How To Tell Someone You're Not Interested After A First Date, According To A Girl Who's Done It Successfully

By
Share
Ad failed to load

According to my dating app bio, my greatest strength is eating burritos. If you asked guys I've dated about my best qualities, I hope they'd say that I'm kind, fun, reliable, definitely a little weird. (Oh, and that I’m hilarious, clearly.) The fact that I’m honest and upfront might be thrown in there, too. Blame it on me being a writer or a Gemini — I like talking out what I’m thinking. When it comes to being honest with someone we don’t know well, though, how much of our thoughts about them are they entitled to?

After a recent date that didn't go well (although there were burritos involved), I decided to put that question to the test and tell my suitor why I wasn't into him.

Let me set the stage: I matched with a guy on a dating app in October. I recognized the scene in one of his photos — the greeny-blue of the water in the Roman Baths in England. I used to live in Bath, and I told him so. Our messages were infrequent, and we were absolute sh*t at finding a date to meet. This seems to be a constant theme for me, and perhaps I should be concerned about the patterns I fall into.

Ad failed to load

We were finally able to secure a time and place, agreeing to meet on the Upper West Side. (We both live in New York.) To be upfront, I deviated from my norm. Rather than arriving relatively on time and sober, I showed up late and a little drunk. I texted an explanation and apology beforehand, along with the request to grab food before pouring back more drinks. I’ll give my date credit where credit’s due: He was understanding and relaxed with my embarrassing buzz.

We found two side-by-side stools in a cramped Mexican restaurant, looking out to the street through the windows. Before I'd even finished eating my food, he had mentioned his ex. I didn’t know how to respond, because I didn’t particularly care to contribute to that part of the conversation.

Ad failed to load

And then, as if he wanted to crawl into the recesses of my digital past, he asked which other dating apps I was using. I shrugged. This wasn’t the honesty I crave — it was invasive. Why, I thought, was he so interested in my world with other potential dates when he had already secured a seat next to me? As he told me he's only on one app right now, I felt uncomfortable. It's strange to acknowledge all the other people you could be meeting when you're on a date with somebody else.

Still, I continued the date. I’m bad at ending things, and I try to give people a chance, if solely for the fact that a Chance is a fantastic and moving rapper, and everyone deserves a piece of that. This bad date didn’t get any better, though, and instead somersaulted into a progressively more awkward encounter as he drilled me about my music taste and blurted out, "Hmm, what should we talk about now?" It felt like an interview rather than a conversation.

Toward the end of the evening, as he walked me toward my train, I made a joke about the benches in the middle of the road. "Who sits and talks in the median, with the traffic zooming around you?” I wondered aloud. He had sat there once before, he said. With another ex. "Well," he mused, "she wasn’t really an ex." His overeagerness to share was abrasive. I didn’t want to know the intricacies of how he defined relationships with other people. This was a first date! Tell me your favorite color and how good it felt to vote for your favorite candidate. Tell me I’m pretty. Tell me about the scar on your left shin and what shenanigan it’s from. Don’t tell me about your ex-girlfriend.

Ad failed to load

After the Thanksgiving holiday, I decided to text him how I felt:

Tucked into a coffee shop in Bushwick, I felt shaky, slimy, and afraid that I had hurt his feelings. But it felt refreshing to tell a guy what I really thought about our date, instead of just talking sh*t about him with my friends at brunch. I'll always stand by honesty if it's delivered with kindness.

Ad failed to load

I waited. I asked the friend whose coffee order mirrors mine if I was too mean, or maybe too honest.

She said that the text was straightforward, but that his actions were off, and he should know. "To bring up an ex on a first date — that’s too much information," she explained. "It’s a complete and total stranger you potentially want to have sex with. You don’t need to overshare in that situation."

Ad failed to load

I waited.

My friend continued, saying that if someone is so hung up on a previous relationship that they’re bringing this up on a first date, they should talk to someone about it. That someone just shouldn’t be the person they’re sharing the date with.

I waited.

Ad failed to load

We went to a vintage store.

I waited.

And then, while searching for red cowboy boots, my phone screen lit up. My heart was mid-flutter, mid-sink. I wasn’t sure how the message would be received, and I braced myself for being called a nasty name.

Ad failed to load

I was flooded with relief. There’s this weird dance of honesty when you don’t know someone well, and apparently, I had done it well.

When I talked with a few more friends about it, their responses were aligned with what we all say we should be: honest.

Ad failed to load

One girl who likes guys and girls texted me to say that if she received my message, she’d "be a bit thrown off receiving it but I also appreciate honesty and think I would try to use it to better myself."

A guy who likes girls emailed me to say that if someone weren’t into him, he’d absolutely want to know. "If you’re not into me," he wrote, "why waste time?" But then again, he’s never told someone when he wasn’t into them, because he didn’t want to be mean.

Ad failed to load

A guy who likes guys talked to me on the phone to say that he would be OK with the text I sent, and he’s let people know when he’s not into them. One time, he hung out with a guy from Grindr who said during the date that he wasn’t into feminine or Asian guys. My friend told him how flawed his ideas of sexual expression and race are, and that is one of the many reasons I admire him.

And so, I don’t feel bad about sending the message. It feels good living up to the identity I’ve created for myself. I am good at both eating burritos and being honest.

Here’s another thing you should know: Right after I sent the text from that coffee shop, "Girls Just Want to Have Fun" started playing. It's so true. With the weight of the message off my shoulders, I felt I could have what I really wanted — some fun.

Ad failed to load

Check out the entire Gen Why series and other videos on Facebook and the Bustle app across Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV.

