We've all been there. When you vaguely know the guy who sits next to you in class, the girl who eagerly says hi when you enter the office. But what do you do when you are confronted with the most awkward question: "want to go out sometime?" There's no blueprint for these situations and you can't just scream 'NO'. You have to pretend you're actually entertaining the idea for a second while still uttering an apologetic yet firm and polite 'no'. It's a delicate procedure. And nowadays the old "I don't want it to ruin our friendship" has more holes than ever. So take a deep breath and practice these excuses. Let's be proactive (don't worry, we'll still help you out if you find yourself bored AF on a date too).
15 Your Bunny Died
Ok yes this sounds ridiculous. But hear us out: you don't want to pick a pet that everyone has. For example dogs are a more sensitive subject that they can relate to. You don't want to get stuck hearing their sob story of Fritz getting hit by a car when they were 14. Cats are less emotional: do you really mourn if a cat dies? Plus, pet rabbits are totally a thing now so you're covered there. It's no longer just a hippie pet for people who live on farms. Not only does this bring an emotional element into the mix but it adds logistical problems that limit your availability. Who has time when a pet passes? Let's face it: you have a funeral to plan and a bunny to bury so drinks will have to wait.
14 The Old 'Not Feeling Well'
You have a triple headache on all sides of your brain. Work was tough. You suffer from chronic I-don't-want-to-date-you. Grab a box of Kleenex and start sniffling. Thank God if it's allergy season, but if not, hunker down on your acting skills. Or else claim diarrhea. No one wants to deal with that so you're golden! No one can argue with how you're feeling. It's the best excuse and covers you from all obligations. Who knows, maybe you're even contagious. Simply tell them that you would love to do that sometime in the future, just not for the next few months since your (insert illness that isn't too gross) is acting up. Hopefully they'll move on during that time. Maybe even milk it for a day off work? Hey, you need a break too.
13 Set Them Up
There is no better way to slyly say no to someone than to tell whoever's asking you out that they would be perfect with someone else. Make up a friend--let's say Stephanie--who is super cool and has all the same interests they do (cosplay and pimples, anyone?). Stay away from specifics about where they live or work: they're just GREAT, don't worry about it. Continue the common interests until they can't not meet this mysteriously perfect friend of yours. They will be so excited and impressed by how well you know them that they'll eagerly pass on a date with you. Then lie and say you'll get them together sometime. It's probably the best way to let someone down easy. You guys are still buds, right?
12 Friend Needs Help
We all know the trick of faking a phone call from a friend in the middle of a date. But what if that call happened before the date even started? The best excuse is to blame your lack of time on someone else. Your best friend needs you—immediately. Pick any friend-related problem: they're moving, their parent is sick, they just went through a breakup. You're now busy every night helping them. Want to go have cocktails? Nope, sorry, can't. You have to help your friend through this traumatizing life-changing time. This is a brilliant move: you seem like a fantastically selfless person and great friend, all while indirectly turning someone down. Tell them you'll let them know when your schedule clears up, but spoiler-- it won't.
11 Fake Insanity
Jump right into being an emotional mess. They want to go out with you? Oh my gosh that is almost too much to bear. Remember when you went out with Steve who was the greatest guy ever and then he didn't want you anymore? You just broke up with someone and boy, did it break you. Feel the tears swelling and cling onto them as you cry about dying alone. They'll try to comfort you at first, but as your snot ruins their shirt, they will slowly back away. Who wants to go out with a head case? Maybe throw in that you have a dozen cats and they make you feel more alive and loved than anyone ever can. It might help if you wear nurse-esque white Vans and blue dresses that mimic hospital gowns. Get your crazy on.
10 You're Disgusting
This requires dedication but keep your head in the game and it works like a charm. Tell them that you'll maybe go out. Act excited and count down the days aloud in the office so they can hear. But here's the twist—you then go full on hoarder. Don't shower for a week, wear the grossest clothes you can find, and start slurping soup for lunch every day. Try to spill a little on your sweater too. They'll soon second guess their decision to ask you out as you accumulate flies in your cubicle. Think "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days" but more garbage and less deodorant. Maybe sleep outside for a few days and bring your new possum friend to work and keep him in the lunchroom. Yes it's drastic, but better yet, it's effective.
9 Broken Phone
You'd love to spend an evening with them but you have no way of getting in contact with them to schedule something. What a dilemma! You dropped your phone in the toilet yesterday or stepped it so hard that it doesn't work anymore. Yes, they'll offer to take you directly from work or wherever you know them from but you unfortunately already have plans. And yes email would work in theory but you can't access it on the go. A broken phone complicates things more than you can imagine. Milk our dependency on tech and have a slight panic attack about how you're going to function even for an hour without your cell. Just be sure to hide your phone whenever they're around.
