Bowing out gracefully

If there’s one thing that about the dating world that baffles me, it’s the stories about the people who don’t handle rejection well. A recent Date Wrecks entry is exactly what I’m talking about (and is the inspiration for this post).


Usually in the online dating world, silence is your rejection. It’s rare to have someone write you back to say “Thanks, but no thanks” and give a reason as to why you’ve been declined. And really, what are they supposed to say? “I’m sorry, the third eye and hunchback really don’t do it for me. Kthxbai.” I mean, recently I had a woman mail me who had the writing and spelling ability of a third-grader. What was I supposed to say? “I’m sorry, but while you are cute, I can’t deal with your inability to write a complete, coherent sentence as it causes me ridiculous amounts of pain. Good luck! :)” Sometimes it’s something just that stupid. It could be a vibe, a personal preference (because while love may be blind, rejection isn’t) or a lengthy stint in federal prison for mass murder that sends you down rejection road. If you have trouble thinking of a reason why you were rejected, sometimes it helps to think of those couples that you simply don’t get — you know what I’m talking about — that whole Billy Joel-Christie Brinkley thing, except you know them and they aren’t divorced.

Similar to love, sometimes there is no legitimate rhyme or reason for being shown the door.  So, in an effort to help my fellow peeps, here’s my tips on how to bow out gracefully:

  1. Suck it up, Buttercup: You’ve gotten the “thanks but no thanks” mail. Shrug your shoulders, say “Your loss!”, delete the person from your “favorites” list and move on. By far the simplest thing to do.
  2. Respectfully respond: The person thought enough of you to say “thanks but no thanks,” and you want to acknowledge that with your own “Thanks for not being a tool about it” response. A nice way to go about it is to say something along the lines of “No worries. I had to satisfy my curiosity and take a shot — but hey, good luck out there and I’ll catch you on the flip side!” By doing something like this, you come across as confident and mature (though some may take it as a little creepy as you can’t seem to let it go), and leave the door open to further contact (which isn’t likely to happen, no matter how much you expect it to).
  3. Pursuit (not recommended): Some folks don’t like to take no as an answer (I’m lookin’ at you, Ben R.), and certainly we’ve all heard the stories of guys who got the girl after a lengthy chase and multiple denials (I’m lookin’ at you, Ben R.). Unfortunately, that exists mostly in chick flicks (and crime scenes, Ben R.), and for every 1% of the time that it works, the other 99% result in restraining orders or arrests. To do it right (ie, no restraining order or arrests) involves a tremendous amount of wooing and romantic gestures (and no, flipping them off is not considered a romantic gesture), which most folks simply don’t have the time or desire to engage in. For these reasons, I don’t recommend this route — but if you insist, the important thing to remember is not to insult the person. Insulting the other person is akin to ending a job interview that went poorly by saying “Your bitch-ass company wouldn’t know a good [insert job position] if it was right in front of you, which it is, you stupid bitches,” and still expecting to get hired. I have yet to hear of that couple that’s been together for 50 years say, “Well, I turned him down at first, but then he told me not to be a stupid, stuck up bitch and pass him up — and I thought to myself, ‘You know, sometimes I am a stupid, stuck up bitch,’ and I changed my mind. We’ve been together ever since!” The bottom line: Pursuing someone with insults isn’t the same as wooing someone.
  4. It is inevitable.

    Have fun with it: Look, not all of us are mature, responsible adults. Lord knows I’m not. So, if you’re in public and you get rejected, why not take that sting and make it into a joke? For example, a common one among my friends was pretending you were a Japanese dive bomber that had been shot down, complete with friends acting like pom-pom guns. Believe it or not, this can go further than what you think. Since this is a public move, and she’ll likely see your response, it leaves several burning questions in her mind — and hopefully one of them will be “What’s he got going on that he can just laugh it off?” If you managed to pique her curiosity, you’ll be far more likely to talking to her again — with her initiating the conversation.

There. Now is that really so hard? A little civility and a sense of humor can take you far. Any and all of these tips are far better than the lashing-back technique, which is guaranteed to get you nothing in return (except for maybe a submission to a Web site or a blog, with pictures of you and story outlining what a complete and utter troll you are to go along with them).


3 Responses to “Bowing out gracefully”

  1. April 28, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    Big fan of the relationship war stories and the casual advice. Keep ’em coming.

  2. 2 Jenny Johnston
    April 28, 2010 at 11:11 pm

    Suck it up, Buttercup. Awesome one, Dino!

  3. May 12, 2010 at 11:35 pm

    I’m guilty of giving guys the silent treatment. After reading your post, I might start saying “No thanks” to a few guys just to see how they react.

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