Meet Joel, our resident dating expert. He’s no Tony Robbins. He won’t ask you to pay a zillion bucks to attend his seminars. He’ll just tell it like it is, from the wise POV of someone who’s out there dating — just like you! Ask Joel “What’s the Deal” or anything else.
Post your questions/comments to Joel in the comments section below.
What’s the Deal?!?
I’ve been talking to this guy for a while, and we have mutual friends. He’s made it clear that he’s really into me, but I just don’t see him that way. He’s so sweet, how do I tell him I don’t want to date without hurting his feelings?
— Not Interested
Dear Not Interested,
Here’s the Deal:
In their natural state, human beings try to steer clear of confrontation at all costs. Nobody wants to tell someone who seems interested that the feeling is not mutual. We’ve all been rejected. It hurts — but so does taking off a Band-Aid. And the solution is not to leave the Band-Aid on forever.
In short, you are going to hurt his feelings. But this is a good thing. It will make him stronger and will make you feel good about being honest. When you’re desperately waiting for an answer to something you really want, not knowing is often worse than hearing no. In sixth grade I asked out a girl with yellow braided hair in my rival school’s science class. I waited for weeks without an answer. I feared that she didn’t like me. When I found out it’s just that her family had been deported to Scandinavia I was so relieved.
If he’s nice, he deserves not to be strung along. Be direct. Tell him you’re not interested and that if he’s into it you’d like to remain friends. If he says he’d rather not, that’s fine. Matter resolved. Now you can go watch He’s Just Not That Into You and understand it on a whole new level.
On the other hand, if this situation occurs with a guy who’s a jerk, then by all means, stomp on his heart, steal his mail, call him late at night with a pretend survey from the Church of Scientology. Actually, hold off on that. You don’t want to get deported to Scandinavia.