First Date Protocol: What Do You Do When You’re Not Attracted To Them?

About 4 months ago I met a guy from OKCupid.

I knew the moment he showed up at the bar that I wasn’t attracted to him. I just knew it. This was a rare occurrence for me. In the last 2 years, I have not had one date that didn’t turn into a second/third/fourth/etc date, a request for a second date, a short-term relationship, or..whatever. In the two or three instances where none of that occurred it was because I was the one doing the rejecting. So there I sat with my mojito, looking at his watch, wondering when was the appropriate time to tell him I didn’t feel any magic.

About 20 minutes in he took the menu and started looking it over trying to decide what to order. I couldn’t let him do that. Not only was I not going to let him spend money unnecessarily, I also didn’t want to sit there not eating while he ate or somehow mentally trying to rush him through his meal. So I just came out with it. Ripped that band aid right off. We made it to the 45 minute mark and we said our good byes.

That was the first time in a long time I had to do that. The one other time was with a guy about 2 years earlier. This was a date clear cut “casual” date. The date was designed to determine physical chemistry. I knew going into that date that I wasn’t 100% on board with hooking up with him. When we met I knew it was a no go. The problem? I sensed he was kind of…volatile. Again, I did not let the date progress beyond pleasantries and a cocktail. As expected I was met with a tongue lashing that lasted into the next day. Even when I emailed him to apologize if he felt I had wasted his time, I was met with a barrage of insults.

It’s a tricky situation, right? You show up and, upon meeting someone and giving them that warm hug, you just…know. You know that they’re disappointed or not feeling it. When I was heavier, I got that tweak on almost every date. I would sit there and literally feel the guy trying to accumulate enough minutes before he could say good bye. There was one date that so stuck out in my mind that, when the same guy from the date rated me highly on OKC  a few months ago, I replied to him and told him what an unpleasant experience it was to meet him the first time around. I should have been flattered that he didn’t recognize me, etc. I know. I couldn’t help it.

I’ve never sat there and tried to make myself be attracted to someone. It’s either there or it’s not. I never felt a need to give it time to see if the attraction would materialize. As someone here has said before, who wants to be with someone that has to be convinced to want to see them again?

In an ideal situation neither of you are feeling it. Then you can get through one drink and skeedaddle. Then there’s Scenario B. That’s when you know you’re date is feeling it and you aren’t. Those are the sticky ones. There are, of course, two ways to handle it. You either smile through it and say nothing misleading. Then when you get the email suggesting another date you simply say that you didn’t think you and they were a match. Or you just tell them after the first round that things won’t be progressing, etc. Neither are especially pleasant. I suppose telling someone face to face is a little harsh and uncomfortable. I’d rather do that than allow them to think things are headed a certain way and then blindside them.

How do you handle this sort of thing? Do you know right away? Do you try to wait and see if the attraction will build? Do you leave?

How have you handled it when you’ve been the one who was dismissed?

Would you ever tell someone flat out that you weren’t physically attracted to them? Or do you lie?




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13 Responses to “First Date Protocol: What Do You Do When You’re Not Attracted To Them?”

  1. Avery Says:

    As Moxie said, in an ideal situation, both of you are on the same page and you’re both feeling it, or you’re both *not* feeling it. I’ve had 2 situations where I knew within minutes that it was a no-go but the other person felt differently. In both situations, I was pleasant and engaging on the date (I don’t think I personally could handle telling someone in-person – not that I’m judging. I just wouldn’t have the stomach to do it). When I got the request for a second date, I sent an email or text saying something along the lines of “Thank you so much for the invitation. I had a great time the other night and really enjoyed getting to know you, but I’m afraid I don’t see us as a romantic match, and I wouldn’t want to stand in the way of your finding the person who is.” Something like that…(Ironically, I’d borrowed the scripting from an email I’d *received* when the situation was reversed). In the first instance, the guy was completely gracious and appreciative of my honesty and closure [his words]. In the second instance, I was met with a nasty-gram that said “As long as you continue to turn away the good guys, all you’re gonna get is drama, so *GOOD LUCK* with that strategy.” Zzzzzing. I didn’t respond (although I thought about it). I’d be interested to know how other people handle the nastygrams that can sometimes result from admitting the chemistry’s not there: do you just ignore it? Or have you ever engaged?

