For Future Reference

The 6 Ways to Reject That Guy at the Bar

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I think we all know the drill: boy walks up to a girl in the bar, boy chats her up, girl rejects him, and boy walks away. I see it happen almost every time I’m at the bar, and yet so many of my friends tell me that they have a hard time turning a guy down at a bar (or on the subway or in line at the grocery store or online). For some reason, people opt for a very passive way of turning a guy down — turning away, ignoring, or even giving out a fake phone number –  but this just wastes time and his feelings will be doubly hurt when he realizes the ruse. Sure, different women have different ways to deal with it, and different guys, depending on their sleaziness or persistence, deserve different responses. So what can you do if he’s just not giving up? Let’s go over some options:

Can I Just Get It Over With and Give Him My Number?

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The Reasoning: He’ll go away if he successfully achieves the goal of getting your number. Granting him such a boon will make him feel good, so you won’t feel guilty. Plus, he’ll have a token to show his buddies when he inevitably leaves you at the bar — which is your goal successfully achieved.

Should You Do This: No. Why would you give him false hope? Sure he went away, but it’s only done for that moment. It’ll come back to haunt you in the morning or in three days when he’s texting you, trying to figure out your schedule and is “super flexible with whatever works best for you.” If you were always going to turn him down anyway, might as well do it that night at the bar.

Can I Avoid It if I Give Out a Fake Number?

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The Reasoning: It’s not like he’s going to call you right that second, right? Just have a fake go-to number ready to dole out to the losers you don’t want messaging you later. Might as well take it to the next level and make up a name, backstory, and absurd accent while you’re at it.

Should You Do This: No. That’s dumb. Don’t give him a fake number. Just tell him you’re not interested. On the other end of that fake number is a sad high schooler working the late-night shift at the local pizza joint. He doesn’t need Julio or Jacob or whoever from the bar last night trying to get into his pants on top of all that. He has an algebra test to study for. Spare everyone.

Can I Play It Off with a Joke?

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The Reasoning: It seems like it’ll lighten the blow of rejection if you turn it into a joke, because clearly everyone can still be friends, or at least walk away with their dignity, if you make it a joke. He’ll take the rejection in stride and you won’t feel bad either as you all laugh it off.

Should You Do This: No. You might mean well, but don’t try to make light of the situation, like deepening your voice to pretend you’re a man (yes, I’ve done this) because trying to break him down easy with humor can come across misleading and make him try harder. You guys aren’t going to end up being friends because you’re basically trolling in real life, and there is a reason why trolling is best reserved for online. No one appreciates this.

Can I Make Up a Fake Boyfriend as an Excuse?

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The Reasoning: If the guy’s just not getting it, make up a significant other who’s waiting for you at home. The guy at the bar won’t know you’re lying, and you’re trying to be a person of morals — as moral as anyone lying about having a boyfriend would be, anyway — so he should be a gentleman and just move on.

Should You Do This: Sometimes, maybe. Without a doubt, it is effective, but if he’s being so persistent that I feel the need to make up a boyfriend, I’d rather he knew that his personality and not my lack of availability framed my decision.

Can I Try to Bore Him with Stories About My Cats?

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The Reasoning: Testing the guy’s patience could eventually make him leave of his own volition if you do something like drone on about your cats. Of course, you know your cats are interesting, but this guy probably doesn’t think that. He’ll leave when he can’t stand it anymore, and it takes the act of having to reject him out of your hands.

Should You Do This: No. Don’t bring the cats into this. Why would you do that? It’s such a waste of time and is a disservice to your amazing cats. Just tell him you’re not interested.

Can I Just Turn Him Down Politely?

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The Reasoning: Our moms taught us if you don’t know what to say, just say, “No, thank you.”

Should You Do This: Sure, but only if you’re polite and firm when you say you’re not interested. As in, “No, thank you, I do not want you to buy me a drink” or “No, thank you, I do not want you anywhere in my pants.” Politeness serves both parties. It’s upfront, considerate, not mean, and puts the message across. (A bow might be overkill, though.)

Can I Just Be Mean?

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The Reasoning: There’s no inherent problem with delivering a really good insult. It’s cut and dry. It punches them right in the confidence. Sometimes it even feels good. If Bar Guy won’t take “no” for an answer, this might be one of your few remaining options.

Should You Do This: Fine. It nips it in the bud quickly, especially if he keeps at it. Just understand that you’re being mean because you’re not interested. He made you resort to this and he should feel all of the rage-filled repercussions.

Can I Just Shake His Hand and Be Done with Him?

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The Reasoning: Possibly the coldest way to let a guy down is to treat it like a stone-cold business transaction. There’s no way he won’t get the message if you go this route.

Should You Do This: Fine, but keep in mind that physical contact could be misconstrued as flirtatious encouragement. Be sure he knows you’re not interested by also mentioning that you’re not interested.

Can I Just Say No?

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The Reasoning: It seems cold to be so upfront, but it’s not. Consider the principles of Occam’s Razor — which basically just says the simplest way is the best. So, really, just saying “no” is actually the most considerate way to treat the situation. Feelings don’t get toyed with. Time and drinks aren’t wasted. It’s to the point.

Should You Do This: Yes. Do this. We’re grown-ass adults. We should all know how to give and take rejection in stride.