A reader writes in:
Just a quick message to say I've learnt a lot from your insights and blog over the last year. I decided to improve myself after hitting an embarrassing rock bottom with a girl I had been chasing after for over a year and your website has helped me do just that. These days I know I can go out and acheive high success with very attractive women of my choosing.
The problem is, I have now reached a point where I would like a girlfriend and I currently have two 2nd dates and 3 first dates with potential girlfriends. I am at a point where its almost too easy to get girls highly interested even past the first date. You teach a lot about how to get girls interested but I wondered if you had any advice about how to let girls down easy without coming across like an asshole. I enjoy having a choice of women for the first time in my life (!) but I don't like the idea of just enjoying the 'sport' of it.
I know there's probably no easier thing to do than to just to pick the one I like the most and dump the others but I just thought I'd ask your thoughts anyway,
No doubt, that can be a tough one: how do you let a girl down without being a bad guy or a total heartbreaker? It can make you feel like a pretty underhanded guy – maybe even like you were just leading her on – when you have to turn her down when you know she was hoping to be with you.
But, in fact, there is a right way to do it.
Things to Keeping in Mind About Letting Girls Down
It's important to realize that people experience a range of emotions during a romantic let down. These can include:
- Surprise or shock
- Sadness or disappointment
- Anger or resentment
Each of those emotions – or sometimes multiple emotions from that list – is felt by women with different personalities and different kinds of attachments to you. For instance, a girl who was under the impression that everything was going amazingly with you and that you liked her as much as she liked you is going to feel surprised or shocked, or she'll refuse to believe it and be incredulous. A girl who's a little more of a spunky, fiery girl and is used to getting what she wants might resent you or be angry with you for suddenly bowing out.
A girl who's more resigned to her fate in life might feel disappointed or sad. A girl who very much wanted to be with you and thought you were 'The One' is going to panic; and a girl who really didn't want to date you for whatever reason is going to be relieved.
You should also realize that a majority of women are going to feel "cheated;" any time anyone invests a chunk of time and effort into building their relationship with a person, he or she feels cheated when that relationship is suddenly shuttered. If she's gotten to know you over the course of the past few weeks, it's going to feel very unfair to her for you to suddenly announce, "Okay, show's over, no more spending time together, no more chats, it's a wrap."
It feels like a bait-and-switch.
So any time you deal with how to let a girl down, you're going to be dealing with a host of emotions that can potentially mess with her mind quite a bit. Most women are still going to stay in control, but you should always be ready for the occasional emotional meltdown – and you should always do the best job you can to take care of the emotions of the women you let down, both to avoid those meltdowns (for your sake) and to make sure she walks away from you feeling good, not bad (for her sake).
How to Let a Girl Down Easy
Those reactions and emotions in mind, you'll want to focus on letting girls down the right way – easily. To do so, you'll want to keep these principles in mind:
- Be straightforward. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Women despise men beating around the bush – they want people to be straight and direct with them. So if you're going to tell a woman you've met someone else, tell her that. If you want to tell her you're focusing in on your business right now and you just don't have the time to be a proper friend or companion, tell her so. Have your reason, know it, and let her know it too, in clear, direct language.
- Be firm and absolute. No hemming, hawing, and if/maybe'ing. You don't want a woman to feel like she has a chance when... she doesn't. For your sake and for her sake. If you leave the door open a crack, and she spends time trying to see you again in the future, then suddenly you've got to deal with letting her down all over again, which is a headache for you, and she's also wasted time chasing after a guy who simply isn't available to her, which isn't fair to her. If you're firm with her the first time you let a girl down, you avoid having to come back and do a do-over.
- Be broad in your reasoning. I just wrote up a quick outline of some of my backstory for a girlfriend of mine who needed a quick way of understanding me better, and one of the things I remembered while writing was a girl I turned down for a date in 8th grade. She was actually a very pretty girl, but I wasn't interested in her for one reason or another, and when she pressed me for why, what I said to her was, "I don't find you personally attractive."
I look back on that now and realize I must've given her ego a big smack upside the head when I said that, and that probably explains why she hated my guts ever thereafter. If you want to avoid a similar mistake, do not, under any circumstance, blame the girl or anything about the girl for why you're letting her down. Otherwise, she'll hate you for making her feel bad about herself (as well as for not realizing how amazing she is).
Also do not blame yourself, otherwise she'll view you as weak or flawed for having these foibles that made you unable to be with a woman. Instead, blame circumstances outside your or her control: you just ended up meeting someone and everything happened so quickly and you hadn't expected it, or your time has just suddenly gotten too densely packed and you just aren't able to be doing dating right now.
Here's an example of what that might look like:
"I've met someone. It happened fast; I didn't expect that to be the case, but everything just clicked. I just wanted to be straight with you so we don't end up having one of those weird or awkward situations where I'm concealing things and you're trying to figure out what they are and that sort of stuff."
Actually, to tell the truth, I'm a fan of leaving out the "I've met someone" part of it altogether, because even that can have a negative psychological impact on women. When you tell a woman you were seeing you've met someone (and, by implication, can't see her anymore), you communicate these things:
- "This someone I've met is better than you; otherwise, why would I be dating her and not you?" and
- "I'm now part of a couple, and you are still single and lonely."
Obviously, not good things to communicate to a woman, so you can understand why personally I prefer not to go the "I've met someone" route most of the time, unless a woman is really pushing me or she's really irked me for some reason (I am, after all, still human, and guilty of the occasional, "Haha, so there!").
I'm also a proponent of leaving out the following words and phrases:
- "I'm sorry."
- "I hope you won't hate me, but..."
- "I feel really bad..."
Really anything that might imply you pity her. She'll feel insulted, and her feeling insulted definitely is not a part of letting a girl down easy.
So here's one I'd most probably use myself to let a girl down:
"Can't do anything right now, I've just been swamped with work and all kinds of stuff so I'm scaling back my going out time to virtually none. I don't want you waiting around for me or anything because I'm pretty much taking myself off the market, so by all means, don't worry about that. Hope I don't seem rude for having to up and disappear, I've just been hammered with stuff lately."
For me personally, I really am just about always hammered with work to do, so this is a very valid thing to say. In my mind, actually, it's easier to get girls and easier to let girls down when you're very busy. You don't have much time to waste, so you're forced by the nature of your life and schedule to make everything run more smoothly and efficiently.
Make sure you keep in mind the three essential elements to letting a girl down right way, and be conscientious about it, and you'll do fine. Mind her emotions, and make it as painless an experience as possible for her. That's how you build goodwill with people, and keep your bridges intact without burning them like a lot of folks do. Because, in the end, you never know when you might need to go back across one of those bridges...!