It happens to just about everyone. You either see it coming, or it catches you completely off-guard. Someone you know asks you out, but you could not be any less interested. So, without thinking, you say something along the lines of “Oh, I’m sorry, but I’m not looking for a relationship right now.” But that’s not true. In fact, you are looking for a relationship. You’re definitely looking for a guy to spend Sunday mornings with and to buy furniture with and maybe even adopt a pet rabbit with – or whatever people in relationships do these days. You’re just not looking to do all that with this particular person. So you lie.
I hate to break it to you, babe, but you’re the absolute worst.
I get why you did it. I do, honestly. I’ve been guilty of doing the same thing. But using that line is pretty terrible. Maybe even the worst thing you could have done (except maybe laughing). Because with that one lie, you’re leaving this poor, unfortunate soul with the impression that it’s not him. That maybe, in the far off future, you will be ready for a relationship. What’s worse, depending on their level of affection for you, he might even decide you’re worth waiting for. And wait he will. And when, in three weeks, six months or five years, he tries again, you’re just going to have to reject him again. What a waste of time, right? For you and him. Or even worse, when, in three weeks, six months or five years you find someone you actually want to be your boyfriend, your reject will realized that you lied. That you kind of led him on. That you did want a relationship, but for some reason didn’t want it with him.
The thing is, feelings aren’t always reciprocated. Not everything works out. And that’s alright. Honestly, it’s 100% not your problem. If everyone’s crushes were returned, there would be a hell of a lot fewer broken hearts and more successful relationships. But that’s not the world we live in. You’re not obligated to accept the affections of every man or woman who expresses interest in you.
What you are obligated to do, however, is respect him as a human being. You should honor the fact that, even though you don’t feel the same way, you can let him down in a way that acknowledges his feelings and his worth as a person. That means telling him the truth – to the best of your ability. Of course, telling someone you could never see him as a romantic match because you don’t find him remotely attractive or you’re a little off-put by the zeal with which he talks about The Lord of The Rings is not exactly the best plan. It might be a little unnecessary to list the reasons why you two are never, ever going to get together. But you can at least say something along the lines of “I’m glad you told me how you feel. But I don’t feel the same way, and I don’t think it would be fair to lead you on.”
It’s better to reject someone straight-out, in a respectful way, than drawing it out. Think of it from their perspective: there’s nothing worse than going out with someone you’re super, majorly into, only to realize that he’s not even close to being as enthusiastic. You can almost feel his indifference across the table. Or, even worse, going out with that person for a few weeks or months before he admits he isn’t really into it, or puts it off on the fact that he’s “not looking for anything serious,” “not emotionally ready for a relationship right now” or thinks “you’re a really cool girl, and maybe in the future….?” No. That’s bullshit. He’s not into you. He’s never going to be into you. It sucks, right? Of course it does, so don’t do that to someone else.
If there’s such a thing as dating karma, using the “I’m not looking for a relationship right now” excuse is pretty much like handing the gods an engraved invitation to screw you over in the future. One day, you’ll meet someone you think is amazing and you’ll start dating, only to find out a few months down the line that he has a wife and children in Vermont. You don’t want that. So be nice to people. No one is ever going to look back at his dating history and think “wow, that girl was such a bitch for not leading me on and telling me she simply wasn’t interested in me.” Unless that dude is the kind of guy who constantly blames his romantic luck on getting “friend-zoned,” when he really is just kind of a misogynistic douchebag. In which case, let him think you’re a bitch for telling him the truth. That’s his problem, not yours.