How To Politely Decline
When you agree to go on a date with someone you met online you really don't know what you're signing up for. Maybe those photos were taken years ago with a crazy good filter or they're actually only 5'3. Or maybe they are even better looking in person and even more charming than over text. It could really go either way so it's good to show up with an open mind and low expectations.
It takes about 60 seconds for a first impression to kick in and if you're not feeling it, you're mentally preparing your exit. Your time is valuable and so is theirs so what do you do if you aren't feeling the romantic vibe? Do you stay for the customary two drinks? Do you make up an excuse and leave? If you're not enjoying the conversation at all and don't see any romantic interest in this person, rather than dating passively, after you finish your drink let the other person know you need to take off. You don't necessarily owe them an explanation, nor do you owe them your entire night. Just be polite and let them know you have to be getting home now. Thank them for their time and go meet your friends or head home to relax.
We tend to think it's obvious there was no romantic connection made on the first date so it can be surprising when that person reaches out for a second date. While it was obvious to us, it might not be so obvious to them that there just wasn't a spark. Ghosting is definitely the easiest method of letting them know it won't be happening but it's probably the most hurtful. I have definitely been on both ends of ghosting and have made a conscious decision to let someone know why I don't want to go out with them again. If you do get a text asking for another date that you have no intention of going on, just send a one sentence text saying you felt more of a friend vibe than a romantic vibe.
I actually had someone respond to a text that I sent declining their offer for another date asking exactly why. In the nicest way possible, I let him know that there were a few things he said and did that I didn't feel comfortable with and that I'm looking for someone who posses different qualities. Sometimes we don't know what we're doing wrong so if you can nicely let the other person know, then it could really help them.
I was once on a date with someone who kept mentioning how expensive New York is and that he hated how he had to pay for girls on dates. You can imagine how uncomfortable it made me as I was on a first date with him. He realized what he was doing and he stopped bringing it up but he could tell my interest in him had dissolved. I don't know what happened to him but I really hope he learned from that and hasn't repeated those same mistakes.
We're all just trying to figure out how to become our best versions - give a little guidance when you can and try not to ghost. Let's treat one another with respect and love.