I asked her out on a fourth date. I didn’t hear from her for 24 hours.
Then she sent this text to my iPhone:
“Hi Steve. Thank you for asking, but after some thought I don’t see things working out between us – you seem like a lovely guy though and I’m sorry to say this by text. Sorry if I gave out mixed messages, I didn’t mean to. Best of luck with your writing x”
First comes anger. Then comes sadness. Shame. Embarrassment. All these emotions fold over each other in waves until I’m not even sure which one I feel.
But the overriding feeling is “Damn. I really liked her…How did I blow it?”
It sucks when you’re excited about someone and it ends sooner than you’d hoped for. I really thought those first few dates went well. What did I say or do to screw it up?
A tiny part of me wants to text back something moody. Or something that shows her I’m pissed.
Not pissed in a whiny way, but something that says, “Whatever, thanks for nothing.”
Maybe I should text her just that, “whatever, thanks for nothing.” Except I won’t do that, because that would be mental. I’m not that kind of aggressive person. Besides, no-one owes it to me to like me after three dates. I have to stay classy.
Maybe I could just say “Fine”. Hmm, that sounds bad too.
Maybe just “Ok”. That sounds more neutral. That tells her that I’m not sulking about it but she also knows I’m not trying to be too nice.
After some thinking I decide that all of these responses show a lack of class. And I don’t know about you, but I always want to be a classy person in relationships, even ones that only last a few dates.
So instead, I take a deep breath, start a new text and simply write:
“Ok, best of luck to you too. Take care x”
I actually think I could have done better, but that’s what I said at the time (this all occurred a few years ago). Were I writing that reply again today, I would try to be much kinder. I think I was still a little peeved at the time so couldn’t bring myself to, but here’s what I should have written, “I understand. It was lovely getting to know you the past couple of weeks anyway. Take care x”
Why do this? Because any other response is a losing response.
- If you act angry…you just seem like someone who can’t take honesty.
- If you try ignorance…you just seem childish.
- If you send them a long essay outlining your frustrations…you seem needy, and you’re only fighting a losing battle anyway.
The only truly worthwhile response is classy and kind.
This is true of so many areas of life.
People think that rejection, or getting fired, or being told “NO” somehow permits them to blurt out their emotions and burn bridges. Both professionally and romantically, this is just about the dumbest thing you can do. It alienates people. Worst of all, it doesn’t give them the benefit of the doubt.
Let’s go back to the example above.
The truth is, the story didn’t really end there. Six months later I saw that woman again at a party. We made eye contact and after a few knowing smiles back and forth we got into conversation. It was friendly and fun.
After a while she said: “Look, I just wanted to say I’m really sorry about just cutting things off before. I was having fun seeing you but I had only recently broken up with my long-term boyfriend and was really confused and hurt. I just wasn’t in a place to see anyone at the time”.
Suddenly all that wondering dissolved away. I smiled and said: “No problem, I understand.”
We ended up casually dating for a lovely couple of months before she had to leave to for a trip abroad. It was a good time. The memories I have of that period are all of complete fun and enjoyment.
Moral of the story: Don’t burn your bridges for a bad reason. All you’re accomplish by doing so is holding back your future self from experiences that could be incredible simply because of ego and pride.
If I had responded to her text in a petulant, angry way, would the door really have been open for us to date again after six months? No way. It would have been too awkward, too difficult for us both to put our pride to one side. Chances are we wouldn’t have even had the courage to speak again in person and would have ignored one another completely.
Pride and ego can be wonderful, but they can also be dangerous.
The classy response might sometimes feel like the hardest one in the world, but it’s one that allows you to leave feeling good, even if things didn’t go your way.
Life has a funny way of being circular.
And when what goes around comes back around you might end up wishing you’d been more gracious after your first parting.
I’m glad I was.
Stephen Hussey helped co-write the Get The Guy book and is a wealth of knowledge on dating and relationships.
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58 Replies to “How Staying Classy Can Get You Laid”
Stay classy and kind, I love it.
Thanks Chrissy! x
Sound appropriate for 3-4 dates but what about when someone breaks up with you via text after 5 months?? How can you not be upset about that? I tried my best to respond in a classy way but calling him out on not calling or breaking things off in person was important. I deserve more respect than that. I was always kind to him…
If the relationship has lasted longer than a few dates, I totally agree that courtesy and respect should mean that you deserve a proper explanation (even if that sadly isn’t what we always get!) In that case I think it’s fine to call a guy and at least have a conversation about why it’s over. But even after that, I think it’s still worth being classy purely for your own self-respect and well-being. It’s fine to be pissed at someone, or to tell someone you disapprove of their behaviour, I suppose it’s just about how far you go in communicating it.
