Saying “No” with Class: Rejections I’ve Liked

1/16/2023 update: One of my ongoing tasks is culling my 17+ years (!) of blog posts. Working backwards from 2005, I’m working on deleting those that are outdated, no longer interesting or useful, reviews of sex toys that no longer exist or from companies I no longer endorse, and so on.

Occasionally, though, I hit upon a topic that is as relevant now as when I wrote it, such as this one from 2011. If you’ve been rejected by a date or potential date — or done the rejecting — in a way that’s kind and respectful, please share in the comments.


Originally published January 2011:

My dabbling in online dating continues to be interesting, often funny, sometimes frustrating when the dating sites seem to ignore my criteria when announcing with great fanfare that they’ve found a match for me.

I’m going into this to expand my social life and meet good men who might become friends, or provide an hour of interesting conversation, or stimulate me to pursue a deeper relationship — or just remind me why I enjoy my single life. I’m not earnestly seeking a soul mate or looking to get married. This gives me the advantage of being able to take this whole process lightly, and my day is not ruined by a rejection or by the paucity of applause-inducing matches.

Sometimes I read a profile that leaves me saying, “Wow! I’d like to know this person!” and I send an e-note expressing why his profile interested me. Occasionally my interest is returned, but that’s rare (I’m not sure why). Usually I’m ignored. I really like it, though, when the recipient of my interest sends me a polite “No, thank you.”

To encourage you to do this, here are some of the nice ways I’ve been turned down:

  • Thanks for the note and kind comments. My age range is general, like any sensible man would say, but it can be a factor. Equally, if not more, important, is the geographic range. While I know that your city is not on the other side of the moon [comment from Joan: we live about 40 mi. apart], it is too far for me at this point of this odd online dating process. I have tried the long distance relationship a few times, and each time, it proved too much the struggle. So, thanks for reaching out, and I wish you the best.
  • I am so honored that you would send me an email. You look and sound like a delightful woman, and I enjoyed reading your profile. However, as flattered as I am by your contact, it’s my strong hunch that we’re really not a match. So, let me send you my best wishes for meeting your match.
  • Actually, I am looking for a soul-mate. Dating and friendship is fine, but I would like to “go all the way” as it were. About four years ago, I dated a woman who had lost her husband and I thought we were a pretty good fit, but she loved her husband very much and had no room for me. You seem like a smart and interesting person, and I could be making a mistake, but somehow I feel that we aren’t a good fit either. You may be right in looking for a widower. Thanks for writing me.
  • Thank you for the contact and the nice words. I am in a process of transition, learning to listen to myself and find out what I am looking for at this juncture in my life. You seem like a beautiful and interesting person. However at this point I don’t feel that we would be a good match for dating. I send my heartfelt wishes to you to find the person and love that you seek and deserve.

 Readers: Have you received “no, thank you” notes that made you smile instead of cringe? Have you sent any you’d like to share? Please comment.


  1. Naomi on May 30, 2023 at 5:58 pm

    I would love to see a compilation of kind rejections that are done in person after the first date!

    • Joan Price on May 30, 2023 at 7:15 pm

      My version of a “kind rejection” after the first date: “I enjoyed getting to know you today. You [insert compliment]. But I don’t feel we’re the right fit going forward. I wish you the best finding the person you seek.”

  2. Renée Moore on January 29, 2023 at 4:37 am

    I went on a couple of dates with a guy and had fun. After the second date he sent this :

    Guys morning, I have come to the decision that I moved too quickly on the dating adventure. you are a lovely person and I wish you the best!

    It was simple and so much nicer than being ghosted.

  3. Tod Booth on January 16, 2023 at 11:56 am

    Here’s a lovely brush-off I received very early in my “online dating journey.” We had a terrific date and I texted her first thing the next day. This is what she wrote back a couple of hours later:

    “I had a great time, too, but this is a rare situation where a 2nd date stirs up more anxiety than a first. Since we haven’t discussed our dating history, let me explain. Four years ago, I fell in love with someone as charming, intelligent and heart-centered, as you seem to be. Early on I knew he and I weren’t well matched for the long-run, but neither of us had the courage to end it for over a year, and when we finally did, it was extremely painful.

    Once my sister moves East, I want the freedom to potentially rent out my house, to travel, and hopefully find a partner who can be a daily companion. I know you aren’t in the same “place” and think it’s wiser for me not to get seduced into a connection that could be challenging to break-off. I guess this is a back-handed compliment of sorts…and I hope
    you’ll appreciate my honesty. I need to protect my heart, and even from one date, I know you will find your truly best partner.”

  4. Elizabeth on February 3, 2011 at 1:04 am

    Brava! I found your essay through Women's Voices For Change. A classy, kind rejection is an art.

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