And yeah, it is an art.
It’s one of the hardest and least talked-about forms of fine art there is, and it differs (slightly) from man to man.
There needs to be a certain amount of sincerity involved. Your voice must sound soft and genuine, so not to make them feel unimportant (even if they are). The ideal tone used must be one of “I like you but-“, but never say those words, instead twist them to sound more like “You’re great, but-“.
There comes a point where you can no longer avoid and flawlessly ignore the obvious hints being dropped. The trick where you cluelessly invite your friends to a one-on-one date can only work once, so from there, you have to work fast.
I used to think the Boyfriend Approach™ worked the best, but one month of university taught me just how wrong I was. A boyfriend is no longer considered a ruling out, but more so an obstacle. She has a boyfriend? Maybe I can still woo her so she’ll dump him... for me!
What happened was that a boy, whom my friends and I affectionately call “Frat Guy” asked me to “hang out” with him the following Wednesday. Notice how he said “hang out” instead of “date” to sound casual. I took this as an excuse to casually invite him to a fashion show, only disclosing later that we would be meeting my friends there. He instantly realized that he’d been played, and asked me to stop by somewhere for a coffee before we went in.
I told him I had a boyfriend (a lie), and he seemed to take it well. Sure, he pouted for a minute or two, but he still went to the show with me, so I took it as a good sign. Or so I’d thought.
What I didn’t realize is that there were flaws in my story. Frat Guy had seen me at multiple parties, none of which was I with a boy. He had no idea that I was lying, but he did assume that my supposed boyfriend and I were in a rough patch, and considered it an asset to him.
“Hey”, he texted me one night after a party, “You looked great out there tonight. Too bad I was working the party or I definitely would have danced with you… you can really move.”
I realized that more drastic measures would have to be taken. I immediately began crafting a speech that would politely tell him to fuck off, while still keeping his feelings intact. Frat guys have good connections, so I figured he'd be good to keep around for potential future reference.
As I said, the let-down must be brief, and to the point. It must sound sincere, and sorry, but never make it sound like he might have a chance in the future. In short, it must quickly crush his dreams and replace those dreams with a consolation prize – you as a friend. Please note that not all guys will be happy with having you as a friend as opposed to a lover. Responses may vary from “Whatever, I have other girls anyway”, to “Leave me alone you stupid tease, I bet you do this to every guy”, to the ever-popular “I can’t believe this is happening again… why don’t girls ever like me??” Whatever it is, take it in stride. It’s over now.
I never got to deliver my speech, because he told me a few days later that he was no longer single. I tried not to make my response sound overjoyed, and simply said “That’s cool, I hope we can stay friends.” The next day he asked why I didn’t spend my birthday with my boyfriend, and I decided it was probably safe to tell him that I didn’t have one. It was like I had revived him. “Well”, he said “If you ever want to talk about it with someone who’s just a little more than a friend, let me know ;)”.
And then I thought – fuck frat guys, I can make my own connections.
Thanks for reading,
P.S – Sometimes you meet someone who shakes your whole world to its core within only a few hours… but more on that later.