“Sorry, I have to do my laundry on New Year’s Eve,” or “I think my second cousin is coming into town on Valentine’s Day.”
But rather than hurting a guy’s feelings by saying “No, no, no, a thousand times no, no way I’d ever go out with you, Bozo,” here are some very courteous and creative ways to say no to a guy without shrinking his manhood too badly.
These new, more delicate ways to say “no,” are based on the way publishers and literary agents say no to aspiring writers, and they say no about 98% of the time, so when it comes to saying no, those guys wrote the book on it.
So here are a couple of suggestions to use the next time Mr. Wrong asks you to go out on a date with him for the umpteenth time.
Rather that just saying, “No, and please don’t ask me again,” you can practice saying no to a date like a literary agent or a publisher might say no, with some of these more soothing replies, like...
1) I can’t believe how many requests I have received recently, and I’m having an impossible time trying to decide which ones to say yes to. So rather than hold you up for a moment longer, I want to let you know right away so you can continue your search for the perfect date for you.
2) I apologize for taking longer than expected, but due to the sheer volume of requests I get, I’m afraid I must turn down your invitation. It was a hard choice to make and I know this is disappointing, but please know that it is not a reflection on your worthiness or your character.
3) I can only go out with those guys for whom I feel a real connection. Ultimately, and for purely subjective reasons, you did not spark that kind of enthusiasm in me. Please keep in mind that a person to whom one girl doesn’t respond may be met with great enthusiasm by another.
4) I’ve discussed this with my roommates and my friends, and sadly, because of the intense competition in the current dating market, I’m forced to be highly selective and I often must pass up many potentially promising prospects.
5) I’m sorry, but I have a very full list right now and I can’t take on any new dates unless they come with a recommendation from someone I personally know, someone whose judgment I respect, and someone who knows what I look for in a man.
6) I’m sorry, but your proposal does not sufficiently engage my interests. Please understand that this is not a statement about your marketability. Others may view you quite differently. But don’t feel rejected. As they say, “every no gets you closer to yes.”
7) I’m sorry, but I can’t say that you’re a good fit with the kind of material I feel confident going out with in the current market.
8) I’m truly sorry to say that I didn’t like you better, but I’m sure it is quite possible you’ll find someone who will find you much more interesting and attractive than I do.
9) I’m sorry, but I am not quite as enthusiastic about going out with you as I would have to be if I were going to say yes. Of course, dating is subjective, and another girl might feel differently, so I wish you the best of success in finding someone who will go out with you.
10) I get so many requests that I am sorry that I can’t even give you a personal reply. Please excuse this email form letter. Best of luck finding another date for the Inaugural Ball.
11) When taking on a new boyfriend, I have to be very selective so I can pay my full attention to him, and I can only go out with those for whom I have unconditional enthusiasm and a conviction that my friends and family will share that enthusiasm. So thank you for asking, but no. Of course, it’s quite possible that some other girl will see things differently, so keep trying until you find a girl who will say yes.
12) I’m afraid that I’m going to have to pass on your request, but I do hope you find a nice girl and go on to become a zillionaire and tell everyone what an idiot I was for saying, “No.”
IF YOU PREFER A SHORTER REPLY, YOU CAN ALWAYS GO WITH ONE OF THESE:
13) Thank you for your request, but I am fully committed to my other boyfriends at this time.
14) Thank you for asking, but I have a full list and I will be taking myself off the market soon and I will no longer be acquiring new boyfriends.
15) Sorry, due to the number of requests I get, I have been obliged to institute a policy of not accepting unsolicited requests for dates.
16) Unfortunately, I only accept six to nine new dates a year and I must often reject some very worthy fellows.
...But then again, if you feel you need to be a little more to the point, you can always use one of these:
17) While I find your material interesting, and I am sure you must be a charming and dynamic fellow, I have concluded that you are just not right for me. But please don’t let this discourage you, I appreciate your effort and I urge you to pursue your other possibilities.
18) Many fine young men ask me to go out with them and it’s unfortunate that I can’t go out with them all.
19) I am sorry that I do not have better news for you, but I do wish you well in finding a date for the party. There are many girls in this state who might love to go out with you.
20) Thank you for sending me your video invitation to the party. However, it is my policy to accept referrals only. Please note that your correspondence has not been read, watched or listened to.
21) I was delighted to receive your request and I have given it my most careful consideration, but alas, and as much as I hate to relay the news with a form letter email, I’m sorry, but the answer is no.
...AND IF ALL ELSE FAILS....
22) Sorry, you’re just not my cup of tea.
Now, these have just been some of the kindler, gentler ways to say no when a guy asks you to go out for a date.
If you’re already comfortable going out with him, but you really don’t want to go to bed with him and he keeps giving it the old college try, try this one on for size...It’s an excuse that will generally stop him cold...just say, “I’m sorry, but you should have met me when I was still a nymphomaniac.”
So, do you have some favorite ways of saying “No” when a guy asks you out on a date or when he asks you to go to bed with him?
Let us know what works for you. Send me an email with some of your favorite lines.
Saying yes is easy. Saying no requires a bit more ammunition.
...And oh yes, Happy Valentine’s Day...or whenever.
For additional information, contact Robert Barrows at R.M. Barrows, Inc. Advertising and Public Relations in San Mateo, California at 650-344-4405, www.barrows.com, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
A slightly different version of this article ran in the May 2010 issue of The Blotter and two other publications.