A Fear of Whales

I don’t know why, but over the history of this Blog, my articles dating and relationships have consistently gotten the most attention. I’ve had other articles which I thought were better or more interesting, I’ve had articles that were more controversial, I’ve had articles about zombies, but even the most popular among them rarely get as many visits as even the least popular of my dating articles.

So I’ve developed a theory. I advertise these posts primarily on Facebook. I figure there must be a large group of my friends on Facebook who have secret crushes on me. And every time I write an article about dating they hurry to read it in hopes that it will feature some indicator that I am as into them as they are into me. (sorry ladies, It’s not this one)

I don’t know if that theory is the one best supported by the evidence, but I don’t really care, I like it, It makes me smile when I think about it, So it’s the theory I’m working off of until somebody suggests a better one.

But I haven’t always been the towering precipice of manliness you see now. And believe it or not I’ve actually become acquainted with a fair amount of romantic rejection. So as a man, I want to over some advice to women on how to “let a man down easy”.

First of all, You need to understand that men are basically logical when it comes to dating, or at least, they are much more logical than women. I don’t mean that in an insulting “men are superior” kind of way. I actually see it as somewhat self-deprecating. We approach Romance more or less the same way we approach auto mechanics, which is ridiculous, because the differences between women and cars are as obvious as they are numerous, but we proceed nonetheless. This can result in some very Amelia Bedelia like misunderstandings on our part. So if you’re a woman, attempting to get a point across to a man, you basically need to pretend you are giving instructions to a robot.

You’re a really great guy, and I really like you, but I just feel like now is not the right time for me to be dating

Is a terrible way to let a man down easy. A much better thing to say would be something like

No, I’m not interested in you.

There is no need to explain it further. Just say no, and move on.

“But That’s Sooooo Harsh!” you are going to say to me. No it isn’t, not if you’re speaking to a robot. that would be harsh if you said it to a woman, but to a man that is exactly what you need to communicate

“Hey Jenny would you like to go to the movies with me on Friday”

“No Ryan, because I do not find you attractive”

“Okay cool, I’ll move on then”

I’m not a woman, but I’ve spent some time with them, and from my understanding to a woman, saying something like “I don’t find you attractive” translates to something along the lines of “You’re horrible and ugly, nobody could ever love you, why don’t you stop bothering me” but to a man, when Jenny says “I don’t find you attractive” it actually translates to “Jenny doesn’t find me attractive”… and that’s Jenny’s problem.

When you say something like “You’re really great, I just don’t want to go out with you now” then you are talking about us. it translates to “Jenny doesn’t want to go out with me this week”…the implication is that you may want to go out with us later… And if that’s what you want to imply than that’s what you should say. But if you want us to bug off you need to tell us so. because otherwise we have to tell ourselves. “No Ryan, She said you are really great but she didn’t actually mean that”

Most of us guys are not so poorly socialized that we don’t understand that <no to a date> usually means <no to you> but if we ask you out it means we like you, and we would much much rather hear “no to a date but yes to you” so when we hear

“You’re a really great guy, and I really like you, but I just feel like now is not the right time for me to be dating”

that sounds a lot like what we want to hear, but we know at some level it isn’t. So we can’t move on we have to sit and think about it and figure out if that really means what it appears to mean.

And then you have those statements about us in there, where you say we’re great and you like us, but we have to fill in the gaps to understand that you don’t like us that way, and we’re not quite great enough for it to be worth 2 hours of your time and a free dinner to get to know us a little better.
We end up having to build voices in our head that are much much harsher than anything you would say.

So be a little harsh, if that’s what it takes to be clear.

You’re cute, but no

Is confusing, but an improvement upon what I usually hear

No, Thank you

is better, but still leaves room you don’t want to leave “No to the date, or do you just not like Italian?” “What are you thanking me for exactly?”

No, I don’t find you attractive

Is good

I’d love to go to dinner, but I’m not interested in dating you

Might actually be the kindest possible thing to say

You are not handsome enough for me

Is going too far. You don’t want the poor guy thinking if he starts doing more crunches you’ll say yes. but it’s still not as hurtful as

I just don’t feel like now is the right time

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