Need help with "I don't want to lead you on"

Ok, I’m a dork. I’m actually here asking for people to help me compensate for my social skills.

Here’s the deal: I’ve talked a good bit to this girl at church, and because I was somewhat interested, I took her to this little dinner with my team from work.

Since then, I’ve gotten the distinct impression that she’s very interested. I’ve not been calling her, as I’m afraid I’ve been leading her on, which is really lame. It’s lame that I have led her on, and it’s lame that I don’t have any better solution than not to call.

I need help with the conversation: “You’re fun, etc, but I’m afraid that I might have been leading you on. The truth is…” what? The truth is that if she were a combination of Jeneane Garofolo, Madam Curie, and Mother Teresa, I’d be all over this, but the yearn-o-meter is not pegged as of yet.

Of course this cannot be part of the conversation. I can’t say that I’m not looking, or interested in dating. I don’t believe that when I get told it, and I’m a very bad liar to boot.


“I just don’t think of you that way”.

They get to use it, why can’t we?

Yeah… not much else that you can do without being a jerk. Avoiding it will only make her more unhappy when you get around to telling her.

(Ye gods Grelby, why are you saying this? Practice your preaching, friend…)

Well, you could start talking to her about other girls you like or want to date and maybe even ask her for advice on how to get said girls. And when she gives you the advice just say something to the effect of “Awe, thanks man, your like a sister to me…”

I realize this probably isn’t the most ethical thing to do but at least you could get out of it with minimal damage done to her feelings. (I guess)

Just tell her you’re not interested in a serious relationship with her. It’s the truth and it leaves you open for serious relationships with other chicks.

I don’t think that this is the best approach. That would piss me off if someone weaseled out on me like that. There’s no other good way of telling them other than the truth, but in a nice way. I think that your original idea of sorry for leading you on wasn’t bad at all. Just tell her: “You never know what’s going to happen when you date someone unless you try, and it just wasn’t really working for me. I had a really good time, and have no regrets.”

Only in better words than that.

So why did you lead her on?

We appreciate your interest in Cardinal. While we are unable to match your skills and experience to our current needs, we will keep your information on file for six months in case future opportunities become available.

aren’t you over-angsting a little bit here?

for heaven’s sake, all you did was take her to dinner once. (or did i miss something?) obviously, you had to have talked to her prior to setting that up (most people don’t invite total strangers to dine with them).

so no sparks have shown up yet on your side. ok, it happens. (heck, i’ve gone on “dates” where one was too many.) she seems interested, but you’re not providing additional bait. where is this possibility of you “leading her on”, then? you don’t have to exile her to Siberia. you can still have friendly conversations when you encounter one another–just don’t go seeking her out. by simply NOT extending any additional dating opportunities, and gently turning down any that might be tendered by her, the message ought to be received.

kind of sounds like an exaggerated “fight or flight” reaction, really. you think you either need to take to the hills, or force some sort of confrontation in order to “stop” something that isn’t really getting moved forward.

if you feel you really, truly have to make some sort of display to make sure her daydreams don’t get out of hand, try inviting some OTHER girl out to dinner. (the worst case scenario is, you’ll now have TWO lovelorn lasses sighing over you. otherwise, you might just have an enjoyable evening out. how brave do you feel?)


There are two probable outcomes possible from taking this approach, assuming she has said nothing that offers proof of her attraction since “distinct impressions” aren’t very reliable indicators of people’s thoughts :

  1. she wasn’t interested in the first place, and now is wary of her “crush,” wondering what made him think she was interested


  1. she was interested, and is upset he brought it up out of the blue, and will probably become defensive.

Unless she comes right out and tells Cardinal that she’s interested, there’s no good to come from him telling her that he isn’t. Sans the “sister” part, Shakes advice would probably give a more subtle, hence more diplomatic, hint, and she can deal with her misguided attraction (if there is indeed one) without having her feelings thrown back in her face. Some girls won’t realize that a guy talking about his interest in other girls means a lack of one in her, but I think it’s safe to say most would.

Try to use humor to soften the blow.

“What is the difference between you and Elle McPherson?”
“I don’t know. What?”
“I want to date Elle McPherson.”

Seriously, though, I think making casual conversation about dating someone else is a good way to sound out her feelings without making a confrontation. If she wasn’t really interested in you, great. You made a new friend.

Please tell me your listing them in the order of Beauty, Brains, and Compassion, and not some other order!!! :eek:

Yes, talk to her. Conversation. It’s the wave of the future.

