The Nicest Online Dating Rejection Ever

What are your pet peeves and pet tips about dating as a senior?  When I give my “How the Heck Do I Date at This Age” workshops and when I blog about online dating, I always plead with people to do these things:

1. Tell the truth (about age, build, marital status)

2. Post a current photo without sunglasses

3. If someone messages you and you’re not interested, give a courteous “no, thank you.”

I keep hearing, “Yeah, but what do you say if you’re not interested?” Don’t lie. Do be polite. Do answer. (Ignoring someone is much more hurtful than anything you might say. However, if the initial message from him/her is inappropriate, feel free to ignore.)

My usual advice is this:  Make it clear, honest, and polite — something like, “Thank you for writing, and I enjoyed reading your profile… [Insert something complimentary about the person’s qualities/interests here.] However, I don’t think we’re a match. [No need to give reason, but you can if it’s something specific and doesn’t put the other person down.] Best wishes for finding what you seek.'”

Today I decided to expand the age range I was seeking to include age 50 to 73. (I’m 68, whatever that might mean to you.)  Before, I had the lower limit at 55, but I don’t mind if the man is younger than that, as long as he is smart, fit, and interesting; matches my energy; and is attracted to older women.

A delightful, 51-year-old man came up in my search. We had much in common, and I found his photo very attractive. I wrote him a complimentary message, and ended with this: “…I know you say your upper age limit is 55 — is that firm? See my profile and current photos before you answer.”

He turned me down, but the way he said no prompted me to write this blog post. It’s the nicest rejection  I’ve ever received, and it will become my new model of how to respond when not interested. He gave me permission to post it here, without identifying him in any way:

Thank you for writing, it’s nice to be approached on occasion instead of
doing all the outreach. (And I always respond, I can’t stand it when I
send an email and am not even afforded the courtesy of a “no”.) I’m
not absolutely firm on my age range, but honestly 68 is a bit beyond
what I will consider. You sound like a live wire and a wonderful lady
to get to know, and I wish you the best in finding someone who can match
your spirit and energy.

See why I love this message? It’s extremely complimentary — he read my profile, he thinks I’m cool — and he’s honest about why he’s saying no. Perfect. Thank you, not-to-be-identified man who inspired this post.

I welcome comments, especially if you have a nice way of saying, “No, thank you.”


  1. Anonymous on September 25, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    I dated 5yrs in high gear from 54-59; my daughter was 14 and dating. We agreed then it wasn't much different: 90% of the game was and is knowing who you are, what you want, and liking yourself. Honestly putting your heart out there is key, fine tuning as you go. Happily married five years later I'd agree, a kind "no thank you" is just that. Be kind. Be bold. And, yes, the clock is ticking. Get busy!
    -Dan, Scotts Valley

  2. Patricia Austin on September 25, 2012 at 2:55 am

    Really nice to read another persons perspective on the online dating thing. I have always gone with the "if I don't respond it is a polite no thank you" message at the bottom of my profile somewhere. I see now that a little complimentary message would be much nicer as well as something I wouldn't mind getting myself once and awhile! 😉


  3. Ron on September 24, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    One limit of online dating (which I love!!). A few months ago a long time friendship with a former coworker turned sexual. I'm 67, she's 39. I don't think that would have happened if she'd seen my profile on line. Having the personal relationship was enough to overcome the age difference for her. My sister's husband just died last week. He was 25 years older and went through many years of illness. I can understand why younger folks shy away from us. But some are brave. When we buy a pet we know its gonna die on us someday. When we date someone a lot older we know they'll probably die on us if the relationship takes. You know they're thinkin' that…..

  4. Joan Price on September 23, 2012 at 11:32 pm

    Ella, thanks for remembering a post from a couple of years ago. That former sex buddy/friend lives in another state far away, and though we've seen each other once since that time, it was a purely friend basis. But your point is well taken. "There's nothing like the comforting sensual touch of an old friend to keep one patient and optimistic about dating" is a magnificent thought.

    Thanks so much for your comment.

    – Joan

  5. Ella on September 23, 2012 at 11:02 pm

    This is a little off the topic, but I've been wondering lately —

    Remember that post you did some time ago about meeting up with an old sex buddy/friend for sex but you couldn't do it because you missed Robert too much?

    Well, now that you're ready to date again, have you considered giving your sex buddy another try? There's nothing like the comforting sensual touch of an old friend to keep one patient and optimistic about dating.


  6. Kendra Holliday on September 23, 2012 at 8:52 pm

    Very nice rejection note, thank you for sharing! This guy is classy. Respect goes a long way!

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