    • D. Says:

      I ignore it every time. If they really think you’re the badguy for calling it off, (A) you won’t change their mind, and (B) writing back will either confirm that for them (if you’re rude in return) or will feed their ego (if you’re apologetic). Either way, there’s no percentage in it. It’s rolling in the mud with a pig: you get dirty, and the pig likes it.

    • The D-man Says:

      A response like this indicates that he is not, in fact, a good guy. He’s a “nice guy” who hides his true feelings and then lashes out when rejected. A nice guy doesn’t realize it, but he’s manipulative and therefore a bad guy. He thinks that by being nice he will get you into bed.

      • LIsa Shield Says:

        You just politely say, “Thanks for coming out. I really enjoyed out time together, but I don’t think we’re a match.” I also think it’s a nice thing to just enjoy someone’s company, bit go on a date, even on one where you don’t feel connected and spend quality time connecting with someone. Dating is hit and miss. You’ve been lucky to have so many good dates. But be polite and kind. You don’t have to sit there for hours, but you also need to remember that this person took time out of his life to meet you. It’s not just your time being wasted.

        • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

          Oh hai Lisa!

          From Lisa’s bio:

          Relationship coaching is not just what I do for a living; it’s my passion. After fulfilling my lifelong dream of finding my soul mate, I became a certified life coach so that I could help others find theirs. While I understand that not everyone wants to go searching for love, I am committed to helping those who do. I know that nothing else we do in life can feel as frustrating, confusing, and disheartening as dating or being in a disappointing relationship. But I also know that love is worth everything we must go through in order to find it.

          Really? Your life long goal was to find a man? How truly tragic. I love how all these dating coaches have the exact same bullshit story about how they became dating coaches.

  2. D. Says:

    It’s been a while since I’ve had a one-and-done date. Like you, my dating experiences usually tend to result in at least a second date, if not more.

    Usually, though, it’s less an issue of looks specifically, and more an issue of some combination of personality and intangible chemistry (or lack thereof), which in turn may or may not affect my attraction to them overall.

    When dating offline, the “will I be attracted to them?” issue is usually a moot point. You’ve probably met them somewhere socially, so you’ve already seen them in person and maybe chatted them up a bit. Thus, you’re already physically attracted and you know you can stand to talk to them for 20 minutes, or you wouldn’t have asked them out and they wouldn’t have accepted. In cases where you’re set up on a blind date by friends, it’s a bit dodgier, but even then, your friends can usually vouch for the person’s coolness and usually can show you a few pictures of them.

    In my experiences with online dating, it’s been VERY rare that I’ve gone out with someone who didn’t look pretty close to their profile pictures. I’m not usually in the habit of asking out women I don’t find attractive on some level, so that’s rarely the threshold issue. As a result, when I meet someone, it usually hinges on personality/chemistry. That, in turn, affects physical attraction (and really overall attraction). A girl could look terrific, but if the personality fit isn’t right, it’s not happening.

    I’ve had this happen twice in the last year or so. In one case, the girl in question was just a bit dull in person. She was cute, and I had a nice enough time, but it was just kind of a bland experience on the whole. By the end of the date, I knew I wasn’t going to want to see her again. So, after maybe an hour or so, we said our goodbyes, and that was that. I didn’t contact her, she didn’t contact me. In the other case, the conversation was good and the girl was plenty attractive, but after about an hour or so and maybe two drinks, she revealed that she was (A) recently out of a relationship, (B) not entirely sure how ready she was to open herself up emotionally again, and (C) might end up moving out of town in about a year. Again, at the end of the evening, we exchanged pleasantries (maybe a hug goodbye?) and I didn’t contact her again.

    I suppose that raises a few issues on how one extricates oneself from such a situation. Since most of my dates are with people I find physically attractive, I very rarely feel the need to call it at the 20 minute mark. As a result, I usually will stick it out for about an hour, hoping to get a sense of the woman’s personality. That gives us enough time to loosen up, have a decent conversation, and see if there’s any kind of personality connection. If there isn’t, then we get the check at around an hour or so in, and call it a night. I’ll usually pick up the tab, unless she insists on chipping in.

