Attention is always flattering, but itâ€™s not always reciprocated â€” blame it on nose hair, pleated pants, wrong gender, that mysterious â€śchemistry,â€ť etc. While itâ€™s not fair to lead someone on by giving them a fake number (so mean!) or one of those commercial rejection lines (even meaner!), there is such a thing as killing them softly. We may not be able to solve world peace, but we can make the world a kinder place if weâ€™re a little nicer to each other on the pick-up scene.
Try, “Iâ€™m really flattered, but Iâ€™m seeing someone right now.” Donâ€™t lie, of course â€” but a small exaggeration is perfectly acceptable. Perhaps youâ€™re taking a somewhat permanent break from dating men who look like old lesbians or women who have the charisma of a shoe horn, in which case a simple “I’m taking a break from dating” will suffice. Itâ€™s not completely untrue: You are taking a mini-break from dating until this excruciating pick-up attempt is over. Of course, a simple, polite, “I’m flattered but not interested, thanks” is admirably honest, but would it kill you to cushion a bruised ego or two?
A note to straight guys: You are less frequently hit on, and thus you have less practice at rejecting an unwelcome pick-up. Which means youâ€™re frequently awkward and weird about it. But women especially need to be encouraged in their attempts at seduction â€” if only because you guys are constantly complaining that they donâ€™t make the first move often enough! Donâ€™t go along with a hook-up just to avoid hurting her feelings, but donâ€™t treat her like a desperate Donna either. Sheâ€™s not desperate for hitting on you (who made off with your self-esteem, anyway?), she just knows what she wants and goes after it when she wants it. And ladies, donâ€™t take it personally if he blows you off rudely; heâ€™s just had less practice than you.
A note to the straight gals: You are less frequently the picker-upper, and thus youâ€™re less familiar with the sting of rejection. (Which is why all of you should attempt at least one pick-up to experience it first-hand, in the same way we should all wait tables at least once in order to empathize with servers the world over.) Approaching a stranger in a bar takes more bravery than root canal surgery or listening to a Celine Dion album in its entirety. So be gentle, ladies. And guys, donâ€™t take it personally if she blows you off rudely; sheâ€™s just heard a lot of dirty catcalls and cheesy pickup lines in her time and is used to putting up walls.