How to let a match down gently



If you’re too afraid to turn someone down you may be too afraid to meet matches who are anything less than perfect. Finding the right words can be hard to do, so here are some tips to help.

There are many different stages during the dating process where you might realise that the person you’ve been talking to or dating, really isn’t the one for you. How to communicate that sensitively is one of the trickiest parts!

In the beginning

The very first stage is when someone initially contacts you and you look at their profile. If, at this point, you know that you’re not interested should you reply or just ignore the communication and close the match? The best way to decide is to think about what you would prefer yourself. Do you want a match to acknowledge your communication with a polite response or do you get the message when you hear nothing back from them? In the end it’s down to you to decide how you wish to tell someone that the interest isn’t mutual. Do what feels right to you – there’s no obligation to respond if you don’t want to.

After communication has begun

Once you’ve started to communicate with a match online and begun getting to know more about them, you may realise that they’re not a good match after all. Sometimes this is because of something they reveal about their values or beliefs and sometimes it’s just that no rapport develops. No matter the reason, you can stop communication at any point. As above, it’s up to you if you decide to tell them that you no longer wish to communicate or the reasons why.

After you’ve met

It’s a good idea to move from online communication fairly quickly. You’ll learn more about someone in ten minutes face to face interaction than through hundreds of texts or emails. If someone is local a ‘pre-date’ is a good way to find out if you would like to go on a ‘real’ date. You’ll discover if there’s a mutual attraction and whether the person has been honest in their profile. A casual coffee in a public place, during the day is the best bet. The awkward bit comes towards the end. If there’s a mutual interest hopefully it will be apparent but if, on meeting, you decide the person really isn’t right for you – how do you let them know?

The easiest way is to say ‘Thank you, it’s been nice to meet you.’ and leave it at that – no hug, kiss or mention of doing it again. If you feel there’s no connection, take responsibility for bringing the date to a close rather than waiting for the other person to.

Further down the line

If you get past the first few dates and the attraction is mutual many people think that is it – they’ve finally met the one for them.

People are usually on their best behaviour in those first few weeks and it may be some time before they let slip any unsavoury aspects of their character. If it turns out that they’re incompatible you may feel very disappointed and as though the wool has been pulled over your eyes – especially if you’ve been very trusting and invited them into your home, heart and life.

This is why it’s so important to have strong boundaries. Even if you feel they’ve become an important part of your life don’t compromise and make unacceptable behaviour, values or attitudes, acceptable.

We teach people how to treat us and you deserve to be treated with respect all through a relationship, not just at the beginning. If something bothers you at the beginning and you ignore it, it’s likely to be the thing that ends it. Don’t fall in love with someone’s potential you have to accept them as they are now.

When letting someone go at any stage remember three important things:

  1. Only say it when you mean it, don’t play emotional games.
  2. Keep it with you rather than attacking them – just because they weren’t right for you doesn’t mean they won’t be right for someone else.
  3. Be clear – don’t make ambiguous statements because that will just leave them confused.

If this article gave you the confidence to find your match, try eHarmony today!

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