Ugh… I can relate to this so much and now I’m ashamed all over again. I was seeing this guy for a couple of months, really starting to get excited (I thought we both felt something was there, you know? And he was the first guy I really liked in LONG time), when suddenly he stops answering my texts or taking a long time to reply (over 24 hours sometimes). I was like “Hmmm? Wtf?” He sent mixed messages the entire time and I guess I felt frustrated the last time he didn’t answer me in over a day, that I felt like it was a childish game to ignore me like that just because, and so I sent an angry text venting my frustrations on his behavior, reminding him about the lengths I went to just to meet with him (I lived far away) and him not even having the courtesy to answer texts anymore was very disappointing. I was hurt and angry, like you said. I didn’t curse, I didn’t insult him, but I did express my disappointment in his actions when I had done everything just to see him (take an hour long train rides and freezing weather, etc) and was always very polite to him, including the time he approached me in a park just to talk to me. I was never nothing but nice. So he tells me he can’t have a relationship right now, and we just shouldn’t ~hang out~ anymore. After that I felt very stupid. I felt like I shouldn’t have texted him at all, maybe I came off as needy, maybe I should have let it go. But I did not want to be ghosted by him, it hurt just being ignored like that, I felt like somehow I needed to tell him how I felt after two months of going out, I deserved better treatment than that. All I could think of was my dumb ass taking trains in freezing weather for a jerk who didn’t have the courtesy to end things like adults, and just ghost me all together. Did I overreact? Sometimes I wish I hadn’t sent those texts. But I reached my limit. I thought things were going well. What do you think
I think with these things it’s a matter of balance. If you were texting him repeatedly to try to get him to change his mind or to vent your frustrations, you may have given it more emotional energy than it was worth. Once you know someone is no longer making an effort and isn’t interesting in things going further, it’s generally as waste of time to try to argue it out. I think you can, of course, be straight with someone and call them explaining your thoughts if you feel you want to have a conversation, but after that there is little point in spending further time on it. It sucks, but you don’t need to beat yourself up: it sounds like your text wouldn’t have made much difference since he was already pulling away – just dust yourself off and move on knowing you deserve someone who will actually make the effort in a relationship with you.
Thanks for your reply! :)
I never texted him nonstop or bothered him at all. That’s the thing. He’d text me, then take a long time to reply any texts I initiated, then he’d text to go out on a date, we’d have a great time, making me feel like this could be going somewhere, then he would not text me back sometimes during the week, or take a long time to reply.
That’s why he gave me mixed messages and make me feel very frustrated. When he just didn’t text me back at all after a day that’s when I confronted him about him making me feel confused and hurt. It felt like a game and I was feeling used. Like, are we doing this or not? What Is going on? Because he was so great every time we saw each other, he seemed all in at first, very persistent and interested, and then he just started confusing me with mixed messages out of nowhere. I never bothered him, or acted creepy. It was maybe one text a day, or every other day.
Sometimes I wish I hadn’t said anything at all, but that’s also a problem to me, I never speak up.
I just saw your periscope explanation… You know what? There are a lot of people that they know too much but understand nothing.
Haha thanks María x
This just happened to me. I met a guy when i was visiting family in the Uk and we really hit it off. Like a great friend and lover type all rolled into one. He was really eager and all set for a long distance thing, even though Ireland isn’t that far away. We had planned to meet up when he was visiting his family in Ireland for Christmas and the he just text me out of the blue days before that he couldn’t handle another long distance relationship. He had decided in his head that it was going to be the same set up as his previous one,which I actually wouldn’t have agreed to. I never got a chance to say any of it to him and I was so upset and frustrated. I left it go as gracefully as I could because I knew there was no point in discussing it with him in the place he was at the time. I really like him and I am gutted it didn’t work but I am glad I didn’t unload all of my upset onto him. He felt bad enough and I didn’t want him to feel worse. I suppose if we met again and circumstances suited I would be open to giving him another chance. I just wished he had talked about with me first because I had a different and better plan in mind for relationship than he did. It’s been 3 weeks since it ended and I am okay at time and then really sad over it. Thank god I had the new Stars Wars to cheer me up a little after it ended and a Masters degree to distract me and take up most of my time!
Sorry to hear that Michelle, but congrats on being so mature about it and respecting yourself enough to move on and accept the decision. That’s half the battle won in my opinion, even if it might be tough for a bit before you’re over it completely.
Excellent advice and I completely agree. Even if it is no more than a casual conversation online, I always try to end it with a classy response wishing them the best in their search. There is too much cruelty in the world and everyone can use more kindness. :)
Really great way of looking at it Melissa.
