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Just Say No

Standup Comic John Powers NYC Dear Jp Comedian Advice Sex Column Relationship Dating Love Advisor Counsel
John Powers

This is a subject that has come up quite a bit over the years since I started writing these columns… how do I tell someone I’m not interesting in dating them?

A friend of mine met a guy. They hit it off. They met for coffee. He asked her to dinner. She describes him as generous. He has a big heart, good values, and his personality is alright too. She just doesn’t feel a spark. That’s a dealbreaker for her because she realizes if she just doesn’t feel it, there’s no way to fool herself. If they got together, she will find herself looking at other guys because although he’s a great person, she simply does not desire him.

She asked me what to do. It’s too easy to make excuses to avoid a second date. You say you’re too busy. You’ve got a lot going on. We all do. While you’re considering how to respond to his text, he is sitting by his phone wondering when you’re going to text back. If you blow him off it may be a temporary reprise but he will be trying his hardest to get you to go out with him again.

It is widely accepted that women subconsciously decide if they will have sex with a man in the first 5 seconds after meeting them. That doesn’t give us men a lot of time. We need to put our best foot forward and immediately show her that we have what she wants, sexually and otherwise. This is the main reason I wore tear-away pants on all first dates. The only thing separating you from my throbbing man-meat are a few snaps of metal buttons.

One of the things I learned from doing comedy is that I prefer direct communication. If you’re not planning to come to the show, don’t tell me you are. I respect someone saying, “nah, I’m not gonna be there,” much more than saying, “yeah, sure, I’ll do what I can,” and then not showing up.

All too often we try to spare each other’s feelings. “Wow, that’s a nice hat.” “Sure, I’d love to pet your cat!” “No, that dress doesn’t make you look fat.” While being direct in the moment feels like you are being hurtful, in the long run you are ripping off the bandaid and sparing both parties from weeks (or months) of confusion and uncertainty.

The best thing to do is… just say no. Tell them directly if you plan on seeing them again or not. Do not make excuses. Do not beat around the bush. “You seem like a great person, but I’m just not interested,” or, “I don’t want to lead you on, I don’t see this going anywhere.” If they don’t get the hint, get more direct. “I just don’t find you attractive,” or, “I think I can do better.” Most people will respect you for knowing what you want, and some might even ask for constructive feedback for their next opportunity. 

– John Powers


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