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Thanks, But No Thanks: How to Turn Down a Second Date (Respectfully)

Are you wondering how to tell someone you're not interested after a date? Our guide offers the best advice on how to politely decline a second date.

Not all first dates lead to second dates. Even if you go out with a good-looking person with a great personality, sometimes, there just isn’t a spark. 

As you know, you can’t force chemistry, so when you don’t click with someone, sooner than later, you’ll need to figure out how to turn down a second date with them. 

While it might be uncomfortable to have that conversation, the good news is that there are ways to politely decline a date. After all, you don’t want to be mean or hurt their feelings if you can avoid it. 

In our guide below, we’ve gathered some of the best advice on how to tell someone you’re not interested after a date. Consider these do’s and don’ts the next time you want to respectfully reject someone with kindness and compassion.

Don’t Beat Around the Bush

When figuring out how to say no to a second date, the best approach is to be upfront and straightforward. Don’t drag it out or beat around the bush. Simply be clear and direct about what you want to communicate, and don’t leave room for interpretation. 

While it might be uncomfortable, you don’t want to risk having the conversation again in case they didn’t get the message the first time. Get it over with, close that chapter, and don’t open the floor for future discussions. 

Do Be Honest, But Not Too Honest

It can be tricky navigating how to tell someone you’re not interested after a date, especially since you don’t want to hurt their feelings. Perhaps the best course of action is to be honest about why you don’t want to pursue the relationship, without getting into the weeds. 

You might say you didn’t feel a spark or that it seems like you want different things, but you don’t need to hash out every detail or reason why you’re incompatible. For example, avoid mentioning that his stories were boring, that his jokes aren’t funny, or that you hated his sense of style, as that’s not necessary and could cause more harm than good. 

Do Be Kind

Remember, the goal here is to master how to politely decline a date, so it’s crucial to be kind. After all, they’re still a person who deserves kindness and compassion even if you didn’t click. 

Think about how you’d like to be treated or how you’d treat your best friend in a similar situation. Try your best to let your date down easily with empathy and compassion. Have tact, be sensitive to their feelings, and understand they may not share your sentiments. No matter how they take the news, there’s no need to be rude, mean, or dismissive. 

Don’t Make Empty Promises

While you might be tempted to offer to hang out again for the sake of being nice, don’t make empty promises unless you really intend to spend time with them again. This will only confuse things and prolong your interactions. 

That said, in some cases, you may genuinely be open to a platonic friendship, but be very clear that a romantic relationship is off the table to avoid leading them on.

Do Keep it Short 

Want to know how to say no to a second date? Sometimes, it’s as simple as saying, “No, thank you.” It’s important to be polite, but this person doesn’t necessarily need a two-page explanation or three-hour conversation explaining why you’re not interested in seeing them again. The best way to cut things off is by having a short and sweet chat that gets straight to the point. Don’t be overly apologetic, and try not to ramble, as this could make things worse. 

Don’t Waiver 

Stand your ground! Some people can be surprisingly persuasive, so it’s important to be true to yourself. After all, why would you want to be in a relationship with someone who pressured, coerced, or cornered you into going on a second date with them? 

Even if you feel sorry for them or feel bad about rejecting them, remember that pursuing a directionless relationship with someone you’re interested in is a waste of time and energy for you both. 

Do Pay Them a Compliment 

Chances are, your date had at least one good thing going for them, whether it was their quick wit or dreamy brown eyes, so let them know it! Throwing in a genuine compliment can help lessen the blow to their ego and make them feel better about themselves in the midst of your rejection

Don’t Ghost Them

As tempting as it may be to simply ghost your date, they deserve more than that. Instead of taking the easy way out, like going silent or blocking them, do the right thing and face the situation head-on. Pull the bandaid off and politely turn them down to avoid leaving them in the dark. Trust us; having a difficult conversation is much nicer than ignoring them until they get the hint. 

Do Offer Suggestions

This date might not have been the one for you, but maybe they seem like they’d be a better match with your cousin or best friend. If you honestly think there could be compatibility between the two, consider offering to make an introduction. With you off the hook and your date meeting someone new, it’s a win-win for you both!

Do Protect Yourself

Unfortunately, not everyone takes this kind of news lightly. If you feel threatened by their reaction or if they begin to harass you, take steps to ensure your safety, such as blocking their number and removing them from your social media accounts. If things continue escalating, tell your loved ones and get law enforcement involved. 

Examples of How to Turn Down a Second Date

Now, let’s see some of this advice in action. The following are some helpful examples to consider using when deciding how to politely decline a date.

  • Marissa, I enjoyed getting to know you. You seem like a really wonderful person, but I didn’t feel a spark between us. 
  • I’m really thankful I got to meet you, Jim, but I don’t see a future together for us. 
  • You’re a great person, Mark, and you’ll make an awesome partner for someone else, but I don’t think we’re romantically compatible. 
  • Jess, you are crazy intelligent, and your passion for volunteering is inspiring. I really enjoyed meeting you, but I just didn’t feel any chemistry between us, so I’m going to say no to a second date.
  • Brendan, I had such a fun time with you—I haven’t laughed that much in ages! However, I think I see you as more of a platonic friend than a romantic partner. 
  • I respect you, so I don’t want to waste your time. You’re a great catch, Jackie, but I don’t see this going anywhere, so I’m going to pass on a second date. 
  • I had such a fun time with you, Stanley, but I think we might be better off as friends. I’d love to continue hanging out if you’re open to a platonic friendship. 
  • Chris, I had a lovely date with you, but I didn’t feel a click between us. That said, you seem like you’d be a great match for my friend, Lisa. If you’re interested, I’d be happy to introduce you! 

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