One of my clients recently admitted she only messages men online who she “thinks will be a good date.” When we explored this decision-making, we discovered that she selects like this so she won’t have to turn down a second date. The confrontation is too uncomfortable for her.
This isn’t the first time I’ve heard a client voice an aversion to saying no. In a swipe-based world, there is so much access to singles, which means everyone is dating more people. And that means more no’s are necessary too. But turning down others doesn’t feel good – it’s why some people ghost.
There are different types of no’s. They happen in the message you might send the person you haven’t met yet (No, I’m not interested in meeting you), the text you may type when someone asks you out again (No, I don’t want to see you again), and the conversation you could have with someone you’ve been seeing (No, you’re not the one for me).
These conversations aren’t quite breakups but feel nearly as uncomfortable. Here’s how to say no in every scenario: make a s--t sandwich. Put the bad news in between two incredible thoughts so you honor what you had by acknowledging the good. Don’t use just any bread, think of it as homemade rosemary focaccia, not a basic store-bought loaf. The more specific the thought for the slices, the less cliché it will feel.
Here’s how to make the sandwich:
Lead with gratitude. Let your match know what you appreciate about them. It might be a compliment or an acknowledgement of what you shared.
Say no and tell them why. Throw the s--t in the sandwich and include a reason why. It should be genuine but not too specific so they don’t beat themselves up over it later.
End with respect. Show genuine care by telling them you respect them. When the person feels like you understand them, they’ll feel less slighted by the experience.
Hopefully your first s--t sandwich will be your last.
Laurie Davis Edwards is the founder of eFlirt, an online dating concierge service, and the best-selling author of "Love @ First Click: The Ultimate Guide to Online Dating."