8 Already Dating Someone
This seems like a natural way to say no but making people believe you have a pretend lover oddly takes a lot more finesse than you'd expect. Let's think this through: the person would have to live somewhere else, not have social media, and also be insanely attractive because they're dating you. It's doable. Just say you travel most weekends to visit them, they're older than you and don't have Facebook, and they are very private because *wink wink* they're super wealthy and hot. Maybe even print out a Google image photo to keep on your desk or in your wallet. Not creepy at all. The guy or girl asking you out will immediately feel threatened and inadequate, plus you're taken anyway so they can't keep trying. Just try to keep your girls night out photos with random guys down to a minimum.
7 Get Lost
You are cornered and can't say no or any other great creative excuse. So look at it like a free meal but have a plan. Immediately following dinner or drinks or appetizers or whatever it is that they asked you to, go to a crowded bar. Excuse yourself to go to the bathroom, and then get lost in the crowd. Don't return to the table. Seems harsh, but you have a reason: your phone/purse was stolen while you were in the restroom. You panicked and looked for them but it was so busy you couldn't find them at the bar or dance floor. Text them a few days later explaining what happened. You had to get a new phone, but same number, so that explains that. They'll feel bad for you but you still got out of it so it's a win.
6 Family Emergency
Agree to go out but then cancel 24 hours before the date. Your great-great aunt just had a stroke and your family needs to be together. You might even have to travel so you'll be occupied even longer than expected. Don't worry-- they probably won't follow up on it since it's such a distant relative. Sad, but true-- not many can relate to a great-great aunt. But more importantly they will give you your space as you deal with this family emergency. They might a shoulder for you to cry on or someone to call if you're feeling down, which is nice of them. But that does not mean you have to be in their presence, especially since you have something so important to tend to. Voila-- no more date!
5 TV Show
In a world of cult hits (think "Breaking Bad" and "The Sopranos") where finales are all-out historic events, it's OK to duck out of a date to watch TV. Art is important to you and television is art. Or just something cool to watch. Capitalize on the raging fandom of "Game of Thrones" or "True Detective" and say you can't miss your favorite TV show. Yes, you have OnDemand and can record it, but that's not the same as witnessing it live as it airs. Plus the Internet will be crawling with spoilers so why even miss it in the first place? Maybe even throw in a horror story about how you found out who won "The Voice" online because you missed the finale due to a date. They'll understand....maybe. If not, who cares? It's still an excuse.
4 Wedding Party
Your second cousin twice removed is getting married and you are in the wedding. You have to organize so much, from bachelor parties to napkins, and you just don't have time to yourself at all. Tell them your evening will be spent making Pinterest boards of wedding inspirations (yes that does sound kind of fun but play up the fact that you'll be alone and sad and whatever). You're so swamped with work and school and party planning that you really won't be free until after the wedding. Seriously, can you even look at any more flower arrangements? Plus half the bridesmaids hate their dress-- what are you going to do? Let the pressure and tension rise. Casually mention that it's six months away, and you just bought yourself half a year of freedom.
3 Your Family is in Town
Everyone from aunts to sisters are visiting you. It's a madhouse, utter mayhem. You're booked every night with family dinners and weekend trips. You don't want to do it-- if you had a choice, you would totally go out with whoever's asking you-- but it's an obligation. You have to do the right thing.
The one issue with this excuse is that they might ask (gulp) to meet your family. First of all, WHAT?! You're not dating this person so why would you introduce them to your parents? Just laugh it off and say that no, you're saving them a lot of trouble by keeping your family to yourself. And if they persist, drop a truth bomb that you don't really feel comfortable doing that.
2 You're Moving
Your lease just expired and you're moving to a new place. Simple, excusable, and most importantly, time-consuming. Your days are full of bubble wrap and boxes as you pack up all of your belongings. You're basically in a transitional period and don't have time for anyone else other than moving men. You may even exaggerate further and say you are still apartment searching which adds a whole new level of stress to the situation. They'll understand: everyone has been there. But you'll get a solid few weeks of freedom because a) you have to pack, b) you have to move the boxes, and c) you have to unpack. That's surprisingly a lot of work. Sure they might ask if you need help but you don't-- you're an independent person who don't need no partner.
1 Say Yes
Ok this is a curveball. But who knows? You might actually have a good time. Maybe Jeff from accounting is actually super funny, or Tiffany from English class is oddly chill. It never hurts to find out and learn more about others. Could be a great way to tell your kids how you met (ok that might be a little over the top). At least it's a free meal, so that's always a plus. Worst case scenario the date is awkward and terrible, but even then you still have a great story to tell your friends next happy hour....or a great reason to say no next time someone you don't want to go out with asks you on a date.
So there you have it-- a complete guide to getting out of any unwanted dinner date. You're welcome.