Just Not for Me – Nothing Specific, Just… Not for Me

Do you give a reason when you turn down another date? It seems an odd fact that people rarely do, and if forced to, won’t give the real reason why. People will say “It just wasn’t right” instead of “conversation dragged something awful” or “Not for me” in place of “My God what planet is (s)he from?!”

Question is, why?

Well, one reason might be because often people get a “feel,” and giving all the reasons that cumulated in the feel would be too complicated. Or sound stupid upon examination. Or they might be afraid of having their reasons shot down by the shadchan or getting into an argument – hey, it’s been known to happen. I know someone who forced a couple out on three dates practically at gunpoint. They finally got married, maybe because it was easier than trying to stop dating, but got divorced within a few years. (Crazy, no?)

Another possibility is that the person doesn’t want to seem critical – of either their shadchan or their date. Or maybe they’re afraid of being criticized themselves, and being labeled in the shadchan’s folder as “the sort who cares about xyz” (though if you do, then what’s the harm?). Maybe it just sounds like a shallow reason when verbalized, and they don’t want to come across that way.

Whatever the reason, you can almost certainly rest assured that when someone breaks off a dating streak, they aren’t going to give the real reason. And some daters know they can rely on this.

I’m referring to a post made on a message board elsewhere, which someone forwarded to me. The subject was a nice yeshiva guy who went out with a nice bais yaakov maidel. She sat there texting on her phone for the entire car ride, and also while he bought the drinks. He was appalled by how rude she was, as was the relative who posted the story. (I think “chutzpah” was the word used.) Naturally, he didn’t agree to go out again. But did he tell the shadchan “I don’t want to go out with someone so rude she texts friends during a date”? Nope. He said, “No thanks, not for me.”

For a grand total of two days I was puzzled about why a girl would go on a date and mess it up that badly. Then I read Aidel Knaidel’s post about shidduch coercion, and immediately put them together. Maybe the girl was on a date she didn’t want to be on – then or ever again. Saying “no” to a second date herself wouldn’t work, so she had to make it come from the guy.

Naturally she took a bit of a risk. She couldn’t know for sure that her date wouldn’t give the real reason for breaking it off, and if he would, she’d be in trouble. But overall it was a pretty safe bet. I mean, what guy wouldn’t feel weird saying, “She was texting the whole date”?

I would like to take the opportunity to say that, if the situation is anything like I’m interpreting it, I would think it extremely… (snobby? narrowminded? immature? petulant?) of her to not even give him a chance. She could always be rude on a later date,  or tell him she gets an irresistable urge to dance whenever she sees a red car, or just act grown up and say, “Hi, I don’t think this is going to work out, but I’m a drop helpless here, so can you please call it off?” At the very least it will lead to a discussion of why she doesn’t think it will work out, and he’ll either agree or she’ll change her mind.

However it ends, you can bet he’ll just tell the shadchan, “Sorry, just not for me.”

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21 thoughts on “Just Not for Me – Nothing Specific, Just… Not for Me

  1. It depends on why the guy doesn’t want to go out again. If he finds the girl unattractive, then there really is no point in telling the shadchan. The shadchan might push him to continue going out, which would be annoying, and there isn’t really anything he or she could tell the girl. If the guy’s reason was something that was fixable (like your text messaging example), then it makes sense to tell the shadchan so the girl will find out. If it’s a personality issue (she’s too quiet) then it’s more of a grey area. That situation never came up for me.

  2. There is a big difference between what you say to your shadchan and what the shadchan is going to say to the person being turned down. The shadchan has to know what the real reason is, or they are going to continue to look for people just like the one you are turning down. It’s the shadchan’s job to be tactful when saying a further date was nixed. It’s the datee’s job to be honest–certainly the text messaging example illustrates why.

    Apropos of “I mean, what guy wouldn’t feel weird saying, “She was texting the whole date”?” A whole lot of guys wouldn’t feel weird and I’ve heard far stranger reasons from them. “She knocked the car I drive” comes to mind. “She paid more attention to the animals then to me (on a trip to the zoo)” is another.

  3. Dunno, I wouldn’t have any problem telling a shadchan that I found it rude of him to text-message throughout the date…

    As for the rest, yes, you basically got it down pat.

  4. Maybe he doesnt want to burn his bridges just yet, shadchanim can be judgemental and decide his reason wasn;t good enough so its easier just not to be a “man” and have to answer

  5. Is it possible that he was so concerned with loshon hara that he didn’t want to say anything? I have a difficult time telling shadachans the real reason I’m turing someone down.

    As a side note, Bad4S, please forgive me for mentioning this here, but I don’t know of any other way to reach the Anon who is giving yoni such a hard time. Anon, telling someone who is standing at a window to jump out of it really isn’t the greatest idea. I’m not sure what exactly halacha says about someone who encourages another person to commit suicide, but that IS what you are doing whether you mean to or not. You’re reading his posts, you have some idea how fragile he is. I assure he he never meant to do you (or anyone else on this blog) any harm. Please, I beg you to let him be.

