Kicking them to the Curb! Strategies for Saying No to a Date or Anyone.

Dating is a wonderful and beautiful thing to enjoy and everybody deserves to have fun when they are dating someone. But when they are not having fun, then the best thing is to get out.

Sometimes, this problem comes to people who have just been asked out. It doesn't feel good to be rejected and no one wants the responsibility of making someone feel not worthy. What if you agreed to go out on a date and you don't feel a connection?

One of the biggest problems most people have when they are no longer interested is the ability to say “no.” They feel they are indebted to the person or they do not want to hurt them. The truth is, you are hurting yourself more if you don’t leave an unfruitful relationship or agree to date someone who you don't find appealing. By dragging out the inevitable you could put yourself in a situation where you could also have to deal with angry backlash. 


A friend of mine, we'll call her Jenny, recently went out with a guy she met at the gym. Although they had a nice time she didn't feel any chemistry and couldn't see herself going on another date with him. Instead of being direct, she decided to ignore his calls and texts and hoped that it would blow over. It didn't and what happened instead, according to Jenny, was catastrophic. While she was running on the treadmill, he aggressively approached her and demanded to know why she refused to respond to any of his numerous attempts at communication.

Before she could get a word out he began to put her down and call her names in front of everyone at the gym and then stomped his feet and stormed off. Needless to say she changed gyms after that but the humiliation and pain that she had obviously put this guy through were totally avoidable.

Unfortunately, bad dates are just a part of dating and whether you are being asked out and want to say no or you find yourself on a date with zero chemistry, the right thing to do is to find a healthy and respectful, but direct way of telling someone you are not interested.


Baxter and Associates conducted exploratory research in the 1980s to identify the strategies people use to end relationships (Baxter, 1982; Wilmot, Carbaugh, & Baxter, 1985). Across several studies, they asked individuals to describe the behaviors and processes that they personally used to end a relationship. The researchers identified 40 strategies from those responses, which were further classified into four distinct breakup factors:

  • Positive Tone: Strategies used for reducing a partner's negative feelings.
  • Openness: Strategies clearly communicating the desire and reasons to break up.
  • Avoidance/Withdrawal: Strategies reducing or avoiding contact with the partner.
  • Manipulation: Strategies involving deceit or using a third party to end the relationship.

As you might expect by the descriptions of these factors, subsequent research showed that all breakup strategies were not equally effective—or pleasant. Specifically, research by Sprecher and colleagues noted that strategies primarily focused on using a positive tone and open communication were among the most compassionate and effective (Sprecher, Zimmerman, & Abrahams, 2010; Sprecher, Zimmerman, & Fehr, 2014). Across several studies, the team found that participants reported certain strategies to be among the best. I've combined what they found with my team's vast knowledge of ending relationships and I'm giving these tips and tricks to you.

Across several studies, the team found that participants reported certain strategies to be among the best. I've combined what they found with my team's vast knowledge of ending relationships and I'm giving these tips and tricks to you.

1. Know What You Want: Oh yeah! If you know what you want, there is no sweet talking or gifts or anything that would stop you from getting away or saying no. This is because what you want is your vision, if you are not seeing anything aligned with your vision, then you are not in the right place. And it would help you to feel less guilty about saying no. You are not everybody and you don't have to please everyone but unless you know what you are really looking for you'll end up continuing to date the same people and get the same results.


2. Find a time to talk face to face. Not only is it unhealthy to break up or say  "not interested" to someone through's also down right rude. It also could make things worse if the person has anger issues and a big giant aggressive scene could explode on you like Jenny and her crazy gym date.


3. Be appreciative. Tell the person how you much you appreciate their time and acknowledge the effort that they made to try to get to know you. Just because you aren't feeling a vibe, the person made themselves vulnerable to you and it deserves to be acknowledged. My mom told me once, "enjoy being in your thirties because when get to sixty getting hit on is a rarity." My mom is a beautiful woman, but I understand that young men might not be banging down her door to procreate.

4. Try to avoid leaving things on a sour note. Don't purposefully try to offend or antagonize them. Some people are legitimately crazy assholes and even if you are the sweetest, nicest person in the world, they will still go off on you when being rejected. The best thing to do is make sure you are in a public place and be as nice as to the point as possible.


5.  Be Honest! When all is said and done, being honest is usually the best policy. Although, some things could be left unsaid. For example "I'm sorry. It's not going to work out. You are insanely ugly," may not be the best choice. In contrast, consider, "I'm sorry. I don't think we are a good fit for each other. Our lifestyles are two widely different and we want different things in life." It's honest and I found that it accurately fit most of my bad dates.

6.  Don't point fingers. Not only will blaming the person be destructive, it will create tension and make it less likely to have a nice smooth exit. Being honest is important but using "I" statements while explaining why you don't want them in your life can be a lot more beneficial. By taking responsibility we learn more about ourselves as well as others.

7. Don't play the blame game. By accepting fallibility as a route toward self-improvement we can truly make things better for ourselves and improve ourselves for whomever we truly want to date.

8.  Make them think it was their idea. People tend to naturally feel motivated to do anything if they feel it was their idea. Convincing the person that they don't want to date or be with you either will make things very peaceful. If they feel this is mutually beneficial, then any anxiety over feeling like you are rejecting someone goes away.


9.  Say No: After all the fussing and the talking, just say "No." That’s the idea of it all. You should never feel pushed into something that doesn't make you feel comfortable. The National Domestic Abuse Hotline is a great resource for anyone who wants to talk or ask questions. They are open 24/7 and can help you identify a healthy relationship and how to get away from someone who might possibly be unhealthy for you. 1-800-799-7233

By using these direct tips, tricks, and strategies you will ease the dumping process, reduce negative feelings all around and even increase the chances that you could come out of this friends.



  • Baxter, L. A. (1982). Strategies for ending relationships: Two studies. The Western Journal of Speech Communication, 46, 223-241.
  • Sprecher, S., Zimmerman, C., & Abrahams, E. M. (2010). Choosing compassionate strategies to end a relationship: Effects of compassionate love for partner and the reason for the breakup. Social Psychology, 41, 66-75.
  • Sprecher, S., Zimmerman, C., & Fehr, B. (2014). The influence of compassionate love on strategies used to end a relationship. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 31, 697-705.
  • Wilmot, W. W., Carbaugh, D. A., & Baxter, L. A. (1985). Communicative strategies used to terminate romantic relationships. The Western Journal of Speech Communication, 49, 204-216.