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How to Turn Down a Second Date: A Non-Awkward Guide to Do It Right

Is figuring out how to turn down a second date worrying you so much that you struggle through it a second or even a third just to avoid awkwardness?

?All first dates are not created equal. Some end in a kiss goodnight and a plan for a second date. Others end in annoyance, awkwardness and the fear of hurting someone’s feelings. And sometimes, figuring out how to turn down a second date politely is not easy. You want to make yourself clear but also don’t want to be rude. Getting that thin balance right? Difficult… and awkward!

Unfortunately not knowing how to turn down a second date is what prevents people from doing it and instead leads to ghosting. People are so afraid of being awkward or hurting someone’s feelings in a straightforward way that they simply disappear and hope the person gets it.

Not only is ghosting rude, disrespectful, and cowardly, but there is no need for it if you know how to turn down a second date politely.

[Read: Ever been ghosted after a first date? 13 ways to calm the rage]

Why do you want to turn down a second date

Yes, I am going to say it. Honesty is the best policy. If you know why you want to turn down a second date, it will help you do it in the clearest and polite manner possible.

Is the person looking for a serious relationship while you are looking for something more casual or vice versa? Did you differ on too many topics? Did you find out they have one of your deal breakers? [Read: 25 most common dating deal breakers to keep an eye on]

Whatever the reasoning is for your lack of interest, it is valid. Even if it is something like you just didn’t feel chemistry, that is enough of a reason.

Offering up the truth to someone after a failed first date may seem harsh. But in reality, your rejected second date will appreciate that more than being lied to or ghosted.

Sure, telling someone that their lifestyle doesn’t align with yours or that you can’t date someone who is rude to service workers can seem cruel in the moment, that awkwardness will only last about a minute. [Read: 15 signs of a bad first date that reveal a total lack of chemistry]

The discomfort of avoiding them, going through with a second date, or ghosting will last much longer for both of you. So, learning how to turn down a second date with the truth really is your best bet.

How to turn down a second date minus the awkwardness

We all know why you are worried about turning down a second date. It is uncomfortable. It is scary. You don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings. That all makes sense.

But, you also know that if the situation were reversed, you would want the truth. You’d want to know why and you’d want that answer as soon as possible so you aren’t overthinking it.

The best thing you can do when figuring out how to turn down a second date is to treat them how you would want to be treated, with respect. ?[Read: How to cut a bad date short and moves you should never ever use]

#1 Don’t lie. Lying about why you don’t want a second date will not only seem pretty obvious, but it could also get back to them. Don’t follow a line like it’s not you, it’s me. Don’t pull a Chandler from Friends and tell them you’re leaving the country.

Just suck it up and let them know you weren’t feeling it. If they have a follow-up question, answer as politely as you can and part ways. Lying will always make it worse for your conscience and their feelings.

#2 Offer them a compliment. Warm up to your decline with a compliment. Let them know they’re great, but… Or say you had a nice evening but just don’t want to continue seeing each other. A compliment can soften the blow and let them walk away with their head held high. [Read: How to tell a guy you don’t like him in the nicest way possible]

#3 Don’t lead them on with friendship. If you don’t want to be friends, don’t tell them you do. We often try to decline a second date by saying something like we’re not interested but would like to be friends or stay in touch. If you have no intention of that, don’t offer it.

Many people will take this to heart and expect to see you platonically or still want to talk regularly. Unless you actually plan on doing that, forego the nicety. [Read: How to tell a girl you’re not interested in the nicest way possible]

#4 Don’t leave it open-ended. It can be easier for you to leave things up in the air rather than being completely clear with your intentions of not sharing a second date. But in the long run, it will only make things harder. Not only will the other person not know what to think, but you may have to drag out the rejection for longer.

Saying something like “I’ll text you,” or “maybe,” only lengthens the awkwardness. 

#5 Act like you have mutual friends, even if you don’t. A lot of first dates nowadays are started through dating apps. That means there isn’t any accountability when you are seeing someone. You don’t share an office or friends so it seems easier to lie or ghost.

If you were dating someone you shared a mutual friend with, you would have to answer for why you didn’t want a second date. Even if you don’t have that level of actual accountability with this person, pretend as if you do. It will keep you honest and respectful in a situation when you could get away with slacking off. [Read: 13 signs he’s not interested in a second date even if you’re unsure]

#6 Tell them in person. Most people request a second date while ending the first date. Instead of waiting for them to reach out about more confirmed plans, just tell them in person. Again, I know it feels hard to do but it will be over before you know it.

And the more upfront you are, the easier it will be in the future when you want to turn down a second date or have any sort of awkward conversation. If they don’t ask you for a second date in person, still turn them down as clearly as possible. [Read: 15 signs you need to stop wasting time because she’s not interested]

#7 Stand your ground. Depending on the person you are turning down a second date with, it can get messy. Most people will accept your rejection with class and dignity and walk away. Some people will be hurt or offended and try to change your mind or get defensive saying they weren’t really interested anyway.

Try to let that go. Once you are honest with your intentions, it is really no longer your responsibility to handle how this person reacts. If you let them know you couldn’t date someone that travels so much or that smokes, they may try to sway you. In this case, you can say, “I appreciate that but it is still a no. Good luck with everything.” [Read: The different ways you could be unintentionally ruining your first date]

#8 Know you did nothing wrong. Try not to feel too guilty. Hurting someone when you barely know them is tough, but this is your decision. You don’t owe them a second date just because they seemed nice or there was really nothing wrong with them.

You have no reason to feel guilty if you were honest and respectful. Whether they try to make you feel bad or accept your rejection with nothing but kindness, you handled yourself well and should feel good about it. [Read: 18 signs your date really likes you on your first date]

#9 Block them, only if necessary. Although this is not something you’ll need to do in 99% of situations, some people just will not take no for an answer. They may continue to text you or like all your photos on social media. If this is bothering you and you feel like they aren’t getting it or are crossing a line, block them.

You have no responsibility other than the truth and if you already turned down a second date with honesty, how they react is up to them.

[Read: How to cut a bad date short – The best and worst guilt-free excuses]

Learning how to turn down a second date can be awkward, but being honest is always the best way. Try these steps the next time, and you’ll feel a lot less awkward and a lot more comfortable with doing the right thing on a wrong date.

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