As fun as dating can be, it can also be a bit of a downer at times. This is especially true when it comes to rejection. It's never fun to know that the person you're into doesn't reciprocate your feelings, which is why if you already know after a first date that you don’t want to go on a second date, knowing how to communicate this gently is key. But before you decide to break the news, make sure you're not rushing to make a judgment too soon. According to Joshua Klapow, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist and Host of The Kurre and Klapow Show, it's almost always a good idea to give someone you're feeling lukewarm about the benefit of the doubt.
"If you are unsure about a second date, you are probably more in the norm than the extreme," Dr. Klapow tells Elite Daily. "After meeting someone for the first time, it is rare that we feel 100% sure or unsure about a second date." That's why it can be beneficial to go on a second date even if you're skeptical. The stress of first dates can add a layer of nerves that can make both people feel awkward. After the second or third date, you may see a completely different side to one another. "Feeling unsure simply means you don’t have enough information to know if you want to continue exploring the relationship or not," explains Dr. Klapow. "Go on the second date (and maybe a third and fourth) until you feel sure one way or the other."
On the other hand, if there's no doubt in your mind that this person is not for you, then consider cutting the cord. "The reality is that if you do feel sure that you don’t want to go on a second date, then you shouldn’t," says Dr. Klapow. Anyone who's ever been strung along knows how hurtful it can be to invest months into dating someone, only to find out that they weren't interested from the start. So, if you know that you aren't interested in a relationship with someone, the kindest thing you can do is let them know.
Unfortunately, telling someone you don't want to date them might hurt their ego, no matter which way you slice it. However, it's important to be mindful of what you say and how you say it. "Keep it short and compassionate without apologies," recommends Dr. Klapow. "Let them know that while you appreciate the time you spent, you would prefer not to go on a second date. You don’t have to apologize or over-explain." Although keeping the communication brief is usually best, it's not uncommon for some people to want a more concrete reason, which is when things can get tricky. "If they press, let them know how you feel," adds Dr, Klapow. "Maybe say they were nice, but you just don’t feel like there's a future between the two of you and you’d rather not go."
Even though letting a date know that you don't want to see them again can be uncomfortable, it may be necessary if you want to save yourselves even more potential pain and drama later on. So, once you're sure about how you feel, making your feelings known sooner rather than later might be the most considerate option.