Ask Graham: Cruel to be kind

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Dear Graham,

Basically I’m in a bit of a situation and I need your help. This guy REALLY wants to go for coffee with me, but I don’t know how to let him down gently and in a nice way, but also with a clear message that it just isn’t going to happen! Any advice from Graham is definitely appreciated. X

See below for Graham’s response.

Oh poor, popular soul.

You are batting off lovelorn potential suitors left, right and centre. But how, you ask, do you maintain some compassion? It’s certainly tricky, and to answer this one, I shall start by telling you a story.

A friend of Graham once made a pact. After a few too many un-replied-to text messages of her own (“it must be broken” she’d say, slamming her phone on the table), she told herself she would never, ever, leave someone hanging in the same cruel way. From that point on, she would always text back. For a while this worked, a few “I’m just really busy at the moment”s, and the canny young men would soon get bored. She became the don of noncommittal responses.

But then along came one persistent young chap, “I’m just really busy at the moment” she would reply, “I just don’t have any time”. But, still the texts kept rolling in. “Just got a lot going on”, “so much work to do”, “not really going out at all these days” she’d say. One day it just got too much, “oh please, I can’t take it anymore” she would say, arms raised to the heavens, “just stop asking me out”. Finally, she gave in and just didn’t reply. The poor, persistent young chap was never to be heard from again.

The point of that tale, my dear thing, is that sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind. If you feel he’ll get the message, just don’t reply. If, however, you’ve tried that already and the point just ain’t clicking in his love-sick young mind, then it’s time to tear the plaster off. Say firmly that you’re flattered, and you’re sure he’s a really nice guy, but now is not the right time. It’s better that he knows now, and stops wasting his time. Otherwise, in your pursuit of kindness, you will keep stringing him along and he will keep persisting until, like the poor chap in our story, the penny finally drops – right where it hurts.


One response to “Ask Graham: Cruel to be kind

  1. Pingback: Our Graham helps out speed daters via Twitter | Our Graham London·

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