How do I politely back out of a first date?


If the date you agreed to makes you feel like this, it’s time to pass.

Dear Megan,

I’m hoping you can help me with some advice on how to politely back out of meeting someone in person.

I had been talking to this guy through online dating for a couple of weeks. As we’d been talking, I picked up on some minor red flags, but generally, he was pleasant to talk with, so I tried to disregard them. However, during our last couple of messages, I’ve gotten an increasingly unsettled feeling, even though there’s no one specific thing I can point to as the cause. It’s just a vibe, I guess.

In a recent message, he asked if I’d like to meet in person, and I said sure, but I told him I had a few more questions first. I asked my questions. He dodged one of them, and I don’t know… I just feel like my gut is telling me not to meet this guy. But I also feel like I’ve already agreed to meet him, so I don’t know how to politely back out. I know pretty much any reason I give will seem lame or insincere. And yet the idea of meeting him is stressing me out.  Please help!

-The Anti-Casper


Dear “The Anti-Casper,”

Ugh, I totally feel your pain.  And in the spirit of a Tony Robbins seminar can I just say, “If anyone else has ever been in her shoes say ‘Aye!’”  Lol…  Dating can be plagued with doubt, and sometimes, before you know it, you find yourself in over your head.  But kudos to you for not ghosting, (which is why I call you “The Anti-Casper”).  Many would have, so mad props to you for not wanting to leave this guy hanging, especially after a couple weeks of communication.

Now, while it’s no secret that I expound on the “If it’s not a ‘Hell yes!’ it’s a ‘Hell no!’” philosophy in “The Care and Feeding of Sex Symbols,” there are times when you should proceed with a date you’re hesitant to go on.  Sometimes you’re just so out of practice in following your gut that you confuse the uncomfortable feeling associated with breaking out of your comfort zone with a “Hell no!” and delay your opportunity to meet someone you actually might be compatible with.

But, rest assured, this is not one of those cases.

You should proceed with a date you’re hesitant to go on when going on it still feels right.  

And by “right” I’m not referring to the relief associated with appeasing a false sense of obligation – because all you owe yourself and anyone else is your authenticity.  I’m referring to the peaceful feeling you get when you allow yourself to get still long enough to listen to your gut and it consistently tells you in a still, quiet voice to “go ‘head.”  Even in the face of hesitation, there should still be a lightness around the meeting, an easy-going hint of curiosity surrounding the wolf that feels harmless.

You shouldn’t proceed with a date you’re hesitant to go on when you feel, well, everything you described. Like, “stressed out.”

Regardless of your inability to point out exactly what makes meeting him feel uneasy, when dread, frustration, sadness, etc, consume you to the point where you want to fake your own death, abandon your bra, and go live amongst a pygmy tribe in Africa every time you think about the date, it’s time to shoot him one of these:

“Hey __,

Thanks for taking the time to get to know me better over the last couple of weeks.  I really appreciate it.  However, I’ve come to the conclusion that we’re not a match, so I’m going to have to cancel our upcoming date.  Sorry for the inconvenience, and I wish you the best of luck.  xoxo!”

(Well, you can omit the XOXOs if you want, that’s just my style, lol.)

Remember, your feelings are there to guide you in a sort of “colder-warmer-hotter” game to all of your heart’s desires.  And any feeling of strong negative emotion is your signal that this is definitely not the right direction for you. So listen.  And keep learning to trust your gut.  The more you do it the better you’ll get at it, and before you know it a “Hell yes!” will be knocking on your door.  Best of luck!

-Megan 🙂

For my story check out “The Care and Feeding of Sex Symbols” here

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Note: As this column is designed to be a judgement-free zone, only those who have been, (or know someone who has been), in a similar situation are invited to comment; especially if the question is unorthodox or hard for one to relate to.  And for even more relevant insight, those seeking answers are always encouraged to go within.


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