Chicken asks: A girl found me on Instagram, and now on kik, and asked if I would date her. I don’t really know how to say no. I wouldn’t date her, but I’ve never been asked out and I don’t know how to reject… Please help!
Hi Chicken –
Rejection is a funny thing. We all hate being rejected (oh how it hurt, especially when I was young, and I’d run up to play with people who’d push me away, or dogs who’d get angry and bark and bite at me!). But of course we all have to do it many times (yes, even us dogs).
I think the reason people are so often afraid to reject is because they remember how much it hurt when someone rejected them. But the truth is, the rejections that hurt the most are usually the cruel ones.
Probably, when you were very young, your mother or caregiver had to say “no” at some point when you wanted something. And she said it in a very nice, affectionate, understanding way. “No, Chicken, you can’t have a pony for your birthday.” And you were disappointed at the news, but not devastated. But another time, she was in a bad mood and in a hurry, and you asked for money for a gumball machine, and she snapped at you “NO!” in an angry voice, and you were hurt to your heart! Then a few years later, you walked up to some other children and wanted to play, and one kid said “Oh sorry, Chicken, we already have full teams, but we’d love you to join us some other time,” and you felt fine; but some other kid yelled out “No, Chicken, we don’t want you here and we don’t like you! Go away!” And that made you run away crying.
(Or maybe you were a lucky kid and that never happened to you! I hope so!)
My point is that we all remember the rejections that hurt, and the ones that don’t are kind of forgotten. So when you have to give a rejection, like this one, the trick is to do it in such a kind and generous way that the person doesn’t really feel rejected.
Now sometimes, that’s really hard. But in this case, I don’t think it has to be. Why? Because of two things: First, your relationship is only online. She doesn’t really know you. It’s not like you’ve been sitting next to each other in school for two years and she’s unable to sleep at night because she loves every molecule of your being! So while she might be disappointed, this doesn’t need to be that big a deal.
And second, because you can make this rejection SOOOO nice! “Wow, I am so flattered that you’d ask! You seem fantastic, and if I dated girls I met online, I would be thrilled to go out with you. As it is, I don’t do that, and so I can’t meet with you, but thank you so much – you’ve made my day!” That doesn’t feel too bad, does it? And all you’ve said is that you’re flattered by her request (and in truth, aren’t you? If not, you should be!).
Now those might not be your exact words. I’d suggest you rewrite it to say what you really want to say. But the goal stays the same: to say that you don’t want what she’s offering, but in a way that makes her feel great about herself. With that, you won’t wound her at all, but instead build her up. And that doesn’t feel like rejection at all.
It’s like when Handsome has something that smells really good for dinner, and sees that I’d like him to give me some, and instead he gives me some doggy treats, scratches my ears, kisses my nose, and tells me how much he loves me. Did I get the food I wanted? No, but I feel fantastic!