Good news, everyone, we’ve got SexyTypewriter here to teach another reader about the Art of No. If you like hilarious smart people (and I think you do) and if the dating pool sometimes feels like a greenish, swampy, shallow place (and I think it does), read her fantastic blog. She will forever go down in history as the person who introduced me to the phrase “dangly man-pudding.”
Dear Captain Awkward,
How do I break up with someone right after agreeing to go out with them?
I have become close friends with a guy I have a class with. He is a psychology and philosophy major and so we have really deep, intimate, and interesting conversations. Over the course of several months, he developed a romantic interest in me. Two days ago, completely out of the blue, he asks me if I would consider dating him. Unfortunately I have a terrible habit of speaking without thinking, and I just said “yes” because it was easy and I knew it would make him happy.
However, when I reflect further about my decision, I don’t think I should have agreed. I have really interesting conversations with this guy and he is a genuinely kind and good person, but I am not physically attracted to him in the least. And the physical aspects of a relationship are important to me.
I know that all the blame in this situation falls on me, for encouraging the interest with the intimate conversations and for agreeing to go out with him, and I feel really guilty. I want to get out of this situation yet do the least amount of harm to this guy. Theoretically, I feel like this should be easy to do because we’ve been dating a whopping two days, but it feels really hard. I also feel dumb because I am passing up an opportunity with a great guy who will treat me super well just because I’m not attracted to him. But I can’t think of a way be satisfied in a relationship when there isn’t chemistry. Can you help me?
Ah, yes. That old song and dance. Boy meets girl. Boy likes girl. Boy asks girl to be his girlfriend. Girl merely likes boy as a friend, but agrees because she’s too stunned, flattered, guilty or socially programmed to say anything but yes. Boy clicks his heels and pumps his fists and changes his relationship status and sees Han Solo in car window reflections. Girl feels like an absolute turd.
It is a tale as old as time!
You clearly think highly of this gentleman, but if the chemistry isn’t there for you, it isn’t there. You are not being shallow in thinking that that aspect of a relationship is super important. And you can’t force physical or sexual attraction. That said, attraction can grow (or pop up out of nowhere on particularly fateful nights featuring epic drinking), but that is something that should be explored within the context of a friendship and not a relationship.
There’s no way that there won’t be hurt feelings here, but you owe it to the guy and to yourself to extricate yourself from this sham of a couple as soon as possible.
Talk to him privately in person (yep, face-to-face human contact) and gently let him know that you would prefer to just remain friends. You like him and you like hanging out with him, but there really isn’t a spark happening on your end. He sounds like an A1 guy. He deserves a girl who wants to tear all of his goddamn clothes off with her teeth. You know?
Now, in order to avoid future mix-ups, hurts and unwanted relationships, let’s do a little exercise here. I’m going to ask you a bunch of questions, and you are going to respond with this great phrase I love using. It is a phrase that you should get in the habit of using, too. That phrase is “No, but thanks!”
Q: Can I buy you a drink?
A: No, but thanks!
Q: Would you like to go out sometime?
A: No, but thanks!
Q: Wanna be my girlfriend or whatever?
A: No, but thanks!
Sometimes, you can simplify by deleting the “but thanks” and keeping only the “no.”
Q: Can I come home with you?
Q: Come on!
Q: What are you, a virgin? A prude?
A: Maybe. No.
Q: Would you take on this project on while I take a two-hour lunch break?
Q: Can I borrow fifty bucks?
Q: Can we do it without a condom this time?
A: No. (This one also warrants an “oh hell no.”)
No is a beautiful, magical and criminally underused word. Please learn how to use “no” without ever feeling weird or guilty. It is power.