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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Relationships » dating etiquette question

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Author Topic: dating etiquette question
Member # 93955

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I've been doing a lot of online dating lately, and there's a common (at least for me) scenario that I've been encountering. I'll go on a first date with somebody and have a decent-to-good time, but for whatever reason(s), by the end of the date I've decided that I don't want to go on another date. I realize that the other person can't always tell that I'm not feeling it, and I generally don't explicitly say anything about it until after the date has ended, because I don't want to ruin what is often a pretty good time. (Usually I'll email them the next day with something like, "I had fun last night, but I'm really not feeling much chemistry. Good luck finding what you're looking for!")

All of that works fine for me... unless the person that I'm not that into tries to make a physical move on me during the date, like hold my hand or kiss me. Here's where it gets complicated. I really like that sort of mild physical affection, and I honestly don't need to be that into someone to engage in it with them. However, I also don't want to be tremendously misleading. If someone goes to kiss me and I go with it, and I enjoy the kissing part because I like kissing, but then I email them the next day to basically say "thanks but no thanks" -- that's kind of a jerk move, isn't it?

So I guess I have two questions:

1) Is the whole "I'm going to kiss you and then tell you tomorrow that I don't want to go out with you again" thing really inconsiderate? Or am I overthinking things? (For the record, I haven't actually done this yet.)

2) If that scenario is indeed a bad idea, is there a graceful way to react to someone trying to grab my hand, etc?

Thus far, when someone I'm not into has taken my hand, I've pulled my hand away. When they've leaned in for a kiss, I've turned my head (so they get the cheek) or moved a few steps away. And it's always sooooo awkward afterward and pretty much ruins whatever fun vibe that was happening.


Posts: 18 | Registered: Jan 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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Member # 95710

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I can understand how you feel about things going from casual/fun to awkward very fast if your date tries to take your hand or kiss you!

As far as the kissing etiquette goes; I'm not too sure. Maybe it depends on the kiss. If it's a kiss on the cheek or a quick kiss on the lips, maybe that won't be as "damaging" to both parties as making out. I've actually had both scenarios happen to me: I once kissed a guy on our second date and he messaged me the next day and ended it; and I once held hands with a guy in a movie theatre and then ended it later into the night (but I had just gone through another relationship hurdle; so that was a bit different - but I felt bad). I think if this kind of thing happens and you feel bad, there is nothing wrong with saying that you're sorry. That is all the other person can really "expect" from you at that point. And a kiss or hand holding is one thing entirely - it was not as if you led them on further. It might even depend on the person in general (if they're sensitive, an over-analyzer, etc.).

As far as there being graceful, in-the-moment ways to react to someone taking your hand or kissing you; maybe you could just turn your head or hand like you've mentioned or just back off like you've said, but maybe try and change the subject to a mutual thing you have in common with this person, so there's no awkward silence. Explaining how you feel on the date might kill things; but you can always state over email (before the date happens) that you "just want to see where things go;" so it's presumed that it's a casual affair.

Good luck, and I hope you're doing well!

"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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Member # 93271

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Speaking as someone who has been on the opposite side of this situation, honesty and straightforwardness are your best bet. They may be the more awkward options, but they are also the most respectful options. You may enjoy the kiss or affection as simply a physical thing, but to the other person it could mean more. When this kind of situation happened to me, I ended up feeling confused, hurt, and a little led on. So, if you know you don't want to continue things, be respectful of the other person's feelings and make sure your actions are in line with your words and emotions.
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Member # 93955

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Thank you for the feedback! You've both been really helpful. I appreciate it.
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Member # 56822

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Good luck!
Posts: 540 | From: Australia | Registered: Feb 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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You know, one extra piece of advice I can give when on any kind of date where you realize the chemistry just isn't there, or maybe it is, but you still know a second date isn't something you want is to just voice that with sensitivity then ask the person if they want to continue the date.

In other words, something like, "Hey, this is awkward, but I'm just not totally feeling this. But I am having fun tonight, so if you want to finish the evening, I do, too." You can also then put out any boundaries you want to, like if you know you don't want to do anything sexual.

And with boundaries, I think personally voicing them with words is more sound than doing something like turning your head away, etc.

Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator

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