Dating Amelia: How To Tell Someone You’re Not Interested

To be honest, I haven’t been in the position of rejectee very often. I dated this guy in college for a couple months who one day showed up at my window in the middle of the night, rapping on my window, asking to be let in, because he was running from the cops. (I’m still not sure why). The next morning when I drove him home, I called it off. I was 19 and in college. He was 27, working at a crappy seafood restaurant, and had no problem running away from the cops in the direction of his girlfriend’s house. It was not going to work. I told him that, and he got very upset, but I felt a huge weight lifted off my shoulders.

Another time I had a torrid, two-week affair with a man who was 12 years older than me and a pathological liar. When I found out, I had no problem screaming at him and telling him to never contact me or breathe my name again, lest he want me to ruin his life. That one was easy. But, in general, I find letting someone down to be a difficult thing to do. Maybe that’s why I should be a little more sympathetic towards men when they give me the runaround rather than telling me straight up: “I’m not interested in you like that, despite coming over to your apartment after our date and touching your boobs.” But I’m not sympathetic. Because sometimes in life you have to do something that is uncomfortable but necessary. Telling someone straight up how you feel in an honest but gentle way is one of those things, and giving him signs, pulling “the fade,” or just disappearing altogether are not acceptable substitutes. I forced myself to remember that today, as I told Mr. Plaid Glasses that it wasn’t gonna happen.Even though I had a nice time on my date last weekend, I noticed from the beginning that there wasn’t that spark. Sure, attraction can develop with someone. That’s why two people who start off as friends may look at each other one day and say, “Oh, you’re the one I’ve been looking for.” But I’ve come to the conclusion that the spark is either there or it isn’t, from the beginning. The spark is not always romantic. I firmly believe that you can spark with friends whom you have no romantic interest in, but if you don’t have it with someone who thinks they have it with you, it’s pretty crappy to lead them on any further by hoping that spark catches for you. That’s the way I felt about Mr. Plaid Glasses. Tthat lack of sparkiness was never more obvious to me than when I saw Chicken Parm later in the week. Issues aside, there’s a spark between us — which I think we feel equally — that makes it impossible for me to ignore the one I’m not sparking with.

I’m on the opposing side of the spark issue with The Doodler. We were supposed to go out last night, but he ended up canceling for valid reasons. Still, he hasn’t tried to set up a rain check. My mind has been a bit rattled by him; I felt serious spark (mostly sexual, if I’m being honest) and have wanted to pursue it, because it was f**king fun. It’s a different spark than with Chicken Parm, but I felt it nonetheless. But maybe he didn’t? And instead of telling me that, I think The Doodler is trying not to seem like an a-hole, by continuing to be friendly and interested in going out again — until he cancels, hoping I get the hint. Hint taken, I suppose, but I still think hints are BS. I sort of don’t want to take the hint, in protest. Force him to do what I did with Mr. Plaid Glasses, make him see that there’s truly a nice way of letting someone down by being upfront.

Back to Mr. Plaid Glasses. When he asked what I was up to this weekend, I was honest: busy hanging out with friends, enjoying the 80 degree weather, working on my tan. The weather and tanning bit was sort of a hint, I suppose, in that I know he hates hot weather and hides from the sun, two things, which, frankly, make it difficult for me to see a real compatibility. Then, I told him, “I feel like I should be completely honest with you. I had a seriously great time meeting you and I really enjoyed hanging out, but I think I feel more of a friend vibe with you, not a romantic spark. I want to be upfront because I know you’re looking for something meaningful, and I really respect that.” And that’s true. He’s a good guy looking for someone to impregnate and live upstate with in blissful happiness. That’s not me. And it would be wrong to waste a second of his time by not telling him that.