There is a time and way to do it the right way.
We’ve all been in this situation: You go on one or two dates with someone only to realize it’s not going anywhere. Your date is keen to see you again and texts to set up your next meeting. Your first instinct is to delay. You’ll just push the person off for a few days and then eventually stop returning their texts. They’ll get the message, right?
Anyone who’s ever been ghosted will tell you that no, they didn’t get the message. This behavior is the worst, and here at Bumble HQ we’re advocating for an end to this terrible modern dating trend. We’re all about being honest and kind to our romantic, platonic, and business connections — even if they don’t work out.
The solution is quick, easy, and right at your fingertips: A friendly, concise text message. We’ll walk you through an easy formula for letting this person know you’re not interested in a graceful, mature way that will leave both of you with closure and minimal hurt feelings.
*BUT FIRST, A CAVEAT: If this is an actual breakup, as in, you’ve gone on more than four or five dates, you shouldn’t be doing this via text. A call or an afternoon coffee is owed. The text should only be used very early on to end something that never really got off the ground.
The formula for this text is simple and can be applied to just about any dating scenario. It should be tailored to your personal experience, but remember to keep it short, kind, and slightly vague. (This helps avoid feelings of deep hurt and rejection on the part of the receiver. And if you’re on the receiving end of this text, check out our tips on how to deal with a breakup.)
PART I: Start with a salutation and genuine compliment.
This may sound like a trivial detail, but you don’t want to come in hot with a “Hey!” when you’re about to let someone down. Avoid exclamation points (and emojis) throughout this text. Addressing this person by name and with a comma is probably best, as in, “Hi Greg,”.
Next, if this person invited you out and paid for all or most of your date(s), say thank you. This can be easily combined with a compliment about the date. If you did the asking and either split the bill or covered it yourself, you can skip this part. An example would be, “Thanks so much for the cocktails on Thursday night, I enjoyed talking Game of Thrones theories and swapping travel stories with you.”
This is not a moment to say, “You’re so sweet and funny and nice, but…” and then deliver a blow. The compliment should center around the date, the conversation, or an extremely vague personality reference like, “You seem like a great guy.” If you’re overly complimentary, ending things directly after won’t make any sense.
PART II: Give your reason for ending things.
Again, there’s no need to be specific here. Being rejected is always going to sting a bit. Calling out a person’s flaws and why they’re wrong for you is cruel and not necessary. We recommend following up your thank you and compliment with one of these short and clear phrases that will kindly and gracefully communicate that you do not want another date.
“However, I just didn’t feel a spark.”
“Ultimately, though, I think we’re better as friends.”
“But, I don’t really think we’re a good match after all.”
“That said, I don’t feel a romantic connection.”
“But, I think we should end things here.”
“However, I think our vibe is more platonic.”
It’s up to you to decide what kind message most accurately conveys your feelings and seems right for this particular person. For example, if you truly wouldn’t want to see this person again, don’t bring up the possibility of friendship.
PART III: Gently close the door on future possibilities.
Remember that this early on, you’re not obligated to explain yourself any further. There’s no need to expand on why you don’t feel a spark or why you want to end things here. Conclude the text with a simple, friendly indication that this relationship has run its course.
Here are a few examples of how the whole text might read:
Hey Tom, thanks for drinks the other night. I had a nice time getting to know you and talking about our mutual love of dogs. However, I just didn’t really feel a spark.
Hi Sam, thanks again for that delicious dinner on Thursday. I’ve given it some thought, and while I enjoyed swapping music reccomendations, I didn’t feel a romantic connection with you. I wish you all the best.
Hi there Alex, rock climbing last with you week was a totally new and exciting experience, and I had a good time. Ultimately, though, I think we’re better as friends. I wish you the best.
*AND FINALLY, ANOTHER CAVEAT: If this person was not a good date, you are within your bounds (and frankly, encouraged!) to say so. If they didn’t ask you any questions, if they were rude to your waiter, if they made inappropriate advances, etc., you can alter the text to skip the compliment. You could say simply, “Hi Greg – thanks for the drinks on Tuesday. I think we should end things here because on our date, you didn’t ask me any questions and talked only about yourself. I found that behavior off-putting. I wish you the best of luck out there.”
For more on how to reject someone nicely, click here!