So here’s the sitch: There’s a date in the date-books, and one half of the twosome in question no longer wants to go. We’ve all been there, on either side of things. We’ve been canceled on, when we, ourselves, were excited. But that’s not what this is. No. This article presumes that you’re the one who’s doing the avoiding. This article is here to give you better, gentler ways to do it.
There’s one key ingredient to a well-constructed white lie, and that is a detail. A key, specific detail. People get paranoid out there in the great, wide world of dating, which means we’re all the more keyed up, all the more terrified of being lied to. And that, in turn, makes it harder to do. But I’m here to make it easier. I’m here to provide, if not any uber-new ideas, some variations on the classics.
1. You’re just financially responsible: What we shall be doing in all of these, is drumming up excuses in which you are framed to look AMAZING. Not just amazing, ahh-MAH-zeeng. Anyway: Money. This is a new day and age in which we live. Gone is the idea that the man will always pay. In which case, you can use your own penny-pinching habits to both a) avoid the date, and b) look, not rude, but financially responsible. So: Don’t text the guy or gal to say, “Can’t make it out tonight. Sorry.” Rather include those key details we talked about before. Call and say, “Hi. I’m so sorry to do this, and it’s really embarrassing, actually, but I just don’t think I can afford to go out. I’m trying to be better about these things, and I just looked at my checking account and, to quote Dana Carvey’s Church Lady, ‘It wouldn’t be prudent.’ So sorry, again.”
There’s a clear glitch, of course, and that’s that the guy or gall will say, “Well then, let me treat you!”
In which case, hell’s bells, You’ve scored yourself a meal.
2. You’re just such a good friend: Never use death or severe illness. Anything, really, that makes even the least superstitious among us feel a sense of foreboding. What we can do, though, is lean on the minor tragedies. You can do it like this:
“Hi there. So first let me say: I’m mortified to do a last minute cancel. Unfortunately, though, a good friend of mine is having a really tough time. One of those work/life/everything’s-awful-at-once things. She is, in short, in a bit of state, and the responsible, long-time friend in me feels like I really ought to take her out. Apologies again!”
3. You’re sick, but in a cute way: Again, no severe illness, and preferably, nothing involving various fluids leaving your body. What you have, you see, is the world’s worst sore throat. You can’t even talk, really, which is why you’re texting instead. You are sick, but still adorable. You’re at home, your hair in the most flattering of messy ponytails, you’re blowing seductively on your cup of hot water with lemon and honey.
Now, this is not what you say, of course. It’s rather what we presume he’ll imagine: You all adorable, in lieu of you beside a toilet bowl.
Because let us, at the very least, be honest: You might not want to date, but that doesn’t mean you’re ready to repulse him.
4. You’re direct: When in doubt — and this one is dangerous, reserved only for the most emotionally competent among us — you can simply be honest. You can say it as it is. You must still be sensitive, but nonetheless direct. You write, “Hi there. So I know we’d said 8pm tomorrow, but here’s the thing: I just, well, I just don’t think I’m ready to date at the moment. I think I thought I was, and you seemed absolutely lovely, and that helped convince me. But I’m not. All me, not you, as they say. Apologies again.”
This, it bears mention, is also a good way to go if you find there’s no way around a big, fat, poignant fact: You’re just not attracted.