Romantic comedies are always full of scenes of hapless guys being spurned by women in bars, usually with a withering look, a biting retort (“I’d rather die!”), or sometimes, in broader comedies, with drinks flung in faces. But in real life, that’s hardly how things go, no matter how odious the gentleman in question.

Turning someone down can be hard, and is always unpleasant. After all, a small part of you is usually at least somewhat flattered that another human being has risked his or her dignity in approaching you, and you don’t want to unnecessarily hurt feelings or bruise egos, no matter how terrible the person in question is.

Sadly, in the era of cellphones, a fake number is no longer a viable option. As Rich Santos put it in a recent Marie Claire article: “The common move among guys (I’m guilty of this one too), after getting a girl’s number, is calling her phone to confirm that that it’s real and that his number is now registered in her phone. Most guys will watch the girl’s phone as they call it to make sure there’s no funny business going on.”

Basically, we’re just going to have to learn how to turn someone down, right then and there.

Your motto? “Rip the band-aid off, and get back to my drink.”

Scenario 1

He Says: I’d love to buy you a drink some time, can I get your number?
You Say: I’m sorry, no.

Does that seem harsh? It’s not! You aren’t saying anything mean, you aren’t going into detail as to why the answer is no (“I’m actually physically repulsed by you.”), and you’re saying it lightly, with a smile. He will be so surprised (and, yes, a little stung) by your frankness that he will probably want to make as fast an exit as possible.

Scenario 2

He Says: How will I find you again?
You Say: You won’t, sorry.

Your message: I had fun/tolerated being at this bar with you, but now it’s over, and do not expect any repeat action. Again, delivery is important! You’re not trying to cut him down. You’re just making it clear that probably this is the end of the line for you two.

Scenario 3

He Says: Can I buy you a drink?
You Say: No, thank you.

Yeah, your glass is empty. Tough. If you let someone buy you a drink, you are giving them hope, and if you give them hope, they are less likely to go away. It’s fine not the end of the world to let guys you’re not interested in buy you drinks, but then you should at least be able to put up with their company for another 10 minutes. And ultimately, this just prolongs the moment when you’re going to have to reject them.

Buy your own drinks. Or bring a flask.

Scenario 4

He Says: Let me give you my card.
You Say: Okay.

Look, there’s no harm in TAKING his card. You never, ever have to call. Meanwhile he walks away feeling like “Mission Accomplished.”

Scenario 5

He Says: [Anything, you're not really listening, he's trying to hard to impress you but it's not working and he needs to go away.]
You Say: Well, it was really nice to meet you, but I should get back to my friends now. Enjoy your evening!

To affable girls this might seem cold, but remember, this is best for him and for you! He gets to go try his charms elsewhere, maybe on a girl who might be more into him than you are. And you? You get to go back to your drink. Win-win!

More tips from Rich Santos of Marie Claire here.

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