This week we ask our daters: How do you know someone is just not that into you? What are the signals you try to send someone to tell them you’re not that into them?
Dana Neil: On the first few dates, I can tell he’s not into me if he doesn’t touch my hand or arm while we talk or if he doesn’t ask questions about me. Later on, I can tell when he doesn’t call much or if behaviors change and there doesn’t seem to be a reason why.
If I’m not into someone, then I try not to send signals. I like to be clear and honest with someone. I just think it’s so much easier for everyone. I know I’d rather hear it straight up than try to guess. It may be more difficult to do, but it’s the best way.
Michael Amesquita: If someone isn’t into you, then there starts to be a big delay in callbacks, text messages or e-mails. Even if they say they “had a fun time and want to do it again” and then they do not call you back, they are avoiding telling you the truth. It sucks that some people are chicken and cannot tell the person up front.
If I have a first date and know right away that I am not into that person, I try to find a way to work them into my group of friends. I invite them to group activities, but I will not invite them on a one-on-one date again for fear of misleading them. And sometimes you just have to have “the talk” and make it clear so as not to lead anyone on.
Jenn Heilman: A lack of eye contact when talking, taking phone calls or texting repeatedly on a date, and not calling or sending a follow-up e-mail within a few days of the date are sure signs they’re not interested in you. If I don’t hear from them within a week, I move on to the next. If you go on several dates and if physical intimacy like holding hands or kissing isn’t progressing, then that has also been a sign that they might not feel strong enough chemistry with you. If the plans also seem one-sided—with you always making the plans—it shows they don’t care enough to put in the effort.
Usually if I’m not into someone, I’m just straightforward and tell them how I feel rather than leading them on—although I’m probably guilty of the same signals I just listed, even though I find them rude when I’m on the receiving end.
Lucas Wall: If there are difficulties trying to set up a subsequent date, that’s a pretty clear signal of disinterest. If you aren’t that into somebody, it’s easy to come up with excuses for not getting together again. “Things are really busy right now” seems to be a favorite generic one. On the other hand, if you like somebody, you’ll make it a priority to spend time with that person. If someone is interested, they’ll want to see you. If they are not, they won’t. It’s that simple.
I try to avoid the whole signals game by just being honest with somebody if I am uninterested. If I am pursued for another date but didn’t feel a spark, I try to politely tell the guy I’m not interested. Something along the lines of “Hey, I enjoyed meeting you the other day, and it was fun talking about XYZ. But honestly, I don’t really feel a connection here. I’m sorry.” The truth can hurt, but I think it’s worse to be left hanging and not know where things stand.
Kate Searby: If a guy is “into” you, he’ll actively pursue you, call you, and take the initiative to make plans to get together. He’ll make you feel good about yourself. If he doesn’t even do those basic things, he’s not interested. And if he communicates with you only via text or e-mail—or, worse, you get total radio silence from his end—it’s time to cut your losses and move on immediately.
When I’m not interested in a guy, I try to convey that as honestly yet compassionately as I can. I’m such a believer that honesty is the best policy. Personally, I don’t believe in not returning the guy’s calls, but many of my girlfriends swear the most humane (and least awkward) approach is to send the “I’m not that into you” message. I prefer to be direct and (gently) tell the guy if I don’t have romantic feelings for him. So far, it’s worked well for me and I’ve ended up with a lot of great new friends.
Max Schwartz: If you end up carrying every conversation or if you are making all the contacts/setting up all the dates, those are bad signs. So is refusing to commit to concrete plans, canceling plans, or not talking at all besides on dates. Another problem is if she refuses to make time for you—or if she always has other plans on the weekend that she won’t include you in.
As for what I do to let someone know that I’m not that into them, it really comes down to a couple things. If it’s early on, I won’t call again for another date. If we’re further in, I just say, “This isn’t working for me.” I don’t really like trying to come up with some sort of subtle way to communicate these things. Why make it hard for everyone? If it’s something important, it should really be out in the open. I really think that’s the only way to salvage an amicable breakup—if you let things drag out too long or try to push someone out without just coming clean, you’re always going to have bad breakups.
Sally Colson Cline: You can tell someone isn’t into you when they aren’t calling you, it takes them a while to return your calls, and they are too busy for you. If you’re into someone, you find time.