How to politely turn someone down in online dating

Written by lindsay pietroluongo
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How to politely turn someone down in online dating
Breaking things off with someone you've met online isn't as tricky as it would be in person. (computer image by blaine stiger from

Online dating is a relatively new form of meeting people, making it convenient to introduce yourself to singles in your area from the comfort of your computer. However, the more people you meet, the more potential you have to meet people who you're not that interested in. You may know right off the bat that you don't want to chat with a particular person, or it may take a few conversations to realise that there's simply no spark. Either way, you'll want to let that person down gently. While it's never fun to reject someone and hurt their feelings, it's ultimately kinder than leading them on.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Tell the other person immediately that you're not interested. If they're interested in you, they're going to get hurt either way, whether you tell them as soon as possible or if you wait for a while. Your best bet is to tell them as soon as you know you want to cut ties; this way, at the very least they'll appreciate that you aren't leading them on.

  2. 2

    Write them a sweet, polite note. One great benefit to online dating is that you don't have to be cornered into a conversation. You can take time to craft a letter and rewrite it. A simple version of "no thank you" will do. It's not necessary to be harsher than that, as long as you get your point across.

  3. 3

    Ease the tension and soften the blow by mentioning the person's good points. Even if you're rejecting them based solely on their online dating profile, you can still find something to compliment and boost their ego.

  4. 4

    Be firm. It's not necessary to weave elaborate excuses around the rejection. You can state that you simply don't feel chemistry with them. You don't have to blame it on a busy work schedule or ex-boyfriend issues. This will only give the other person hope that in the future you may come around.

Tips and warnings

  • Don't beat yourself up if you hurt somebody's feelings. One main draw of online dating is convenience, and that also includes being able to sift through profiles and people to narrow down true matches. Rejection comes with the territory, and at some point, most online daters are both rejected and do the rejecting.
  • Be prepared for backlash. The person you're rejecting may have been turned down repeatedly by others who they've met online. In this case, they may be bitter and resentful, and their streak of bad luck may be taken out on you. Don't take their words personally, and remain firm that you're not interested in continuing dialogue with them.

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