Yesterday morning I signed onto GChat and received the following message from a friend: “I officially got dumped by someone I wasn’t dating.” Whoo, boy.

Apparently, my friend had gone on two dates with a guy — fine dates! Good dates, even — but not epic dates. And then, out of nowhere, she gets a long, kindly-worded email from him explaining that things weren’t going to work out, but that she was “a nice girl,” etc etc. You know, the kind of email no one should have to be forced to read unless they’ve at least enjoyed some perks of an actual relationship.

Breaking up is hard to do — especially when you weren’t really dating in the first place. One of the trickiest aspects of dating is how do you end it with someone you’ve only gone out with once or twice. A recent question posed on Quora echoes these concerns: when it comes to casual dating, is silence better than rejection?

Well, let’s weigh the pros and cons.

The Fade-Out

When you just….stop…calling (or texting) — and basically disappear off the face of the earth.

The Pros: You don’t have to awkwardly tell someone that, after only two or three dates, you are quite confident you never want to see them again. They can just sort of, you know, get the hint…

The Cons: It’s definitely cowardly, it’s definitely immature, and it can leave people wondering when and where they went wrong.

The Direct

Sitting someone down (or, you know, emailing…or texting) and basically saying, “Thanks, but no thanks.”

The Pros: This is what adults do: end things maturely and decisively, so you don’t have to awkwardly avoid the person if you run into them six months from now after NEVER CALLING BACK.

The Cons: People don’t like being rejected. Rejecting people is hard. It is probably uncomfortable and awkward and will make you feel like a mean, bad person.

So What’s The Perfect Solution?

Have you seen someone a few times and ultimately decided “Meh…not for me.”? Then here’s what you do:

1) Wait for them to contact you. If they don’t, you’re in luck: A mutual fade-out is the best possible outcome, the holy grail of doomed casual dating.

2) If they DO contact you, you must respond, and that’s when you say something like “Hey, you know, this isn’t really what I’m looking for right now.” or “I’m sorry, I’ve had fun hanging out with you but I don’t think we should see each other again.” You can email it or text it — that’s fine. And maybe they won’t ever respond to you, or maybe they’ll be like “Ok…” and it will be awkward for like 5 seconds, but then it will be over and you won’t have to feel pangs of guilt whenever you think of them!

But definitely DON’T go overboard and explain WHY exactly things won’t work out — it’s bad enough to hear that someone isn’t interested; no one wants to hear why. Keep it short and sweet.

How do you guys end it with people you’re casually dating?