How to Lose A Guy in 10 Seconds

This one is mainly for the ladies, but guys can learn a whole lot from this as well.  This post is a pretty long one, but there’s a lot of good stuff in it, so you may want to read the whole thing.  In short, I overheard a great conversation on the subway today, and I thought I’d share what I gathered from it.

Here’s the Story

There was a couple sitting across from me and they were with a female friend.  The woman (for our intents and purposes will be named Woman) was telling her friends (the Boyfriend and Girlfriend) about how she had just been asked out by a friend of hers.  What hooked me into the conversation is when she said, “Really, he’s the nicest guy, but I just…”  At that point, I didn’t even try to look like I wasn’t paying attention.

The Girlfriend asked for confirmation: “Is it really a date, or could it just be you two hanging out?”  I was a little frustrated by this because I’ve often been led on by girls when I failed to be explicit with my intentions.  This is what I call “male subtlety” (I’ll get to that later).  However, the Woman quickly responded to the Girlfriend saying, “Nope.  He was very clear about the date part.  He said, ‘Do you want to go on a date.’”  For this, I was proud of the Nice Guy (yup, that’s his name from now on).

Subway ArrivesThe Woman then went on again about how nice the guy is and how she didn’t want to say no and hurt his feelings.  By now, the Boyfriend began to get very interested in the conversation.  He asked, “So what did you tell him?”  A look of pride washed over the Woman’s face.  “Well,” she said, “here’s what happened.  He asked if I was able to do something over the weekend, and I told him that I’m going to be pretty busy.  But, you guys know that I’m going to be performing in [whatever thing she had mentioned], so I told him he could come to that and he could hang out with me and my friends afterwords.”

The Boyfriend quickly came back with, “So you know what’s going to happen?  He’s going to show up thinking that that’s your guys’ date.”  The Girlfriend added, “If he goes,” to which the Boyfriend responed, “Oh he’s definitely going to be there.  You can count on that.”  From this statement alone, I knew I liked the Boyfriend.  Throughout the whole conversation I was tempted to add my two cents, but I didn’t want to bud in.  However, I was glad that everything he said was as if it came straight from my mouth.

The Woman seemed confused.  “But I don’t understand.  Why would he think that’s a date?” she asked.

“Because you never said it wasn’t,” responded the Boyfriend.  “He asked you out, and you told him to be there Friday, so he’s going to show up thinking that’s the date.”

“But it’s not like we’re going to be alone together.  I told him we’d be with my friends the whole time.  I thought I played it off really well.”  I was taken aback by the last statement.  “Did she really think that would be enough to let him know she wasn’t interested?” I thought.

Of course, the Boyfriend returned with the very words I wanted to say: “No.  You can’t be subtle like that.  Guys don’t get that.  We hear a yes and that’s it.  Now he thinks he’s in.”

“I just didn’t want to make him feel bad,” said the Woman.

The Boyfriend shook his head.  “See, now if you tell him you’re not interested, he’s going to think you’ve been leading him on.”  The Girlfriend came in with a “But she never said it would be a date.”

“But it doesn’t matter,” said the Boyfriend.  “You should have just said ‘no’ right away.”

“But then he would have given me the sad puppy eyes and walked off with his tail between his legs,” said the Woman.  The Boyfriend shook his head again.  “Even if he did, he’d get over it.  A guy is looking for a yes or a no.  If you say no, he’ll be expecting it.  But if you say yes first and then no later, then you’re leading him on.”  At this point, I wanted to give the guy a standing ovation.  “My advice is to let him know as soon as possible that you’re not interested on Friday,” he continued, “Otherwise, he’ll be there the whole night thinking he’s with you.”

Male and Female Subtlety

The conversation went on a bit longer, but that was the gist of it.  As I said, I was proud of how the guy handled the situation and how he educated his friend on male reasoning.  I mentioned “male subtlety” earlier.  This is when a guy tries to hint to a woman that he is interested in her and wants to go on a date.  My Advice: Guys, don’t use this technique.  It rarely works.  The woman will either miss the hint or get it, but use the lack of clarity to weasel her way out of a commitment, and then pin you as the ignorant one.  Don’t do this to yourself, you’ll be asking to get led on.

Similarly, what I learned from this subway ride, is that there is a “female subtlety” as well.  Female subtlety is when a woman “accepts” a man’s offer for a date, but in such a way as to demonstrate that it is not actually a date.  This might mean she’ll pay her own way instead of letting you, or she’ll invite some friends to go with you, or she’ll use some other method to attempt to spoil the “integrity” of the so called “date.”  My Advice: Ladies, don’t use this technique.  It rarely (and probably never) works.  Just tell the guy you are not interested and save both of yourselves the trouble.  Remember that this is not the guy’s first time asking out a girl (except in very rare situations), so he’s probably been turned down before.  Don’t try to “be nice” by coming up with a way to let him off easy.  You can even accept the offer to hang out, but if you get even a subtle hint that he is interested in more than friendship, it’s okay to ask him.  In fact, men would love if women were more direct that way.  If you’re not interested, just say so.  He’ll understand.  And yes, you can still be friends.

In terms of how guys should handle female subtlety, I’m afraid there is nothing I can do for you.  The majority of women are under the impression that if they use their “female subtlety,” the guy will understand.  Unfortunately for a guy, there is no good way to tell if a woman is trying to give you a hint or not.  There are many layers of female language that guys simply cannot understand.  Similarly, if a guy is direct with a woman and asks if she is interested, she can be caught completely off guard.

Make Your Intentions Clear

One of the things I found interesting about the conversation on the subway was that the Woman was totally not expecting the Nice Guy to ask her out.  “I just never thought about him in that way,” she said.  What I gathered from this is that guys should be direct and explicit with their intentions, but not at the last minute.  Yes, be sure that both parties know that you are interested in a date, but this needs to be conditioned first.  The woman has to be expecting this to some extent.  Let her know for sure that you are interested a while before you really ask her out.

Unfortunately, I have no good suggestion for how to do this.  Often guys think they are being clear (the male subtlety again), and then ask the girl out, to which she is completely shocked.  I’m sure that was the case with the Woman on the subway.  The fact is, men and women use two completely different languages when it comes to relationships and dating, and very few people are bilingual.

Men and woman have very different understandings of the world based on a number of different factors, this we all know.  However, we often forget about this when it matters the most.  In short, avoid subtlety in relationships.  If you are interested in someone, make it as clear as you can, without opening yourself up for the opportunity to be turned down (more explanation of that here).  And if someone is coming on to you and you don’t want them to be, make this perfectly clear also.  Remember that there is no need to be subtle if the other party is not.

I’ve been saying it for years: if every person knew these tips and kept them in mind, then it would be much easier to find a romantic match and there would also be a whole lot less heartbreak.  Nothing is perfectly clear in the dating world, but you can do your part to make it clearer!

>>By the way: If you hadn’t figured it out yet, the answer to the post’s title question is by telling him directly that you’re not interested.<<

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December 17, 2009  Author: Street Saint  Tags: , , ,   Posted in: Advice, Goals, Life Partner, Stories

One Comment

  1. quinn - December 17, 2009

    Being clear on what you want is great advice for any social interaction. The more we are willing to say what we want and listen for what other people want the less misunderstandings there are and much less wasted time sorting it all out latter.

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