    At that point, I suppose it becomes easier for guys, since the expectation is that if we’re interested, we’ll ask the girl out again. I have never had a girl I wasn’t interested in contact me to specifically ask me out again after a first date that went nowhere. After one date, there’s really no reason to tell someone “Listen, I wasn’t feeling it” unless there were mixed signals sent, but most of the time, if there’s no personality click, I tend to think that’s pretty clear to both parties and no further action is required.

  3. DrivingMeNutes Says:

    Like the commenter above, it’s very, very rare that I’m attracted to someone online but not attracted to them physically when I meet them. Many people look different from their pictures but I find that, much of the time, it has more to do with my expectations about their appearance. You know, if their picture kind of reminds you of that girl you liked in high school or a film actress, you expect or even hope that they’ll look like her. Then they show up and whoa they look exactly like their pictures but nothing like what you expected. That is startling but not always disappointing.

    I’ve learned not to try to figure out whether someone is interested. I’m too often mistaken (ie meet them months later at a party and it turns out I was the one that didn’t follow up and they were totally bummed.). People have told me I give off mixed signals as well. So, unless they throw down money and leave after 20 minutes, I don’t assume they aren’t interested. And, even if they seem meh about me, if I am interested, I will follow up. Sometimes it turns out they weren’t interested as expected. How do I handle? I spend 10 minutes wondering what I did wrong and then move on with my life.

    • Steve Says:

      I’m surprised to read the above since I have had a number of times that I have met someone and they looked years older than their ages. In a few of those cases, they were already 8-12 years younger, so if they end up looking 6-7 years younger, that’s still OK with me although there is that initial disappointment when you first see them. (Darn, she was 35 but looked 20 something in the photo, oh well). Some of them must be delusional if they think they still look the same as their years old photos. In another, she listed as a few yrs younger than me (mid 40s) and only had 1 photo (red flag). She looked considerably older than my late 40s sister, and I knew immediately I had no interest, just a waste of my time. I have seen many females with different ages on the various dating sites. Yes, cute/hot women do age too. I wonder how many/what % of the 40s and up women are lying about their ages, maybe Moxie has an idea about this.

  4. LostSailor Says:

    I’ve only ever had a handful of these types of dates. But as I’ve said on other threads, unless there is some horrible dysfunction, there’s no one I can’t make conversation with for 30-45 minutes. In one of those instances, I’d had my doubts going in and said up front that I only had about an hour to meet for a drink. In the other instances, I tried to make it clear as politely as possible that there really wasn’t any chemistry. It’s not necessarily pleasant, but I think you need to be up front about these things. It’s like tearing off a band-aid: better the short term hurt than the deeper and longer hurt by dragging it out.

  5. Steve From the City Next Door Says:

    I am also surprised that the others have not had this all that often. Like the other Steve said, I have had a number of online dates show up and look much older and even more common, to be a lot heavier.

    I think it is easier for a guy. I just don’t call for another date and only a few times have I been contacted again. It is always uncomfortable and I usually give some about not seeing a romantic future with them.

    I have had this happen recently with a person I had met in person..only in this case it was what she was saying….extremely racists…to the point I wonder if she was trying to get rid of me.

  6. Riv Says:

    How would you handle it if it were always the guy that wasn’t attracted to you? Women can dish it out but could they take it if it were the men who became the picky sex?

  7. Angelina Says:

    I’m in that situation right now. As soon as I saw him I knew this wasn’t going to work out unless we’re friends, strictly friends. I’m not too sure how to let him know that I’m not atrracted to him without hurting his feelings too badly. Please, help!

  8. Diana Says:

    I once went on a blind date and when he came to pick me up I wasn’t attracted to him at all. I went out with him anyway because it was Saturday evening and I was home bored. We went out dancing. When he called the next day and said how he enjoyed going out I told him he wasn’t what I was looking for he said ok maybe we can touch base with each other once in awhile. We didn’t talk again after that.

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