Ask a Guy: How Do I Politely “Break Up” (After Just One Date)

(BTW: Read this if you’ve ever asked the question, “How do I know if a guy likes me?”)


Yo Isaac,

I went on a casual drinks date with a dude who was perfectly cute and nice but I felt zero spark.

However, he has asked me each subsequent day to hang. I don’t want to give him false hope or string him along, but I feel uncomfortable telling him straight up that I don’t think it’s going to work.

Usually I’m on the other end of this, but I get the picture (“He’s just not that into me”) pretty fast. Now that it’s flipped, do I cowardly continue to give excuses and hope he “gets it”? He is moving in a month, by the way… Or do I do the aggressive, one-date “break up”?


-She’s Just Not That Into Him

People! Listen up: This is EXACTLY how a boy acts when he is interested in you. He’ll ask you out. You guys will go somewhere. He’ll follow up with a “So glad we did that, let’s do it again soon” kinda text.

Next, he will ask you to hang out again and again and again, because he wants to see you and he’s making his intentions extremely clear. It’s a cut and dry, black and white scenario.

But back to the matter at hand: it’s entirely up to you what you do next. You can easily avoid him for a month, and then heave a sigh of relief once he’s moved away. It’s an option, but it’s not your best option.

I would personally be upfront. Tell him that it was nice to hang out, but that you didn’t feel a spark so you’d just like to be friends. And you know what? You might actually get to be great friends. I’ve had situations with girls where I was interested and they weren’t, or they were interested and I wasn’t, and whenever the message was sent loud and clear in the early stages, everyone was on the same page so nobody’s feelings got hurt.

However. Whenever either one of us never mentioned anything again and then hoped we’d avoid that person for the rest of our lives, of course we ran into each other 18,000 times over the next six months in the least opportune of moments.

So be honest! Don’t apologize, just tell him what’s what (in the kindest manner possible while firmly getting the message across). He’ll respect you for it, and you’ll feel good about the situation. Esteemable acts create self-esteem, after all.

And ladies, next time you’re wondering about why some guy is or isn’t texting back, come back and read this question: THIS IS HOW A GUY ACTS WHEN HE LIKES YOU!

The end.

Have your own question? Post your questions below or email with ASK ISAAC in the subject line. Follow him on Instagram here, Twitter here, and check out his website here.


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  • This post should be highlighted and posted EVERYWHERE.

    • Alessandra

      YES YES a million times yes

    • Yes! Everyone needs to know this. Perfection.

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  • Jehan S. Ismael

    OK, now confirmed that the guy I like only wants to be friends. Duly noted and thank you, Isaac. 🙂

    • isaaclikes

      Thank you!

  • Aydan

    Truth to all of this!

  • Ileen

    I have been on the other side so many times, but now I myself completely fucked up an already existing friendship because I thought we could be more than friends (and he did too). When things eventually happened, I just didn’t feel it at all! After I was just disappointed, especially by my own (non-existing) feelings and haven’t seen him ever since, cause I was really busy and ‘busy’. But to be fair also without this post, I knew that it was not the right thing to do… Friendship lost, super sad story. So yes, this advice is VERY GOOD.

  • Renee LeBouef

    Brb, gluing this to every surface in my apartment for easy remembrance. Ugh. Wonderful.

  • Lindsay

    Props to Isaac and the black and white sandal link

    • tj


  • me

    now, deep down, i *know* it’s the right thing to do/say.

    but man, oh man, it’s really hard (for me, anyway) to say “thanks, but no thanks” to someone who asks you out ….

  • BethanyBeach

    absolutely solid advice–if everyone was as straightforward as this, then people wouldn’t be confused as to when someone is genuinely busy or is blowing the other person off

  • Marike M.

    When you are sure you are just not that into someone, this advise definitely applies. Thank you Isaac! 
    My problem arises in the scenario of being unsure. Sometimes it just takes longer than one or two dates to realize you don’t want to be with someone: you feel sparks, but not (yet) the Big Sparks; you like him, but not everything about him (duh); you are into him, but not sure you are into committing to him. You need some time to get to now eachother and explore your feelings. 
    In my experience, the longer you stay in the doubt- and explore-stadium, the harder it gets to tell someone you don’t like them that way, because you get attached to them anyway. By rejecting someone early on, you don’t have to feel guilty about leaving the other behind in grey areas of possible- false hope. I think the high amount of control over our own lives we are used to these days, causes us to also want to control our love lifes. Uncertainty makes us uneasy. We want to be sure and we want it now. The fact that a love life includes two people makes it complex: we do not only need to know what we want ourselves, but also what others want from us. The danger of always aspiring to be sure in an early stage of dating is rejecting people before you got the chance to really get to know eachother.
    I suspect uncertainty to be the addictiveness of love. Maybe we should embrace the charm of the not knowing a little more? This ‘fast, firm and-friendly’- rule of rejecting has allowed me to rule out uncertainty about my feelings for myself and others many times, but maybe it also caused me to miss out on great loves that needed time to grow.
    What do you think about this? I’m not sure..

  • Donna

    Thanks Isaac! <3 <3 <3

    I wound up being incredibly honest and unapologetic in this instance.

    Reading your response I could have added something in to pad my response such as "It was fun to hangout!" I'll use that next time….

    Instead I went with the very direct (and maybe colder) "Hey– I don't want to lead you on but I don't think this is going to work. I'm genuinely really busy right now. Enjoy your last month in New York!"

    It felt really liberating to lay everything out rather than skirt around and make excuses.

    He did not respond, but that's fine. Means he got my message loud and clear. And to be honest, I would appreciate someone doing the same to me. Cut it clean at the start and prevent me from creating an attachment or letting my imagination wander.