Be honest, but don’t be mean or jokey about it either. I’d tell her that you sense she’s really interested in you, but you’re not interested in a serious relationship. If she IS interested, that won’t be a good thing to hear, but it’s better now than later.

Hell, I just survived “I don’t want to lead you on” as an ENGAGEMENT-BREAKER line. I don’t think you’ll crush her after one date.

I’m with lachesis – I don’t see why you have to formally break up with her when you’ve only gone on one date. Just be friendly but not flirty when you talk to her, and she’ll get the message. If she asks you out, or makes an overt move, then you can gently explain that you think you two would be better off as friends. It’s cliche, but it’s cliche for a reason.

That’s Beauty and Smart and Socially Hip, Brains, and Devotion to God and Compassion.

I’ll address the rest of what’s been said later, when I can devote more brain power. Thanks for all the replies.

“Welcome to Splitsville. Population…, you.”

Sorry, I just think that is the best of the worst breakup lines there is.

Now that that is out of the way: I have to say being honest would likely work out really well. You sound like you are very devout, so likely being honest would be important to you in dealing with anyone.

So here is what I recommend. Tell her that you don’t know what her position is regarding your relationship, but that you were interested in finding out if you two were compatible. After your first date you realize that you like her very much as a friend, but that is all. (assuming you actually would like to remain friends). She could be hurt, but how she takes it isn’t up to you. She could also feel the same way, or never have considered you a “romantic” possibility. It also gives her the opportunity to say that she didn’t realize that you were looking for dating possibilities while she was just out to have fun with a friend.

Trust me. In the long run the honest and up front approach leaves the least emotional baggage and usually works out very well.

Good luck with whatever you decide.

I can probably field this one - I’ve accidentally led on two girls in the last year and a half or so. That’s the key word: Accidentally. Girls aren’t the only ones who don’t intend to send signals. In my case, I’m just really flirty, and the girls though that that was me liking them, and I guess just chose to ignore the fact that I acted pretty much the same way to most of the girls we know.

Of course, his situation could be different, but that’s my take.

Remember that you, yourself, have been in this girl’s positon and you, yourself, will be in this girl’s position in the future. Treat her as you would like to be treated.

No matter how tactfully you say something to her, what she will hear is “I don’t think you are good enough for me.” Rejection IS personal, and there is no way around that. It sucks that life is like that, but there it is. You like her a lot, but not as much as you’ve liked some other girls, and not as much as you hope to like at least one girl in the future. Unless she’s a serious idiot, she’ll understand that through any sugar coating you do.

Be sensitive to her dignity. If she has never declared her interest in you in any sort of unambigous way, don’t bring it up. There’s nothing more condencending and miserable in the world than any variation, however tactful, of “I know you’re crazy about me, but you aren’t good enough for me.” If you start up this conversation wihtout any declararation of love on her part, it is going to leave her with the impression that she is was a whiney, clingy, desperate, obvious, needy, wimpy girl. She’ll think that the WHOLE CHURCH must be talking about how pitiful she is, it was so obvious how much she liked you and how not good enough she was. How pitiful must she have been that you felt hte need to bring it up?! It’ll make her feel embarrassed, ashamed, and (worst of all) defensive. Whatever you do, make sure you give her the “spour grapes” loophole: let her take the blow in an atmosphere where she has the time and space she needs to rework the story into one where she never really wanted you.

There’s nothing to be gained from having this out face to face with her. Making yourself open to someone else’s opinion is a painful, risky thing to do, and there’s no need to make her publically (i.e., in front of you) acknowledge that she set out her heart and it was rejected. The only reaction she can have to any sort of “letting down easy” you do is to say to you “ok, I understand that you don’t think I’m good enough for you”. If she makes her affection unambigous (i.e., asks you straight out how you feel), you have no choice, tell the truth, but if she’s just hinting, then don’t reject her to her face. It isn’t kind.

This sounds terrible. but do you have a mutual friend? Saying something to the mutual friend like “Gee, I wish I could be interested in X. She’s such a great girl–better than I could ever be. But the spark isn’t there and there’s nothing I can do. I guess it just isn’t meant to be.” This way you know it will get back to the girl, she gets to soak up the blow in private, and the two of you never have to talk together about how she isn’t good enough for you.

There’s going to be some pain here, no help for it. That’s the way life is,a nd it’s something we all have to muddle through. Good luck.

I’m with the, “What are you talking about” crowd. You’ve had one date. You have no obligation to invite her out again, nor do you have an obligation to explain why you don’t.

All you need to do is be prepared with an answer if she asks you out.