  6. Better that than having a reason given and it gets back to the girl (or guy) because that did happen to me once where the guy gave a reason (stupid one) but it did make an impression on me and now it’s something I am more concerned about than before that particular date. And it’s kind of hard to be brutally honest and say “that was the most boring date ever”. It’s easier to say ‘just not for me’ either to the shadchan or the date in question.

  7. Hm. Lots to say on this one.

    Too busy to write it all, but it would be very helpful if the people in the middle (the shadchanim or whomever) would know what to pass on and what not to. Perhaps this would allow people to be more honest in saying what was and wasn’t for them, which would allow people to have a better idea of what to set them up with in the future.

  8. All right, so… the following is from my point of view, and I’d really appreciate if you or anyone could explain some of this, because I find it to be rather… something or other.

    Let’s say a normal situation. Friend sets you up, you go out on date. Way I see it, there are only a few possibilities:

    1) Good date, say yes. Not for this post.
    2) “HORRID” date. Say no. Skip to next paragraph.
    3) Okay date.
    3a) Say yes. Not for this post.
    3b) You’re not sure. You should say yes. Not for this post, either.
    3c) Date was fine, but you can see with reasonable certainty that it won’t work. Next paragraph.

    Okay, so now you need to tell your friend that it’s a no. This shouldn’t be so difficult – aren’t that many possibilities, right?

    Using Nephtuli’s examples:
    1) Personality or hashkafa difference – Tell the friend. This way they have a better idea for the next time, it’s a good legitimate reason, etc.* Friend should use common sense in relating over to other person what they might want to think about.
    2) Looks – Always a bit tricky, but find a way to tell the friend nicely. Everyone has their own ‘thing’ about this, and I’ve found that guys more but girls too seem to have crazy ideas like they should think the other is SO attractive or be “their look” and that anything else is no good, but okay. Point is that if it really is something that just does not attract you, you can say it, and the friend knows for future.
    3) If it’s something horrible/rude, tell the friend. Friend should use common sense in relating over to other person what they might want to think about.

    * – Okay, now the whole ‘fighting with the shadchan thing’ is interesting, because it really depends on what it is. As you noted, if you do care about whatever issue it is, then you care, no matter how shallow. If it’s critical of the date, there’s a way to present it properly. If the shadchan is waaaay over persistent, you can always respond like my SIL used to when people would tell her to ‘settle’ at 28 – “Why, so I can be divorced in 2 years but you can feel happier about yourself?” (She got married at 28, too.)

    But most are well-meaning friends who not only thought of the idea for a reason but likely know the person better than you do after 3-4 awkward hours with them, and it may be worth listening to/talking to them. Spelling out the issues you had with the date not only better allows them to set you up in the future, but they might also “argue” now based on what you’re saying. This could be for two reasons:

    A) They think you shouldn’t care about that.
    B) They don’t think the person is really like that.

    A is something that might be worth listening to, but if you’re adamant about it, then ignore the person. B is a more interesting one, because the friend likely knows the person in question better than you, and if they say that’s not how he/she usually is, maybe they’re actually onto something. Maybe it’d be worth listening and giving it a second shot, if what’s bothering you isn’t what the person is usually like. If it’s still a problem, then you say no after that.

    No matter what, I don’t see why a person can’t clearly communicate with the friend who set them up what didn’t work out.

    Again, lots more to say, but it’s time to go home…

  9. Too busy to write it all, but it would be very helpful if the people in the middle (the shadchanim or whomever) would know what to pass on and what not to. Perhaps this would allow people to be more honest in saying what was and wasn’t for them, which would allow people to have a better idea of what to set them up with in the future.

    That’s why I am so hesitant to give a “real” reason. It almost always gets back to the guy and that is not what I intended. On the other hand, when you WANT the shadchan to say something to the guy (like if he did something specifically rude that he should be told not to repeat) the shadchan usually doesn’t follow through.

  10. I don’t see how a girl or guy can be justified in being rude to anyone, any time, period.

    If one is such a sissy that he or she is forced to go out with someone, why take it out on the poor date? What kind of human being behaves in such a selfish fashion?

  11. I agree with Anonymous 1/19 11:09am. I just went out on a 1st date last night. So there I am looking gorgeous and this gentleman did not make an effort. I have no idea why this gentleman is dating, he is obviously not looking to get married.

  12. Shadchanim do not always have the tact that you’d expect. So I am usually careful with my feedback.
    The time I use the “Just not for me” thing is when the guy is rude and/or says something that turns me off terribly, and I don’t want to say Lashon Hora about him.

    But something neutral like, “Our personalities didn’t mesh,” Or, “I don’t think we’re hashkafically compatible” should be ok. The shadchanim should be satisfied with answers like that. The problem is that many times they aren’t.

  13. i always say the real reason. am i not supposed to?
    nope! being straightforward will only set you back in the shidduch world, everything has to be in sekrit shidduch code or else you’ll get a rep of being blunt and mean and SPREADING LOSHON HORA *GASP*. “The guy was rude and a slob” = “i don’t think this is for me”. it works for everything!

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