re just not feeling it.

Clichés are clichés for a reason. Often, they’ve been said so much because they work and a personal favorite is, “I’m just not really feeling it.” Yes, it’s kind of blunt but that’s the best part. Here’s another cliché for you that’s used for a reason: honesty is the best policy. Be honest, be blunt, don’t beat around the bush.

What Not To Say
Don’t blame yourself. I often hear people say, “I’m sorry,” afterward telling someone they’re not interested, and I’m guilty of it myself, but the truth is, you’re probably not sorry and you have nothing to apologize for.

Don’t blame your date either. Dating will always be subjective. Maybe your date spent two hours talking about his cats. Maybe that’s a turn off for you, but you never know if it’ll be a turn on for someone else. If you tell him, “You bored me with your cat stories,” he’ll stop telling them and he might just miss out on a future love connection with a fellow cat lover because of it.

When To Say It
If you and your date are on the same page, this talk really isn’t all that necessary. Mutual ghosting really isn’t as bad as one-sided ghosting. Say you end your date and neither of you mention a follow up. The next day, no text comes. Days later still nothing. You don’t want to reach out to them and they’re not reaching out to you. It’s a clean break so count your blessings and move on.

If you and your date aren’t on the same page, and they do text you after the date, don’t put off responding because it’s awkward or you don’t want to deal with it. Get it over with as soon as you can and don’t leave the other person hanging. Trust me, you’ll both feel better.

When They Can’t Understand No
On the other side of the coin, some people have a harder time moving on. If you’ve already said you’re not interested and then the other person replies with, “Come on, one more shot? I’ll make it worth it!” or the angrier, “So just like that, huh? I take you to a nice dinner and that’s it?” it can get hard and awkward. 

For some people, all you have to do is say you’re not interested and they’ll walk away. Maybe they’re disappointed, but they’re also kind of glad you’re not going to string them along.

For the people who don’t understand no, remember not to apologize. For some people, they take an “I’m sorry” as a sign of weakness and they’ll try to weasel their way back into a second date. Instead, remember to stand your ground, say no again, and then end the conversation on your terms.

This is where you can ghost and not feel the least bit guilty about it. Walk away and, if they text or call, hit the ignore button until they stop. Any person who can’t respect the word no is someone you never want to date anyways.

Having the “I’m not interested” talk can be hard. It’s never easy to be honest with someone when you know it may hurt them. But part of being a thoughtful person is doing the things that aren’t easy, but right. 

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