From Ask Lutz

Sorry, Babe - Not Interested

Dear Lisa,

What is the best way to respond to a come-on that you have no interest in returning?




Dear Anonymous,

Thank you for your fine question and your brevity. Most sound advice on this topic will tell you to be direct, but polite, and to choose your words carefully when responding to an eager suitor. For example, you could say, “I’m flattered that you find me irresistible, but unfortunately, I cannot reciprocate at this time” or “I do think you’re swell and show excellent taste, but I’m not looking for a relationship right now.”

A more aggressive approach will produce faster results. Try interrupting your suitor in mid-sentence with “It’ll never work!” or give ‘em a wink and say, “Sorry, babe. Not interested.” Or my favorite is the incredulous look accompanied by “Dream on!”

But you know what I think, Anonymous? If you had the guts to say any of the above, you wouldn’t be writing to me. Forgive me, but I think you’re looking for a more cowardly approach. You want to know how to reject this individual without yielding hostility, without feeling uncomfortable, without them even knowing they’ve been rejected. Am I right? (And please write to me and tell me if I’m wrong—I’ll never learn otherwise. But I am going continue on the assumption that I am right, or I’ll have to end this right here and that’s no good.)

Anonymous, as much as I respect people who don’t mince words, your reticence gives me little to work with. Frankly, if I had a few more details on the situation—i.e. suitor’s mental state, level of eagerness, bingo player or not, I could create a more tailored response. Unfortunately, under these harsh circumstances, I can only provide a survey of methods to thwart your pursuer.

Let’s start with the easy stuff. If your suitor works with you, you’ve got an easy out: “I’m sorry I make it a rule to never get involved with co-workers.” If your suitor was previously married to a close friend or relative, “I’m afraid our dating would be highly inappropriate.” If suitor collects stamps, casually mention that you wish the post office would do away with them altogether. If suitor is an avid swimmer, express an unnatural distaste for water. If suitor is a teetotaler, start hitting the booze. . . . . .I could go on for days. Seriously.

You could try a more evasive approach. Suitor approaches, you ask for the time, and when you get the time, say, “You got to be kidding” and race off. Always be continually on the way to someplace else. It would help if you actually had someplace else to go. Or occasionally ask suitor, “what’s you’re name again” or call suitor by wrong name. I find it’s easier to be rejected by someone who appears to not know who you are.

Rejection hurts. If you want to avoid inflicting any pain whatsoever, your only real option is to make suitor reject you. How on earth could I do that? you might ask. Here are some ideas: You could begin a vicious rumor about yourself—but keep in mind that some people are attracted to a dark past. You could start seriously disregarding your table manners. How about you just let yourself go? If you don’t wash your hair for three to five days, who’s it gonna hurt? (In good conscience, I cannot recommend any longer). Start flossing in public--your suitor will reject you and your gums will thank you. And lastly, start catching up on your sleep—i.e. whenever suitor is around, conveniently nod off. It’s hard to maintain affection for a person who is consistently out cold.

Anonymous, I hope I have been some help to you in this matter.

Best Wishes,


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