Excerpted from Virtual Foreplay: Making Your Online Relationships a Real-Life Success © 2001 by Eve Eschner Hogan. Reprinted with permission from Hunter House Publishers.
The following list has been compiled from actual online experiences, and many are direct quotes or suggestions. One woman told me, “I just tell people I’m not interested, but there are variations in degree like, ‘let’s be friends’ or ‘you are a freak’ or ‘you need mental help.’ It really depends on the situation!” Another woman exclaimed, “One time when I was honest, the guy came back at me ranting and said some pretty nasty things. That is when I decided it is probably better just not to write back.” Elizabeth offers this advice, “Remember, Mr. Delete Key is often a girl’s best friend, along with his relatives, Mr. Block Sender and Mr. Filter!” Of course, there is no right or wrong way to get out of an online liaison, just ways that are in alignment with you, your ethics, and your goals. Use the list below to get your creative juices flowing:
1. Don’t respond.
2. Become scarce until they lose interest.
3. Sound uninterested and then ignore them.
4. Say you are disinterested clearly, diplomatically, and as soon as possible.
5. Point out something specific in their profile that doesn’t work for you: “I don’t date people who have kids,” or are divorced, or are long-distance, etc.
6. Tell the truth.
7. “Let’s just be friends.”
8. “Thank you for your note. I am not available at present. Hope you find your real mate soon.”
9. “I’m already writing too many people, but thank you.”
10. “I’m not interested, thank you.”
11. “You’re not my type.”
12. “Sorry, I realized that I am not over my last partner yet. I am not ready for a new relationship.”
13. “I don’t think a relationship with you would meet my most important needs.”
14. “I’m not really interested in pursuing this, but it was nice to meet you.”
15. “It was very nice to meet you, but I don’t feel any chemistry between us. I hope you find someone that you connect with.”
16. “It was nice to meet you, but it’s not a good fit for me. Best of luck in your search.”
17. “Sorry, I’m going to be really busy for awhile.”
18. “I believe you are a very nice person, but I don’t think we would connect face-to-face. I wish you luck!”
19. Compliment them but then explain, “I have gotten back into a relationship with someone I met before you--sorry.”
20. “Thank you for your interest, I am flattered by the compliment. However, I am interested in someone else at this time. I wish you all the luck in finding someone who is compatible with you.”
21. “Thank you for writing. I’m seeing several people right now and do not have time for more.”
22. “Critical Differences. Thank you.”
23. “I already found someone.”
24. “I’m gay.”
25. “You are not what I am looking for.”
26. “I’m going to be out of town for a while.”
27. “Thank you, but I’ve stopped looking for love on the Internet.”
28. “I’m married.”
29. “You live in Australia and I live in Alaska, so it won’t work.”
30. “I’m not interested in getting serious right now. Let’s cool it before things progress.”
31. “I’m looking for someone younger.”
32. “I’m looking for someone older.”
33. “Thank you, but no thank you. Good luck.”
34. In order not to hurt their feelings, mention things about yourself that they won’t like: “I don’t believe in God or marriage, and I think drug legalization is the way to go.”
35. Send them the “vibe.”
36. Block them out of your instant messenger program.
37. Change your online name.
39. Decline to meet them.
40. Tell them you “suddenly have to go,” and click off of instant messenger.
41. Tell them your computer keeps crashing.
42. “I’m very flattered but I’m looking for something a little different.”
43. “Sorry, this doesn’t feel like a match. Good luck on your journey!”
44. Put a stopper to romantic or sexy talk.
45. “I’m sorry, you seem like a really nice person, but I’m not interested.”
46. “Sorry, it is not working out. I don’t want to hurt you and lead you on. Good luck and hope you find someone.”
47. “No, thank you. Please don’t ask again.”
48. “No. If you persist, I will complain to Sys Admin.”
49. “I’m sorry, I only date people with an IQ in the positive integers.”
50. “I’m short, fat, ugly, and I stink!”
As you determine how you would “delete your lover,” imagine how it would feel if these things were being done or said to you. Choose methods in alignment with your ethics and add them to your repertoire. Would you make a different choice if you were looking in the person’s eyes?