When I was in college, someone that I wasn’t particularly attracted to pursued me romantically. I didn’t respond very maturely having not been used to be being pursued at all (I’m still not, for the record). Looking back on that as I’ve pursued a couple of women now who were not interested since, I wonder how that could be handled better. How do you go about telling someone who clearly cannot let you go, no matter how clear and honest you are with them about your feelings or lack thereof? Do you do this as soon as possible? Can you be friends afterwards? Does it completely close the door on a relationship?

I think my past experiences in this regard, as well as having a group of friends deliver a letter telling me to get lost, have shaped me in a strange, but not poor fashion. I am now of the opinion that stating the truth as clearly, but gently, as possible as soon as is convenient is best. For one, the other has less time to get even more attached and end up being hurt more deeply.

Second, the other can start a healing process all the sooner and there may be a worthwhile friendship between the two at the end of that process with little damage done to the trust between them. Rather, having been honest, that trust has fertile ground to grow and in and find strength (no guarantee it will).

Lastly, it saves the one delivering the bad news from having to agonize over how to handle the situation any longer than necessary. That’s assuming they’d agonize at all, but even if they are just annoyed, it’ll go a long way to ending that annoyance sooner rather than later.

I don’t know why this popped into my head today. Maybe I watched The Bachelor one too many times this season. Maybe I picked up on something today or this last week that I didn’t really notice. Still, I think I’d do better at this today than a few years ago and probably have a bit more to learn.

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