#Love & Sex
by The 4-Way Panel
The world of online dating is a murky one, with different rules and etiquette, such as the proper way to let someone down easy. Our panel of experts weighs in on the appropriate way to tell someone, “I’m just not that into you.”
Recently I “winked” at a guy I found interesting and attractive on an online dating site; he responded by clicking an automated button that sent me a message that said, “No thanks, I’m not interested.” I have to admit, I was a little taken aback. When people I’m not interested in reach out to me, I just don’t respond; that somehow seems kinder. A couple of friends told me that they’d gone on one date with guys, and knew the lack of interest/attraction was mutual, but they said the guys had written to them anyway to say, “Nice to meet you, but not interested.” That feels like the right thing to do after a couple of dates, but when you’ve just winked at someone or gone on one date and know that neither party is interested, why bother with the “No thanks”? Do guys just like being the first to declare no interest? Or maybe this is what everyone does and I don’t know? Would appreciate any thoughts you have. —BT, Portland, Oregon
The Lesbian Woman’s Perspective: Jody Fischer
Not being a guy, it’s a challenge to for me to know what guys do and why they do it. I suggest we not go there, anyway. This is just one man and it doesn’t seem right to hold his actions and responses as representative of the male mind.
What I can tell you is that if you winked at me and, for whatever reason, I wasn’t interested in getting to know you, I would also respond with “No thanks.” For me, this kind of response signifies that I have at least taken the time to acknowledge your wink.
Life online can be just as confusing as life offline and in person. One human would like to be responded to and treated in a particular way, and another has different needs. The mistake I make is when I think that the only right and reasonable way to do things is the way that I would do them.
In my little universe, I wouldn’t respond to a woman who only winked at me. The way I see it, if she can’t take the time or risk to share something about herself, we probably wouldn’t click. But, hey, that’s just my corner of reality.
Perhaps this man thought he was being considerate; perhaps he didn’t. We just don’t know. So why not assume that his intentions were kind and put your energy into meeting a guy who may want to meet you, too. Just remember that when you do meet him, his ways of responding and being in the world may be different from your own.
The Straight Man’s Perspective: Chris Kennedy
The “No thanks, I’m not interested” response is burning unnecessary calories.
However, I do have a few female friends who feel it’s important to know why a guy isn’t interested, and they expect the guy to tell them. So perhaps some response, even an automated “not interested” one, is better than none at all. I personally don’t agree with using this, because if someone doesn’t answer, they’re not interested and you move on; the “why” doesn’t help you at all or make you feel any better.
In the future, stop with the winking, poking, and all of that other nonsense, and just write a short, sweet email introducing yourself and saying hi. Save the winking and poking for actual dates.
The Gay Man’s Perspective: Darren Maddox
Is it really the kinder, gentler approach to just not respond and leave that person dreaming up an entire life with you? Or is it actually better that someone clicks the “not interested” button to actually do you a favor and save you countless hours of wondering whether he’ll respond? Some people don’t know how to let someone down gently. Some people don’t know how to date. Some people haven’t been on a date in years and don’t know dating etiquette. Whatever the case, we have tons of other opportunities to meet people out there thanks to the Interwebs.
Online dating is like everything else on the Internet: it’s all about instant gratification. If you don’t see what you’re looking for, you just keep digging a little deeper until you find it. Don’t be offended; just realize that the society we live in today allows everyone the ability to shop online for everything they’ve ever dreamed of, including dates. “At your fingertips” does not always lead to “at your doorstep,” my dear. Use this experience for what it is: a good story to share with your friends. And if you ever see him out somewhere, make sure you get his attention and then tell him, “Not interested.”
As for your question about whether or not guys like to be the first one to say they’re not interested, I think whether you’re male or female doesn’t matter; wouldn’t we all like to be the first one to declare that we’re not into it and spare getting hurt?
The Straight Woman’s Perspective: Rebecca Brown
You know what? I’m also a little thrown off when people do the auto “not interested” thing. Not because I’m so shocked that someone’s not into me, but because I wonder if there are people who really think a woman (or a man, for that matter) isn’t smart enough to figure out that they’re not interested if they just don’t respond. It’s pretty simple, really. If you’re interested, you take action; if you’re not, you don’t. If I don’t hear from someone, I know what the deal is. Who needs to get bogged down in logistics? Yes, after you’ve met someone in person, it’s nice to let him know if you’re not into seeing him again, but when you’ve never met someone? Not so much. It just somehow feels a tiny bit classier to pull a Paul McCartney and let it be and not click on some button. I say no thanks to the “no thanks” button.