Check out the “Best of Elite Daily” stream in the Bustle App for more stories just like this!

Ad failed to load

Must Reads

3 Important Red Flags To Watch Out For When You're Dating Someone Older Than You

My first serious relationship was with someone almost ten years my senior. We got together during my first semester of college (after meeting through mutual friends) and I'd be lying if I said our breakup didn't have anything to do with our significa…
By Sydnee Lyons

These "Millennial Cruises" Will Make Your Next Friend Group Vacation So Lit

If you're a millennial right now, consider yourself lucky. If you're a millennial with the travel bug, consider yourself luckier. I know, you might be thinking, "But... money!" Trust me, I get it. Plane tickets and hotels can get expensive as you cou…
By Amanda Fama

5 Trends From The '90s Are Making A Serious Comeback, So Somebody Page Cher Horowitz

I was born in the '90s and my childhood was one Caboodles train case packed with scrunchies and butterfly clips after another. If you could believe it, early '90s fashion is already considered vintage (I officially feel old AF) and according to sprin…
By Stephanie Montes

5 Social Things You Can Do To Feel Less Lonely If You’re Single

Being single and being lonely don’t have to go hand-in-hand. Just because you don’t have a significant other, doesn’t mean you aren’t surrounded by wonderful people who love and care about you. But once in a while (especially if you’ve been single fo…
By Veronica Lopez

6 Subtle Red Flags That Could Mean You’re Sleeping Way Too Much

Have you ever woken up after an unusually long night of sleep and felt, well, kind of awful? Whether you roll out of bed feeling super dehydrated, nursing a throbbing a headache, or you simply feel stiff as a board, there are reasons why your body mi…
By Annakeara Stinson

These 6 Workouts Can Be Done Right On Your Couch, & Yes, They Do Count As Exercise

Ever have that feeling when you're watching the Olympics like you should be working out, or at least stretching, but in reality you're just laying around eating chips? Yeah, me neither. But if you do ever feel that pull to work out when you're just l…
By Annakeara Stinson

10 Things You Should Say To Your Partner Every Day To Keep The Love Alive

When it coms to love, falling into it is a lot easier than maintaining it. There’s a reason, after all, that it's called "falling" in love, because it's mostly out of your control — the heart just takes over. Because those emotions come so easily and…
By Rachel Shatto

Science Says These 8 Foods Can Help You Live Longer, So Eat Up

If you're looking to live forever, or at least for an appropriately long amount of time, then the best way to get started on your journey toward immortality is to think about what you're putting into your body for fuel. Think of your diet as the batt…
By Caroline Burke

I Live In London & When Guys Find Out I'm American, They Only See Me As A Fling

I first entered the world of dating apps during a semester abroad in London, and I had zero idea what I was getting myself into. I was 21, had only ever dated boys I'd met through work, school, or mutual friends, and my appreciation for romantic come…
By Genevieve Wheeler

Here's Exactly How You'll Fall In Love, Based On Your Astrological Sign

One of my favorite things about learning about my zodiac sign and others' is learning patterns about my behavior that I can acknowledge and use to my advantage. As a Scorpio sun sign, I know I'm typically described as mysterious, drawn to loyal peopl…
By Elana Rubin

These 8 Red Flags Might Mean You're Pushing Yourself Too Hard In Your Workouts

If you live by the motto "no pain, no gain," or you frequently exclaim that your HIIT circuits "hurt so good," you're probably the type of person who challenges yourself to the max during your workouts. And while this isn't necessarily a bad thing, i…
By Georgina Berbari

These "Awkward" Proposal Stories Show There's No One Perfect Way To Get Engaged

There are a few adjectives people use to describe proposal stories that tend to be a bit more common than the rest. You know what I mean. How many times have you heard someone describe their marriage proposal as "magical" or "romantic" or — my person…
By Candice Jalili

This $20 Toy Simulates Pimple Popping, So You Can Save Your Face (But Still Lose Your Dignity)

As a self-proclaimed popaholic, I am not ashamed to admit that I love watching pimple popping and blackhead extraction videos. Call me gross, but I find it immensely therapeutic and satisfying. To all of my fellow weirdos, we’ve been blessed with a n…
By Ariana Marsh

Meghan Markle Uses This $13 Natural Wonder To Grow Her Eyebrows Back & You Can Too

Meghan Markle is the world's new go-to celebrity for all things fashion and beauty — she's marrying a prince after all, so she must have some tricks up her sleeve. Meghan Markle's beauty routine is just as intricate as mine, because that's how real s…
By Alison Turka

7 Foolproof Things To Do Every Day If You're Tired Of Being Lazy AF

Being lazy can be oh-so-lovely. Until you start letting life pass you by, and not living to your full potential, then suddenly, it's not so good anymore. Don't get me wrong, I love my weekends when I can stay snuggled up in bed just a bit longer. Hit…
By Marisa Casciano

This Is How Long Most People Wait To Say "I Love You," Science Says

If I had to choose one word to describe saying "I love you" to your partner for the first time, I'd have to go with... hmm, exciting? Nope. Thrilling? Hardly. Terrifying? YES. Exactly. Saying "I love you" for the first time is terrifying. What makes …
By Candice Jalili

6 Reasons To Travel Abroad With Your Boyfriend Or Girlfriend In Your 20s

Traveling can be many things: hectic, expensive, and definitely stressful. But with the right people or person beside you, all those troubles kind of just melt away. That's why there are some solid reasons to travel abroad with your boyfriend or girl…
By Alani Vargas