What do you say to someone who wants to know why they were turned down for a date?

Lets say someone asks you out and you don’t want to date this person. You turn them down, but instead of dropping the issue this person wants to know why you’re turning them down. The real reason is something that would be hurtful for this person to hear. What do you tell them?

Would you lie your way out of telling them? Would you tactfully explain the reasons why you don’t find them suitable? Or would you let them have it without any tact?

Lets say this person isn’t a persistent douchebag, but is someone who seems sincerely clueless about what they are doing wrong.

Sorry for the tortured gender pronouns.

How about, “Sorry you just don’t turn me on”? It really beats repeated turn-downs.

This. Being honest, doesn’t mean you have to be an asshole.

What IS the actual reason you don’t want to date him that you think would hurt him? Co-worker and you don’t want office life to get weird? Is he physically ugly/deformed and you want someone hot? Is he insecure and clingy?


I’d use the same language I do use when turning people down for jobs - it is not a good match.
Not that this was a problem I ever had. :frowning:

ETA: The dating problem, that is.

You neither need to lie nor be tactless. You just need to tell this person the truth: Sometimes in life people make decisions about whom they want to date and whom they don’t, and you’re not entitled to an explanation, even if the mysterious-to-you decision makes you mad or sad. You’re not entitled to explanation just because you want to know what you’re doing wrong, since being an adult with a fully-integrated personality means not tailoring yourself to meet someone else’s requirements. And anyway, you’re not going to get a second chance after you’ve made those changes. So just let it go already.*

Avoid the advice posted above of sugarcoating your specific reasons and relaying those to this person. That way lies madness. All you’ll get for your trouble is either (1) contradictions (“you say I’m X, but I’m not X!!”) or (2) deluded promises that this person will change and then you will fall in love with this person (“OK, so you don’t like Y. Well, I’ll change Y and then we’ll be the perfect match!”)

  • If I had to pare down your response to five words, they would be the last five words of this sentence.

Insists on using obnoxious “pickup artist” lines on her, maybe?

I’m a dude and this is only a hypothetical. I wish I had this problem.

I have received your offer indicating your interest in a position as my girlfriend. Unfortunately, based upon the large number of requests I receive, I am unable to offer you an opportunity to become my girlfriend at this time.

I appreciate the effort you have taken to become my girlfriend and invite you to consider asking me out again in the future. Thank you for your interest.

I see what you did there…


Oh. In that case just shout “NO FATTIES!!” and run.

In all seriousness though, you’re dealing with people’s emotions and could possibly hurt them, so you’d have to treat it as kind of a case-by-case thing. “I just don’t see you us in THAT way.” might be a decent blanket statement but if they’re persistent about knowing, it might help them to hear the truth if it’s something they’re able to change (obnoxiousness, weight, clothing style, smoking/drinking habits, etc.). I mean, they’ll be mad at you for saying it, but they might fix that part about themselves for the next person (or they may find someone down the road who isn’t bothered by those things like you are).


I will keep your picture and your panties on file in case there is an opening in the future.

Would “I’m not interested. Sorry.” or “I just don’t like you like that.” work?

No. That’s the entire point of the OP.

I once was in this situation. Well, we did go on a couple of dates, and then he wanted things to go a little further, and I didn’t. At first, I was interested too, but as soon as he caught on that I might be interested, he suddenly became codependent and clingy, was constantly trying to pressure me into liking the things he liked as if he was trying to mold me into the ideal girlfriend, and was no longer fun to have conversations with.

I told him simply “I’m not interested in a relationship with you, and I apologize if I made it seem like I was interested.”

He asked me why and I said I’d rather not say. It was that simple.

I don’t understand. What if that WAS the real reason?

“I went black and I’m never coming back!” Obviously doesn’t work if a black guy is doing the asking, but most of the time it’s a goodie.

Yes, this is racist. I wouldn’t actually say that.

“I’m sorry. I’m just not interested.”

Repeat as needed.

Hell, I might. :smiley:

IMO, you politely, but as firmly as necessary say something to the effect “sorry, it’s just not what I want to do”, and decline to elaborate.

Unless there really is only one dealbreaking factor, and it’s one that’s easily subject to change (I dunno - the pattern on their shirt gives you vertigo), then explaining yourself will almost certainly lead to painful and futile attempts to accommodate you.

They’ll say “I can change! - to be what you want!” - when in fact, they almost certainly can’t, and even if they can, probably shouldn’t try. Sometimes no just means “This is simply not something I want”.

Yes you’d want to be awfully sure that sincere feedback was all that was required before even going near the truth.

As in what are the chances no-ones really ever pointed out said issue before now.


I’m in a wheelchair, so I can EASILY envision being on the other end of this situation. I’d just gently explain that I’d LOVE to be friends with them, I feel no “spark” for them.