Picture this: you’ve been getting to know a potential love interest for a little while, you’ve probably been on a few dates and up until now everything has been going great. On your list of must-haves, they’re ticking a ton of the boxes; maybe you’re super passionate about wildlife conservation and they work for Greenpeace or you’re both keen photographers/writers/singers etc. They’re inquisitive, take an interest in your life, in your passions and in getting to know who you truly are. Everything is going so fantastically, except for the crushing fact that, completely illogically, you’re just not that into them. Sound familiar? For all of you that know what I’m talking about, getting to grips with your feelings and then knowing what to do next can seem overwhelming, but here are the things I’ve learnt from being in your position:
First of all, stop feeling bad. I know that’s much easier said than done, but you can’t help the way you feel… or don’t feel, more appropriately. When someone you like doesn’t like you back, it’s horrible, I can’t lie, but when someone super awesome likes you and you don’t like them back, the effects this can have on your self-confidence can be just as damaging. You might start to question yourself and your ability to trust yourself and your choices: “Why don’t I reciprocate the feelings of someone I like, respect and with whom I share very similar opinions? There must be something wrong with me…” This was something that I initially struggled to comprehend, but, as corny as it sounds, love and attraction often have no rhyme or reason, meaning that somebody who seems perfect for you on paper might not necessarily be right for you in real life. There are lots of different reasons as to why this might be the case, so many that it can seem overwhelming trying to find the reason that fits the best, which is why I’ve found that it’s best to just not mull it over too much. Go with your gut: if you’re not getting the butterflies and you’re not excited to talk to them, to spend time with them and share your life with them, then you’re just not into them and that’s that.
Of course, the hardest part is telling this person how you feel. I’m not going to sugarcoat it for you, Smart Girls, it’s not pleasant–but it’s not really something you can avoid. Don’t be that person that just disappears into thin air; you know you wouldn’t like it if someone did it to you, so afford them the same courtesy. If you’re a sensitive soul like yours truly, you’ll feel like the worst person in the world, but remember to put things into perspective. This isn’t going to be the defining moment in your life or theirs; on the list of terrible things that could happen to anyone, this isn’t going to place all that high. Dating, after all, is just one giant case of trial and error. Before you find someone that you truly connect with, it’s highly likely that you’re going to meet plenty of people along the way that aren’t right for you. I mean, if it was easy, none of us would ever be single, would we?
The best piece of advice I can offer in regards to having the discussion is to be honest, but be kind. Don’t skirt around the issue; be upfront, otherwise you run the risk of not being clear. At the same time, however, don’t be mean. Remember, this person probably values your opinions and feelings; be thoughtful and think about what you’d want to hear in their position. You don’t have to give them a specific reason, in fact it might be better not to (it’s not as if you’re a couple yet, anyway) and you might not even have one yourself, but don’t give them nothing. Frank and simple statements like “unfortunately, I just don’t feel the kind of connection I’m looking for” or “I don’t want to string you along when I know it’s not there for me” give them a perfectly reasonable explanation without being overly cutting and vicious. Obviously, how they choose to respond is up to them. If you’re lucky, like I have been, they’ll be super cool and maybe even want to continue to get to know you more as a friend, however in this case you’ve got to be completely sure that they’re clear on where you stand. If they don’t take it so well, then not only did you make the right decision in calling it off in the first place, it’s probably also advisable to cut off communication altogether. Say your piece, let them say theirs, wish them well and then put it to rest.
The most important thing to remember when you’re going through an awkward situation like this is don’t give up. When something promising fizzles into nothing, it can make you feel like it’s just never going to happen for you. Stay strong and remember to continue to value and enjoy your own company, because you’re the coolest! I mean, Beyonce pretty much started an entire Single Ladies movement, why would you not want to be a part of that?! At the same time, however, have faith that someone out there is going to one day completely sweep you off your feet and vice versa. A friend recently put it to me so perfectly: you saw a pair of gorgeous shoes, you tried them on and they didn’t fit, so now you just have to look for another pair. Onwards and upwards, single ladies!