I love this post Stephen! I’ve had this experience with a guy myself. I met him when I was on vavaction in Barcelona where he lived at the time. Over a year later, he coincidentally moved to Germany (where I live) for work. We got back in touch and ended up dating for a while and I have great memories from the time. Life indeed has a funny way of being circular. Without doubt, an inappropriate response to his rejection would probably not have held doors open further down the line. Staying classy always wins :) xx
I agree, thanks Antonia x
So I took some time out of my day and was sitting here reviewing my notes on IMPACT modules when I’ve heard Periscope beep and saw you and Matt periscoping. First of all the beginning of that was hilarious! I understand that you can get frustrated and stressed dear Steve but please, don’t ever apologize for what you believe in and -in this case very carefully and conservatively- wrote about.
I got curious about the article and came here to read it. In this case I absolutely agree with you and the only thing I can imagine might get you negative comments can be the title. Other than that I absolutely agree with you and I’ve seen the same dynamics in my own dating experiences. The only thing I would love to add is that I would replace the word “classy” with “mature”, because I think classy puts too much emphasis on the outward word and what others feel and think, and I personally like my life to be more authentic and be more of a reflection of my inside world.
Other that that, I also have an irrelevant question: Is there gonna be any update on IMPACT contents soon? I’ve heard Matt talk about -2 months ago on periscope!- adding some interviews in the upcoming months of the program but I haven’t seen updates so far. BTW, I’m using every thing I can-considering my very full schedule- from all the modules and it’s going very well. The first time after I watched all the modules in Nov, I went to a 10 day conference-workshop and in my socializing I was literally somebody else which was quite shocking and exciting at the same time!… I feel like I’m becoming who I wanted to be since I was in kinder garden!
Thank you both for all the great content you create and share with us. Keep running cause you’re great inspirations. :*
Greetings from Tehran, Iran.
Really appreciate that Samin, thank you for the kind words. At the moment I’m not sure with regards to updating IMPACT, we have a huge amount scheduled right now so it will probably have to wait a bit for now! So glad to hear the amazing results you’ve had with the programme though, sounds like you are killing it!
Thank you for your answer. I hope you’ll get to it soon -for my purely selfish reasons- LOL! I hope your 2016 is gonna be the best, the fullest, and the most lived year you have ever had. Take care.
It’s so hard to remain neutral emotionally if the relationship is positive in your mind, then the other backs off. I’ve been there, except when it did start back up again a few times (by him) it got harder and harder to not feel the hurt and have a hard time letting go. I appreciate what you’re saying about treating the other respectfully, just be respectful of yourself as well! It can be a self-inflicted torture so I’d say be consciously aware and mindful of where you’re at emotionally and try and communicate. Be prepared.
I see what you’re saying Sera. I should clarify that my intention isn’t to advocate bottling up all your feelings when there is really something to be said. If you’ve been with someone a while, then it can be ok to call them and actually talk about things out so you know truly where you stand. I agree with you that respecting yourself is more important than anything, but for me, respecting yourself means *doing* what is right for you rather than wasting time being angry with someone and venting at them, when the real answer is to simply walk away.
I loved this and it came a bit late. Any advice for asking for forgiveness or undoing a burnt bridge? I’ve heard no contact for six months but anything else?
Matthew has a program on getting your ex back. I break up with ppl a lot, lol, so this was quite helpful for me. I’m a chronic-breaker upper. But I think it’s something like 2 months of no contact, which it sounds like you have done, and then establishing the right kind of contact to win him back. It’s a good program. If nothing else, you’ll feel better about yourself at the end. Good luck!
After a long time like that, the other person may have moved on, so you it can be best at that point to just let things go. If you really wanted, you could send a very short apology (but only if you think it’s *really* necessary because you did something very wrong) in a message or text. But you have to do this with ZERO expectation that anything will come back. The person may have completely put you out of mind and may read your message but feel no inclination to write back. So I’d say only do it if you genuinely feel it is worth doing it for your conscience or to smooth things over, but if that person is out of your life anyway it may be worth simply swallowing your mistake at this point and moving on resolving to be better next time.
All best x
Great post, thanks for an important reminder!
A million thanks for your article, man! Today I got bloody burnt after three utterly amazing months…
I honestly wanted to call him a total idiot but I somehow managed to stay somewhat gracious. I gave a fun response and a wink when I was innerly bleeding. I’ve been always having trust issues, caused by my parents divorce, my very many love failures… So, I thought I had found someone that could see how great we could be but, apparently I have not. And even though I’ hurting quite bad right now thanks to Matt and you I know I one, haven’t burnt my bridges and secondly, that I’ll get over it!
So, thanks for being so incredibly handy!
Thank you for sharing that Carmen, I greatly appreciate it. Well done in remaining gracious in a painful moment.
I agree with all of that. Better to be gracious in defeat,I always think. You never know what’s going to happen.
