Forget the bar. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Zoom and FaceTime have become the most popular meeting places for singles in quarantine. You don’t have to put romance on hold as long as you aren’t risking anyone’s health, and virtual dates have made that pretty easy. But, if there’s one thing these virtual dating has made trickier, it’s knowing how to turn down a Zoom date when you’re just not feeling it. As Cherlyn Chong, a dating and breakup recovery coach for professional women tells Elite Daily, being under lockdown can make it harder to use the excuse that you’re unavailable because almost everyone’s at home. Plus, if they follow you on social media and you’re constantly posting on Stories, your (albeit, polite) dodge can be pretty obvious. “People can track your activities easily, so if you use the excuse of ‘Sorry, I’m busy,’ and then someone sees that you’re on Instagram at the exact time of the date, they can call you out on it,” she says.
Just because you’re technically available, that doesn’t mean you have to go on dates when you’re not interested. As Clara Artschwager, a dating coach and speaker previously told Elite Daily, it’s OK to put your needs first — especially right now. “There’s an ongoing joke that we have no excuse for getting out of any call or online meet-up because no one has anywhere to go, but I’d argue that’s not true,” Artschwager said. “Your health, mental and physical, is your number one priority. It’s our duty to take ownership of that in whatever form it takes, including dating.” Here’s how to go about telling someone you’re just not interested in a Zoom date, period.
Be honest, but firm.
When someone asks you on a date and you aren’t feeling it, your first instinct might be to make up an excuse to spare their feelings and keep the situation from becoming too awkward. But when it comes to declining Zoom dates, Chong says, “The best way is to be honest, but direct and firm. So you can say: ‘I’m sorry, but I don’t feel like we have a lot of chemistry. I think it’s best that we see other people instead. I hope you find someone amazing.'”
Hold your ground.
Directness is usually enough to settle the matter so you can both move forward to other, hopefully more compatible dates. However, if someone just won’t let up, Chong says you should feel free to explain the logic of how your honesty benefits them in the long run. She suggests telling them: “Well, for me personally, I would want someone to be as honest as possible with me and not lead me on. If I’m just not feeling it, I shouldn’t be wasting your time, don’t you agree?” If, after that, they still push for the date, she advises cutting off contact. “You can completely stop talking to them or block them, since at this point they’re likely to be resentful toward you.”
While being this straightforward may be difficult if you’re not accustomed to it, Chong says it’s worth the effort. “Even though it’s virtual, you can still be truthful with people and stand your ground. It’s completely fine to state your truth. You want your conscience to be completely clear. That way, you can breeze through iso-dating.”
Clara Artschwager, dating coach and speaker
Cherlyn Chong, a dating and breakup recovery coach for professional women