Turning Someone Down

tremblingheartofacaptivebird asked:

Do you think it’s a logical thing to say to someone that you don’t want to be with them because you think you are meant to work on your relationship with God first?

I answered:

There are a few different things going on here, so let’s take them one at a time.

It is perfectly reasonable to not want to be in a dating relationship because you don’t feel solid about where you are with your relationship with God. Getting your relationship with God on solid footing will certainly be better for the health of an eventual dating relationship. 

What is not okay is using that as an excuse for telling someone you don’t want to be in a dating relationship with the specific person asking you. I’m not saying that is the case, but it has been known to happen. It seems like a harmless thing, until someone you do want to date asks you out a week later. 

It seems very mature and gentle to give a plausible excuse instead of outrightly rejecting someone, but it is actually neither. If you feel like you can’t be in a relationship right now, then that is perfectly fine, but is is way different than “I don’t want to date you, ever, not going to happen.” That second one seems mean, and granted that wording is a little harsh, but it allows for a clean break, which allows everyone to get on with their lives.

Pretty much the worst thing about a rejection is false hope. Go ahead and be firm. If something is meant to happen later on, you can initiate something later. But soft pedaling the rejection is not good for anyone.

Another thing that needs to be mentioned is that you don’t owe anyone an explanation for your dating choices. Sometimes it helps to talk things out, but it is not a requirement. A plain “no thank you” is all politeness necessitates.

Taking time off from dating to focus on the Lord is a mature decision that can yield positive results in your life, but using that as an excuse not to be honest is neither.

-Matt from The Bridge

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