There’s no denying that rejection can be a tough pill to swallow. Whether you’ve gone on a single date with someone or seven, the idea that they don't want to pursue things further can take a toll on your self-confidence. But here’s the thing. The alternative to rejection is ghosting, and IMHO, that’s far more potentially destructive. So, what is the best rejection text to receive? Typically, it's a blend of honesty, compassion, and perhaps even a little bit of encouragement to soften the blow.
I’ve seen the power that a rejection text can have firsthand. Two years back, one of my besties was eagerly trying to set me up with her coworker, Greg. I met him at a Halloween party, we exchanged numbers and began texting about meeting up for drinks. The timing couldn’t have been worse for Greg, however — because I ended up hanging out with the guy I’d been crushing super hard on all summer long (my current boyfriend) shortly after that, and fell head over strappy stacked heels. Needless to say, Greg didn’t have a shot to shoot. So, when he reached out again, I decided to be totally direct. I told him he seemed like an awesome guy — but that things had taken a serious turn with someone else, and I felt strongly that I needed to see that through. Greg thanked me for being so upfront rather than leading him on or going MIA. “You seem really awesome, too," he wrote. "I hope everything works out for you.” It felt like dating karma gold.
When It's Purely Practical
I went on three dates with a guy and it was basically, “hey, I’ve been thinking about this a lot. With our different schedules and the distance, I don’t think I want to pursue anything further. I have had a great time and loved getting to know you, and will always remember that!”
I work Wednesday — Sunday and he’s a Monday — Friday guy, and he lives in a suburb across the city (35-45 minute drive) so it made sense, and the message was actually very nice!
When It's A Time Issue It's A Time Issue
“To be honest, I realized that I don’t have time to date and don’t feel like I would be able to see you or appreciate you as much as you deserve.”
When The Heart Just Isn't In It
"Hey — I'm really sorry, but I've had a gut check and have decided that my heart just isn't into this. I feel bad telling you this a day after we made plans to hang out, but I've realized my intuition is loud enough on this one that it's important to listen to."
When The Connection Isn't There
"Hey! I just wanted to thank you again but I also want to be honest with you... I didn’t really feel a connection, we have very different passions and interests. I’m sorry but I hope things work out for you :)"
Nothing really remarkable here, but I thought it was a perfectly pleasant way to tell me there was no interest.
When There's No Future There, But They Have That Taco Talent
"Hey! Good to hear from you. I had a great time on both our dates, but to be totally transparent, I’m not sure I see this going anywhere. I hope you find happiness… you have a lot to offer (and make a mean batch of tacos), so no doubt you will!
— Sara, 29
When There's Still Some Healing Left To Do
"You’re amazing — I’m just realizing that even though I thought I was ready to date again after my last breakup, I’m actually not. Best of luck with your exams, I know you’re going to crush them!"
— Janelle, 25
When There's No Common Ground
"I had a lot of fun with you, I just don't think we have a lot in common. Don’t want to waste your time, but I’m really grateful to have gotten to know you.”
— Becky, 27
So, what’s the takeaway here? All it takes is one text to offer someone some peace of mind and closure. And while turning someone down may feel awkward at first, dropping off the face of the earth will no doubt make things even more awk for the both of you.
Ultimately, in the world of dating, it’s best to adhere to the Golden Rule of treating others how you want to be treated. So, would you rather someone take the time to type out an explanation for why they’re cooling things off with you, or offer radio silence and leave you scratching your head over what went wrong? Sure, there are situations in which it's totally fine to ghost, like if someone's being pushy, manipulative, ignoring your boundaries or making you feel unsafe. But most of the time, it's probably worth it to send a quick message — no matter how uncomfortable you may feel doing it.
And if you need a little inspiration while you’re typing out that rejection text, you can always look to these examples for some guidance on what’s effective. Remember: The truth may hurt, but probably not as much as total silence.