I love this, Stephen. Thanks so much for being vulnerable to us. I did this to a guy one time… we went on 3 dates in 4 days. I did really like him, but he went on a hunting trip without cell reception and he came back and I had met someone and had a boyfriend – a whirlwind thing that I wasn’t expecting at all. I really liked how he responded to me breaking it off – he teased me. We joked a little bit and flirted actually when I told him, and I appreciated him for it because I was anticipating getting somewhat serious with him and the boyfriend came out of thin air almost. I felt really bad. But if I were to see him, I’d be happy and give him a hug. If he called or texted, I’d talk his ear off and tease him. Joking with me seemed like we were friends, and I do believe in keeping exes around as friends. It makes me feel special to have guys that care about me and look out for me, and it’s fun to practice flirting on ppl you are comfortable with.
I just talked to an ex yesterday and he said he was just in my town and wanted to call but felt like I was mad at him after we broke up so he didn’t. Granted, I don’t want him, but I didn’t have your advice when I did. I still haven’t smoothed that over the way I usually like, but your advice came at the perfect time and has helped me figure out how I can. I have some texting to do :) Thanks Steve Xo
Thanks so much Lindsey. My preference is a short, sweet text goodbye and then letting it be for a while. Friends with someone I’m still romantically attracted to is too difficult for me in the long-term.
I came here after the Periscope. Don’t see any negative comments, did you guys erase them?
I like the stay classy response. When I lost my job I did the same, stayed professional, thanked for the opportunity and left with dignity.
Lol the controversy was limited mostly to our Facebook page Stella, less so on here. Glad you enjoyed the piece!
I must have missed the drama too. I was actually drawn in by the title because I thought it was funny. Maybe I just have a similar sense of humor.
Anyway, the classy (or mature) response always works for me. As soon you respond with any kind of hostility all the other person is thinking is, “Gee, I’m glad I dodged that bullet!” It only shows that person how you handle conflict. I recently read an article featuring awkward rejection text messages and some of them were really horrific.
I totally agree Leona, by responding badly you only validate someone else’s decision to let you go in the first place. That’s why it’s such a dumb response!
The problem is women are the ones who usually send men an email or text explaining why they don’t want to see him again—men often just fade away, and therefore don’t give the woman a chance to reply in a classy way. I guess not reaching out and asking why they’ve vanished would be the classy solution.
That’s interesting Jummy, a lot of women talk about guys who just disappear instead of let them down gently. Though I’ve also heard from guy friends who say a woman just stopped texting them back out of nowhere. So maybe this is a modern world problem rather than a male/female one. I’d definitely love to see more research on this.
I would love to hear more on “ghosting” as well. Why is it acceptable and so common in this day and age (I suspect it has something to do with electronic communications and a feeling of anonymity and disconnecting with the fact that there is a human being with feelings on the other end of any relationship)? I kind of understand this behavior you’re really young and immature or have only gone on a date or two and perhaps feel your date is “unstable” or something. But it happen to me a few years ago when I was 40 and had been dating a man for about four months who was 55. We had been set up through a friend who he was doing work for and who raved about how honorable, honest, kind, caring, intellectual, etc he was. Then he cancelled our date via text last-minute one day saying he wasn’t feeling well then completely disappeared and stopped responding all together. He stopped responding to my friend as well, even though he hadn’t finished the work he was doing for her. It destroyed my ego and self worth as he was someone I cared for, respected and trusted. I live in NYC and our lives have no reason to ever overlap (work in different industries, live in different boroughs, and have no common friends), yet fast forward a year and a half and I have run into him on the street over a dozen times in the last six months (with me being out of town about 3 months total during that time)! It’s unbelievable and super awkward. Several of the times he has been with his new girlfriend. We’ve never actually made eye contact yet but it is clear we’ve both seen each other (through facial and body reactions). I stopped to talk to him once but he looked at the ground and turned away. Talk about life being cyclical and staying classy so you don’t burn bridges… All he had to do was say, I’m not feeling a connection or I’ve got xyz going on right now and can’t focus on dating.
Thank you for this lovely article. <3
Maybe you’re right, but honestly, at that point, the explanation wasn’t too important. The fact was she has made a decision and the only thing for me to do at that point was accept it. Even if I knew the real reason, I’m not sure it would have made me feel *that* much better.
Love this Stephen :)
Your blogs keep me motivated , inspired and help me keep focused in the road bumps of my love journey.
I always remind myself to be classy with men even if they are the ones who are behaving badly. I think with everyone we should always keep it classy, it says a lot about your character, what you can handle and I do believe makes someone more attractive. It’s easy to be nasty and mean, but more difficult to keep your cool when someone is agitating you.
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