Tell someone you don’t want to go on a date.

After a first date, one person might feel a spark while the other doesn’t.It’s important to let someone know you don’t want to go on a second date.Keep your words direct, even if you let them know via text or in person.Straight forward conversations can feel vulnerable, but honesty is respectful.

Step 1: Don’t be afraid to be direct.

You can’t beat telling someone you’re not interested in a second date.The other person might not pick up on what you’re saying.”I’m actually busy this week, but I want to be straightforward.”I don’t think we’d be a good match and a second date is not the best idea.

Step 2: They should be treated with respect.

Remember the golden rule, treat others the way you want them to treat you.If someone you like said something that would hurt you, put yourself in their place.You don’t have to treat them badly.Don’t insult phrases like “Are you kidding?”Our first date was terrible.Move along, dude.Disgust isn’t an acceptable response.Asking someone out takes courage and being liked is flattering.They should not hurt their self-esteem.

Step 3: If you give one, give an excuse.

Lying is never a good idea, but a valid excuse can help explain your disinterest without hurting the other person’s feelings.Don’t use vague excuses like “Next week is kind of busy” or “I’m not feeling great tonight, sorry.””I’ve realized I’m not ready for a relationship right now” is an excuse that can’t lead to a later date.

Step 4: To put the blame on you, use “I” statements.

Being turned down puts the person in a vulnerable place, and they may feel ashamed or like something is wrong with them.There are reasons that you aren’t attracted to them.The focus should be on you using “I” statements.You could say, for example, “I’m flattered that you enjoyed our date, but I didn’t really feel a romantic connection.”I hope I don’t hurt your feelings.

Step 5: Prepare for a negative or positive response.

They might respond in a variety of ways.Some might accept your response without thinking, but others might be upset.Stay firm in your response, but treat their emotions with respect.If they start to cry, ask how you can help.Don’t give them a date to stop them from crying.

Step 6: Don’t turn someone down through another person.

This is not fair to the other person and you might be tempted to let a friend have this hard conversation instead.Don’t be afraid to face the conversation.It’s always ideal to be in-person, but calling or texting is more convenient.

Step 7: First, compliment them.

If you meet this person through online dating, you should take special care to compliment them first.Tone doesn’t translate well in text.If you compliment them first, your message won’t take a harsh tone.You could write “I enjoyed going out with you last week!”You are an amazing hiker.I didn’t feel like I would be interested in a second date.Don’t sugarcoat what you say.The person may be given false hope by over-flattering them.Write a couple of nice things, then move on.

Step 8: It’s important to keep your text simple.

The message can be long if you have this conversation through text.If you keep the text simple, your recipient will understand you.Aim for a few sentences.You could say, “Hey, I had a fun time getting to know.”I’m not interested in another date right now.Hope all is well!

Step 9: It’s a good idea to read the text aloud.

Texting and talking in-person can have a different tone if you run through your text aloud.If your response seems cold, consider how the words feel when said aloud.You could text “You are a sweetheart” instead of texting “Thanks, but you’re not my type, buddy.”I think it would be better if we didn’t have a second date.It is possible to make the text feel less brusque by adding an emoji.

Step 10: Don’t “ghosting” them.

When letting them know over text is important, as is treating their feelings seriously.If they ask you about a second date, reply directly.You risk hurting the other person if you forget about the text.

Step 11: If you really want to be friends, don’t tell them.

“But we can still be friends!” is a common “go-to” for letting someone down.If you mean it, tell them.If you do not want to be friends, you don’t have to extend the offer.

Step 12: Is friendship in everyone’s best interest?

It’s best for both people to go separate ways.You might not know this person well enough to maintain a friendship, and their feelings might be too raw for you.What value will this friendship have for this person?What about me?What is the best course of action for us?

Step 13: Firm boundaries should be maintained.

Feelings don’t always leave quickly, and your former date may have a hard time letting go.This person might hold out hope in a relationship if healthy boundaries are not in place.Let this person know what your limits are.If they break the boundaries, be direct with them.Limits might be no intimate physical contact, no asking for more dates, or no flirting.

Step 14: If they keep pressing for another date, then step away.

Constantly turning the other person down may become draining if you want to maintain the relationship.The other person might feel unfulfilled in your relationship.If you want to spend time apart, tell the person why.The person’s feelings do not deserve to be reciprocated.Don’t date people who feel entitled.